Financial Fast Day 21 of 21: 10 Things I Learned During My Financial Fast

The most important items I learned during the Financial Fast are listed below. Whenever you endeavor to make changes you will uncover many ways to improve and grow. I felt a bit defeated at times and a warrior at other times. I never completely gave up but I was frustrated when I couldn’t buy what I wanted to buy. Then I realized, I was really using my money for…to fill a void.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Change is difficult.
  2. Don’t give up or give in.
  3. If you see yourself failing, you will FAIL.
  4. Believe in yourself because you are stronger than you realize.
  5. You can CONTROL your money.
  6. Yes emotional spending is real.
  7. I am overspending even within a budget.
  8. Don’t give up on following a budget.
  9. Making SMART Financial Goals
  10. Having an emergency fund is critical

“Nothing changes until something changes.” Drive the change you want to see in your finances. Be open to learn, listen and act upon the information you receive. Also be willing to ask questions and for help. This empowers you to make better decisions. – Michele Heyward

I have truly grown throughout this financial fast and will definitely continue to do it 3-4 times a year. If you would like to join me be sure to leave a comment.

Your Clarity leads to Cashflow
Your Clarity leads to Cashflow

Financial Fast Day 10 of 21: Know Your Value!

You as a person have value. Your value is not based on your bank account, investment portfolio or material items. Your value is found in your passion, purpose and view of life. As you come into your own, you begin to recognize your value.

I say all of this to let you know debt, bills and being strapped for cash can confuse you. You as a person have VALUE! You are worth more than worrying how to pay a bill. You are worth more than stressing how to feed your family. You have VALUE because you are an incredible human being. I have faith you will find your value, if you haven’t already.

Let’s take a step back. Take a look at your actions, thoughts and dreams. Recall a time when you failed. At first you didn’t feel positive or happy. Then you started to reflect on it. Failures don’t impact your value. Knowing you have value impacts your actions, thoughts and dreams! This simply is having self-love. It is you understanding no one can validate you and nothing can devalue you. It is important for you to understand others may NOT see your value. This does not matter. No one can give you value but you!

As you travel through life’s peaks and valleys, remember you are GREATER than them all. You have value!

The Voice in Your Head

Over the past year my mom closed her 30+ year old business. It was very difficult for her to do. She struggled to keep her business going and had placed much hard work and dedication into her business. Her journey into entrepreneurship piqued my interest in how, why and when did my mom start her business.

You see we live in a small rural town in South Carolina. There are not many chain businesses and those that are in town are franchised by locals. The good paying jobs have dwindled like other towns and cities in the US. So with a decline in jobs and my mom being in retirement age I wanted to know how did she get started? So I asked her and these are my mom’s responses with my take-a-ways:

  1. Why? God sent my mom a message and she responded to it. God told
    No perfect time to chase your dreams so start NOW
    No perfect time to chase your dreams so start NOW

    my mom to teach the children in the community. See my mom started teaching in the South Carolina public school system in 1969 but stopped around 1977 and started working at H&R Block. This is a huge difference in career paths right? She started her business AND worked there to have cash to run the business. Her office was 12 miles away from her business and my mom didn’t learn to drive until 1991 which is 10 years after she started her business. In rural towns, if you don’t know how to drive you will have “limited” opportunities. Take-A-Way #1: If there is a barrier, you find a way to overcome it.

  2. How? My grandmother gave my mom $1000 seed money, my uncles/aunts bought items and drove the items 90 miles one way. A young neighbor helped my mom for free in cleaning the building she housed her daycare. My mom bought the building she housed her daycare in directly from the owner without a loan from a bank. My dad’s cousin was a social worker and told my mom the licensing process. Take-A-Way #2: Your support can come from several places when you are an entrepreneur. Use your network as you will have more supporters than you may realize.
  3. When? The time was when God spoke to her. My mom worked 7 days a week, still had to keep house (my dad worked full time doing 12 hour shifts, drove 1.5 hours to work one-way and worked side jobs), worked tax season for extra income, raised 5 kids and ran her business. Was it easy? No but God gave her direction and there was no other options.Take-A-Way #3: When you have NO OTHER options then the time is now!
  4. Bonus: My mom had no experience or process to start or operate a business. Yet she did it anyway. Whatever fears or doubts she had didn’t matter because her vision and purpose were CLEAR. Nothing else mattered. Take-A-Way #4: The time is NOW. Don’t delay.

Take the time to ask questions to the leaders, business owners, educators, long time residents and legends in your area. I am sure there will be nuggets of information you can gather, share, learn from and grow.

Why I Love Working in Construction

Picture of construction crew & mgt after last steel piece is placed.
Picture of construction crew & mgt after last steel piece is placed.

So many people think I’m crazy for being a woman and a construction engineer. But actually, I think you are crazy for not even considering it as a career. I travel around the country to help build different energy projects. I wear a hard hat, bright as hell safety vest, steel-toed boots and safety glasses. I get to guide the future of ENERGY in the United States and it EXCITES me.

Here’s why. In construction it is NEVER boring. Construction is a rapid fire type industry and I get some much enjoyment from working under the pressure. I love the pace and everyday being different.  Something always fails go as planned. Material is delivered late, engineering drawing has an error, a contractor doesn’t understand a detail on an engineering drawing, on and on and on. It is a team environment from upper management to craft personnel. It supports the economy from around the country and sometimes the world.  Even with the complexity of construction projects, most  are successfully completed.

I get to use my innate analytical skills to address problems and determine how they impact various aspects of the project. When an issue has to be addressed, I must immediately decide which is more important to address – items on my “ABC” To Do List or the new issue. Will the new issue immediately impact the project schedule or not? Will this new issue impact the project budget and to what amount? Will the issue be of high importance to my client or not? Will this issue impact other contractors or not? It’s a brain teaser of sorts…I LOVE brain teasers.

I can discuss the issue with my team – project manager, construction manager, material manager, project controls lead and others. I can review the project schedule and budget to identify impacts. After some consideration, I make recommendations which are seriously considered and usually used to remedy the situation.  Did I tell you that I do this in a span of 10 minutes or less many times?

My project manager and previous program manager also let me lead processes and manage contractors. It feels great to have people ask you for help and direction. It feels even better to be able to address them appropriately. The best part is seeing dirt move and things begin to “grow” from it. Like a phoenix it will rise!

But like any job, it ain’t all sunny days and no rain. I’m away from my family often, steel-toed boots aren’t cute and wearing jeans five-days a week gets mundane for me. However, I get to fly home once a month to see my family which makes each trip home special. While my life isn’t perfect, it is the life that is perfect for me…at least for now.

Be the Genuine You

Your Dreams Need EnergySince I travel a lot, I change doctors, dentist, etc often. I was looking for a doctor and found a group that could fit my needs. Out of all the pictures of the doctors, there was only one WITHOUT his white coat and he had a genuine smile. That is who I selected. He had a great bedside manner, soft spoken and extremely approachable. People look for the genuine YOU to connect with, especially when doing business. Go and have FUN in all that you do in life because people desire to see who we really are. People will think of you what they may, no matter how you selective you maybe about the things you say or do (or NOT say or do). You will have wasted time and energy to present someone other than your genuine self and would have LOSS more than you had bargained for in the beginning.

Never sacrifice your TRUE self for another, a job/career, your self-worth or any material item. Instead being who you truly are will render more satisfaction in your daily life, living a passionate life when your true self shines from within to others.

How to be the genuine you?

  1. Wear the colors, patterns, etc. that make you SMILE from ear to ear!
  2. Write down your top 10 to do list and GO FOR IT!
  3. Smile, cry, grin, love as you desire and need to for nothing is forever.
  4. Plan for TOMORROW but enjoy today with a good glass of wine, your favorite book in a foreign country, beach or mountain top.
  5. YELL, SCREAM, HOOT, HOLLER for your favorite sports team be it in a bar, stadium or living room.
  6. Don’t just dream but LIVE your dreams.
  7. Don’t save those shoes, dresses, jewelry, bottle of champagne for that special moment. That moment is HERE and NOW!

Pop the cork to being the GENUINE you!

EngiNerds Only Know Being Different & Strange  

As an enginerd (engineer nerd), I’m always perplexed when people say I live and do different things than most because to me it’s nothing new, different or special. Then my sisters remind me that I’ve always been different. I have come to embrace who I am and to live my life as I desire.

‪#‎AllIn ‪#‎Gemini‪#‎DareToBeDifferent ‪#‎BornToBeDifferent

You see my career as a construction engineer has me jumping from one location to another location, usually remote locations.  But I enjoy moving around the country managing construction projects. Each one is different from the previous one so I can to learn and grow.

While many see a building being built, I see a safety hazard, concrete forms being placed and rebar being tied. I can see the method and madness. I can see the possibilities in an old structure and tell you what it once was. The enginerd in me never STOPS. I can be on vacation and analyze how a process can be more efficient from restaurant service to a school of fish swimming in the ocean.

While my life is not ideal all the time, it is mine.  Through it all, I have grown leaps and bounds. This country girl has found that being different and strange is to be leader, to be admired, to be desired and to be encouraged. No longer do I need to fit in or prescribe to someone else’s definition of who I should be or what I should do. Instead, this enginerd loves being nerdy, loves being off beat, wearing heels, going for walks in the park, loving the Flash television show/Big Bang Theory/Downton Abbey/ Arrow, you can be lonely in a crowded space, friends come for reasons or seasons and many more offbeat  and sometimes popular things.

I have never thought of engineering as a field I would grow personally. But what does a teenager know when selecting a college major. What I have learned thus far in my journey is:

  1. Snow is HIGHLYL overrated.
  2. Home cooking is the best.
  3. Sweet tea is NOT everywhere.
  4. Summer is still my favorite time of year.
  5. I am happy alone and with my own thoughts.
  6. I am enjoying the journey
  7. It is ok to feel lonely…