We professionals can be our own worst enemy when it comes to asking for help. If anyone knows that, it’s me.
A few years ago a string of adverse life events saw me unable to pay off the debts I’d accrued. The life events I had little or no control over, unlike my management of them – and I managed them very badly, allowing feelings of emotional overwhelm to cloud my pragmatism. Poor financial decisions left me vulnerable and I had to face the very real possibility of losing my home.
Optimistically, I tried to dig myself out of the hole, but it’s hard to dig when you’re lacking direction and are questioning if you have the right tools for the job. The life events I’d been dealt had made me re-evaluate who I was, my life’s purpose and what I wanted to do with the rest of it. I wanted a change of direction and a career that added value to people, but that left an awful lot of options and time was not on my side.
After much encouragement, procrastination and, finally, the intervention of a concerned friend, I spoke to my local branch of Community Money Advice (CMA), a national (British) debt management charity founded on biblical values. Committed to finding the solutions to free people from debt, it helps people of all faiths and no faith at all.
A burden shared is a burden halved
From the moment CMA got involved, they took the burden from my shoulders and placed it squarely on theirs. Authorising them to deal with my affairs on my behalf, they contacted the companies I owed money to. Temporary holds were immediately placed on every account. These gave CMA time to prioritise the debts and plan a negotiation strategy. Interest, phone calls and letters ceased for the duration of each hold. They opened and dealt with unopened post and together we completed the mandatory income & expenditure form required to assess my situation. Tasks that were so simple had become mighty mountains in my desire to avoid the confrontation of reality.
There was still a long way to go, but I started to breathe easily again. This made me realise the extent of the strain I had been under. Failing to address my debt, putting my head in the sand and the inevitable fear of the consequences had seriously compromised my health and wellbeing. I wished that I had not been, for so long, too professionally proud and stubborn to accept that I needed the help of others; and so fearful of being harshly judged. There was no finger-wagging, no recrimination, just tremendous support.
Freedom from debt, hope for the future
Everyone’s situation is different. Whilst our stories will end differently, each will begin with a new chapter.
Mine is realising my ambition to add value to people, in becoming a teacher, speaker and coach in leadership development and personal growth – a subject I am well-acquainted with!
With CMA’s help and the support of great friends, to whom I remain indebted, I was eventually able to invest in one of the best global certification programmes on these subjects and now partner with a team that is impacting lives, businesses, cultures, communities and nations with our philosophy. At the invitation of their respective Presidents, a contingent of our team has begun the process of transforming the leadership cultures of Guatemala and Paraguay.
If you are struggling, please don’t struggle alone. The quicker you ask for help, the quicker you can step into your future and help others to step into theirs. If you are based in Hull UK the contact details for CMA are in the cover image of this post. If not, you can search for your nearest branch here.
Whether or not you are in need of help yourself, I would urge you to share this post with your communities. You may reach someone who needs encouraging.
With a simple share, you may not only change a life – you may save one.
Money worries play a major role in depression, which can lead, at its darkest, to suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts. At each successful attempt, the world loses a talented light. Graduates leaving university saddled with debt, who cannot find employment, are now a group at risk.
A Guardian article written in 2013 states, “Around 1,400 under-35s kill themselves in the UK every year, and three-quarters of those are men or boys [… ] according to a YouGov poll, money was the most common worry across the UK last year, with almost half of all callers to the Samaritans‘ helpline naming it as their main concern.
“In 2011, a report from the Royal College of Psychiatrists revealed that an increasing number of British students were seeking help from mental health support services at a time of rising debt and fewer employment opportunities. Many of these services are now being stripped back. Yet demand is unlikely to abate over the next few years: with many British students paying £9,000 a year in tuition fees alone, it is estimated that young people will leave university with average debts of £40,000.”
May I speak for you?
I give short, frank, more detailed accounts of my story, with or without a representative of CMA, in an effort to reach out to those in need. If you would like me to speak to your business, organisation, church, institute, club, group or event, please do not hesitate to connect and contact me for chat.
We cannot give what we do not have: time, experience, wisdom or money.