Always Learning

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Oh my what a week… busy but fun. I am at a point in my life where I am not ashamed to admit that there is always room to learn. I am on this path where I am encouraging women to proactively plan for their futures and I consider myself one of those women that need to step it up and start thinking about what my future life will be like and what I am willing to do to get it to the vision I see. I am one who easily speaks about my student loan. I stupidly got myself into major student loan debt with my doctorate degree.  This is the norm right, everyone has student loan debt and its no big deal…. this is what most would like to have you believe and this is so far from the ideal.  I am now a proponent of encouraging people to go through school without debt because the debt is so not worth it. What you end up paying in interest alone is so no worth it and it just feels like it is a burden you will never be able to get rid of.

I am here to share that there is actually hope, there are people out there that have taken on the fight against student loan and they have been able to beat it. I am now a big fan of a pod cast that features a lot of guests that have been able to pay of their debt and are now living a life of peace and abundance without the burden of debt. The good news is that this is all possible. It requires a plan and commitment, as well as some sacrifices here and there but it can be done. We just have to live within our means, as a society we are god at spending money we don’t really have. We have become so plastic focused , swiping away and buying things with money we don’t even have. This is not the way it should be and its so hard to know this especially if this is all you have ever known. Unfortunately schools don’t really teach you about finances and budgeting , and depending on your background you might not even get to learn about these important topics from your family and friends. Thus it is then left to you to do the necessary work to educate yourself and get yourself out of the financial mess that you might have unknowingly gotten yourself in. This requires a lot of work and commitment as well as the time commitment into educating yourself. This is where the podcasts I have been listening to have become very handy.

I have been able to listen to others that have been in a similar situation as mine and  they have been able to get themselves out of debt. The joy and peace you hear in their voices has been so encouraging that I now also believe that I can become debt free. Sacrifice, commitment and hard work will be required but I am willing and eager to put in the work. This journey  has started with me attending a financial planning class at my church this past weekend. It was both interesting and empowering in that I found out that there are a lot of people going through similar situations and as such it is nothing to be ashamed of. Life is about learning from past mistakes and growing through them. Based on my past mistakes I have made it a point to educate my kids on the dangers of taking on too much student loan debt. If they can I would rather they work hard towards getting scholarships and benefit from free education that way. It is too late for me but not so for my kids. I am actually excited about tackling this challenge, how creative can I get with figuring out multiple income streams to help me chip at this student loans. Join me on this journey and see where I end up. I hope you are all learning every day and are receptive to the fact that learning never ends.

With Love  and Gratitude

Dr Fatsani Dogani

Smart Women Finish Rich: A Book Review

My goal this year is to read 40 books that is 4 times what I read last year but who cares right. If I reach the goal I would have achieve a lot and if I come below goal I still would be better off than I was last year. My thing is always reach way higher, push yourself to your limits that way even if you fall a bit short you are still an improvement from where you were.

I just finished reading a book titled Smart Women Finish Rich and it was a breath of fresh air, because of where I am in my personal development journey, I learned a lot, and found great value reading this book. I know 3 years prior I probably would have just read the first few pages and put it aside because I wouldn’t have been ready to accept what was being taught. Thankfully I can now see the need for my taking the driving seat in planning for my future. In the book Dave Bach does a great job at laying out the case for why women should pro-actively plan for their futures. Yes, taking on the responsibility, and educating ourselves about the need for a retirement plan and/or a future that is ours by our own design. Are you living your best life or are you just surviving? The key is that you must decide what is important for you, not your parents, not your kids, not your spouse, not your siblings, not your friends but you. I just wish everyone could just figure this bit out YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR LIFE. This has been the biggest realization of my adult life and it has resulted in me aspiring to become the best version of me. All this aside lets get back to the book.

I read the second edition, which I purchased for $1 at the local thrift store. It is rather dated , because there have since been more updated versions with the most recent version having been published in 2018. There are a few things that are probably not as applicable based on my version but the overall message should make every woman pay attention. Some key aspects I found useful was the step by step formula that was used to lay down what steps women should take to get their financial house in order. Whenever I am trying out something new or learning something new I always go to the why question. Why am I learning this?, why does it matter,? Well its as though David Bach was speaking directly to me , because he did provide details and reasons as to why women should be taking the driving sit in planning out their financial futures.

He provided a bunch reasons as to why women should be taking charge of their money and although my version was published in 1999 most of the reasons if not all of them are still valid today. Fair or not, women need to do more financial planning than men (David Bach). Here are some of the reasons why from the book as well as my own research on the topic.

  • women still typically earn less than men
  • women are the ones hurt more by downsizing
  • women take more time off from work and as such end up working less years than their male counterparts thereby contributing less to their retirement funds
  • women will on average spend more time in retirement, because they tend to live longer
  • women tend to turn down promotions due to family obligations
  • women have more career disruptions which affect them negatively as they end up having to forgo incomes, and loose out on work provided benefits
  • women are the ones that are usually affected by divorce or the death of their spouses especially if they are not really involved in the management of the family expenses

With all these reasons and more I am sure you are beginning to understand why it is important for women to start taking control of their finances and start planning for their futures. Reading Smart Women Finish Rich would be a great way of starting to educate yourselves. Even a google search provided me with a lot of interesting articles about why its important for women to proactively plan for their futures. It took me doing the work to find this available information, unfortunately a lot of other women never take these steps because they never think anything will happen to them or their spouse or they work on the assumption that all will be well. I am here to share that life happens and you have to be the one to save your self and plan for the future you want. What I liked about the book is that it provided really simple, easy to follow steps on how you can get yourself onto the right path. It starts with opening your eyes and owning your mess. Its only through this that you will be able to create the future you want.

Travel adventure, kids college, retirement security…all these can be yours but only if you start taking the necessary steps to get to a sound financial picture. He focuses on having us create three financial baskets

  1. Security Basket (meant to have you plan for the worst) ensuring that you have a financial cushion in case god forbid the worst would happen
  2. Your Retirement Basket (are you putting aside money towards your retirement)
  3. Your Dream Basket (budgeting for the fun things in life, your goals , your aspirations)

The book was long and it had a lot of information and it kept my interest but also had me question some of the recommendations but then again I was working with a 1999 version of the book. Some of the investment strategies that were being recommended do have some question marks on them. Tony Robbins has published a book which in which he discourages the use of mutual funds and the deferred tax strategy of saving mainly because we have no idea of knowing what the government will charge when it comes time to pulling our retirement funds out. I am learning, and you should be too. I will continue to educate myself. I do recommend this book because it is easy to read, I was able to follow the concepts or it could just be that I now have a keen interest in financial planning for women and as such I found some value in the learning.

I will plan on sharing more book reviews, I could go on and on about this book but it was 328 pages long and I don’t wont to lose you to boredom though this shouldn’t be taken as a boring subject it is required knowledge and it a shame it is not readily taught in schools. The book gets a thumbs up from me for its ease of reading and relevancy.

With Love and Gratitude

Dr. Fatsani Dogani

A mothers love

I was recently struck with the realization that my goal is to serve women by encouraging them to proactively plan for their futures. The book I wrote Stop, Take a Breath, and Reassess Life provided a bit of a description of my experience of having to deal with my husband being diagnosed with a spinal tumor and having to undergo emergency spinal surgery. People that aspire to make a difference in peoples lives always seem to be able to point to a time in their lives or an experience in their past that was the starting point of when the decided to start on a meaningful journey. Mine was my husband’s surgery, I went through a lot of growth and had to look within in order to get through the experience. My faith, my family, and my friends were strong pillars that provided me with the strength I needed. It was an experience I will always be grateful for as it launched my writing career, here I am three years on, sharing my story in order to encourage women to proactively plan for their futures. You might ask yourselves why I have chosen this path, believe you me I have asked myself the same question and I will try and explain myself.

Women disproportionately take on the burden of caring for the family, whether it be caring for their parents, their spouses or their children. This is the culture, this is the expectation and because of this women are the ones that end up spending less of their working years actually working and as such save less towards retirement. Women are also paid less than their Male counterparts and as such have a disadvantage from the get go. Yes this is a generalist view but you just have to google pay inequality and you will get a lot of statistics on the actual figures. I believe that sharing these facts can go a great way to educating women that they have to start early in planning for their futures. Prior to my husband’s surgery I never really worried about these things, I wasted so much time in my twenties not signing up for retirement accounts and not bothering with educating myself. I was basically following the herd. I was doing what others around me were doing, how was I to know better. Who worries about the future, well a lot of people do, because whether we like it or not we are getting older and we can not predict what tommorow will bring but we sure as hell can prepare for it. Let me share a story that might help you see why its important for you as a woman to plan ahead.

My son moved out last week, he left the nest, although he is only 80 or so miles away he has actually moved out. This is a positive thing right, he is getting independent, working, paying bills and following his dreams. I am excited for him but I am also reflective. I have raised this young man to this point in his life but he will always be my baby. A mothers love never dies, mothers are the first to run to your side when things go wrong. When I was in college living my best days ever, I got into a car accident, I knew I was screwed because I shouldn’t have been off campus in the first place. Thankfully my injury wasnt that severe , a dislocated shoulder, and a few bruises. My dad was livid his initial reaction was to let me stew it out, he even discouraged my mom from coming out to see me. But guess what … a mothers love…. my mom took the first opportunity to drive up to be by my bedside while I was in the hospital. This is just how caring women are, they have that nurturing nature in them, they always put other before themselves. In the end who is there for them. How many times have you had to take time off work to care for someone at home? This is the reason why you need to take the time to seriously start planning ahead for your future. Are you putting aside enough? Are you following your dreams and living your purpose, if not this is the day to start. Starting is easy , it just begins with a decision. Women tend to outlive their spouses and that is why I so feel passionately connected to sharing my message. Start planning for your futures, I may be preaching to the choir but if you feel that somehow this message resonates with you at some level keep following. I am going to keep harping on.

Have a great week and always remember that mothers love.

With Love and Gratitude

Dr Fatsani Dogani

Living with Purpose

A few weeks ago I started off by stating the obvious point that “time waits for no man” and I hope that this encouraged you all to reassess where you are in life and ask yourself whether you are living your life with purpose or are you are just coasting by? One area I want you to consider seriously looking at is your career, for the stay at home mums you are also included. What dreams are you sitting on? What were you trying to become before the babies came along? Motherhood is such a fulfilling job but it can also lead to losing yourself in it. What were you aiming to be before you became Nandis Mum (Nandi is my daughter’s name)? I want to encourage you to continue chasing your dreams, it might be a slow process but start it either way.

There will come a time when the nest will be empty and that time might be too late to start chasing those dreams of yours. I want to encourage everyone to follow their dreams. Bare with me for a minute, I know there are those who are living their best lives ever because they are doing what makes them happy, being mum to their kids and enjoying every aspect of it. For those of us that have to work, I ask you the following questions. Do you like your job or do you dread the thought of Monday? Considering the number of years you will have to work to get to retirement are you willing to continue going to a job that you hate? Are you in your dream job or are you in the job that took you when you graduated college and had to start paying bills? I ask these questions to guide you into reflection. If you hate your job and you dread Mondays then I think it time that you Stopped, took a breath and Reassessed life. It’s scary to question the path you have chosen but it is necessary unless you are okay spending the next 20 to 30 years doing something that you are not passionate about. I encourage you to go back to the drawing board, go back to your dreams and see if you can change your path and do what your heart desires. Don’t get me wrong, I am not asking you to be irresponsible and quit your job without a plan, I want you to have a plan and realize that there may be some sacrifices you might have to make.

The first thing you can do is give yourself permission to ask what your dream job would be, describe it, visualize it, and start researching it. That is assuming you are not in your ideal job. What skills do you require to get into your dream field? Do the work, google is your friend. Another option is to find the joy in your current job, what do you find exciting, what brings you fulfillment, can you do more of that. Make the effort to enjoy your job, you might have to be there for a while, while you figure out what you want to do. Try and reconnect to why you joined the profession in the first place, does it still give you meaning, does it still make sense.

If you do a deep reflection and find you want a career change do the work, acquire the necessary skills and be willing to intern to get the necessary hands-on experience if required, but avoid taking on a student loan at all costs. It all seems impossible until you start asking the right questions. All I am saying is give yourself permission to explore other possibilities. Your happiness should count for something, don’t be miserable in a job you hate. Take the steps to explore what makes you happy.

With Love and Gratitude

Dr Fatsani Dogani

Goal Setting

Its the 2nd week of July and I felt the need to address the fact that we are half way through the year. If you are like most, you probably usually have some new year goals that you formulate at the beginning of the year. Consider me your accountability buddy. I am here to check up on you and ask you how your goals are going. If you have stuck them out and have been able to develop the habits that are getting you closer to your goals then kudos to you. You should acknowledge the progress and celebrate the achievement. If by chance you haven’t moved on any of your targets/plans dont give yourself a hand time you can use this half year mark to re stock and realign yourself to your goals.

Find the clarity and revisit the reasons why you had those specific goals. One thing I have learned about goal setting is that if you dont have a strong emotional connection to the reason behind the goal, the chances of achieving it are going to be very slim. Take me for example, I had exercise as a goal for every year for the longest time, but I was never really able to sustain the regular exercise goal. This year I decided to make it more specific. I also dug deep to find an emotional connection that would keep me focused on my goal. I have a family history of hypertension and diabetes and I wanted to take the necessary steps to address this risk factor. Added to that I have 3 wonderful kids and a loving husband and I want to do what I can to ensure that I will be here for them. Granted I could be hit by a bus tommorow and that is something that I cannot control but I can control and reduce my chances developing diabetes by taking my own preventative steps. Having found my why it was then easier to think of a strategy for my fitness. I had to come up with something that was doable for me. Considering my night shift schedule I knew a realistic starting goal would be to go to the gym 3 times a week . I also knew my limitations where jogging was concerned. I therefore opted for group classes. I can happily report that I have been able to maintain this fitness goal. I go to the gym three times a week and I attend group exercises as my exercise. On good weeks I am even able to go 5 times a week . The fact that I had set a realistic goal of going to the gym 3 times a week has made it possible for me to stick to my goal. Perhaps this is a strategy that might be helpful for you as you attempt to revisit your goals.

Are you someone who looks at the glass as half full or half empty. In order to revisit your goals and attack them successfully you will have to become a glass half full type of person. It is halfway through the year and the perfect opportunity to finish the year strong. You have 6 months of the year left, go out there and start working on those goals.

With Love and Gratitude

Dr Fatsani Dogani

Protégé what?

Hello everyone

I want to share my recent experience as I feel it applies to everyone. I am a member of a local toastmasters club and I was recently promoted to the role of Vice president of Education (fear, limiting beliefs, stress) were my initial reactions to this news but then I decided to take a step back and reflect. I was voted into the role for a reason, obviously the people around me felt that I had the skills required to take on this role. I am sure there is a lot of us out there that do not have faith in ourselves and we allow our negative self talk limit us from becoming whom god created us to be. Well I am here to share the little wisdom I have learned in the hope of encouraging you all to take the risks and chances that are out there for the taking. A great way to progress is to take on the role of a protégé especially when you are starting out something new.

A protégé per dictionary definition is ” a person who is guided and supported by an older and more experienced or influential person” . I am in toastmasters for a reason, I want to develop the skills necessary to spread my message to the masses, that message is mainly aimed at women but anyone can really make effective use of it. I am inspired to encourage people to proactively plan for their futures. The whys will eventually be explained but my own personal experience has awakened me to the fact that life happens and most of us are ill prepared to deal with emergencies. I am here to encourage people to consider the fact that “Life Happens” and to ask themselves whether they are adequately prepared to deal with these “Life Happens” situations. I wasn’t prepared but I am getting myself situated to deal with what life can potentially throw at me. I am also aware of the fact that I might not be the only person out there and I want to use my experience as a learning opportunity for others. Thus my seeking out toastmasters, I joined toastmasters in January of 2019 and in June 2019 I was voted in as Vice president of Education. Part of my toastmasters journey has required me to fulfill different roles that have made me a better person. I have evaluated speeches , I have timed speeches, I have run meetings and I have intently listened for mistakes . In the 6 months I have been enrolled in toastmasters I can confidently share that I have added to my skill set, but what I want to share with you more is my last project.

I was introduced to mentorship and coaching from the perspective of toastmaster’s international. My last project dealt with mentorship and coaching, but the interesting thing is that it required me to think back to a time to when I was a protégé. I was required to give a 5-7 minute talk about a time I was a protégé. This was easy I was able to recall the time I was a student nurse and had no idea what I had gotten myself into. I appreciated toastmasters for providing me with the opportunity to reflect on my life and humble me into the reality that life is all about learning. We become what we become due to the life experiences that come our way. As a protégé student nurse I was dependent on those that came before me to show me the way. As humans we are not born knowing everything but we are born with the capability to learn from others and as a consequence we are given the responsibility to share our knowledge to the next generation. We evolve through our life experiences, I am grateful for the fact that I can acknowledge my shortcomings and I am willing to learn. I might not be a protégé nurse anymore but I am a protégé in different things in life. I am willing to learn and I am willing to share my knowledge , if you come with an open mind and a willingness to humble yourself you will find that life is meant to be enjoyed and being opening to learning is a grand way of enjoying the life god designed for you. Next time you have a bad thought about someone asking you a question, try and have some empathy and think back to a time when you needed some help with something you didn’t know.

With Love and Gratitude

Dr Fatsani Dogani

Serenity

The dictionary defines serenity as the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled. Now that the formality is over let me share my own personal experience of serenity. If you have been following me you might recall me mentioning that a good way of growing is to participate in challenges. I recently participated in a book reading challenge, if you want to call it that. I watched daily videos over a 12 day period as we read the book ” As a Man Thinketh” by James Allen. Now I am no literature nerd, so this book was rather challenging to read even with having someone else explain it to me. I know that I will have to read it several times over to fully appreciate it . I did however get the gist of the book which wad, our thoughts are our biggest weapon…its up to us to decide whether we want to use our thoughts to grow or to stay in our mediocrity. This is a very simplistic summary of the book so I recommend that you read it so that you can come up with your own opinion about the message.

It was a tough book to read but it did contain some of the best writing I have ever come across. It is a poetic book that is filled with a lot of wisdom. I am still dissecting the book word by word and will continue to do so for a while. Again a key nugget of wisdom was the important role our thoughts play in what we end up becoming in life. Before I get off point let me get back to my purpose of writing this post (Serenity).

I was required to read the final chapter of the book “As a man thinketh” which is titled SERENITY. I had to read it for 5 consecutive days as well as write down the chapter word for word for 5 straight days. Now I can’t imagine that every one that participated in the book reading challenge carried out this activity but I sure did. My o My how grateful I’m I that I did so. Serenity sure is calmness of mind. My interpretation of the reading is that an evolved being is one who has mastered the art of serenity. This is a person who is able to stay calm in the midst of chaos. One who people want to deal with out of respect because they value and appreciate the calmness of the person. Serenity means you are beyond reproach. you are able to take things in stride.

You are serene because you realize that tempers dont get you anywhere and you keep a cool head when things are going south. I know mine is a very simplistic summary of some of the best writing in the world but the key take away was calmness of mind trumps high tempers any day.

Based on this exercise I have decided I will make an effort to always remain calm and serene where my life is concerned. I understand it will take time but I also realize that functioning on anger, stress, and high tempers is not good for the soul and if I can do something about it why not give it a try. I am therefore making a pact to function at a higher level by always aiming to be serene, and I encourage you to choose calm over stress whenever the opportunity arises.

With Love and Gratitude

Dr Fatsani Dogani