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[The following is a partial transcript of this episode of The Scott Alan Turner Show. Listen to the full episode to hear this story, listener questions, money hacks, and inspiring stories of people that are changing their financial lives. Subscribe to the free podcast on iTunes or Google Play]
One week after I got my driver’s license, when I was 16 1/2, I was at my brother’s wedding. My aunt and uncle had too much to drink (ok, they were wasted) and the discussion came up with how they were going to get home because nobody was going to let them drive.
My Uncle Louis said ‘Scott can drive us home’. Then he looked at me and said
You just got your license, right?
Here’s the thing – I quickly found out my aunt and uncle had just bought a brand new mini van, and it was a stick shift (manual transmission). And I didn’t know how to drive a stick shift. And the thought of learning how to drive a stick shift for the first time, in a brand new car, a 45 minute drive back home, through a strange city, then out on the highways, finally to some back country roads.
When you think about when you got your license and learning to drive for the first time, what comes to mind?
It’s scary out on the roads behind the wheel the first time.
Everyone looking to
- change their life
- become debt free
- become a millionaire
they all faced the same obstacles. There are a lot of obstacles on Day One. And less as time goes on.
Uncle Louis says
It’s easy to drive, I’ll tell you how.
I wasn’t convinced, but as a sixteen year old, what am I going to do or say?
If a person is on Day Three, it’s January 3rd as we record this, and still hasn’t gotten over the first obstacle, they are still farther along than if they never started. Think about that.
- You screwed up and didn’t do it perfect the first time? Don’t quit now.
- You wanted to start five days ago but still haven’t gotten to step one in the plan? Don’t quit now.
- You got to step 29, everything blew up in your life and now you’re back on step 2, part B of subsection –8? And it’s been four months on top of that? Don’t quit now.
Welcome to normal my friend, where paths don’t go in a straight line. It’s the start of a new year, and you have great dreams and goals. And I want to take a moment to acknowledge you for daring to be different this year. Those changes you’re making are going to make you better.
Think about this – 2019 is going to go by just like 2018 did. It will not wait. And you have a choice here at the start. Plow through the obstacles – there will be obstacles – and look back on the year as moving you farther along.
When you think about 2018 how did it turn out? If you’re a bit like me, you’re thinking, some good, some bad, some ugly. But bad and ugly can’t stop you. Not knowing can’t stop you, if you have a teacher.
We get going in this minivan, and I spend the first five minutes stalling it out trying to get out of the parking lot. Trying to get my left foot to push in the clutch, push on the gas with my right foot, ease the clutch off, and go. Haven’t even gotten to switching gears yet. Jerk, stop, stall. Jerk, stop, stall.
- There are flat tires
- People who’s shortcuts turn into long cuts
- Some of the maps tell people to take a left turn in the middle of a bridge
And then there are the switch backs. Those long stretches of road that turn back and forth, back and forth as they rise higher and higher, up and up. It’s slow going and down those things because the turns are so tight. It’s like walking up the stair case to the 50th floor of a building.
After finally getting out of the parking lot at the church, we get to the first intersection and I stall the car out again. We’re in a turn lane and the traffic light changes from red to green. Which means go, right? Unless you’re driving a stick shift and you can’t make the car go. So we missed that light after stalling out a few more times. The people behind me trying to turn left were real thrilled to miss that light. Honk! Honk! They had no idea what I was going through. Jerks.
It’s kinda like trying to build an emergency fund for the first time. People
- sell a bunch of junk,
- work a little over time,
- get on a budget to free up some cash
- get that first little bit of money saved
And then BOOM! You already know what comes next:
- Their dog gets sick and has to go to the vet
- the hot water heater dies
- The car engine warning light comes on
You stall out and get stuck at the stoplight. Can’t get going again.
After finally making it out of the city and onto the open roads, the car ride smoothes out because I’m not having to shift gears anymore. Fourth gear, almost the rest of the way to my aunt and uncle’s house. It’s like we’re coasting on auto pilot now. I can feel the wind through my hair. Or I could if it was a convertible. It was a swagger wagon. No more (speaker makes grinding gear noises).
Understand you’ll grind some gears this year. Get stuck at a green light. Heck, you might even crash into a tree or run into Bigfoot.
But isn’t it true you’re still on the road today? You’re a driver now. Even if you’ve been in 52 accidents. You can drive. Maybe not well, but you can drive.
People may be put in some hard situations this year and get tossed the keys and not know what to do.
- They get promoted and feel inadequate and like an imposter
- They become a parent and there is no instruction manual
- They hear about this budget thing and how does that work
- You might also save a life.
- You might save your elders life.
- You might save your family’s life.
- You might save your life.
I pull into my aunt and uncle’s driveway. I didn’t try driving into their garage because I was afraid I’d drive right through the wall. I said ‘I’ll just stop right here’. And we made it, safe and sound. Minus a little wear and tear on the clutch and gears of their brand new minivan.
Remember to keep the pedal to the medal in 2019. Never let up on the gas, and you’ll crush your 2019 goals. If the 2018 goals because the 2019 goals. If the 2019 goals become the 2020 goals or the 2021 goals. Know you still never let up on the gas.
That’s how you start the race, and that’s how you finish the race. That’s how you win with money.