Read part one to find out how Alice Crawley beat her $10,000 drug habit to rebuild her life.
Looking at your bank statement and seeing $185,000 in debt is enough to make most people cry.
Knowing that you somehow need to whittle that sum down to zero while battling simultaneous drug, alcohol and shopping addictions is another matter entirely.
But author and transformations leader Alice Crawley had one thing in her arsenal that most others in her predicament didn’t have: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
In 2004, Crawley decided to use her ADHD to triple her salary to $150,000 from $50,000 and eliminate her huge debt.
Here, she told Yahoo Finance how she did it.
How Alice went from $50,000 to $150,000
Crawley begins with a caveat: she was incredibly underpaid when she began her journey. She had the ability to scale her salary so dramatically because she was earning significantly less than what she should have been.
In the space of one year, Crawley took her salary first from $50,000 to $100,000. Then, she realised she could use the same techniques that had doubled her salary to triple it, taking it to $150,000.
She did this through a technique she calls “skills mapping”.
“What I understood at depth, was the principle that your certainty is what translates your intention into your reality,” she said.
“If I could create that certainty that it [the pay rise] was possible, I could create that opportunity.”
Crawley had been working as a project administrator, but she took stock of what she had learnt over her life.
For example, she could speak Japanese, had been working in education, she had learnt a lot about relationships and had developed sophisticated interpersonal skills that had seen her sail through life in Japan.
This was in addition to the core proficiencies in her role.
“There was so much more that I could do… It was like I put a different lens over it. I had been saying to myself, ‘Well I’ve only ever done that sort of project or job’, but I’d been underselling myself.”
As she put it, once she realised this, she decided to give her inner critic a cup of tea and tell her to sit quietly in the corner.
Then, she got to work.
Crawley listed each of her skills and talents and then looked at the jobs she wanted, saw what she had in common with them and worked to fill the gaps.
This was where she said her ADHD came in handy: she could apply herself to this task with a laser focus.
The next step was simple, but brutal: apply, apply, apply.
She got dozens of knock backs but all she needed was one ‘yes’.
Within six months, she’d gotten the first ‘yes’. Then a few months later, she’d gotten the second ‘yes’.
But even with her tripled salary, Crawley had another job to tick off: her bank balance.
The spending changes that saw Alice kick her $185,000 debt
Crawley had two main approaches to cancelling her debt and they were so effective that she managed to clear her debt within five years.
The first approach was to keep her thoughts manageable. She couldn’t think of the overall sum she had to shift, as she would quickly get overwhelmed. The task would seem helpless.
So instead, she focused on the amounts that she was able to clear every week.
The second approach was to overhaul her spending. She knew that her spending was a pathological problem tied up with alcohol abuse, drug abuse and deep-seated personal issues.
While therapy and rehab untangled a lot of that, she still needed to build better habits.
She did so through what she calls the “three d’s”: Delay, distract and decide.
If she knew she was feeling anxious - which could be a trigger for spending - she would apply those techniques.
“If I realised my brain automatically would shift to wanting to spend money… I would say to myself, ‘You’re going to sleep on that and you’re not going to do anything about spending that money until you’ve given yourself 24 hours.’”
That was a non-negotiable. The more she did that, the easier it became. She realised that she could “surf the waves of compulsion” attached to spending money.
The second technique was distraction. If she wanted to spend, she would find another way to feel good, and she enlisted her friends for this.
Instead of spending, she would dial one of the five friends she had on speed dial. They’d have a chat, go for a walk or watch television and she would avoid spending.
The third step was to decide.
“The ‘decide’ was anchored back to a mantra that I kept in my wallet, which was my commitment to being personally and financially free.”
She had to make a clear and conscious decision each time to purchase, or to hold off.
Through this process, she realised that her wants and her needs were much more clearly defined than she had previously thought.
One day, she found herself on another beach, this time in Fiji. She was enjoying a holiday with Martin, or she calls, Mr Actuary.
She’d cleared the debt, shaken her drug habit and built a bullet-proof self esteem.
Read part one to find Read part one to find out how Alice Crawley beat her $10,000 drug habit to rebuild her life.
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