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Achieve Your Goals Even If You Face A Mountain Of Debt And Your World Is Collapsing Around You!
I recently watched an inspiring BBC program about Nick and Lesley Vallance. Her story teaches a lot about how to achieve your goals and dreams, even when your world is literally and metaphorically collapsing around you and you have a mountain of debt overshadowing your life.
Nick’s architecture business in Surrey had gone bust. Instead of going into their shell, the Vallances opted for risk and adventure. They decided to move to Spain to convert a 400-year-old Andalusian palace into a boutique hotel and family home even though they knew nothing about running a hotel and could only speak a few words of Spanish.
They also had no income after their business collapsed! However, Lesley commented that you only get one chance at life and you need to take it. The Vallances had a budget of £250,000. With this money, they wanted to start over and face a new challenge in an attractive location.
Nick had twenty years of experience as an architect, which would help, but the challenge was still huge and would soon become even bigger.
They bought the palace and then had to wait four months for permission to start turning it into a hotel. Their debts mounted while they waited. Lesley commented that they should enjoy each day like the Spanish and not just worry about being late.
Before the license arrived, a large part of the building collapsed, removing six rooms from its hotel. This was probably thanks to demolition work being carried out by a neighbour!
The Vallances would have to redo all their paperwork and re-apply for their license to adapt the palace. They would also have to spend even more money to reinforce the palace walls that had been shaken by the fallen walls. At one point, they were paying their builders £40,000 a month. His mountain of debt was getting bigger every day.
The neighbor refused to discuss compensation so they had to start another major task in their lives worrying about going to court for years and hopefully getting some money back at some point in the future. They realized that they couldn’t allow this negative track in their lives to disrupt the main track they were on: getting the hotel up and running.
They accepted the fact, up front, that they might not get their money back. They also saw the bright side in the fact that if the hotel had been opened before the collapse, people could have been killed.
They also had other problems. Money was very tight especially after the huge setbacks they had suffered. The bill for the building doubled to half a million pounds. They needed to borrow more money and take on more debt.
They planned to open the hotel in June, so they would start some revenue coming in to start paying off their debts. Nick said he couldn’t afford to think negatively about what would happen if his project failed.
He had to believe they would make the June deadline even though they had passed all previous deadlines since arriving in Spain. In the end, they also missed this deadline.
Nick clearly realized that he had bet a lot, “I’ve never been one to shy away from a bet.” Nor was he one to ignore a problem. He didn’t bury his head in the sand but got busy. He didn’t even think about giving up.
Lesley also had the philosophy that every problem has a solution. The boys were not happy at a local Spanish school. The teacher was upset that they didn’t listen. “How can you listen if you don’t understand the language?” said one of the boys. After a year, the boys were transferred to an international school where they were much happier
The Vallance family kept their positive attitude and after eighteen months of hard work, they felt they were closer to their dream. Lesley commented: “We have everything to gain and nothing to lose. My original hotel dream is there. We did it.”
However, they would need 50% year-round occupancy just to break even. They would have to learn how to market the hotel successfully. They were excited when they received their first booking from their website. The booking fee of 90 euros was the first money they made in two years!
After two long and exhausting years, they were proud and excited about their palace hotel. They actually enjoyed running the hotel even though they had never done this type of work before. The sons, Harry and George, now seemed happy. They enjoyed their school and made friends. They talked less about England.
Lesley’s language skills had improved as the neighbors did not speak English and she was willing to speak Spanish even though the native Spanish seemed at a loss.
They still had huge debts to pay off but their situation, thanks to their determination, hope and belief, had improved enormously. Lesley summed up her feelings: “I’m not so afraid of life.”
She realized that having her family over her was more important than anything else: “Nick and the kids being happy is pretty good, but I miss Marks and Spencer and English sausages.”
An interviewer asked, “Have you achieved your dream?”
“Very close!” Nick said
Money worries and debt can cause inaction, depression and even suicide. Instead, Lesley and Nick ignored their money problems and embarked on a life of discovery and adventure. They had to step well outside their comfort zones and learn new language, business and marketing skills.
At times their world seemed to collapse on them, but they kept going until they reached solid ground. This took much longer than they expected, but in the end their courage, determination and persistence in the face of enormous challenges helped them achieve their dream.
Achieving your goals can take much longer and cost much more than you expected. You may also face big and unexpected problems. Things may seem a lot worse than when you started. You may feel like giving up, but if you keep going and are willing to learn new skills, your dreams can come true.
Hopefully the Vallance family’s adventure in Spain will encourage you and me to achieve our own dreams. If your dream is to make money online, you’re unlikely to face the kind of debt that plagued the Vallances, but if you’re in debt, their story shows that solutions can be found even when your debts are mind-boggling.
A mountain of debt can be moved if you have the kind of mountain-moving faith described in the Bible or the kind of positive attitude displayed by the Vallance family. They did not allow their problems to paralyze them. They just kept working and applying their new skills until the mountain moved.
The Bible suggests that any of us can, with just a little faith, move mountains and perform financial and other miracles.
If, like the Vallances, you find yourself in a mountain of debt, remember that mountains can be moved and financial miracles can happen anywhere in the world. In the meantime, keep working steadily towards your goals.
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