Recently an acquaintance of mine asked me for some financial advice. He was having trouble living on the $400 per week he is receiving in workers’ compensation benefits. Two separate but closely timed events had led to his inability to go back to his job until he had back surgery. The problem is he hasn’t been able to get either responsible party to pay for the surgery. He is able to do other types of work but is afraid doing so would jeopardize his chance of getting the necessary surgery and possibly keep him from getting a settlement from one or both responsible parties.

As I questioned him to gain information that might help me give him sound advice, I came to the conclusion nothing would help him until he no longer considered himself a victim. He was so entrenched in keeping the status quo for the purpose of getting something, it kept him from moving forward. He admitted he could go back to work earning upwards of $1,500 per week which was about the amount he was now earning monthly. His vision was clouded by his desire to protect what potentially might happen in the future. What he fails to realize is he can earn in one year enough to cover his current bills and additionally save enough to match the settlement amount he might get in the future. He didn’t even realize he is a victim of both those who contributed to his back injury and himself.

Too often people get caught up being a victim and fail to look at the opportunities before them. Our parents told us things like “you can be anything you want to be.” I have come to the conclusion that statement is not just about our vocation but also about our mindset. We can accomplish great things if we don’t dwell on the pitfalls that can potentially keep us from being successful. We have to be the master of our own destiny. This acquaintance should regain control of his life and accomplish what he is capable of accomplishing while attempting to get the help he needs. His financial house is falling apart. He is at a crossroad. Will he accept the responsibility of his own life or continue to let others control his destiny?

I am motivated to tell this story because he isn’t the only one who is a victim. Whether you are a victim of yourself or someone else, determine what is necessary to regain control of your life. Don’t let your financial, emotional, physical or spiritual life suffer because of your circumstances. Only time will tell if he considers this advice. How about you?

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