I found these shoes in the bottom of my wardrobe over the weekend and they reminded me of something…
I grew up in a household where money was rarely an issue, or at least my parents made it feel that way (I’m sure it was MANY times). I feel the unintended consequence from this was that I never truly appreciated the value of money, the ability to save and manage it for a secure future.
This was further compounded by the culture that our society perpetuates where discussing money, income, bills, financial hardship, budgeting etc. are taboo. Our schooling system also neglects to teach us these life lessons and the result is, we push out generation after generation of financially illiterate adults into the world to make the SAME mistakes and learn the lessons we’ve already learned.
I began as a mortgage broker on the 15th of October 2015. I was actually meant to start a week prior, however we’d taken a “last hoorah” to Bali and while there, the volcano had erupted and delayed us from getting home. We had a choice to make, stay in Bali, hope flights would resume soon or spend an additional $6k for flights home via Singapore. We took the Singapore option.
Prior to broking, I was mostly in coal mining sales, selling the big buckets and teeth etc. that dig the coal out of the ground. I had been in the industry for 15-years and my heart wasn’t in it anymore. I was increasingly whining about my situation until one morning, the alarm went off at 4am, bleary eyed, pulling on my Hi-vis uniform in preparation for the 1.5 hour drive to the mines, it dawned on me “You can keep whining, or you can actually do something about it”.
Over the next year or so, I left mining and started a handyman business. I had the tools, some experience, somewhat handy and a wife in marketing that had the skillset to help me start-up cheap. I knew this wasn’t going to be my forever solution, but it would pay the bills until I found what that was.
Fast forward, I had been running that business for a little over a year, when the planets aligned and we decided on a sea change and moved to Palm Beach on the Gold Coast QLD. Soon after, Michelle secured a job working in the finance industry. She came home one day, I suspect I may have been whining again and she suggested that I have a look at becoming a mortgage broker. At first, I didn’t see the appeal or the challenge. However, knowing my wife as a woman of many talents, I chose to listen and enrolled in the mortgage broking certificate IV. This lit a spark in me that I hadn’t felt for some time.
I was fortunate to connect with a man that soon become one of my most valued mentors, friends and a big part of my inner circle, Mitch. He mentored me, and at the end of that 2-years we remained good friends until his passing this year (August 2020). I lost more than a mentor that day.
So! Having just returned from holidays, self-employed, just outlaid $6k on flights and now starting a new business all over again, we were far from flush with cash. And if I’m honest, my relationship with money had never been a good one. Living hand to mouth, borrowing money from parents on occasion and generally caving into wants instead of needs.
The day before my broking career started, I needed some new threads! Gotta look the part right! But having just returned from holidays, no income for weeks prior, funds were tight. That’s where the shoes come in! I bought these shoes for $8 from K-Mart.
Having come out of a financially secure childhood and high paying coal mining jobs, I don’t want to sound elitist, but it was the first time I had paid single digits for shoes, particularly size 13 dress shoes (the struggle is real). Just as many other start-up business owners had done before me, I needed to fake it til I made it!
Most others wouldn’t have noticed, but each time I slipped those shoes on to go to a client meeting or out to a networking event to promote my business, I noticed my cheap shitty shoes. So again, the same lightbulb moment struck, but this time it was more like “So what ya gonna do about it?”.
Fear of sounding cocky aside, I feel like success had always come fairly easily to me when I applied myself. Motivated by my shitty shoes, in a new job that was forcing me to confront some of my short comings and a family that insists on eating 3 x times per day. Failure was not an option.
Around the same time, Mitch gave me a book to read, Rich Dad Poor Dad – The Cashflow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki. One of the many great lessons I took from this book was that “Success requires struggle”. The thing about struggling is that you can choose your struggle, but you need to choose wisely. What could I fix and what was going to be my struggle?
These WERE my struggles:
- New to industry, don’t know what I’m talking about Fixed
- Looking the part Fixed
- My money mindset Fixed
- My relationship with money Fixed
- Earning enough money to support ourselves Fixed
- Procrastination Fixed
- Bad habits Fixed
- Poor financial education Fixed
- Never built a truly successful business Fixed
These are NO LONGER my struggles. They are now my successes.
So what’s the message in all of this? Its simple “JUST DO SOMETHING”. For too long I allowed fear of failure, fear of success and my ability to sustain it, fear of money and an insecure future and many other illegitimate excuses hold me back from achieving goals.
I remember having a conversation with Mitch in a moment of admiration of his financial position, the assets he had accumulated and what his future looked like compared to my own, and I said to him “I just wish I got started sooner like you did, and we’d be in a much stronger position by now at the age of 37”. His response was simple “Just start mate. Just do something”.
Sound like you? What’s your excuse?
As a mortgage broking business, we see business financials every day. This provides us some valuable insight into the mistakes others have made and the success stories. And while you should always consult your trusted and accredited financial advisory team when embarking on a new venture of significant change, you’d be surprised where some of your most valuable inspiration and life lessons come from. We’re here to help!