Have you ever owed anyone money? Remember, you can answer honestly. Your debt or lack thereof does not make you inherently good or bad in and of itself. So have you ever owed anyone money? Have you ever owed someone money for much longer than you initially planned to? Was it a considerable amount of time? Did you pay them back in installments or did you clear the debt at one time? Did you discuss a payment agreement with them? If you missed any payments did you reach out to discuss and restructure new payment terms? Did you communicate your shortcomings as with regards to clearing your debt? Did you experience that uncomfortable feeling of literally being indebted to someone else? How did it feel having to prioritize the money owed over other needs, wants and desires as you worked extra, spent less and channeled your resources to clearing your debt? We can learn a lot from debt.
Debt in and of itself is not dishonourable. The ‘state of owing money’ can indeed arise based on a number of factors. After all, life happens and sometimes when it does you may not have as much money as you want/need to accomplish certain things. Financial shortcomings arise for all kinds of reasons as we already know – family crisis, the loss of employment or expected income, illness, the desire to further one’s education, the addition of a new family member, etc. The list is endless and reaching out for help is necessary at times. When being in debt becomes dishonorable is when the person who owes money does not honour their debts. This includes not communicating with your debtors, putting someone who lent of their own resources to help you in an uncomfortable or financially precarious position by not doing what you said you would do or communicating why and when, etc.
For those who have been on the receiving end, remember the frustration of someone breaking their promises to you? Remember planning for what you would do when that hole in your pocket was filled up and then the expected funds never arrived. Remember trying to reach out to the person who owes you and getting long winding answers or no response? Remember complaining to a friend or family member who reminded you again and again, “never lend what you cannot afford to lose.” Remember the feeling of disappointment of trying to do something good and being let down.
Most of us have probably been on both sides of the table. So the ultimate question is this, having experienced how frustrating it is to be owed for longer than anticipated (even by a transparent person with good intentions), why would you then go through life with such massive debt??? I heard you story. I know you still owe someone. I know that you promised to pay up and you still have not. I know that sometimes you ignore their reminders, do not communicate your new timelines and in some cases you’ve given up and you’re just waiting for the disappointment and the debt to be written off. I just want to let you know I expect more from you, you really should expect more from yourself and it is not too late to pay your debt!!
Before you fire your accounting officer or sue your bank, let me tell you how I know you are in debt. Have you accomplished that goal you promised yourself? The one to write a book, start a business, learn a language, obtain that advanced degree, apply for that job? No? Well then you owe yourself. Have you spent the one hour a day on that online course you signed up for, attended the meetings of the professional society you joined, taken life saving measure to increase your health and fitness? No? Well then you owe yourself. We have gone through a range of questions and answers and you sounded like you were uncomfortable owing and being owed money, but when it comes to yourself you are willing to suppress those emotions and live in that discomfort? This should not be so.
We must consider our talent development as the debt that we owe ourselves. We prioritize things that are not priorities, assuming we can continue to deprioritize and delay that niggling desire tied to our talents and opportunities. We think we can rush to work and rush home, week in week out, year in year out, and one day we will finally wake up in the life of our dreams. The likelihood of that is low to none and we really have to stop ignoring the things we know we need to do to become who we are destined to become. We do not have all the time in the world. In the same manner delayed debts bring about panic, piercing guilt, break down in relationships, awkward encounters with our debtors and sometimes even incur interest, that is the same way delaying the inputs that will progress our dreams makes it considerably harder, increasingly more frustrating and internally more uncomfortable as we delay. We need to stop putting off payments that need to made towards the down payment on our dreams.
We have to start being harder on ourselves. Would you delay a debt that you promised you would pay off? For some days and weeks maybe, but would you really allow a debt to be owed for years and years when you had the resources to do something about it? Wouldn’t you find a way to square up? Okay then, let us square up! Come up with a payment agreement. Decide how you will begin to pay off your debt in installments. What can you do daily to chip away at what you owe? What are your weekly and monthly goals towards squaring up? Stop ignoring the feelings of “I should really get started” and “I honestly owe it to myself to do more.” Stop owing yourself! Can I submit for your consideration the fact that if you actually start doing what you owe it to yourself to do, you may end up with more resources than you have ever had? Your life will likely become richer, your dreams more vivid and attainable and your finances would increase exponentially as you operate in purpose. Do it on purpose, pay the debts you owe yourself!