Usually the term ‘give yourself a raise’ is in reference to finances, but for this post I want to help expand this definition to mean even more. Throughout my life there’s been five specific ways that I’ve given myself a raise and here they are to help you too.
#1. To Lift Up
According to the dictionary there are a few definitions of ‘raise’: to move to a higher position; lift up; elevate.
But how does one lift yourself up when you’re in the gutter of life?
I remember a specific time in my life where I was going through extreme financial hardship. Hardship to the point where broke took on a new meaning to the point where it really meant survival instead. I was at a Wendy’s restaurant (a US based fast-food style hamburger joint) and was looking at the menu figuring out what I could actually afford. Well, not much. Wendy’s has a Value Menu of sorts, where you can get certain items from the menu for next to nothing. The problem was, I had next to nothing. I turned and observed the restaurant patrons for a moment. There was a Hispanic family eagerly munching away on hamburgers and fries that caught my eye. For some reason, perhaps the family dynamic that they had, made me feel even more alone. I was alone. I was broke and at that moment I started to break more. I opted for the cheapest item on the menu, a ‘junior’ hamburger of sorts and as the cashier told me the total I pulled out some change holding my breath hoping I had enough. I didn’t. I was twenty-two cents short. 22 cents.
I left the line to the register and sat down in a booth. I felt broken, but I also felt a rage start to stir inside my soul. This is complete and utter bullshit and I refuse to be in this situation ever again. Something clicked in my mind at that moment and I decided to elevate MYSELF. I would no longer depend on others to get myself out of the asinine financial situation I was in. I would do it myself no matter what. I chose in that moment sitting in Wendy’s surrounded by patrons chomping away at food, that I wouldn’t ever be in that situation again. Then I walked out. Hungry. Still alone, but with a resolve that money couldn’t buy.
When you feel like you have nowhere left to go, turn to yourself. Depend on no one but yourself, because you are your best friend. But you have to pick yourself up and move forward come hell or high water no matter what. It might be excruciatingly hard, but failure cannot be an option.
#2. TS U T F O
Another definition of ‘raise’ is: to set up the framework of. As I left that Wendy’s restaurant I realized that I had to make a plan. ‘Well how the hell do you make a plan or take action when you’re this financially screwed?’ My mind was still being stubborn. I didn’t know, but I knew I had to do something, anything. I went to a library and got a piece of paper and a pen and started to write out what my options were (not much) and what I could do to get out this dire situation. It wasn’t shit I wanted to do and it wasn’t going to be easy, but I did see that there might just be some light at the end of the tunnel if I busted my ass.
No matter what’s going on with you in your life and it doesn’t have to be financial stress, it could be marital issues, boss issues, or anything, take the time to sit down and write out what your options are. As humans we start to feel cornered and stressed when we feel like we have no control over our situation. Take the control back by figuring out what you can do first. Doing this alone will help you to get focused and on the right track.
#3. To Set In Motion
After the framework is set-up, I had to set it in motion. I couldn’t take that piece of paper with some semblance of options and tuck it in my backpack and hope that I would discover a bag of money walking down the street. Instead, I did what I had to do: I went and gave blood for $30. Cool, now I can actually eat. Now that might sound ridiculous, but unless you’ve been in that type of situation (and I hope to God you never have or will), a man has to do what he has to do, so I did. Now you can’t give blood everyday and that wasn’t the end all of solutions on my piece of paper, but it did get my belly filled for a couple of days.
It’s not enough to just have a plan: you HAVE to set it in motion. Even if you feel like it’s the most daunting plan ever, you’ll never know if you’ll be successful with it or not, unless you take action.
#4. To Grow Or Breed, Care for
To grow or breed, or care for, is another definition of ‘raise’. You have to take the momentum of any victory, no matter how small it might seem and build from it. When I was paid that $30 for giving blood, I did what any self-respecting brokeass dude would do: I bought a meal for less than $3 at that same damn Wendy’s. Then I took the $27 left and went and bought a case of 24 pack of water and went to a local construction site. Now I had around $20 left. My savings ha. I sold the 24 water bottles for $2 each to the workers and netted myself $48. That plus my ‘savings’, I now had $68. Ballin’. Yea that’s not much obviously, but it was a start and I flipped a couple more cases. Now selling water bottles obviously didn’t get me to where I am today, BUT it was that same attitude and can-do spirit that was the game changer.
If you’re struggling with your pride, let it go and do what needs to be done. Once you get started, use the momentum to continue growing and pushing forward. If you’re moving forward you have less of chance of slipping back. Focus, be humble and do what you need to do.
#5. A Raised Or Ascending Place
This one truly changed my life. As I wrap up my story with this final definition of ‘raise’, it’s this one that has helped keep me on track the most. The story from Wendy’s seems like just yesterday in my mind, because life-changing events always do, but it also keeps me humble. While I can be a cocky mofo, at heart I truly am humble and thankful.
When you find yourself getting on that level that you want to be, never ever forget where you came from and what you went through. Remembering your past will keep you hellbent on achieving even more in your future. Whenever I’m having a bad day or something doesn’t go the way I want it to, I simply say “Never again”. This is ‘code’ to myself to remember where I came from, to be thankful for the moment and to never let myself get lazy or complacent about my future. You will be raised up. You will ascend in what you’re pursuing, but remember to stay humble, be thankful and never forget what it took to get there.
This week give yourself a raise, a raise that might just change your life.
Read More: The Day I Died