Don’t Keep This A Secret!

Don’t Keep This A Secret!

by elainesuess

Acclaimed financial advice guru Dave Ramsey was a millionaire in his 20s. He was in that wonderful 20-something decade of life – healthy, happy, and “living the life.”

Until he wasn’t.

He and his wife lost everything they had because, as he says, “we mismanaged our money and lost control of our lives.” They declared bankruptcy, and found out what it meant to be in deep debt and deep do-do, at a time when the journey should have just been beginning for them.

Learning for Living

Fortunately for most of us, we have not had to face the challenges in our 20s that the Ramsey’s did (or likely look back at that age and say we were millionaires either). Still, we can learn a few things from Dave that will help us in our daily lives.

I’d like to share one in particular.

When the Ramsey’s were mired in debt, they decided to put a plan into place that most of us would say was not sound thinking. They lined up all their debts in order to decide which of them to start paying. And rather than pay those debts with the highest interest rates frist, they started paying on the debts with the lowest interest rates.


Why would anyone do that?

Create Small Wins

The reason to take this approach is actually grounded in research, though they probably didn’t know that at the time. Research shows that one of the biggest drivers of success is the belief that our behavior matters; that we have control over our future.

And taking those small steps to create a “win” is exactly what the Ramsey’s did. They knocked off a few of the small debts to give them a feeling of control so they could tackle the bigger ones.

Take Control

I’m happy to share some exciting news:  we don’t have to have a catastrophe or bankruptcy to use this proven practice every day at work!

When you find yourself in “email jail,” when a heavy workload is causing you stress, or you just can’t prioritize projects because they all need your attention now, determine to focus on some of the little things first, to create wins and fuel your brain. For example, you can:

  • Schedule a meeting with yourself to address 20 (pick a number) emails at a time within a particular period during the day, starting with the newest ones first. Do this every day until the emails start evaporating.
  • Make a list of the things that you can and cannot control at work, and apply this strategy to those in the “can” column. Writing it down helps make it real and manageable.
  • Out of all of the projects demanding your attention, pick two that you can complete in a reasonable period of time to get them done, and open up the door to the others.
Whatever you do, prime yourself for success every day by creating wins that lead to a sense of control.

A Little Secret  

I’ll let you in on a little secret.  

Those wacky researchers found that it’s not actually getting control that makes us happy, empowered, successful and productive; it’s feeling like we have control.

That can actually make all the difference in our work day.

What’s Next?

So now you and your team have developed  habits that create daily wins to give you a sense of control. And while you may not have the same results as Dave Ramsey, I’ll bet they will still be pretty darn good!

I’ll close with Secret #2:  Once you create a sense of control, actually having control is right around the corner.

How will you begin to create that sense of control today?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *