How I Stopped Worrying About Money and Doubled My Income — Twice

At the age of 25 I was a single mom working as a customer service rep in Houston, Texas. My son was 10 years old, my daughter 8 years old and I felt like a terrible mother never having enough money for the things they needed and wanted. My salary didn’t quite cover the rent, car payment, utilities and groceries, so I felt like a failure constantly having to ask my family for help.

I was always worried about money but knew I was making the most anyone had ever made in the position I was in. So I asked my boss Steve for advice on how to get ahead and make more money.

Steve had become my mentor that I admired and trusted. He recommended I go into sales. He also suggested that I read the Houston Business Journal and the business section of the Houston Chronicle to stay informed on what was happening in business locally and what was going on in the world.

In addition to reading both the papers he recommended, I also subscribed to the Wall Street Journal. Can you imagine how hard it was for me to stay awake and read business news at the age of 25? Especially after working all day, taking my kids to sports and scouts activities, helping them with homework, making dinner, then reading with them before they went to bed? More nights than I can remember I fell asleep reading and woke up to newspapers strewn all over the bed and scattered on the floor.

Scanning headlines helped me find the businesses and industries that were growing, improving and learning about those not doing so well. I also started reading the classified ads for sales jobs. I had tried for several years to go into sales with the company I worked for, but they required a college degree to go into sales, and I didn’t have one.

I’d made my choice to have a family when I was very young. Supporting and spending time with them took all my time…and money. So going to college was not going to happen.

I ended up finding a sales job, but it didn’t lead to the increase in income I was hoping for. When I told my mentor Steve that I was considering going back into customer service, he encouraged me to look for another sales job. He was more confident in my sales skills than I was, but I trusted him and took a leap. That one didn’t end up paying enough either, so I took one more leap.

That’s when I found another mentor. An author Denis Waitley, who published an audio tape series called the Psychology of Winning. Now in my 30’s, I was finally making a little more than I had been making at 25, but it still was not enough to cover all my expenses. I felt guilty about asking my mom, sisters and brother to help me so often.

Not having enough money all the time was stressful and I have a bad habit of eating ice cream, cookies and candy at night when I’m stressed. It wasn’t a surprise that I gained several pounds, and being so heavy made me feel uncomfortable and less confident. My new sales job was selling over the phone to people all over the country, so I was sitting in a chair for hours getting very little physical activity in my day, making it even easier to gain weight.

When I started listening to my new audio tape series the Psychology of Winning, I decided three things. The first was to lose the weight I’d gained by walking, which would also give me uninterrupted time to listen to Denis Waitley’s tapes while I walked. The second thing I decided was to stop worrying about money. Then the third thing — I made the decision to double my income within the next year.

It finally happened. I was finally starting to make the money that would help me support my children without extra help from my family.

Deciding to double my income within the next year, believing I could and taking some very specific actions is what made it happen. I finally felt like my life was on track.

I was in a sales job that I liked and had even been promoted to sales manager. It turned out that I enjoyed teaching other people how to be successful in sales more than anything I had ever done before.

The company I was working for in Houston merged with a competitor in Kansas City.

That’s when I met my new boss John, the third mentor that changed my life. He was an entrepreneur and had built a business by targeting a very specific customer and creating a desire for a solution to a problem his customers hadn’t realized was keeping their businesses from growing.

But the most important thing he taught me was how to have fun with customers and co-workers.

It was the first time in my career I stopped craving money and started really loving what I did for a living. It’s funny how when that happened, my income doubled again.

If you’re an entrepreneur or in sales for a living, I’d like to give you a free copy of my new e-book SALES FUEL — The truth about what it takes to launch and navigate a fast growing business you love. Click here for your free copy.

All the best,

Debbie

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WAKE UP

Hosting and co-producing WAKE UP to The New Rules of Business on the Infinity Business Media Group channel is my new favorite passion.

Meeting and getting to know fabulous, smart, driven professionals is just one of the many rewards of my career. The opportunity to share their secrets of success with you is a dream come true.

Each week guests on the show share their business challenges, ah ha moments and accomplishments that give them the most satisfaction. They even offer a little mentoring advice for entrepreneurs that want to grow their businesses faster.

A new episode is available every weekday morning at 5 am on INBLV.tv/WakeUp

ZEST

This week I watched an unbelievable woman win an incredibly challenging dance competition. Her age was only one of the amazing things about her.

It would have been impossible to guess her age if I’d been asked to try. Standing in her skin tight dress next to her 35 year-old male partner, she was stunning and every inch as fit as he was – and she was 71 years-old.

They were dressed like figure skaters and as the dance began, they moved so graceful and smooth, that they looked more like ice skaters than dancers. They twirled, turned, twisted and spun to the point of making me a little dizzy just watching. At one point, her partner swung her around and around in circles while holding on to just one ankle and wrist. I felt my own limbs ache a little as I watched.

When they finished to a standing ovation, I noticed something in her face that I couldn’t describe right away.

That night I was lying in bed thinking about the grueling workouts it took for that beautiful 71 year- old woman to master such a difficult dance routine. I finally knew the word that described the look on her face and the glow that was surrounding her.

It was her Superpower. It was her ZEST!

Her ZEST for life I witnessed in that moment will forever inspire me.

ZEST wasn’t a Superpower I wrote about in Superpowers Activated. If I had seen that beautiful woman exhibit such grace, strength and accomplishment before writing the book, ZEST would definitely have been included.

What gives you ZEST for life? Can others see it? Is it your Superpower?

ZESTfully yours,

– Debbie

p.s. You can see Quin Bommelje and her partner in the America’s Got Talent competition here.

So what is Reiki anyway?

That is the question I was asked a lot when I told people Reiki was one of the secret cures I used to win my battle with cancer.

Surgery and chemotherapy were so stressful and Reiki was just a small part of my treatment, but it made a big difference that I couldn’t really explain. After reading this article from John’s Hopkins, I understand why doing this made me feel so good…learn more

3 Fun Conversation Starters

3 Random facts to spark a conversation

  1. Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia means the fear of long words.
  2. The blob of toothpaste that sits on your toothbrush is called a nurdle, but you won’t find it in dictionary.com
  3. Most newspapers in the US write at a sixth-grade reading level. However, I learned recently that if you want to appeal to the masses, write at a 4th grade level. It seems the masses may have hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia.

Eating Well

 


Finding time and the motivation for eating healthy and delicious foods when our busy schedules seem to be even more packed these days is a challenge.

Regardless of your chosen food plan, here are three steps to help keep you on track for a healthy mind, body and spirit through nutritious, delicious eating.

Step one: Desire

Decide why eating well is important to you. This simple visualization will be your go-to memory when the challenges of the day are looming.

Close your eyes in a quiet space and think about what eating nutritious food on a regular schedule means to you. Here are just a few of the many benefits a healthy eating plan could provide:

  • Better focus and job performance
  • Better health check-up numbers (stable blood sugar, lower cholesterol, gain or lose weight as needed)
  • More patience and feeling of balance

If you don’t find your most important motivation on this list, add your own. It’s critical that the reasons for placing a priority on eating well are yours and only yours. Otherwise your commitment will waiver with each obstacle encountered.

Step two: Plan

Develop a plan with measurable goals for success. Make the plan simple and livable for you and your family. It’s nearly impossible to have long term success if the plan doesn’t have some built in flexibility. There are tons of options, find what works for you and adjust as your needs change.

Whether you choose low carb, high fiber or anything in between, it’s always a good idea to check in with your family physician to make sure the plan you have chosen will fit with your current health needs.

Step three: Celebrate

Now this is the fun part. Celebrate progress, not perfection. I’ll say it again, celebrate progress!

Perfection is impossible, and the expectation will set you up for disappointment instead of joy.

Consider making the celebration something other than eating non-nutritious food. If you want to add to your healthy lifestyle, consider rewards that include physical activity you enjoy like sailing, hiking or golfing.

Cheers to your health!
Debbie Donaldson
Champion for Good

Saving More Money

 


Saving more money is often near the top of New Year’s resolution lists. Success however, requires a bit more motivation.

The first thing in changing any behavior requires a truly compelling reason for the change. Ask yourself, what’s your why? The answer to why you want to save more money will help identify what is driving this desire to change.

Once you understand what is behind the desire to save more money, it will be a bit easier to make and keep the commitment as obstacles present themselves.

With a compelling desire and commitment to save more money, the practical next step is creating a plan.

Here are a few ideas to help get you started:

Review monthly expenses

Are there services or product expenses scheduled regularly that seemed important before, but are no longer necessary? Cancelling or discontinuing items no longer needed could free up funds for your savings plan.

Review credit card interest payments

Using credit cards for all purchases has many benefits, especially if the card has airline miles, cash back or other rewards. However, if charges go beyond what you can pay-off each month, the interest charges often outweigh any rewards received. If you are unable to pay off your cards, schedule a debt repayment plan along with your savings plan. Then each month going forward, only charge the amount you can pay off before the credit card company charges interest on the amount. That deadline information is on statements or you can call to find out the exact date.

Negotiate a better rate

Whether it’s credit card interest, home loan or the cable bill, it’s often worth the call to find out if there are better rates available to you. Savings on monthly payments can drop straight into your savings plan.

401K Retirement Plan

If you work for a company that offers a 401K plan, this is the first place to start if you do not have a plan in place already. Typically, the savings deduction for a 401K is taken directly out of your paycheck before taxes. One of the great benefits of this type of savings is that you may not even notice much of a difference in the net amount of your check or direct deposit.

One of the drawbacks to a 401K is the penalty paid for withdrawing money before retirement. They are retirement plans after all. Most plans offer loans against the amount saved which avoids the penalty.

Discuss the options with your human resources manager.

The money in this account will grow faster than you think.

Bank Savings Account

Savings accounts are almost as flexible these days as checking accounts. The advantage of setting up a bank or credit union savings account is the money is set aside from regular expenses to avoid the temptation of spending it on impulse purchases.

It’s wise to have a few months of living expenses saved in the event of an emergency.
On top of the emergency fund, consider saving for big personal or family purchases in this type of account. Most companies offer payroll deduction to make saving easy.

Now that you understand your desire, made the commitment and have identified the ways you’ll save more money, set up at least a quarterly review to see how you’re doing. If you got off track, don’t throw in the towel. Review or renew your desire and commitment then get started again.

Celebrate your accomplishment or your new commitment.

Cheers to your success!

Debbie Donaldson
Champion for Good

The Grateful Tree: episode two

Happy New Year!

January 1st is one of my favorite days of the year. And this year I’m even more excited than usual. Each year I’ve observed people making plans for a better year ahead. Some even looking back at the previous year or years. Some people feel a sense of regret or remorse for things in the past. However, like me, many are filled with hope and resolutions for better health, greater wealth and loving, lasting relationships in the new year.

Before we get to why I’m excited this year though, you may be wondering who I am and why you should pay any attention. After all, I’m just a tree that shades a small playground in a corner of a park in the desert, right?

Well that is what I call an incomplete truth.

That description of me would be like saying you are a human being that works at a company in a community. And we both know there is so much more to you than your species, job and location.

Here is a little more about me and my unique view of the world.

I was planted here as a sapling just 20 years ago. I came from seeds of greatness and have what some consider an old soul. When I look back, there are centuries of my ancestor’s experiences and wisdom in my roots. When I look out and ahead I am situated at a vantage point to see a small community of people and observe their struggles and accomplishments up close. Young children play just under my branches with their parents close by. Older children and adults play on the basketball & tennis courts in the park. There are even swimming pools, baseball and soccer fields within steps from my shade. Now here’s the fun part for me. Not one of my ancestors had this advantage. I am tall enough to see a city that attracts more than 3 million people each year from all over the world. At the same time, my roots have grown into the lot of a church next door. So, my roots are grounded in faith while my tallest branches observe the world in a place nick-named Sin City. This unique position provides the experiences, wisdom and vision I’ll be sharing with you.

There are families who have grown up in my park and nearby church. The lessons I’ve watched them learn over the years will now be yours as I share their life experiences. Brace yourself, these are not fairy tales. Their lives are filled with beauty and wonder just like my branches as they blossom and fill with tender spring leaves that become a rich, deep green in the summer. However, like the ground beneath my branches in the fall as my leaves litter the park, the lives of those I shade from the sun are sometimes messy. And very much like the barren branches in the picture you see of me today, their lives at times seem bleak with nothing to shield them from the cold, cruel world around them.

Then there are those energetic world-traveling visitors I can see in the distance. They come to celebrate, escape and forget the messiness of their lives back home. I’ll be sharing some of their antics with you as well. It’s a way for me to capture a bit of their excitement for myself. Of course, things aren’t always perfect with the visitors. They come to play, yet end up being played on occasion. Those lessons are hard, but worth knowing.

So why am I so excited and extremely grateful this year more than any other?

You.

Yes, you are the reason I’m excited this year. I can’t change what is happening or what happened to the people around me. However, I can give you an advantage with a few insights for a better life as I share their lessons with you.

This self-assigned, expanded purpose is enough to keep me grounded and reaching for the stars all year.

As a human, you have the power to assign yourself a greater purpose in life than the one you believed you inherited. Consider a purpose that honors your roots, broadens your capabilities and empowers those around you.

Cheers to the New Year!
The Grateful Tree