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Patrice Washington: Redefining Wealth, Emotional Spending & Seeking Wisdom

My guest is an award-winning author, transformational speaker, hope-restoring coach and media personality.

She got her start as your favorite personal finance expert, America's Money Maven, having tremendous success with her mindset approach to personal finance.

She has since expanded her brand and mission encouraging women to chase purpose, not money.

Our special guest is Patrice Washington.

In this show, we talk about redefining wealth, what that means and how you can benefit from a redefinition of wealth.

We also talk about how to be intentional not only in your life, but in your education and how to get to wealth by being more intentional.

In addition, we get into what it takes to pick yourself up, how to reinvent yourself, how to pick yourself up off the ground and go after there and make it happen like so many successful people. 

We also talk about how you can align yourself and live more on purpose and when you do, you will become even wealthier and a whole lot more in this show.

We talk about how some of us may be emotionally spending, how to recognize it, then what to do about it. With that said, let's get to it. 

Dustin
By your sophomore year in college, you are already a licensed real estate professional and by 21, you are a mortgage broker. You built your boutique brokerage from the dining room of your 700-square-foot condo to a seven-figure real estate empire by 25. I want you to take us back to this point in your life. You're having all this success you're achieving, you're winning, and there was something waiting around that corner for you. What was lurking around this success?
Patrice
What was lurking was the great recession. First of all, being so young and doing well, you're naïve and you think nothing can go wrong. I thought, "Why don't people get rich early? It's so easy. What are you doing?" What was waiting for me was a fall down the stairs in my home while I'm pregnant. I fell going down the stairs and ended up in the emergency room where they said to me, "I'm sorry this baby is coming any minute now. You're in full-blown labor." I was only twenty weeks pregnant. I did the only thing I knew to do which was pray. I ended up getting admitted because the baby didn't come right away and they gave me all the shots, the steroids. It was five weeks into that hospital stay that I start seeing the banks closing down on the news. Here I am, a mortgage and real estate broker on bed rest, I have sixteen loan officers and real estate agents, full brokerage in Manhattan Beach, California, with thirteen pieces of property between my husband and I. The income was drying up week by week.
I am in the hospital with real estate agents and loan officers on my team calling me, "Can you fix it?" I'm like, "I can't even go to the bathroom without assistance. No, there's not much I can fix." I was stressing out because this was my first encounter with anything like this. I thought I had the golden touch. It hadn't crossed my mind that this was even possible. I remember the day that my doctor came into that hospital room and they monitored the baby 24/7 with a belt around my waist. She said, "Patrice, I don't know what you're stressing about, but if you don't stop, you're going to live here two years in a row with no baby." A year before I gave birth to a son prematurely and he passed after five hours. That was the first time I made the decision that I would have to surrender and I'd have to trust that no matter what happens, once you know it, you know it. You have to trust and believe that whatever happens at the end of this, you'll be able to rebuild it but right now your priority is bringing this baby into the world safely.
I asked them to take the TV off the wall. I'm not talking plasma screen. I'm talking about the old school, box swivel TV. I'm like, "Take it off the wall. I don't even want to be tempted to watch the news and freak myself out." We told the team that I could not help them and stop calling because I was used to trying to save everyone else. This was one of the first times in my life where I understood, "You have to save yourself first. Put your own mask on. The only thing you can do is think positive thoughts and seeing, pray, praise, journal, meditate, whatever you can do to bring this baby into the world healthy." I did that for another five weeks. My daughter was born five weeks later. She was born at 30 weeks, three pounds, two ounces and stayed in the NICU for three and a half weeks. When I took her home, I had this beautiful, healthy baby girl. Weeks later, I got my bill and I also had a healthy amount of medical debt, almost $400,000 between the two of us being in the hospital.
Dustin
On one hand, you have this miracle of life. I didn't know that about your prior baby. Now you've got this but then you've got this debt. I imagine the empire had crumbled. 
Patrice
That's even kind to say it is a crumble. It crashed and we went crashing with it. It took several months because I did have savings. It wasn't that I didn't have savings, but definitely not enough to cover the overhead that I had. We had several pieces of investment property, but now my tenants are losing their jobs left and right. They're not paying rent and they're slow with paying rent and I'm still covering mortgages and all this stuff. Needless to say, we went from this seven-figure business to scraping of change within a year. I'm talking shaking out old purses and looking in the couch cushions like, "Where can I get change?"
Dustin
You realized you're at a low now. You've been achieving your whole life. You've got this miracle baby but now you've got to rebuild this. What gets you up? Caring for a baby, you've got to provide. You've got that instinct. What is now your next thought? Many people go through a life-crushing or soul-crushing. How do you get back up? How do you go and do it again?
Patrice
I do so many interviews. I have to tell you the truth. I don't even want to paint the picture because we can say this in two minutes and it sounds like, "Just get up." It took me a minute. It took several months of trying to force things to happen because I was used to being the fixer. I was Miss Fix-it. I had all these bright ideas. It was several months of every bright idea I had burning. People were not only slamming the door but windows were being shut. It was hard because I was used to achievement and my identity was caught up in my achievement. I was addicted to achieving. When your whole identity is caught up in being the smart one and every decision you make feels dumb. On the other side, you're like, "That was dumb. That didn't work." It was hard. That went off for several months. From the time I took the fall down the stairs that was 2007 around May, to the time I found myself in what I would call this defining moment was not until 2008. It was after my home foreclosed in Pasadena, a 6,000-square-foot house gone.
We sold everything we could on Craigslist in two days. I was a master salesperson on Craigslist. We ended up driving to Metairie, Louisiana, where I lived in a 600-square-foot apartment. It was in that teeny tiny apartment that feels like the booth that we're recording. My apartment was about this and that was the time where I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was tired of everything that I tried failing. I was tired of suffering in silence because the other thing about being the one who achieves is you don't know how to tell people that you're hurting. I didn't know how to come out and say, “This is what's going on." I thought, "You'll figure it out. You'll make it happen." When that didn't happen, I found myself in the mirror saying, "Why me? I've been a good person. I treat people well. I do good business. I don't feel I was at fault here." I was like it's me, the economy, the president, the government, down with them all type of thing. I was crying and it turned into a very ugly cry. I don't know if you've ever had an ugly cry where you had to snot a little bawling. It was one of those ugly moments where I finally had enough. I ended up on my knees with my head on the linoleum balled up fetal position and I reference it as a small still voice.
I got this nudge to get my Bible. I found this scripture, Proverbs 17:16, “What good is money in the hands of a fool if they have no desire to seek wisdom?” I know that I had read it before. Based on where you are at any given moment, things hit you a little bit differently. In that moment I was like, “Wisdom. I'm smart. I've always been the smart one. I passed my broker's exam first try. I’ve got all these licenses and certifications easy breezy, but I'm smart.” That was the first time I looked up the difference between knowledge and wisdom. I realized knowledge was information but wisdom was how do you apply it. I was like, "Wait a minute." I had read things about seeking wise counsel and I've been doing this by myself. I haven't even asked anyone for support. I haven't asked for help. I haven't said I don't even know what I don't know at this point, but I know something is missing because I'm broke and I'm doing all I can do. That was the defining moment for me. It was that because what I have always had was this thing about me.
I know where I got it from. It was my first-grade teacher, Mrs. Boynton. I used to be the first to raise my hand all the time in class. She held me back one day and she said, "Just because you know something, that's not good enough. If you know something, you have a responsibility to teach your friends. If you see them struggling, you're supposed to help them." She didn't tell me you're talking too much. If she saw me talking but it was because I was helping someone, she would let me do it. That planted the seed. No wonder now you fast forward twenty-odd years later, I'm in this space. The first thought I have is, “I’ve got to tell people. I’ve got to share with people. Who else is out here thinking that education is all there is, they're smart, and they don't understand the difference?” It evolved. That was the catalyst for me getting up. I started a free blog the next day. I had learned about blogging in Starbucks. A couple of weeks before, these ladies I met, they were mommy bloggers. It was 2009, I'm like, "What's a blogger?" They're telling me what it is and stuff. I'm like, "That's interesting." I'm not interested in the mommy blog, but I was like, "Wow." My thought was, "You can do what those mommy bloggers do but you'll talk about money." That's where it started. 
Dustin
I want to ask you two things around that. I would think that you would go back into real estate. Was it that the market was terrible or it was like, "I did that, I want to move on, I want something new?" What was going through your mind to now go into blogging versus go back? 
Patrice
I built my real estate business through education. I always saw it as marketing. I never saw it as the end game. I would go to churches, nonprofits, organizations all around the greater LA area. I would teach and talk about homeownership, budgeting, savings and debt elimination. That's how we brought our clients in. I would be the face and go out. I was overseeing the transactions but that's what I loved. I loved that with a lot of people who are our clients, they weren't necessarily ready on day one. They saw me speak. It lit a fire in them and then they wanted a plan. They stuck to the plan. Six months to a year later, they came back and used us to help them. When I was thinking about what have you enjoyed most from this experience, that was the a-ha. I like the education and planting the seed that you can do this, especially the population I served.
They were mostly people of color. They thought that homeownership was not going to be for them ever. I was teaching people how to save their first $5,000. I had people who are twice my age, and they were like, "I've never saved like this. I've never thought about these things in this way." When it was time to start over, I realized what gave me joy was education. I didn't have a model for how it can be done or how you profited from that? Once I made that decision in my mind, I started to seek people out. Honestly, I didn't find many people out there, but I saw Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman and I was like, "They're selling financial education. If they're doing it, I could do it." 
Dustin
You blog on personal finance but you're not like other people out there. You're not telling people to cut coupons. Your big thing is it starts with mindset and shifting the mindset. Will you talk about that? I imagine people reading this right now, they’re like, and “She's an achiever. She's a go-getter. She was born to save, to budget, to be good with money.” Talk about that mindset and how people can put themselves on the right path. 
Patrice
First of all, I was not born this way at all. I did not come from this type of background. It was not a conversation at the dinner table. It was none of those things. Everything I learned about money was very indirect and it was very wrong. I learned all the wrong things. What happened was getting into real estate is what introduced me to the idea of personal finance. I became obsessed with personal finance when I was about 21 years old. I would go to workshops, seminars, the free and pay kinds, wherever I could to learn more. I went to a big seminar in Orange County. It was Secrets of The Millionaire Mind. It’s T. Harv Eker. That book did it for me because that was the first time I realized that my parent's story didn't have to be my story and I had the power to shift. It wasn't born. I've been very intentional about the educational piece but when I was working with my clients, I never did the traditional stuff. I was known for tricking people into being better with their finances. I never force people to use a budget as much as I did plant seeds for them to shift their behavior. I felt I could talk to you about a budget, your credit or savings all day because we hear the same things. "You know you should budget but you don't. You should save at least 10% of your income but you don't." I was finding fun ways to help people shift by showing them things in their environment or their behaviors.
For example, I would have people that will come to me and be like, "I need to know how to budget. I don't know what's wrong. I try to budget, I sit down, I write the numbers, it doesn't work." I'm like, "It's not that the budget doesn't work. It's just a number on paper. You're the one who's exercising this." I would say take me through a week. I would go through their bank statements. For one client, in particular that I’m thinking of, when we would go through her stuff, she would always list out her monthly expenses but that didn't correlate to what was on her bank statement. I’m like, “You're taking out a lot at ATM withdrawals,” and she’s like, "My sister needed $500 to pay her rent." I said, "This is not a budgeting problem. You have a people problem. You don't know how to say no. You don't have any boundaries. You have made other people's lack of planning your emergency. You have the identity of the savior in the family and that does something for you. That's why you keep doing it. It was not that you don't have the money to save, you've chosen to be the savior in your family."
Dustin
I can't imagine being in your shoes coaching. How do you change that behavior? People get hit up by their family a lot. What did you do?
Patrice
I have many scripts. I teach people through scripts because that's the easiest way especially with women who have a hard time saying no. One of the first things we do for a certain period of time, it depends on how bad off they are. If they're bad off, I'm like, "For the entire weekend, say no to everybody about everything, whether you want to do it or not. I don't care if you're sitting here writing with your pen and someone says, 'Can I borrow your pen?' Say no." Your muscle is to say yes, whether it's convenient to you or not. We have to shift that. We have to turn that around. You're acting on autopilot and you're not even thinking especially when you're saying yes to things begrudgingly. You say yes, but you're mad but you're the one who said yes.
I would teach them to say no so that their mind starts to go, "Let me check in with this. Is this a yes or is this a no?" You can create that split second to make a better choice for you not because someone asked. Another thing that I've given my clients over time, I did this on IGTV one day. I talked about the script that my husband and I use when people would want to borrow money. Coming full circle and being completely restored and rebuilding, I had this very public career and I'm always on TV. People were like, "She's got money again. Here we go." I'm like, "No, we don't."
We came up with the script for a couple of reasons. Before I give you the script, here's the reason why the script is important. I believe that every person is born with a gift of talent and skill something that they're supposed to use to build wealth. We do our loved ones a disservice when we enable them and we prevent them from figuring out what that is for them. If it were not for my rock bottom moment, I wouldn't be who I am now. I needed to go through that time. It wasn't easy, a vacation, and a walk in the park but I needed it because I was always passionate about financial education. Going through that experience is what taught me compassion. It's why I show up the way that I do in my work. If my dad, a friend or a cousin would've come in and saved me, they would have robbed me of being able to have that experience. 
When I tell people to have these conversations with their loved ones and to get comfortable being uncomfortable, I tell them to stop making it about being mean. I work with a lot of women, "I don't want to be mean." I'm like, "This is the best thing you could do for your loved one. This is an expression of true love. It's helping them see the greatness within them, but they need to feel it's necessary to dig and find it." One of the scripts that we use when people come to borrow money, which I have to be honest with you, no one comes to borrow money from me. They're trained. Years ago, and I still teach clients this, let's say someone makes a request, "I need $1,000 for car repairs." First of all, in our budget, we have a line item for giving. My giving is based on my budget, not your request. If my giving is $300, I'm sorry that your request is $1,000. If I choose to give, it's going to be to that extent and wherever else you’ve got to get the $700 is on you, that's not my responsibility. That's first of all.
We would always go, "Because I love you, I don't want to lend you money but I'm going to give you a one-time gift to go towards helping you with this situation." If we ever gave a check, we will put in the memo, “One-time gift.” It plants the seed. They're like, "Okay." Its like, "I don't want to be mad at you at Thanksgiving." I don't want to come to any family events and go, "So-and-so still owes me money." I want to bless you with it. I don't want you to feel the pressure of having to return it but I don't want to have any negative energy towards you either for not repaying me. I see you on social media going on vacations and stuff like that. There's a bunch of little scripts. I have one about boundaries where I've taught my ladies, "Tell people I apologize for leading you to believe for the last X amount of time that this behavior has been okay. The truth is, it makes me feel insert and that is no longer acceptable. Thank you so much for understanding." People can't argue with that. It's hard to argue with that. If I'm standing up for myself, but I'm apologizing to you too. 
Dustin
You're not expecting that response because you're a little on guard like, "What is she going to say for this request of money?"
Patrice
I apologize for making you believe that this was okay. I take complete responsibility but I'm learning in this season of my life. That makes me feel X, Y, Z. 
Dustin
You saved a lot of families and that strife because you're right, you go to lend that money and the reality is most times it's not coming back. Why not let go of it? Here it is, you set the new expectation. That's solid. I hope if people are in that situation, they reread it and bookmark this show. Keep reading it over and over again. Patrice, I want to ask you about this. I've said this statement in my life, "I work hard. I'm an achiever. I put hours in and I want to buy something. I deserve this." I saw something and getting ready for the show where a lot of people say that and that could be one of those mindset things that they could work on. Help me and those that have said that, "I work hard, Patrice. I deserve that watch, that purse or under that car." Why can this be bad thinking for us? 
Patrice
I called that one of the myths or things that we say to justify our purchases and decisions. I talk about the fact that what we're doing is rationalizing. That means rationing out lies. We will tell a lie to ourselves in a second and then we tell it to friends and family who co-sign on it and they're like, “You're right. You do work hard. You totally deserve it.” The problem is when that becomes a weekly declaration for you when it's always, "I work hard, I deserve it." At some point, you have to identify what do you deserve more: financial freedom, flexibility or the power of choice? If you keep buying things, but you know you have a debt to pay off or that student loan that is lingering and going nowhere after fifteen years, it's craving your attention. 
It's not about depriving yourself because I don't believe in deprivation. I do believe in discipline. I believe that you can save and pay off debt simultaneously. I'm not all-in on debt person because I do believe you should enjoy your life. It should be systematic and you should have a plan for it. If every time you're not feeling good about something, you're mad about what happened at work this week, or you're struggling in a relationship, if you lean towards emotionally spending and then trying to justify it because you work hard, that's a spiral. Before you know it, you look up and you're like, “I could have done so many other things with that money." It's emotional.
Dustin
I've been a lot better at this because having a prior business, a lot of the stuff is emotional spending and it's a write-off for me. That was a double whammy, I feel. You're right, if you let it subside that split second you talk about, if you can get yourself there, then oftentimes it will dissipate. 
Patrice
I love the people who listen to my show or people who hear me speak. They're like, "I was at the mall and you were in my head or I was surfing or getting ready to click on Amazon and I heard your voice." I'm like, “I'm so glad that I am that voice in your split second." Whatever it takes, I'm so glad.
Dustin
You talk about redefining wealth. At WealthFit, we have a way of saying what wealth is in abundance of time, money, and resources due to things that you want. I'm curious what your definition of wealth is and how you go about redefining it?
Patrice
What I share with redefining wealth is that wealth is so much more than money and material possessions. Wealth is about well-being. That was the twelfth century definition. I've defined it by using six pillars. I'm trying to show people like, "There are so many other areas of life that truly impact your finances." I know from doing this work for years now is that people can talk to you about the budgets, the credit, and all the skillset stuff, but you have to be ready to receive it. The skillset is 20% of this thing because we're on information overload in this society, yet we don't implement. What's preventing you from implementation? It could be that there's clutter in some of these other areas of life that I talk about. I found for myself, my clients and my audience that as you start to clean those things up, it is amazing how much more clarity you have to make wiser choices in your business or at your job. You become the rock star because you are showing up in a completely different way. There are so many other opportunities which create the money that you've been chasing that are attracted to you. On my audience, I'm like, “The wealth-building is fine, but let's not leave out well-being.”
Dustin
You talk about the tackle and I 100% agree with you. We're in information overload. We know we need to budget but we don't do it. Aside from working with you directly, coming to one of your events or reading your material, how can people get that awareness and work on that? That's the intangible part. How can I have that awareness? I’ve got this clutter in this part of my life, but how can I go to work on me or at least get that awareness that I’ve got to fix some things?
Patrice
The good part about the access to information that we have is that when you are open and ready, I believe that whatever teacher you need appears. It might be Dustin, it might be Patrice, it could be anyone. When you are ready to clear up an area of your life, you stumble upon. One of the things that I hear the most, the last year or so, are the number of people who will say to me, I don't know how many screenshots of DMs and emails, and they tell me when they come to talks or something, “I was praying, I was searching or I was looking for something and you popped up in my YouTube feed.” I'm like, "I popped up in the YouTube feed." When I was on the Steve Harvey show, I did four years answering people's money questions every week. When I decided to leave in 2018, girlfriends, business colleagues, they're like, "What are you doing? The show gets millions of listeners." I'm like, “Here's what I truly believe. The people who found me on the Steve Harvey show, they stumbled upon me. They were coming looking for comic relief. They were looking for an escape. Most of them are listening during drive time headed to work. Many people hate on where they're going."
They're like, "Let me laugh in the car during this commute." They stumbled upon me. The difference is with redefining wealth and my work now, when people find me, the thing that I hear the most is I was searching for something. When you are open and you are ready to heal in some areas, when you're ready to do the work, when you have said, "Enough is enough, I am sick and tired of being sick and tired, something's got to change. What do I need to do?" When you have that bathroom for a moment like I did and you cry out, the right teacher for you will appear and it will be the thing that you need to work on in that moment. We all have tons of things to work on, but you can't work on them all at once. You won't master everything at once but whatever that next best step is, the answer is there. You have to be open to receiving. 
Dustin
What spawned in me is I grew up in doing a lot of marketing and intent is what I heard you say. Not only is it so applicable in life. What you said, people stumbling across you on the Steve Harvey show versus the people that are searching and then you pop up. It is that intent. That's such a good personal lesson but also those that are reading that have businesses and do marketing, that intent is so key. You could have the best product in the world but if they're not open to receive it, if they're not searching and hungry.
Patrice
They have to be hungry. The truth is you have to be hungry for any transformation. I always tell people they may come to me for coaching for example and then they'll say, "I tried to work with so-and-so and I didn't get what I needed, this and that." I go, "Did you finish the program? Did you do the work? Don't give me any money. I don't want your money because I don't want you to say that about me. I want you to go back and do all the things that they said to do. What you're showing me is that you joined their program and you were interested and there's a difference between interest and commitment. You were interested. You dibble dabbled, straddled the fence and did a little something. You did a little of this and that." People who are committed to their transformation will do everything. I was in the car before I came into the studio and a client sent me a testimony out of the blue. I didn't ask her for it, I wasn't expecting it. She said in the video, "I did everything Patrice said, even when I didn't understand it or agree with it and here were my results." That's someone who's ready for a transformation. If you're interested, you're never going to do the work.
Dustin
This is so perfect into this next question here. This reinvention that you did with the blog was around money. You're known for educating people on chasing purpose, not money. You are America's Money Maven in the Steve Harvey Show. What is the action plan? What's the advice for building something and not chasing the money, finding that purpose? Sometimes when you're at rock bottom, you were there, you need to make that check, and you’ve got mouths to feed. How do you do the purpose thing but the money thing too?
Patrice
I didn't realize at first how hard it would be for a lot of people to grasp this. I honestly didn't. People would say, "It's easy for you to say chase purpose, you've got money." I'm like, "I was living by that before I had money again." The best example I could give you, when I left New Orleans in that itty-bitty apartment in Metairie, Louisiana and ended up in Atlanta, I was sleeping on my brother's couch for three months. I started to volunteer at financial education nonprofits. Remember, I was saying I knew by watching Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman that people could get paid, but I didn't understand. The closest thing I could find were organizations and I'm like, "I'm going to volunteer so I can understand." I volunteered at a few organizations and that put me in the space to meet people because now I'm getting exposed to players in the city and this is how you make this possible flow.
Even in that season, I thought, “I'm going to have to start a nonprofit one day.” That was my only frame of reference. I did that for three months and Steve Harvey had relocated. I worked for Steve Harvey when I was in college. When his show was in California, I was an intern there for supposed to be 60 days. I ended up staying for two and a half years. At the same time, I was getting my real estate license and all that, I also worked on the show. Steve Harvey had moved his operation from LA to Atlanta several months before I got there. A couple of people, who I kept in touch with, told them that I was there and he wanted to offer me a job. My family needed it. We were struggling. We had just got our first apartment. My husband and I slept on an air mattress while my daughter got the bed and all the things. We needed it. We were sharing one car.
My husband went from the seven-figure business and tailor suits to taking a job at Taco Bell to make sure we had health insurance. This was the state of what we were in, that financial education, one of them in particular, nonprofit. I was driving down the road, if you're from Atlanta, Roswell Road in Georgia, picture it. Driving from Sandy Springs down to Buckhead to go to Steve's office. They were making me a job offer. I'm driving down the road and the president of one of the financial education nonprofits I work with called me personally and he said, “Everybody loves you. You are our star volunteer. Do you work?” I'm like, “I don't work because I'm always at your place but I'm going to accept a job right now.”
He said, “We were building a new facility and we were looking for a financial management consultant and you would be perfect.” It's a dream job for me. I said, “What do I need to do?” He's like, “The problem is that we haven't even broken ground on the center. I'm talking several months from now,” and I'm like, “No, I’ve got to take this job. I have to go.” I go to Steve's office, I sit down with him and his manager at the time, Rushion. They're explaining to me this job that does not align with anything I'm interested in at all. I'm sitting there and they're going on and on and I blurt out, “I can't do it.” If you've ever seen Steve Harvey, he opens his eyes big and he's like, "What? Aren’t you broke?” First of all, that's a temporary thing. I'm not broken in spirits. I said, "Yeah, but I want to educate people around personal finance. I believe that's my call." He's like, "That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard." That was this look of shock.
I said, "Do you know what though? Do you know who would be great who loves entertainment? Gerald, my husband." They said, “What?” I'm like, “Gerald would be great. He loves entertainment.” I start going down his background from college to present. It was a Wednesday afternoon, I'll never forget. I said, "Do you want to interview him? Do you want him to come in?" They said, "No, he can start on Monday." My husband got the job. I didn't end up working for that organization for about 8 or 9 months. I held out, I kept volunteering, I kept doing work in the city, I took a bunch of odd jobs, but I refuse to commit myself to something that was not in alignment with what I felt called to do. It wasn't that I didn't do things.
I ended up being the salon manager for a hair salon. I would go in twice a week and help them with their books and stay organized. I did that for a lady that was a nail person. She had her own nail salon and stuff. I helped her. I bartered with her, so she did my nails and eyebrows. The other lady did my hair. They gave me $500 every week. My husband got a bump once he started. I kept myself flexible enough to focus on what I wanted to do. I ended up getting that job in 2010 and by 2012, I left but I left after writing my first book. I continued to blog. I started speaking and that was the beginning of my career taking off. The thing was to keep myself surrounded by what I loved.
Dustin
It’s putting yourself in the environment, putting stuff around what you love. What about the person that’s like, “I don't know what my thing is?” That's the missing component, “I can't be go to my North Star because I don't know what my thing is.” How do we find it?
Patrice
I would say to you, you are completely overthinking what your thing is. All I knew as a kid is I talked a lot. It is the thing that I got in trouble for the most. I'm talking every report card was straight A's and S's for conduct and stuff like that. It was be ASS or AUS, and my mom and dad would be like, "Why can't you?" I talked a lot, Mrs. Boynton in first grade, she was the person who let me do it. After that, nobody else would so it was be quiet. When it was time for me to figure out what my gift was because I played basketball, but I didn't dribble. I was the center back in the day. I stood my ground ready for a rebound. I'm not particularly gifted at basketball. I played piano and violin, not well, not concert-worthy at all. I always felt like, "How come I'm not talented and gifted? What’s wrong with me?" As I fell more and more in love with financial education, when I look back, the thing that gave me joy and lift me up, and it was the thing that I could do better than most people without much effort, was explaining things, talking to people in basic terms and taking things that may have felt complicated and making it super simple.
It finally hit me not until 2010. That's a gift. Now that I know this thing that I've always done run my mouth, it's figuring out, “Run my mouth about what?” It was the finance stuff. I could talk about anything if I'm passionate enough about it. It was figuring out, “How do I match the topics that I'm passionate about with the things that come naturally to me?” I worked for Steve in radio and had never considered that I would one day be on the radio. I never considered podcasting. I wasn't thinking about starting a podcast until three weeks before I started my podcast. It didn't naturally occur to me. In hindsight, it was like, "This was the natural next best step." I always tell people to stop overthinking it. It's right under your nose. It's probably the thing that you dismiss, that you got in trouble for, that people told you to stop doing or got you in so much trouble and it's so easy for you. You think that it should be more difficult and so you're looking for this thing outside of yourself and it’s right there. 
Dustin
There's so much information. If we could slow down, put the phone away. If you're lucky, you can get it done in a day. If you clear your head, ask some family members what were those things to get back in.
Patrice
I'll tell you what I asked myself. I asked myself what gave me the most energy. I got these questions from a book called Coach Yourself To Success by Talane Miedaner. It was 2009; I had no business even buying a book. When I say that, I didn't have a lot of financial resources, but I would sit in the bookstore so I could read. I was always about putting myself in the right spaces. I would sit in the bookstore, picked up this book, and I was like, "I've got to scrape together. This is $15 and buys this book. I need it and I loved it." It's how I'm formatting my new book. I still love it to this day because no matter where you're struggling, you can open it and get straight to an actionable step. It's very clear. There's a place in there where she talks about creating your dream job and trying to figure out what you feel is a purpose to do. Some of those questions were things like, "What gives you the most energy?" She encourages you to go all the way back in childhood because a lot of us only start thinking about what we've been good at starting at college. You had a whole life before you were eighteen.
Even though I didn't grow up being particularly confident, I would say I did know that I like to stand up at church and do announcements. I felt special when I’d be called on to do announcements, read the bulletin in church, the Christmas pageant or Easter play. I knew my lines, I was reciting, I was practicing in the mirror. I hadn't thought about that in terms of a career or how that would feed into who I would become. When I look back on it, I only ran for class president, which I was class president junior and senior year because I wanted to stand on stage and tell people what to do. I came from standing on stage and saying, "We need to do this, this and this." Those things were already in me as a kid, the stuff I was attracted to, there's a reason you've been attracted to what you've been attracted to. It is in alignment with who you are. That's not something you have to force. It's something that we have to lean into and embrace. 
Dustin
I want to encourage people to make the time because it's easy to say, "I don't know what it is. I'm pounding my head up against the wall." If you make that time to do it, it will rock your world.
Patrice
It will come. I know everyone's not big into meditation. I don't meditate to clear my head. I'm not that talented. If I'm dealing with something, I try to meditate on one thought, word, sentiment, a visual or something but I make time to be still every day. We live in such a busy world and it is filled with so many distractions that you do have to be intentional about unplugging and having this time of self-reflection and checking in. You have to constantly be checking in because purpose evolves. You might feel even, "I know my thing and still feel this level of unfulfillment." I would even encourage you to check in and make sure that's still your thing. Your thing six years ago may not be your thing now.
Dustin
I want to ask you about this opportunity, I thought that was a unique concept. We're talking money and we're talking a little entrepreneurship, biz, meditation and stillness. I want to get to this opportunity fund. What is an opportunity fund?
Patrice
I started to use the term opportunity fund because I truly believe that words are powerful and what you verbalize, you magnify and you magnetize, you bring it to you. I could not wrap my mind around emergency fund because if I kept saying emergency fund that I was putting out into the universe that I was anticipating an emergency. I said this on some show one time and people were like, "That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. You have to save for emergencies." I'm like, "No, I save for the opportunity to handle my emergencies with ease and grace. That's what I save for." I'm not saying it's not going to happen. I'm saying I don't set my sights on the anticipation of an emergency at every turn. That's my thing.
I don't say things like rainy day fun and I try to choose words very carefully because I believe that they have power. In the work I've done with financial psychology, my clients are so much more apt to save if they believe they're saving for something they want. It goes against human nature to save for things you don't want. Some people are naturally wired that way and they can do it. My mother-in-law is one of those people, her roof is not caving in. Her roof did cave in one time in a storm, but she was ready. She had everything together. Not very many people are motivated to do that especially when there are so many things that are fighting for their attention right now. If we can get them to visualize an opportunity they want for the future, if they keep visualizing that, then they see what they're sowing into and they're more consistent with the saving.
Dustin
You've written many books, but one of your books is Real Money Answers for Every Woman: How to Win the Money Game With or Without a Man. For the men that are reading this, there's a follow-up for men. We’ve got love for both. I always think there's a story. How did this book come to be and then how did the men's book come to be?
Patrice
Originally, I wanted to do a series of books like the For Dummies Series. I thought I would have real money answers for everybody, everything under the sun. I started with college students because that's primarily where I was speaking when I first started. I started the college book in particular, I was speaking at colleges and one day this woman, and she was a faculty or staff. She came up and she's like, "Where's the book?" After I was done speaking and I go, "I don't have a book." She gave me the dirtiest look. She's like, "You don't have a book. How could you not have a book?" It was like, “I was supposed to remember everything you said.” I felt so small. I was like, "She's right." It is unfair to open people up to this level of possibility and drop all these gems and then go home like, "That was fun. Bye."
That woman encouraged me to write my first book. That started out with a bunch of blog posts and then I reshaped them into a book. It was funny, I was speaking at colleges, but more teachers, more than professors, faculty members and staff. They were like, "I know you came for the kids but I have questions." That encouraged me because I was starting to get frustrated also with talking to women about their finances and them never having a clue about what was going on or saying things like, "When I get married, my husband will do it."
I'm like, “What if he's not good with money? You need to be aware of what's going on.” I'm sure we've all heard these stories about more mature women who may have been widowed and they thought they had certain things in place and they never questioned it for 10, 15, 20, 30 years. They're like, “I don't get anything." There are more women living in poverty for that reason. Elderly women who live in poverty and who thought that they had some security that wasn't there. I'm not saying to challenge your significant other or anything but personal finances about personal responsibility. Even for women who may not be working because I hear this a lot, "I don't contribute. I stay home with the kids so I don't have a right to ask." You have every right to know, you should know, you should be a part of the process even if it's a monthly sit down about where we are and show me where things are.
In my house, I manage the finances. It’s no secret there but I even have a file called In Case of Emergency. My husband knows that if something happens to me, he has access in the safe, as well as a few other places, scattered things about. I try to update it every other year. We have things all about so that he knows how to pay bills, what the expenses are, how to log in to all of this stuff, who has our trust documents. He's also like, "Babe, you got it." I'm like, "No, you need to know." That book came out and I did subtitle with or without a man because I wanted women to stop thinking, "My significant other, he's got it." Any number of things could happen. He could be disabled, deceased or decide to leave. Any number of things could happen, so it doesn't matter.
The follow-up book came because men were starting to read wives books. I would meet men who say, "You need to put a different cover on here. I can't be walking around with a pink book with this lady's face on it." I'm like, "Really?" A year later, I did a focus group with about 25 men. I asked them to read the book and then they helped me reshape it to fit men. That was great. Single men, divorce, married, different ages, different backgrounds and they helped me pull it together again so I could have a men's book. That led to me taking thousands of couples through what I called at that time, A Couples in Money Challenge. They have the same framework and it was ten steps that they could take to get comfortable having money conversations. I'm thinking about bringing that back. I was good. I did it for about three years straight around the Valentine season. I would get messages from people that say, "You saved our marriage." 
Dustin
You should do it. I know the money will come and you will get the value out of it. I want to encourage you to do it. Patrice, I could speak with you on. You're very easy and knowledgeable. You are right. You do take complex topics and you simplify them down so people can understand. What are you excited about? What are you working on that you can share?
Patrice
I'm excited about a few things. First of all, I'm excited about my next book. It will be out soon. The title is You Can Redefine Wealth For Yourself. It will be based on my six pillars and it's full of the mindset shifts, the behaviorals, the rituals and the things that you do on a daily basis to help you improve in each one of these pillars that I talk about. Those ultimately do impact how you deal with money. I'm super excited about that. I'll be doing an international tour. I'll do some live podcast tapings all over the place. I have to be honest. It wasn't intentional for me, but I have what I like to call downloads. Sometimes you're in the shower, you're driving and that idea hits you. I was getting out the shower and I saw this entire event. It's a training called Command the Stage. One of the things I'm known for is commanding the stage.
Engaging the audience, it doesn't matter the background, how many people are there, how to bring that energy and connect with people in a way that's meaningful and creates transformation. I got this download, I blurted it out on IGTV and then people start DMing me and saying, "How do I come? What do I do?" I was like, "I better go and get a room. I better put it together." I'm excited about that because in the speaking industry, it’s become so much speak to sell as opposed to speaking to transform. People are so worried about the money. As someone who believes in chasing purpose, not money, if you are operating in your purpose and your gifts and you are truly passionate and compassionate about the audience, you can make the money. Why don't we master the skill of how to truly tell our story and connect? 
Dustin
I want to know more about that. For people that want to continue the conversation, they can go to PatriceWashington.com. Where else can they go? Where else do you like to send people, social media?
Patrice
Besides the PatriceWashington.com, you can find me on Instagram in particular, @SeekWisdomPCW. I do Facebook and Twitter too, but I'm so much more active on Instagram. It's my favorite place to play. Feel free to DM me or to share this episode and tag WealthFit and let me know that they sent you. That's the best place.
Dustin
Thank you big time. I'm a fan of yours. Thank you for making the time being here in San Diego, doing an event and coming on the Get WealthFit Show. I'm excited for people to hear these things produced. 
Patrice
Thank you so much.

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