Sunday, February 9, 2014

Work It, Girl {Say Goodbye to Survival Mode}

I have been following Crystal Paine over at Money Saving Mom for a couple of years. She brings Biblical wisdom to money matters and doesn't just preach it; she lives it.

Soon after she and her husband got married, they made a vow that they would not incur any debt while he finished going to law school. Through blood, sweat, tears (mostly hers), they made it. What's more, they took their financial goals a giant leap further and vowed to pay for their house with cash. And they did it!

For a woman who not only teaches but takes her own sound advice, you really can't help but to be inspired.

Not too long ago, my friend and I were were taking a sabbatical from Facebook. I subscribe to many bloggers who are linked with others. (in)courage is one such blog. It was through this blog that I learned of Crystal's new book, Saying Goodbye to Survival Mode.

Survival Mode. 

This was a term I used with some of the ladies at work during our book study many months ago. I have felt that I am in survival mode for a long time. The problem was, I didn't know what to do about it. I felt lost, overwhelmed, and frustrated. Stuck in a rut. That was me.

When Crystal offered a 7 Day Say Goodbye to Survival Mode challenge, I signed up. (I knew I couldn't afford to buy the book, so I was very grateful that she was offering a small sampling of her wisdom.)

Each morning, I would log into my email and anxiously wait for the latest issue to arrive. I found myself drawn to what Crystal was saying. It certainly wasn't anything new. And it wasn't anything I hadn't heard before. It just clicked this time around.

For those who don't regularly follow me, this is my first year teaching. For those of you who are teaching, you know how hectic your first year can be. I have nothing to compare my first year to (obviously), but it's pretty intense. I think it's like any new job where you're getting your footing and learning. The only difference is that with teaching, you're getting your footing for the whole first year (and I've spoken to some teachers who say it's more like three years. Whew!)

I was ready for a change and I started by following what was in Crystal's 7 Day Challenge.

Then, there was a book giveaway. I was one of the lucky recipients of a free book!

I don't believe in fate. But I do believe that things happen in God's perfect timing. I believe that this book was meant to fall into my hands so that I could start making some changes. (Lord knows I have been crying out to Him for a long time!)

***A side note: I have permission from Crystal (through Amy, her assistant), to talk about Crystal's book in my blog. All the links in this post (and future posts) will link to Crystal's website. There are no affiliate links in this post. Period.  I am also offering this blog series as a self-help for me and so all of you can keep me accountable. I did not receive a free book in exchange for my opinion on the book. Instead, I wanted follow Crystal's lead. She uses her blog to update her readers about her own personal goals. (This is a blog that helps sustain her family, folks - but if she does that on a business blog, it only makes sense that I might like to try it on a personal one.)***

I look at successful people at wonder how they got their success. Were they born with it? Were they lucky? I didn't know and to be honest, people aren't always quick to share how they got where they are. (There are exceptions, of course - Crystal, for example). But because people weren't sharing and all I saw was the success (as opposed to the struggle), I came to my own conclusions.

It just happened.

Guess what?

It doesn't just happen.

Successful people work at being successful.

Who knew? I didn't.

So, how do successful people work it? They set goals that they write down and work on daily. Daily. Not once a week. Not sometimes. Every. Single. Day.


So, naturally, as I'm reading through Saving Goodbye to Survival Mode I'm stopping and doing the little "homework" assignments. I even found a brand name spiral notebook to take notes...and boy have I been taking notes!

I will share some of my goals a little later, but do you see that graphic at the top of this blog post? That's a small sampling of my to do list today. And while I didn't take pictures of it, I've got three things marked off of it today. (This post will make #4!)

I've never been one to use to do lists. I'll use shopping lists - they help keep me focused and stop me from spending extra money I don't have.

Do you know what a to do list does?

It keeps me focused and stops me from spending wasting time I don't have. I just came to that realization. Literally just as I was writing that sentence. But it's the truth! My to do list has kept me focused on what I need to do. I even found an online timer and set it for 30 minutes and didn't do anything but worked on the task at hand. (Crystal borrows a bit of wisdom from Marla Cilley aka FlyLady and suggests working for 15 minutes. But I knew the work I had to do could be done for longer.)

You know what I found out? The task didn't take as long as I thought it would it usually does.

Focused work gets the job done.

Who knew?

Until next time...

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