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Staying Positive to Overcome Struggles As a Young Adult

By Jeanette Engelmann, a Millennial working to become a positive thought leader

Let’s face it: while there are a lot of upsides to becoming an adult, there are a lot of downsides, too.  While nobody can force you to eat your vegetables or tell you when to go to bed, you are suddenly responsible for a whole host of things that you probably never even considered — like saving for your retirement, paying a mortgage, credit card debt, raising your kids, and even paying for your own toilet paper.

Staying positive in the face of all of these challenges can be tough.  I’ve been there, and am still navigating life as a young adult who has to juggle financial responsibility with learning to live life on my own.  Here is what I have learned as in the post-college years as I have gotten my first (and second) jobs, gotten married, started a family, bought a house —  and more.

Don’t Be An Ostrich

When it comes to finances, it may be tempting to simply ignore your problems and hope that they go away.  I know that firsthand, as it was my preferred tactic during college.  I lived off of my student loans and credit cards, only to have reality come crashing down on me once I graduated and had to really come to terms with my reckless spending and years of ignoring the truth of just how big of a hole I was digging.

Yes, it can be painful to face a bad financial situation. But the only way that you can possibly get out of it is by knowing what you are actually dealing with: are you $10,000 in debt, or $20,000? Do you have high interest credit card loans, or student loans with relatively low interest rates?  Knowing these facts is critical to coming up with a game plan so that you can start to dig yourself out of a financial hole.

Budgeting Is Key

Part of coming to terms with you financial situation involves setting — and sticking to — a budget. It’ll take some hard work and diligence, but it’s one of the first steps to solving your financial issues. There are many formulas out there for different budgets and styles (I like SMART budgeting), so you can pick on that best fits your needs.  There are also a number of apps and web-based programs that can help you budget and stay on top of your finances.

Knowing how much you have coming in each month — and how much is going out — will give you control over your finances and allow you to set goals and priorities for how your money is spent.  When I set up a budget after college, I was shocked by how much money I frittered away on impulse purchases and things I absolutely did not need — which is why I highly recommend that everyone young adult set a budget to help them stay positive and realize that they can get ahead.

Automate Your Banking to Simply Your Life

One of the hardest parts of being a young adult — especially with a new family — is figuring out where to find the time to do everything that needs to be done.  Between work, house chores and taking care of the kids, it can be hard to devote time to things like getting to the bank to deposit checks or making sure that all of the bills are paid on time.  Thankfully, with the click of a few keys or the touch of a few buttons, I can automate most of my banking — and free up quite a bit of time.

Setting up automatic bill pay and check deposit means that I never have to worry about whether or not I wrote a check for the cable this month, or whether I deposited a paycheck. It also means that my savings automatically grows, since I enabled a feature that puts a percentage of each check right into my savings account each month.  For my student loans, setting up electronic funds transfer gave me an interest rate discount, and then I got an additional percentage discount when I refinanced my loans for a lower rate.  Simply put, automating all of my payments makes the most sense for busy young professionals and families.  It is easy to do through your bank’s website or app (I use Chase Online Bill Pay), and saves you the hassle of going to the bank, writing out checks, or even remembering that you have to pay a certain bill.

Getting out in the real world and taking on these major responsibilities can be tough — but when you take charge of your finances, it is a lot easier to stay optimistic about your future.

Why your inner circle is the key to your success

I write a lot about going after your dreams because it is a topic I am seriously passionate about! We learn by breaking away from your fears, by doing and not waiting!

And learning to break away from your fears through doing and not waiting is really the part that will change your life!

And therefore, you need a support system, an inner circle that doesn’t squash your ideas and dreams. Instead, they help you brainstorm, lift you up on those darker days and give you a different perspective.

A group friend that are on the similar path in life and business. People who you can bounce ideas off without fearing to give too much away. And more importantly, they hold you accountable and will call you out on your bullshit.

It is one of those elements in our lives that we all should have.  You could, of course, build your dreams alone, but isn’t celebrating success with friends better?

And more importantly, they can see the blind spots, especially if you are frustrated.

Your inner circle is not meant for you to whine and complaint – they are here to help you maintain perspective and challenge you.  It is brainstorming, collaborating and creating dreams together.

Your inner circle will have different skills to suit yours and will be a mastermind of supporting you. Different skills complement each other well as opposed to everyone having the same skill.

Inner circle will provide you with emotional support, encouragement, informational support and tangible support. It is your success team.

Creating your inner circle

  • Make a list identifying who you go to for support. Circle the ones that are a positive influence and who are the negative people (the ones that are always Debbie Downer).
  • Now make a list of the ones that you want to add to your inner circle and tell them that. Be honest with them and tell them why you want them for support and accountability.
  • Nurture the relationship and share your successes and struggles and do hang out with them for fun.

Joining my accountability groups and creating my own inner circle, has tremendously changed my life and the way I do business.

Just a year ago, I was still fighting the daily struggle of what to do and create, but by showing up, staying the room and having someone that allows me to share the good, the bad and the ugly has brought forth a tremendous amount of growth.

You don’t have to do this alone! All you need to do is decide who the people are in your life that can support you and connect with them.

A word of warning perhaps, some will be on board and show up – some will not. We are all on our own journey and have different needs.

Now go off and create your inner circle of dreamers and doers and start building success together!

 

3 Steps to Communicate your Boundaries

In my last post, I shared what How to Set Up your Boundaries in 5 Steps, which included sharing them with others.

I can only image in that your heart jumped into your throat and wondered how the heck you are going to have the courage to do that.

I have been there! My spine was feeling heavy and my gut was doing summersaults.  I knew I had to get over my fear or I would be stuck and never truly satisfied with life.

I’m sure you’ll agree that being able to sit down and have that conversation with a family member, friend, and even co-worker feels hard.

You Bet!

It does take some courage to make it happen, but let me ask you:

Are you willing to continue to be overwhelmed and stressed out or are you ready to set some boundaries and show people that you have respect for yourself? And moreover, that you love yourself enough to set those limits?

3 Steps to Communicate your Boundaries

  1. Plan to have coffee or tea with them.
  2. Give them examples of where they have crossed the boundaries
  3. Ask them to respect your new boundaries

In most cases, people will hear you and respect your request of being mindful of your boundaries. There will be some instances where people who will continue to cross them. You will need to stay firm, they’ll get the drift and if they don’t you need to reevaluate your relationship with them!

Ask yourself these questions:

  • How far are you willing to allow others to push you around?
  • Are you willing to continue to live with icky feelings to maintain peace?

Here is what I know to the true:

It is okay for you to be who you are, say and express yourself how you want. No one has the right to dim your light!

Something that has helped me build my confidence is to journal about my fear and worries. I dug in deep and still do what I should gain and lose not setting and maintaining my boundaries.

It will get easier with practice and you will feel so much better!