On Tuesday, at 3:12am, I had my first-ever panic attack. As far as panic attacks go, I’m sure it was mild one: I just suddenly woke from my slumber with an overwhelming feeling of dread.
It was the “Oh my golly, what are you doing? You have bills to pay and stuff to buy” sort of dread, as if quitting my job meant I would be destitute.
Actually, this panic attack was panic from last Tuesday amplified. And it all centered around finances.
A word of advice: if you want to break out of the 9-to-5 cubicle, I recommend you sort out of your finances before you do. You don’t need a brilliant plan, but you do need a game plan. Debt shouldn’t hold you back from chasing your dreams, but knowing what you’ll need to pay when…that helps.
I will admit I’d been a bit lax about that. I’d fallen so in love with the idea of being a freelancer that I’d forgotten some practical steps I needed to take. Like doing my 2012 taxes to make sure I didn’t owe anything (boy do I ever). And knowing what expenses I have coming up. I’ve been berating myself with the “How could I have been so foolish?” soundtrack.
For the past two weeks, I’ve been living in this place of lack. It’s not a fun place to be. So I decided to get out. And putting myself back into the place of abundance means being generous. My decision to go rogue may mean I’m in debt a bit longer than I’d like to be, but I will not allow it to influence my generosity along the way.
I love helping people. With advice. With money. With time. With presence.
So I did something most people don’t do when they find out they’re in debt — I gave money away. I went on Kiva.org and loaned $25 to Anar, a woman in Kyrgyzstan, to help her start her business. I’ve decided that as a creative entrepreneur, I want to support other entrepreneurs out there, especially women. We will all have our different struggles getting started, we will all encounter barriers while chasing dreams, but I won’t let my struggles or barriers change who I am or how I want to feel. That $25 isn’t much for me, but it’s a beginning for her — and it’s evidence that I can give no matter what my situation.
I’m now drafting a list of ways to keep the generosity flowing in my life. Here’s its beginning:
- Loan money to a small business owner on Kiva.org
- Answer questions for bloggers new to WordPress (I do a lot of that for my coding clients)
- Volunteer to teach someone a skill
- Be present for friends when they need to talk
- Compliment someone unexpectedly
- Smile and say “good day”
- Set an extra few dollars aside for people I may encounter on the street
- Pay for someone’s coffee
How do you practice generosity?