Top 3 Tips To Start Rethinking The Way You Think About Debt

Photo Credit: Wendy Yalom

Written In Partnership With Thomas Herd

When it comes to the story of personal finances, never has there been a villain as horrifying as debt. Of course, that’s if you buy into the fully fabricated and socially enforced fairy tale that debt is innately and always bad.

I have to tell you the truth: Debt is not good or bad. Debt is just a choice to pay something off over time.

Debt is not a supernatural force of inflicting financial ruin while sentencing you to doom and make or break your fiscal future. I have helped thousands of women start and grow businesses. I have many clients who are millionaires. Many of the things I teach about money and how to become financially stable and even wildly wealthy are completely contrary to what most other “experts” will tell you. (If you didn’t notice already.) And in line with this, I want to tackle the proverbial monster under the bed — debt.

We have to start talking about how women think about debt, why they think about it so much, and where to instead place your focus.

Tip 1: Stop giving debt the power.

When we stop making it mean something that you spent money on things that you will now pay off over time, you can take the pressure off. Off yourself and off what this debt means about you and your future.

Listen to me: Debt does not have that much power over you or your life. It only has the power that you give it. It does not have to mean anything about you, or your worth, or future success that you have debt.

As a coach who has worked with countless business owners around their finances, I can tell you that: Most people with debt are afraid to spend, invest, and enjoy life. They live in perpetual guilt around their debt. They feel bad or wrong if they have debt. They feel that they are not allowed to live a happy life until the debt is gone. As a therapist I can tell you (I have a master’s in counseling) that acceptance is the quickest path to change. Negative reinforcement is a very low motivator of change. (Psych 101). When you do create change out of shame or guilt, while feeling bad about yourself, the change does not usually stick. And a cycle of “I will be good enough when I ______” is continued.

I’ve seen countless entrepreneurs sabotage their business because they were so focused on paying off debt, that they left themselves no space to enjoy the money that was coming in or spend on themselves at all. From there, they felt little motivation to continue to create, receive, and attract money. While I obviously recommend that you do pay money toward your debt, I do not ever recommend that you do it at the cost of enjoying money. Or under the false pretense that this will make you some sort of “good girl” or “responsible” adult woman.

Tip 2: Find a feel-good reason to pay off your debt.

In the same vein as the above, if paying off debt feels good, fun, and freeing and no longer feels restricting… you can have a positive experience with paying it off.

Here is how I paid off my credit debt… I decided not to fucking worry about it.

I dropped every idea around how, when, and why I should pay off debt. I focused all my efforts on becoming more comfortable with new levels of earning and larger amounts of money sitting in my accounts. (I have watched several people manifest expenses in the exact amount of the debt they paid off when they do not do the above. More on that below.)

I decided to continually be honest with myself around the fact that I didn’t actually desire that badly, to pay off the debt. I wasn’t ignoring debt. I was very aware of how much I had. (I believe in being intimate with your money). I just wasn’t making the debt mean anything. Earning and spending were my desires. I allowed myself to live my life in line with those desires. While I did have moments of feeling guilty around having debt, and believed I was “supposed to” pay it off, my true desire was to grow my business, make a lot of money, travel the world, and purchase the things I wanted. So, I did. And one day, I felt differently.

During a conversation with my good friend, she said to me, “It’s hot to have a fat bank account.” Something shifted in me. The idea of it is hot to have a ton of money in savings and no debt was wildly motivating to me. While being a “good girl” doesn’t do that much for me, being hot is something I can get behind.

Notice that it wasn’t an idea of I’ll-be-hotter-when-I-pay-this-off, it was more like, it’s-going-to-be-so-hot-when-I-have-so-much-savings-that-this-is-naturally-eliminated. And that is what happened

My debt was eliminated within six months. (It was about $60k of credit card debt). I encourage you to give yourself permission to do this in your time and in your way. Play with the idea that you aren’t just paying of debt, but that you are creating surplus so that there is simply no more room for the debt.

Photo Credit: Wendy Yalom

Tip 3: Change Your Energetic Standards + Keep It Paid Off.

The thing is, all my credit cards have remained paid off because nothing in me has room for this kind of debt anymore. I can’t even imagine having it. There is no room in my reality. (My energetic standards around debt are a lot like the emoji of the blonde girl with her arms crossed into an X). I simply pay off the cards every month.

While I have a mortgage for the house I live in Los Angeles and two investment properties, I feel good about paying these things off over time. To be clear, as I focused strongly on my desire to create overflow or more than enough, the debt became irrelevant. I began to have more money than I knew what to do with, so I obviously paid off the debt. And because I had made a clear decision that it no longer had a place in my life, it never came back.

But I didn’t focus on debt, I focused on overflow. I focused on more than enough. I focused on earning so much more than I could spend, that debt was naturally eliminated from my life. When you focus on that debt, you put a lot of pressure on yourself and you focus a lot of energy on a thing that you don’t even want.

It’s not shocking that debt often increases in this energetic state. And when you pay it off, you manifest the same amount of debt right back again. (This is the amount of debt that you are currently an energetic match for). You have an energetic minimum and maximum around everything. And right now your availability for debt may not serve you. But this can change. If you want to get rid of your debt, then you must stop focusing on it. Obsessing about it. Letting it limit your life. Instead, focus on new ways to create additional income. Money is unlimited. There are infinite ways to create more.

The reason that so many people get stuck with “predictable” earnings, or not making more money when we sure as hell could use more of it, is because we’ve decided it can ONLY come to us in certain ways. Like through our job, or through one product or service we sell. The ways to make money are endless, but you do have to open yourself up to creative possibilities.

Here’s the thing about getting creative: If you’re focused so hard on your debt that you’re worrying yourself sick, you won’t have much energy or focus to put into creating new ways to increase your income. Think about having more than enough. More than enough to cover ALL the debt you have and still have a surplus in your bank account. But don’t just think it, feel the emotions that you will feel when this is already your reality. Now, you are an energetic match for that thing.

As the old saying goes, “What you focus on, expands.” Let’s focus on overflow in our bank accounts, debt disappearing because ‘duh’, and our wealth and abundance increasing because we are worthy. Sound too good to be true? As I’m known to say, “If it sounds too good to be true, it’s what you mother fucking deserve.”