Hello everybody, welcome to episode 155 of Optimal Living Advice, the podcast where we take any questions you might have about the many struggles of life and get them answered for you here on the show. I’m your host, certified life coach Greg Audino. Today we’ve got a really good and really lengthy question that came in recently. It’s very layered, and showcases a real test of our ability to dig deep under circumstances that seem insurmountable and use our energy in the right way. That’s what the following question represents to me, anyway, but I’ll read it now and let you decide for yourself. Again, it’s a long question asking: what if you never realize your dreams? Here we go:
QUESTION: “I recently received a notification from my ex wife that the loan she owes is going to start having payments due again. My share is going to add up to just shy of 100k. That is going to be a very huge financial burden on me as you might imagine.
I did see that I have at the moment enough money in credit card checks/deposit offers, but that would likely be worse in terms of payments and long-term. However, the reason I want to pay off my ex is because she can bring me to court for contempt if I do not pay her. I have spoken to 2 lawyers both of whom say that there isn't much I can do other than try to pay the payment or pay her off or else I could even go to jail.
I have been reaching out to all of my resources to see what I can do. My current wife and I have been turning to church for prayer support and I have engaged in counseling with the EAP program at my job. Both of these things have been quite helpful in terms of dealing day-to-day, but I'm afraid the looming stress may take a toll on me (or my wife).
I have a passion that I want to pursue for Healthy Living Advocacy, which could be quite lucrative. Much of this stress is making it nearly impossible to focus on any of it. This started after my dramatic weight loss where I lost over 200 pounds on my own using lifestyle changes over 6 years ago.
You wouldn't believe the people I've met (and become friends with) over the years with my story, but moreso, the hope that sharing my story and insights gives to people worldwide. I've been trying to write a book and had been working with a publisher/writing coach this year to get it started with my draft manuscript, but I have now put that on hold.
Part of me that believes I can overcome, as my story is more than a mere weight loss story, it is about my triumphs over major adversities in my life. But my fear is that my life's purpose will wither away and I may never realize it.”
Leaning on Resources
Ok, there’s a lot to get through here on a journey that is indeed very difficult. I’m glad you decided to come to us in search of some extra help, so thank you for that.
I’m also glad that you’re already leaning on several other resources rather than trying to figure this out yourself – that’s wonderful. And regarding all those resources and the many facets of this question, I can’t help but to emphasize the importance or expertise of each resource. I’m sure it’s easy for you to fall into a pattern of wanting to do this all yourself, but that’s only adding unnecessary extra pressure.
Let’s briefly touch upon what purpose each resource serves.
Listen to Your Lawyers
At all costs, continue listening to your lawyers. They’re much more savvy in offering legal strategies than either of us are, and I’d say that under that umbrella they’d also offer highly effective financial strategies unique to your situation.
Whether or not that’s true, bringing in a financial advisor could be very helpful as well.
As for me, I’d be doing you (and frankly the whole legal system) a disservice if I was to offer legal advice or even recommendations as to how to move your money around, as I have very limited knowledge about the intricacies of both the law and your financials.
What I want to do is help you understand and focus on the role you play and what you can best offer to this conundrum.
What You’re Best at is You
Given your past, it seems you have a proven track record of pulling yourself out of dangerous situations. So your job is to lean on that ability and trust in it, because it hasn’t gone anywhere and there’s no reason for it to.
Right now, you’re slipping a little, and it doesn't mean you'll never realize any goals for the rest of time. A few times in your question you mention a lot of worry about the future that really hasn’t happened yet. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming you for having that concern, and to me, I think it’s important to walk the line between staying present and being realistic about the future.
But I’d caution you to not fall into the trap of trying to figure this all out from the get go. This is a painful situation, and I understand your eagerness to get rid of it and sort it out now, but it doesn’t work that way.
You probably have a long journey ahead of you, and your best bet is to get comfortable with this ongoing part of your life and learn to manage the struggle. You’ve done this before and you can do it again.
If you try to solve it too soon, you’re apt to losing track of who you are. And more prone to having more irrational thoughts about your life purpose losing its spark and fearing you'll never realize your dreams.
The Day to Day
So continue the day to day, as it hasn’t failed you yet. Let your lawyers help you figure out the long term logistics – that’s their role. There’s nothing wrong with what you’re doing.
Just because your discussions with lawyers, your financial sacrifices, prayers and counseling haven’t ridded you of your struggle completely doesn’t mean that they won’t continue to help you. It also doesn’t mean there aren’t other twists and turns that can come to help you – whether it’s new resources, new pieces of information, etc.
Of course this isn’t a guarantee, but looking for a guarantee is the same thing as trying to figure this whole thing out now. It’s tempting, but silly.
The Parallel to Your Weight Loss Journey
In a way, this problem you’ve found yourself in really parallels your weight loss journey. It’s very gradual, full of risks, demanding of big changes, the list goes on.
I might suggest that with each concern you have, you find a similar one that you had during your weight loss journey.
You mentioned in the question that you fear the looming stress will take a toll on your and your current wife in spite of having good daily strategies that have paid off so far. When I hear that, my top of the head suggestion is to vow to one another that you’ll speak up if and when that stress comes through as opposed to suffering in silence – that way you can readjust accordingly, stay on the same page and maintain a team mentality through this journey. But that’s just my idea.
As you seek your own ideas to concerns like these, ask yourself: what was the equivalent of each problem when you were trying to lose weight?
Maybe for the worry you have that you and your wife will eventually have too much stress, during your weight loss journey, it was the fear that you’d eventually fall back into sweets even though each day you were buying and eating healthier foods?
You tell me.
Similar Concerns and Solutions
Look for similar concerns albeit pertaining to different problems. How did you overcome them during your weight loss journey, or if they didn’t end up being realities, how would you have overcome them?
Get back into the rhythm you were in during those trying times, and readopt the same self-talk. Hone in on the mental commentary you pushed through at the time. What were you telling yourself then, and if you’re not telling the same thing to yourself now, how can you start?
If you lean on this ability to overcome huge adversity in this time, you’ll be playing your part as best you can in this whole situation. Just because your passion may provide financial benefits doesn’t mean that it has to in order for it to be realized.
Don’t bother considering the potential money you could get from it right now. If you find time to make that happen, then great. But if you need to sacrifice the elements of it that could make you some money, so be it. It’ll probably only make you stay more in line with it anyway; seeing it more through a spiritual lens than a financial one.
Going With the Flow
If you want to get closer to your passion and closer to you, be sure that it flows through you in times like this.
Continue to inspire others. Continue to pray if you feel it’s helping you. Continue counseling. Continue to live the healthy lifestyle that has transformed your whole existence for the better.
Maintaining these values on your own terms each day is what will keep your most valuable asset – your identity – in the right place, and separate of your finances. And all those things I mentioned are completely free of charge.
The lawyers will help with legal moves. If they can help with financial decisions, great. If not, find someone who can. That stuff can be delegated to others, and they’re good at what they do. They know these types of situations.
The best YOU can do is focus on keeping the most important parts of your being in tact by bringing openness to each day and knowing, with evidence, that you have all the tools you need to recover from significant setbacks.
I hope this episode helped the asker and of course you listeners to not give up hope in trying situations; not even hope for the outcome but hope in terms what you can do for yourself in spite of very challenging circumstances that make you feel you may never realize your dreams.
With a lot of noise surrounding us, there is always opportunity to refer back to the parts of ourselves that prove to be most important over time, parts that only get strengthened under such pressure. Surely there are a lot of moving pieces, but knowing what pieces we can conquer and which others we can delegate is a great way of starting to cut through the weeds.
Now everyone, if you’ve got a question of your own that you’d like some help with, please do send it on over. Email it to us along with any other questions or concerns or feedback you might have to advice AT oldpodcast.com
Thanks so much for being here today, folks and thank you as always for supporting the show.