Getting Out of Debt: The Power of Focus - DreamsCo

48 Dreams Left on the Way to Making 101 Dreams Come

Today's blog is about a friend who has made a radical change in her life. For privacy purposes I will call her Sheila.

When Sheila was in her early twenties she lost both her parents: her mother to breast cancer, her father to a heart attack. Her brother took over the family home, but when he moved to Florida Sheila bought her parent's home. She worked hard as a retail manager and as a graphic designer to make ends meet. Having no immediate family in the area, she found friends who welcomed her into their lives as sister and daughter. For years, she tried to keep up with the massive repairs on the older home, but as a single person working sometimes two jobs, it became harder to keep up.

About five years ago, in the mortgage upswing, she refinanced her home to pay off bills, make repairs on her house and truck, and to get a better rate. The mortgage company wasn't a large institution but one of those companies you hear about in the news. About a year after she refinanced, the company was sold and her loan changed. Suddenly she had to come up with large sums of money to keep her home. She lived in constant stress as the house fell into disrepair. I watched my friend desperately trying to make it all work. She continually said, "I make enough money to pay the mortgage. It's cheaper than rent would be, but the mortgage company keeps side-swiping me. I can't lose my parents home."

Two years ago, she had to walk away. Many people have done the same, having gotten into loans bigger than they could handle or from job loss, but this wasn't her case. Saying goodbye to her family's home hurt her to the core of her being.

But Sheila's the type of person who keeps going. Always willing to help a friend, she keeps a smile on her face for the world to see. I knew she was battling to pay down her debt, but I had no idea how deep the house had taken her until she said, "In one year, I've paid off $35,000 of my debt and I only have a few thousand left. I brought my credit score up over two hundred points."

I almost cried as I asked her, "How did you do it?"

"I just decided to I focus on myself instead of all the drama around me. I worked really hard, cut my expenses, and only went out to eat on really special occasions. I still did the things I loved, but instead of doing them six times a month I did them once."

As I go after my list of 101 dreams come true, I hear people say that they can't go after their dreams because of their impossible financial situation. I hear the excuse that the economy is bad and that it isn't the right time. Sheila not only paid off her debt, but became a Special Olympics coach and local board member. This year, she traveled the country cheering on her athletes. She's also started her own business. She not only paid off her debt, but she made her life bigger than before.

When you think your dreams are impossible, realize that there's always a way.  My friend works two jobs, and doesn't make anywhere close to six figures per year and yet she did this. The next time you don't think you can change your life, I hope you remember her story. When you focus your mind, anything is possible. I know her story inspired me.