- U.S.A Declaration of Independence -
It is now the weekend before the big 4th, our country’s Independence Day, I like this day, I am always surrounded with family and friends, celebrating our independence. Good food, great friends, many kids around, fireworks – priceless.
On a personal level, this day marks one more step for me of getting closer to being financially independent. It was not always like that for me.
Ten years ago, I graduated from college and started what many would call my independent life. I worked at a grocery store, one of the fancy ones that sell organic foods, premium wines and imported cheese. It was a well-organized store with beautiful custom made shelves from the outside and a very dysfunctional business model from the inside. I worked there as a cashier.
On the first day at the store I felt very proud, I was serving clients, talked with each one, inquired about their purchases and their lives, I felt as I got connected with the customers, I got to know the person behind the imported French cheese and the baguette.
It went on like that for the first week, I was very happy, and then I attended my first staff meeting. The memory is still very painful. At that meeting, the store manager, a young guy only a year or two older than me berated me in front of the entire staff. “Liz stands for lazy” he said, “the slowest line ever, customers waiting and waiting to get out, but Liz is so lazy, she is so slow”. He continued on and on. I wanted to cry, I wanted to hit him, I wanted to leave, but I was just starting my “independent life”, I had to pay rent, I had to buy my own food, I had to pay my bills, I needed the job, so I stayed, but from that day on I desperately craved for financial independence. I dreamed of the day I would leave the store.
In those early years, I used to believe financial independence meant being my own boss, telling other people what to do instead of them telling me, do whatever I want, whenever I want with whomever I want. My independence dream was being a successful business owner who can do whatever she wanted to. I know better today.
I left the grocery store 3 years after that horrible staff meeting, on that same day I started my business.
As our founding fathers also discovered, it took me only a short while to understand that independence is not doing whatever you want with whoever you want. The path to being independent is a path of hard work, persistency and growth. It is realizing that you need to take ownership about the situation. You need to be accountable for your own decisions and the results of these. Its understanding you cannot blame anyone or anything for what you have done or achieved. It’s all you.
I desperately wanted to be financially independent; it was not for the money, or for the fancy title, fame or the acknowledgment of others. It was for the option to choose what I want to do, who I want to work for, where I want to be.
Being financially independent is a goal dreamed by many and achieved by only a few. I always wondered why. I think it is because it’s not easy to travel on the path toward being independent, it’s a tough road. It’s easy to ignore mistakes and to blame others for temporary misfortunes. It’s tough to take ownership, but you have to do it!
Our founding fathers paved the path for our independence, how many of you will join me in my pursuit?