The Lies We are Told and Options We Have
So I kind of have a heavy topic to talk with you about today. Maybe you can tell by the headline of this blog? (lol)
I grew up in an amazing family. Seriously the best. But my parents—because they honestly didn’t know better—kinda told me a lie.
Not the little white kind, like when you’re going to throw a surprise party for someone and fib about what you’re doing that night.
But the kind that has a more…long-lasting impact.
The lie was this: If you work hard and go to college, you can have a successful financial future.
They weren’t alone in telling me this. My teachers said the same thing. Heck—even SOCIETY said the same thing. Getting a college degree meant a greater chance of success.
So I did it. I got good grades in high school and then went to college.
I felt like I’d accomplished so much when I got that degree! I loved looking at that piece of parchment paper in that little padded frame because to me it represented a lot of hard work AND the key to a brighter future.
Then came the day when I got my first “official” post-college job. Again, I was so crazy excited to be teaching kids and getting the chance to earn a real paycheck. I knew that I’d chosen a career that wasn’t going to translate to rolling in piles of money. But it was solid, right? I’d get a good paycheck, be eligible for retirement—the whole 9 yards.
Until I learned that paycheck, that I’d worked so dang hard for, was so low that our little family qualified for food stamps.
I need to say some things here—before anyone gets the wrong idea. First, there’s no shame in getting food stamps or any other form of help when you’re working your way up. I know a lot of families who have received it when they’re just starting out or when they hit a rough financial patch. Nobody should ever feel bad about getting the help they need. Second, college is a great option for a lot of people.
…college isn’t the ONLY option out there. And it doesn’t guarantee a fantastic financial future.
For me, being able to take control of my financial future meant starting my own business.
I didn’t have a clue what I was doing when it came to ecommerce, but I kept on trying. I started small, I learned what worked (and what didn’t) and I’d apply what I’d learned to the next product.
Almost a decade later, I’ve built multiple million-dollar companies.
I’ve also taught my kids how to do the same thing.
They now know that college is an OPTION, not a MUST. If they choose to attend a college or university as a part of achieving their life goals, I’ll cheer them on every step of the way. (Seriously, I love tee-shirts, so they can send me one of the “My Money and My Daughter go to Insert-Name-of-School Here” shirts, I will totally wear it.)
But they can also choose a lot of other options, whether it’s an apprenticeship into a trade or—like me—starting and running their own business. The possibilities are almost endless.
It’s the same for you.
You don’t have to live the lie that says the only way to earn more money is to get a degree.
You don’t have to keep working a job that you hate.
You really can take another path and find successes that you never thought possible.