What I Didn't Expect to Learn from a Financial Center
My good fortune came seven years ago when I walked through the doors of the Durham Regional Financial Center. There were some things that I didn't expect to learn. Back then, I was newly divorced, on my own for the first time, supporting three kids, and struggling month to month to make ends meet. I needed help! Through a team of support, I was also learning the principles of integrity, responsibility, and honesty. I wanted to make good on the debt I was in, I wanted to face my fears, and I wanted to learn about money and my available options. I was drowning in my own negative perceptions of my situation- of myself- but I wanted to live!
Working a corporate job, I slipped away during my lunch hour to travel from Chapel Hill to Durham. It took several weeks to get a scheduled appointment, but finally, I was on my way to my first financial counseling session. There was much anticipation. So much so, that half way there I realized that I was almost out of gas, and then worse, I realized that I had left my wallet behind. I almost turned back, but something told me to keep going. New to Durham and not unlike me, I got lost. Now, I was also running late. When I finally arrived, I was told my counselor had left. I was asked to have a seat and wait. Instead of rescheduling my appointment, I was placed with another counselor. Unbeknown to me, she was Glyndola Massenburg Beasley, the executive director.
I was a ball of nerves. My mind was busy! I was in a strange town, I knew that I would be late getting back to work, my car was on E, I didn’t have my wallet, or money for gas, my original counselor had left, and I was being called to the office of a complete stranger to talk about the state of my finances. I was having a completely vulnerable moment. Then, this beautiful older woman with a golden smile ushered me in to her office. I remember the dark polished mahogany desk that stood between us; the ivy plants that were scalloped from the book shelves; the accolades and framed certificates that adorned the walls; and the warm and genuine feeling that I felt. I sat down, took a deep breath, and I spilled my guts. Honesty was all that I had left.
She listened to my story with an attentive ear. It was as though she really cared. Time stood still. We talked about everything in that session and I noticed that as I spoke there was a slow motion calm that came over me. Once I learned who she was (and that she didn’t' generally see clients), I knew that synchronicity too was present. I recognized the sacredness of our meeting and experienced that moment when you realize that thee are no accidental meetings- that everything in life happens on purpose!
In my honesty, I shared with her that I had left my wallet at work, and I was out of gas. Not only did she whip out a $20 bill and trusted me to bring it back, by the end of our meeting she had offered me a job. I left in awe and in tears.
This year, seven years later, I am paying it forward! It brings me great joy to be part of the Durham Regional Financial Center's Marketing Team. I am proud to share that this year, the organization celebrates 25 years of cultivating financial independence for the individuals and families that it serves. And, I am honored to share that while there may be other organizations out there, there is only one Durham Regional Financial Center.
I had no idea that a financial center would teach me that there is more to learn about finances than just money. Summing up my good fortune, I've learned at least 10 invaluable lessons:
- Any moment can be the moment! Miracles are happening now. Be awed by life!
- Never Never Never give up! Perseverance pays off!
- Responsibility means taking ownership of your situation and taking the initiative to change your situation by facing your fears.
- Being in integrity means doing what it is you say you're going to do and working through the negative self talk knowing that it does not line up with who you know yourself to be.
- Honesty is the best policy!
- Trust that where you are is where you are supposed to be and that there is synchronicity in things that don't make sense (even if it means being late or lost). Recognize the sacredness of your meetings and that everything in life happens on purpose.
- Your life is worth fighting for! You are important! Your financial goals are important!
- What you see and what actually is sometimes just an illusion. Surround yourself with people who can see the best in you and offer you alternatives.
- When someone believes in you, it is golden. Pay it forward!
- Be willing to say 'yes' and do the jobs that no one wants to do. It builds character!