I grew up with a scarcity mentality. My family had “enough,” but never more. My dad was proud of having a steady job, putting food on the table, buying a house, and having cash enough not to go into debt. I got an allowance, and learned that I could shop in thrift stores to get semi-fashionable clothes and fun things to decorate my room with. I tried to get a job at the mall, but didn’t have the confidence or drive to “make it happen.” I was shy, scared, and timid. I wore baggy clothes, ashamed of my non-curvy body, and could never get my hair right. Looking back, I see that I was beautiful, but at the time, I had no self-esteem.
After college, I started playing capoeira, a Brazilian martial art- it’s flowy, sexy, and done to music. I picked it up really quick, got really good at it, and kept at it for almost 20 years. I took cues from Brazilian fashion and bought more flattering clothes, but I still didn’t understand what it meant to be empowered as a woman. Teaching capoeira put me in the role of a leader, but I felt like a fake, standing on the laurels of my teachers. I couldn’t believe people really liked me. I wanted to feel real and authentic and capoeira wasn’t doing it for me.
I went back to school for physical therapy, and persevered despite a strict academic standards and a failed romance with a fellow student. I became a doctor of physical therapy. I graduated with $140,000 in student loan debt. This was a year before loan forgiveness programs started. But I didn’t get the recognition or satisfaction I thought I would from becoming a professional. I was working hard and had a monthly loan bill of $1400 per month. I didn’t like the way physical therapy is governed by health insurance- patients always needed more than what insurance would pay for, and I would feel the patients’ pain and frustration so deeply I would often go home crying. I felt oppressed and burned out. I chose to go to Australia, to complete a graduate certificate program in physical therapy. I thought that would increase my legitimacy and help me be happier with doing PT. I borrowed an extra $5000 to help me pay for that program, and went into forbearance for that year, which increased my loans and didn’t do anything to pay for them. I came back in similar debt and still not happy.
Before I came back to the states, I went traveling and experienced life as a backpacker, trekking solo through India, China and Japan. Later I went back to Asia and saw Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and India again. I love traveling and knew that I wanted to keep traveling, but I still had this incredible student loan debt I was on the hook for.
What do you do when you’re in debt for a career that you no longer (or maybe never did) enjoy?
I took what Tim Ferriss would call “mini-retirements.” I would work for a while, save up money, then go travel for a few weeks at a time. I also went deeper than just travel. I did a yoga teacher training. I learned to meditate. I went to self development conferences. I took courses. I went deep inside, looking for something. I learned that I didn’t really know myself. Worse than that, I was so worried what people would think and judge about me, that I held myself back. I tried to mold myself into something that other people would understand and approve of. I judged myself for investing so much in a career that I was over. I didn’t want to take any more risks.
But I knew I had to. I am not a quitter. I cannot just sit still and live a life devoid of love and passion.
I had a vision in my head, of me standing at the edge of a diving board, over a yawning chasm, with an enormous monster behind me, pushing me off the edge, a monster I named “PT Burnout.” I knew I had to jump.
I researched ideas- they had to fit into the following criteria: I had to be able to travel while working, so I wouldn’t have to keep taking mini-retirements. I want to make my life and work into one sustainable whole. I also knew I wanted to learn more about money-how it works, how to maximize it, how to fund my retirement.
So that’s how I came up with the idea for financial coaching. I could work online, and work while traveling. I would learn how to manage money, maximize it for myself and teach others how to do the same. I would still be helping people, just in a different way. And I wouldn’t feel like a helpless cog in the endless cycle of illness and debt that makes up our healthcare system.
All the self-development work has paid off as well. I’ve gained confidence and poise. I’ve seen how much I can help people when I come from a place of service. I no longer care what other people think. I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter- I know that I can help you.
Welcome to my venture. I did my training with Kelsa and Michael Dickey, at the Financial Coaching Academy. They are wonderful souls who recognize the power that comes from having your finances in order. It’s a simple concept with far-reaching consequences. Get your finances in order and get to work on reaching your dreams! There’s only one way to get there. Take one step at a time.
If you’re interested in what I have to offer, click here to schedule a 15 minute “Curiosity Call” to see if we’d be a good match for financial coaching! I’d love to meet you.