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How Alexis Neely Ended Up in Bankruptcy {Part Three}: Facing My Greatest Fear & Letting Go

So, as we left it last, I had just packed up everything and headed to the farm in Colorado…

Before you dive in, be sure to get the full story: Read Part One here & Part Two here.

I tried to hold it all together in this transition, but I could sense that it was becoming less and less tenable.

I wanted to hand the business off to my right hand gal and have her run it for a while, but when I hired a coach to help with that transition, he told me I was crazy. This business would fail (just like my law firm did after I sold it) if I handed it off before it was ready and before I had someone in place who could handle the hand-off of a million dollar plus business.  I would end up with another failed transition.

So, instead, I fired my right hand gal. While her husband was dying of cancer. It was not a shining moment in my life, that’s for sure.  I didn’t handle things well, at all.  And, I didn’t feel I had another choice. There was a great deal of lack of trust between the two of us. I was falling apart and I either needed to shrink things back to a level I could manage with very little overhead or have a team that could run the business without me.

My team was not really running the company, depending on me for so many little things, creating tons of drama and conflict (which I contributed to greatly) and constantly pissed at me because more and more this “other part of me” (now known as Ali Shanti) was slipping out through the cracks in the veneer.

I began to get a sense that I might not be able to maintain things as I once had.

So, I decided to use my great credit score.

I used it to buy land. It seemed like it would be a good investment.

My ex-husband was going to grow medical marijuana on the land and, in the back of my mind, though I was sure it would NEVER happen, I could live there, if necessary.

But, let me repeat, that was NEVER going to happen. NEVER. I was NOT GOING TO LIVE ON THAT FARM, damnit. No way, now how. facing my greatest fear

I bought the farm in mid-2010. Then, after firing my right hand gal, I broke up with my boyfriend who was also a key supporter in my business and hired an interim CEO. Hitch McDermid. Little did I know, he would lead me on what I now know to be, my Fearwalk.  Back then, I just needed someone who could hold me and the business while I figured out what was going on.

Hitch was more like a coach than a CEO. Everyday, I would cry. “Hitch, I can’t do this.” And he would say “Lex, what do you want?”

Round and round we went as he systematically dismantled the companies, bringing my overhead down from $70,000 a month to $20,000 a month and creating something that I could likely run myself rather than relying on a large team, which I simply couldn’t manage.

By August of 2010, I was starting to face the reality that something serious was going to have to shift. Hitch and I had a transformative conversation while I stood at a gas station and cried to him that I couldn’t run out of money because no one would like me anymore if I did.

He said, “Lex, everyone likes you. It’s okay, just run out of money. Stop paying all the people you are paying and just let go.”

I asked him if that meant I could stop paying him too and he said yes.

The seed was planted, but I wasn’t ready yet.

This would mean facing my greatest fear of all.  

I had built multiple million dollar businesses, precisely because I was afraid of running out of money, so to now actually do the thing I was most afraid of seemed, well, ludicrous.

But, I could also see that he may be on to something. Maybe, in order to stop being ruled by my fears, I would have to dive into them head first. I took it under consideration.

Considering the possibility of facing my greatest fears and running out of money gave me the courage to face smaller fears, such as losing face, which led to me getting married at Burning Man that August. Yes, married.

When I came home and posted about it on my blog, I got more negative feedback than I had ever gotten in my life.

I (mistakenly) took the feedback to heart. I thought it meant that lawyers would no longer respect me and invest in my programs. Forget about the results we were having for the lawyers we served, I figured they cared more about the fact that I was a freak than on their results. So, I shrunk.

I stopped posting anything too personal on my blog. I stopped marketing to the lawyers and I decided to offer the lawyers already in our program the option to stay with us at either $197 a month or $497 a month (down from $1,500/mo.)

I went to Peru with my new husband, launched his book Heart Wisdom into the world plus his Clean Up Your Life program and then the relationship blew up and came to an end.

But he left me with something far more valuable than his love. He left me with an emerging vision around the part of myself I now know as Ali Shanti. bankruptcy blog series

On New Year’s Eve 2011, as 2010 drifted away, I sat in ceremony and heard the words “Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti” being chanted from across the room. As I heard the word, I also heard a voice in my head that said, “That’s your name. They are calling your name. Shanti is your name.”

Shanti’s my name?!? What? Alexis Neely was confused. But the part of me that is Ali Shanti was not. She knew. It was true. Now, how to integrate that?

It would take a few months and I would add Ali to the front of my name, but the gift of that awareness — I am Ali Shanti — was seeded during my time in relationship with Russell.

2011 began with a bang. A $250,000 launch of an early iteration of the Money Map program.

At the same time, my first ex-husband’s medical marijuana farm collapsed.  So now I had to figure out what to do with the farm.

You remember the farm, right?

The farm that I was never, ever, ever, ever going to live on. It was supposed to generate income, not suck all my resources. So, I decided to create a community/retreat/co-work space.  I recruited a former boyfriend (the first man I dated after divorcing my husband) to come out to Colorado and build out the space and the community.

bankruptcy blog seriesAt the same time, I was producing an event at the land I had fallen in love with, Eden Hot Springs, 50 Entrepreneurs, unplugged. We called it Eden Unplugged and it was amazing. Almost everyone who attended that event has had their work emerge and evolve gorgeously since then. Life-changing.

It was another hit to my bank account though. More Debt.  I was reeling from the end of my relationship with my Burning Man mate and delivering on the sales of the Money Map launch and trying to figure out how to live as an entirely new being (Ali Shanti). It was exhausting. I didn’t have time to market the event as well as I could have and while we got 50 people there, we made a lot of deals on the tickets.

It’s probably one of the very best investments I’ve ever made, considering the businesses and people who grew out of that event. So lives were changed significantly, but once again I dipped into the last of my savings and credit.  

Plus, I took on even more debt to finance the build-out of the farm and turn it into a community/retreat/co-work space. It would be my last ditch effort to create something sustainable that would allow me to pay back the debt I had already taken on. It was another financial nightmare. But, infinitely worth it in terms of the lessons learned about living in and building community, lessons which serve me deeply today now that I’ve rebuilt.

I do not regret the investments I made with the debt I took on. I invested in things that couldn’t be taken away from me, no matter what. Lessons learned, personal growth, connections with community, my own creativity and resourcefulness, all of which I now give back via teaching, coaching, and supporting others.

So, between this post and the prior post’s in the series, you now know where all the debt came from.

In the rest of this series, I’ll share how I made the decision to file bankruptcy and was able to rebuild so quickly and easily after filing bankruptcy.

Stay tuned and please share in the comments any questions you have so I can make sure they get addressed.

>>Read the next installment of this series here.

Stay tuned for the rest of the story in the upcoming installments of this series “How Alexis Neely ended up in bankruptcy” where I’ll be discussing where the rest of the debt came from and how I was able to rebuild so quickly and easily. And keep an eye out for my books “Financial Liberation” and “You Are Not Your Credit Score”. Read Part One here & Part Two here.

How Alexis Neely Ended Up in Bankruptcy {Part Two}: Debt, Taxes + Internal Conflict

When we left off…

(If you haven’t already, read Part One here.) 

I had eaten through my savings and incurred a hundred thousand dollars in debt by selling my law firm to the wrong person, joining a $100,000 mastermind and then having to take back the firm and run it out of my savings and credit.

What I skipped over was 2007 when I had a $100,000+ tax bill that I didn’t have the savings to pay.

2006 was the first year my law practice made a million in revenue, and I didn’t know anything about taxes or financial systems back then. I know, dumb, right?!?

I was a lawyer and should have known better.

But I didn’t.

Most lawyers are clueless when it comes to such things. They don’t teach us about taxes or financial systems for solo/small practice entrepreneurs in law school. Sure, I graduated first in my class and got all sorts of awards in my tax classes, but that was tax as applied to big corporations.

Frankly, I had the idea that none of that applied to me as a small fish.

Well, I was wrong.  And I paid for it.

Fortunately, back in 2007, borrowing money was as easy as your signature on the dotted line, if you had a good credit score, which I did.

I had already borrowed money to build out my law practice, and doing it the second time around was fairly easy. The first time I filled out the application for a business loan (back in 2004 in the early days of starting my law practice), I felt tremendous shame, guilt and fear. I was certain I would get turned down.

But, I didn’t. They gave me what I asked for, $50,000. Later on, I went back and increased that to $100,000 and wished I would have just asked for more to begin with.

So, by the time I was taking out the loan to pay my taxes in 2007, I was old hat at loan applications and signing on the dotted line. It didn’t phase me.

By the time I got to 2009, I was already about $300,000 in debt between the taxes, the mastermind, and the sale of the law firm fiasco, but I was holding it together, paying about $20,000 in debt payments each month.  The money was coming in and I was holding it together.

4facesIn September of that year, things started to fall apart.

I participated in my first ayahuasca medicine journey and had the most beautiful experience. I saw a vision of harmony, peace and connection. Over the following few weeks, I fell into a painful gap as I realized how out of harmony my life was.

I was working so hard and it wasn’t much fun. There was a lot of internal conflict in my businesses, and truthfully, in me as well.

What I didn’t know at the time was that there was a part of me that had been hidden away, lock, stock and barrel.

Today, I know her as Ali Shanti. But, back then, she would just show up in awkward ways, like on my blog where I wrote deeply personal posts and my bio was a mish-mash of the vision I had of a girl who lived in Boulder, was a midwife and had dreadlocks and the girl I knew and had already been who graduated first from Georgetown law and built million dollar businesses.

And then my team would tell me — “Alexis, you can’t say that, Alexis, you can’t write that, Alexis, you can’t wear that, Alexis, you can’t do that. You’ll hurt the business!”

Plus, my team members were constantly fighting amongst themselves and then coming to me with their dramas, pointing fingers and blaming each other for anything and everything. I can see now how it was my leadership that created and perpetuated that reality, but at the time I didn’t know why it was happening and it just sucked.

Top that off with a stark realization that by appearing on TV as a legal expert to gossip about celebrities like Tiger Woods and Michael Jackson I was making a negative contribution to the world, and I had to make some kind of a massive shift.

January 1, 2010, I packed up two Uhauls, the kids, my ex-husband, my boyfriend, two assistants, our dog, two cats, and the snake and we were off to Colorado.

I thought it would change everything. And, it did. But not quite the way I expected.

>>Read the next installment of this series here.

Stay tuned for the rest of the story in the upcoming installments of this series, How Alexis Neely Ended Up in Bankruptcy, where I’ll be discussing where the rest of the debt came from and how I was able to rebuild so quickly and easily. And keep an eye out for my books “Financial Liberation” and “You Are Not Your Credit Score”. 

How Alexis Neely Ended Up In Bankruptcy {Part One}: From Million Dollar Business to $500,000 of Debt

This is the first post in a series of How (and Why) Alexis Neely Ended Up in Bankruptcy. Ultimately, it’s the story of my own personal Heroine’s Journey. In this segment, I share where the debt came from and how a business owner who built two million dollar businesses could get into so much debt, so you can learn from the experience.

So many of us are in the midst of a big shift.  

This shift is going to take a ripping away of past comforts and beliefs for many. The good news is that the other side is way better than I could have ever imagined. And it can be the same for you as well.

Stick with me here and I’ll guide you through …

Many folks have wondered how I ended up in bankruptcy after building two million dollar businesses and how I was able to rebuild so quickly after the bankruptcy (I filed two years ago and today there are 4 businesses bringing my work out into the world bigger and better than ever before).

I’m writing a book about the whole experience. I finally sat down to write about the very beginning of the financial crisis (that led to total financial liberation) and here’s that story:

When I really consider the root of the debt that led me into bankruptcy, it starts as far back as 2008, when I sold my law practice.How I ended up filing bankruptcy

I had a million dollar a year law practice full of happy clients and a kick ass team. And, I made a major mistake by selling it to a man who had never run a million dollar law practice before. I seriously underestimated how important that one factor was.

You see, it takes something far different to run a million dollar law practice than it does to run a $100,000 law practice. That something is not something that comes easily, it must be grown into. And Art, the guy I sold my practice to, didn’t have time to grow into it — it was thrust upon him in June of 2008, when we agreed he would buy me out of the practice over time, using the revenues from the firm to keep it going.

I thought it was a sure deal. I had the marketing systems in place, hired him a marketing coordinator who was amazing, we had a great team to run the machine that served the clients, and, well, what else could he need?

Within two months of taking over, he slashed and burned costs because what it really takes to run a million dollar business is a willingness to write checks for expenses in the neighborhood of $500,000 to $750,000.

Art didn’t have back up capital and he wasn’t used to writing big checks, so he started cutting expenses. First, he cut the marketing coordinator. Then, the marketing costs.

By the end of 2008, Art was out of money and the new client flow had all but slowed to a trickle. On December 31, 2008, Art called me into the office and said “Alexis, I’m out of money and I can’t continue to run the firm. You can either take it back or close it down. I’m out.”

I couldn’t take it back because I had already moved on. There was no way I could put my energy back into seeing clients on a one to one basis or manage the day to day operations of the business.

My second business, educating families and their lawyers about how to plan for their whole family wealth, had taken off. I had a best-selling book on the market. I was appearing on television all over the Country. And, I couldn’t go back.

At the same time, I couldn’t just close it down. I had clients and team members who were counting on me. I had chosen Art to buy my practice because I believed  he would treat them right. I was wrong and I couldn’t let them suffer the consequences.

I’d have to eat it myself.

So, I took back the firm and ran it out of my credit and savings for 6 months while I transitioned the clients to lawyers I had already trained on my systems throughout the Los Angeles area and I supported my team members to find new jobs.

That was a $250,000 hit. And, it was the right thing to do.

Bankruptcy: My Heroine's JourneyTo make matters worse, that hit came directly on the heels of having made a $100,000 commitment (with $87,000 put on credit) to join Ali Brown’s Diamond Mastermind program. Had I known Art was going to give me back the firm, I never would have joined the Mastermind.
So it’s really a great thing that events happened in the order they did.  Joining that Mastermind was one of the best decisions I ever made. But, it was an investment I thought I would easily repay with Art’s payments to me. As we now know, those payments never came.

And, that was just the beginning. By the time I filed bankruptcy, I would clear $500,000 of debt.  Most of it used for very good purposes (yes, there were some frivolous purchases as well) and all of it being repaid back many times over as I use what I learned from each of those investments to participate in creating a world that works for everyone.

Now it’s your turn! Leave me a comment below with your thoughts..

>>Read the next installment of this series here.

Stay tuned for the rest of the story in the upcoming installments of this series where I’ll be discussing where the rest of the debt came from and how I was able to rebuild so quickly and easily. And keep an eye out for my books “Financial Liberation” and “You Are Not Your Credit Score”. Read Part Two of How Alexis Neely Ended Up in Bankruptcy here.

Release the Shame of Too Much Debt, Bankruptcy, or Any “Poor” Money Choices (and be radically prepared for the New Economy)

For years, I protected my credit score at all costs because what I really wanted to protect was my image, my reputation and my “credit”.

Not just my access to credit, but the form of credit represented by credibility. Good will. Trust.debt

Back in the old days, when consciousness was low, the only measure of whether a man was trustworthy was whether he remained faithful to his wife and paid his debts.

If he did, you could trust him. If he didn’t, you could be sure he would try to rip you off, first chance he got.

And women? Well they were, de facto, not to be trusted. Women didn’t have credit or credibility.

I wouldn’t have fared well back in those days. I’m both an adulterer and failed to pay my debts. Plus, I’m a woman.

An unconscious, conditioned mind screams “Scoundrel!”

Of course it does. It has been passed on for generations, hard-wired into our neurology.

And if we want to survive the coming shortage of what we hold near and dear as the planet heats up to temperatures not seen by us or our ancestors… 

It’s time to break free of the old conditioning and find new measures of trust and credibility.

Our only hope for thrival (beyond survival) in the new economy that will fully emerge when droughts, tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes become ever more regular (and good food becomes even more hard to get) will be our ability to get along, knowing how to exchange based on actual value (rather than current false measures of worth), and the personal attitude and energy we bring to the collective.

I pretty much suck at all of this right now, and yet I’m way, way better than most.

The only thing that makes me better is that I sacrificed my credit (and some would say credibility) in favor of something far more valuable.

I learned to surrender, adapt and connect.

From the seat of a million dollar business superwoman, I couldn’t learn that. What I kept learning from that position was to separate myself more, suck as much as I could out of the collective to hoard in my own private bank accounts, and trust no one.

But I knew those lessons were lies. They hurt my insides. And I couldn’t perpetuate them a minute longer, even if it meant sacrificing everything I thought was important.

What I discovered is that there is a greater form of responsibility we have now, against which we would be well served to judge a man or woman’s credit and credibility, if we want to live and thrive in the new world we are creating.

What action are you taking to create more harmony, more sharing of resources and more goodwill in the lives of your immediate community?

How are you contributing to that which we will all need as the climate shifts beyond our control?

What skills are you learning (and passing on to your kids) that will ensure we can live, work and love in harmonious community?

How are you becoming more and more enjoyable to be around? More purposeful? More generous. More aligned and infused with true integrity, far beyond the immediate moment.  How are you BEing in the world?

Today, we no longer need to rely on false measures of credit and credibility, such as “did you pay back the bank?” or “did you earn your investors back many multiples of their investments?”… when there are far more important and meaningful measures.

Money, the giving and taking, the exchanging and saving, is no longer a reliable measure of what it means to be noble and good. Tweet this! 

Rather, I invite all of us, to step into a new level of awareness here.  Money is nothing other than the meaning we give it.  It’s the current method of societal exchange; it’s fungible, but not edible, and instead begin looking to other measures for how we determine the worth of a man or woman, including ourselves.

2014-04-27 11.36.14

Debt should be paid back, not because it’s the “responsible” thing to do or to preserve your credibility or credit-worthiness, when paying it back serves the world in a real and meaningful way.  If paying the debt back won’t serve the bigger picture, let it go, release it, and do the more responsible thing.

Debt, and all resources, should be leveraged, used and invested in what really matters, our personal well-being and self-reliance first, then in our community (ability to be with others, especially in stressful situations), our creativity (ability to make more than we take) and resourcefulness (ability to procure what’s necessary to accomplish one’s aims even, and especially, through non-traditional means).

Our quality of life now and our future both depend on it.

The Biggest Mistake of My Life (cost me 4 years of angst & resulted in bankruptcy)

Some of you might think that the biggest mistake of my life was filing bankruptcy. Or perhaps it was getting “married” at Burning Man. Or maybe you would say, as one commenter said in response to this post about my Burning Man wedding, the biggest mistake of my life was going “from respected business woman, to …. I wouldn’t even know how to describe you. Do you have any credibility left?”

But, nope, none of those would be it at all. In fact, many of those things were the BEST decisions of my life, thus far.

The WORST decision of my life was letting myself be influenced by the negative things people said and pulling back as a result.2014-04-27 14.57.37

I became convinced by the haters that I didn’t have any credibility left, that I would no longer be able to serve lawyers, that I needed to choose between what I came to understand as my Ali self and my Alexis self, and that I better keep THAT a secret because Ali was simply not acceptable in the legal world.

So, I started to shrink.  I stopped all marketing to lawyers. I decreased the investment in my programs for lawyers down to the bare minimum (from $1,500/mo for membership down to as little as $197/mo for membership) and I let my entire team go.

Ultimately, I moved to a farm where I lived a very simple life and considered who I really was, what I really wanted to do and whether I could let go of Alexis Neely forever.

I filed bankruptcy while living there because I simply did not see how I could maintain the Alexis Neely business model and be all of myself.  And, because I had a sense that filing bankruptcy and releasing $500,000 of debt would open up a portal of seeing that wasn’t otherwise available to me when I was trying to hold it altogether according to standard personal finance advice. And, it did.

I couldn’t go all the way though.  Letting go of Alexis Neely altogether (killing her off, as recommended by David Neagle) simply wasn’t in alignment with the truth of who I am.

I am the both/and that is Ali Shanti and Alexis Neely.

ali and alexis 2

I am uniquely suited to serve lawyers to return to the reason they went to law school and dive deep into the heart of relationship with the families and small business owners they serve.  I am also a creative, free-spirit, hippie chick who loves festivals and community and wears feathers in my hair, a rhinestone on my cheek and even has tooth bling.

What I discovered during this deep dive is that no one else has the same combination of right-brain entrepreneurial creativity and left-brain logical lawyer think to serve these lawyers and they are out there dying on the vine.

I couldn’t abandon these lawyers who want so much more from life and business and their law degrees to a life unlived when I knew I held the keys to their fulfillment.

So, after the bankruptcy, when I had a fresh start and a totally clear slate from which to decide what was next, I made the choice to return to the world of serving lawyers while figuring out how to be all of me at the same time.

I still thought I had to keep big parts of myself hidden from the lawyers.

Until something big happened.  Two things, actually.

First, my friend Mia and I were hanging out one night recently talking about life, love and happiness.  It turns out that back when I was on the last legs of trying to hold everything together before I walked away from it all, the guy I had brought in as interim CEO of my company had hired her to talk to all of our lawyers (this was around the time of the Burning Man wedding, 4 years ago).

I had never received a report on those phone calls and had assumed that what Mia heard from the lawyers on the other end of the line was that they no longer trusted me (isn’t it funny what our minds do?), but it turns out that’s NOT what she heard at all.

What she did hear was that people wanted MORE of the story.

They didn’t say to her “I don’t trust Alexis anymore or want to learn from her again”, they said “I heard Alexis got married at Burning Man. What do you know about that?”


They were interested. Curious. They wanted to know more. They wanted more of my story.

What a gift for me to find that out now. (Better late than never, right? And, I really do so trust the timing of it all because I really did need to go through the bankruptcy to support the bigger picture work around financial liberation that I am here to offer in the world.)

Then, the second big thing that happened really recently, was when I got a scary email in my inbox.  All I could tell is that it was from a lawyer and the subject line was “eye-opening experience”. I was pretty sure he was writing to tell me he was quitting the program because of some offensive thing I had done. (Isn’t it funny where the mind goes?)

But, that’s not what he wrote at all!  You can read his whole email here.

The cool thing is that the new business we built to serve the lawyers post-bankruptcy is WAY BETTER than the original business ever was.  It’s got a solid foundation, a business model that aligns with my entrepreneurial archetype and we just hired a CEO to replace me so I can do the parts I’m best at without trying to lead the team (which I’m really the worst at).

The best part of is that even though our new CEO is a Mormon (we think), he never says “Alexis, you can’t do that. Alexis, you can’t say that. Alexis, you can’t write that. Alexis, you can’t wear that. You’ll hurt the business!” as I used to hear all the time from the team that led my first iteration of the lawyer business. Probably because I’ve fully embraced all of myself and I’m no longer saying those things to myself.

And it has begun to dawn on me, I made a huge error, I didn’t need to hide or shrink in the face of the haters at all!  (Except for the fact that it was all perfect and what had to happen, did — it was a mistake that cost me 4 years.  Good news is that what I learned was a huge lesson that we can all benefit from.)  I could have given them more of what they wanted — the juicy story that was unfolding, as it was happening. They would have loved it, I bet.

What’s funny though is that there is still a way that I hide Ali Shanti from the lawyers.  Well, not quite hide, but I haven’t really formally introduced her to them yet. At times, like with the story I told earlier about the lawyer who stumbled upon Ali, they find this side of me, but otherwise, I tend to keep things separate.

More and more though, the integration is definitely happening.


I can feel Ali merging into Alexis, and vice versa.  I love both (all — there’s actually more) sides of me.  So I’m playing with the what’s next of all of this.  I’ve got a photo shoot coming up that might resolve some of it by at least giving me pictures I can use with the lawyers that integrate the Ali part (I still use my photos from 2008 that are pure Alexis now that I’m marketing to lawyers again).

I promise to keep you posted.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear about the parts of you that you’ve been hiding (either from yourself or others). Each time I talk about this, people come up to me (or send me messages) telling me all about the parts of themselves that they’ve never let out of the closet.  So, this is your chance to fully express all of you.  See you in the comments.

[PS: If you liked this, you’ll also want to read this about your purpose and how it all fits in. With audios too.]

To The Edge and Back – How My Bankruptcy Helps You

I recently received an email from an annoyed and confused woman. She wanted to know what possible reason I could have for sharing the fact I am going through bankruptcy with you.

“No one cares,” she wrote.

I couldn’t disagree more.

I am a risk taker and a rule breaker. My purpose is to experience the outer perimeter of what is possible. I explore the places people are usually afraid of. I go out to the edges and survey the scenery. I check for land mines and wild cougars. I make sure the ground underneath my feet is stable. Once I have illuminated the terrain of the unknown, I invite others (you) to join me. Why bankruptcy?

I’ve come across a lot of people who used their debt, or lack of resources, as an excuse for why they can’t do what they really really want. You know how it goes: I can’t quit my job because I need to pay the mortgage, even though I hate going to work every day. I would start my own company but I’m barely breaking even as it is. I’ll do it later, when I’ve paid off my loans and my life is more stable.

This was the exact thing I was doing. I sold a service that I did not like providing, and was far less impactful than I knew I could be in the world, because I felt like I had to. I was driven by a perceived need to make enough money so I could pay off my debts.

And in order to get un-trapped I had to face my single biggest fear, and be willing to run out of money. I stopped doing everything I was doing for the money. I gave up my credit score and credit cards. I looked at the reality of my indebtedness.

I let my bank account get down to $29, and I had no credit cards to fall back on.And from the edge of bankruptcy this is what I have to report:

I’m too creative and too resourced to run out of money. Every time I’ve been on the brink of not being able to buy groceries something has come through. A tax refund check, or someone wanted to buy a product I wasn’t even marketing, or an old friend that owed me money decided to pay me back out of the blue. There were unexpected gifts at the most opportune times.

Once I switched from living in the fear of scarcity, I realized that I was in abundance.

And surprisingly enough, the hardest thing to let go of wasn’t the money but my identity as a million dollar business owner. I had to relinquish the idea that my self-worth, my value, is intrinsically connected to my bottom line. And some of my relationships that were based on this assumption have died.

Now, I am starting to create relationships based on who I really am, not how much money people think I have.

And, I have a lot more figuring out to do. I am constantly finding out ways my relationships with debt and money run my life.

My hope is that my willingness to drop my identity, to release my debt in favor of doing more in the world, will break the conditioning that tells us we have to put paying off our indebtedness before living the lives we are supposed to live. I hope it will inspire others to put the purpose of their lives before the payment of their debt and see the liberation of letting go of it all.

The whole reason for this surrender is finding out what it is I’m here to be. I could no longer use my debt as an excuse to not live my full potential.

Nicole Daedone says, “I come back again and again to my teacher saying to me that surrender is not offering myself to something that I perceive to be more powerful – that is capture. Surrender is offering myself to something I believe to be less than me. It is offering myself in the face of humanity. By the same token, it is always through the mundane, through what I perceive to be beneath me – like, I should not have to do that don’t you know who I am? – that the beauty creeps in.”

So here I am, surrendering to bankruptcy, to not having it all together, to going for what I believe in, messy challenges and all.