QUESTION: Shana in Portland is in a support group for single moms. She wants to know what the tipping point is for success for single moms. Dave has some pointers for Shana on motivating them.
ANSWER: When I sit down with someone in those situations and they talk about their divorce from five years ago as if it happened 20 minutes ago, they’ve got some healing to do. That’s my experience.
What I’ve got to teach them to do—and when they sit down and do their budget—I look at my debts, and I say, “I’ve got this much debt. I’ve got this much income. I don’t see how I’m ever going to get out of this.” I just get mad at the whole situation again. That’s what you’re talking about with the woes. The Eeyore kicks in and everything’s bad. The spirit of Eeyore falls on them. That’s called hopelessness.
The only way you can break out of hopelessness is to extend an actual practical game plan. There are two things I do. One is I extend an actual practical game plan far enough into the future that you see it working. That means that the likelihood of someone making the exact same income for five years is almost zero. They will likely make more or likely make less. In most of these ladies’ cases, if they will get the emotional healing and the relational healing and spiritual healing and get out of the past and go on with the future, then their income is likely to go way up because it’s probably the worst it’s ever going to be right now. It’s easy to say, “You’re making $25,000 a year. That sucks. But I can see you making $40,000 in two years when you get on with your life and you become more valuable in the marketplace because of your attitude.” You wouldn’t say it exactly that way. I’m using very straight language with you. I’d be nicer than that.
Bottom line is we’re not trying to project $25,000 into their finances as a mathematical formula five years out. I’m saying it’s $25,000 now and then $30,000, then it’s $35,000, and then it’s $40,000 and $45,000. Based on that, we’re going to see these things moving, so you’re not always going to be fighting that.
I remind them that life is not a snapshot. If it were, your picture’s so ugly you would just give up. But life is a filmstrip. Tomorrow is going to be different. Things are so bad right now in your situation, I think tomorrow’s going to be better. It’s a pretty easy guess. Let’s just keep stepping in the right direction and healing and moving up the income charts knowing that we’re not stuck in this situation. This is just where we are today. Life is a filmstrip. It is not a snapshot. Sometimes, you can get folks moving. But as you know, emotional healing is a spiritual experience. This is a God thing.