This morning, my husband and I were running errands and chatting about our hustles. Jeff is working on a podcast, new website and finishing up his first book. I am working on this site and my new site, Accounting In Focus. All this is in addition to our day jobs and side businesses. We were sharing ideas and updates when something struck me.
I don’t think we could have done this five years ago.
Five years ago, we were drowning in debt. We could barely breathe, let alone dream. We were at the bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
Abraham Maslow studied individual’s needs. His research is the basis for the Hierarchy of Needs. In short, Maslow’s research stated an individual’s needs must be met in a certain order before moving to the next level. A person will strive to meet the level of need and once those are fulfilled, he or she will naturally move to the next level.
First we must fill basic needs: food, shelter, and other basic survival needs. Then we move on to safety needs, like security and stability. I believe debt falls into this second stage because debt typically hurts our security and stability. It causes risk in our lives. While we have debt, it is hard to move on to the higher levels of the Hierarchy.
Esteem needs are those like achievement, mastery and self-respect. This is typically where we start to dream. Self-actualization is the point at which we start to realize our full potential and seek to grow. If dreaming and realizing those dreams is in the top two tiers of the pyramid, could debt be crushing those dreams?
In our case, I believe it’s true. As we have paid off our debt and have more security in our lives, we have less stress. Stress is tiring and sucks up a lot of our mental capacity. I remember how tiring the stress was. I remember the all consuming nature of it. It zapped my energy.
While we have not paid off all of our debt, the fact that we can now live on just one income has really helped us feel more stable and secure. It has helped us open our minds to creative projects and personal growth. My husband is writing again. We are both creating again. We are taking in knowledge and improving ourselves. Even though the days are generally long, we are both excited about our projects rather than exhausted from the stress of debt.
Is stress overwhelming you? What is stopping you from dreaming? Have you begun to dream again? What got you dreaming again?