Success BDA-Style

Update on progress for the Daily Reader for Compulsive Debtors and Spenders: 200 days written!


I’ve begun attending BDA phone meetings and am seeing where my challenges lie. With over five years sober in my personal finances, I thought working BDA would be easy for me. But it’s clear that business is a whole different animal. In addition, I suspect a solo entrepreneur-creative (vs. a creative entrepreneur, which I definitely do NOT consider myself) is going to work BDA far differently than someone building a brick and mortar business with a staff. What I mean is that my decisions will probably be smaller in scope, at least at the beginning, and with enough willingness, I can say no when I must. This process is giving me clarity about what I want success to look like as an entrepreneur-creative:

  1. I don’t want to sacrifice sober spending for ego acclaim. For instance, just because I can show my art at a gallery or a show doesn’t mean I should do so if I cannot afford the fee. I must live by a spending plan in business as well as in my personal spending. I don’t want to stop thinking clearly just because there is an opportunity before me. Living in future earnings doesn’t work in my personal life, so there is no reason to think it will work for my business.
  2. I want to maintain humility about my accomplishments and focus on my sobriety. I don’t want to brag about what I’ve done and then add at the end that I’m going broke in the process. For me, there is no success without sobriety.
  3. I could become extremely self-centered in BDA, and need to guard against using my outreach calls to puff myself up. Instead, I want to do service in BDA as I do in DA, which means I don’t just talk about me and my accomplishments, but I take the time to listen to the other person.
  4. If and when I experience success in my business, I want to share with others exactly how I did that. I don’t want to hold my process close to the vest, but want to give others any keys and tips to successfully using the tools. I don’t want to just say I have a business plan (when I do!), but to be of service to others to show them what that looks like.
  5. I want to remember that BDA success is not measured in worldly acclaim or money, but in my level of sobriety and integrity around how I spend money as well as having a continuing commitment not to debt no matter what.
  6. I may never make a lot of money from my business endeavors, but that doesn’t mean I am not successful. People act like having a “B” job is a shameful punishment. But instead, maybe we can be grateful for those “B” jobs because they allow us to afford to create our art. Vincent Van Gogh only sold one painting during his lifetime. I consider myself successful if I continue to create. It’s a great bonus if others buy my work.
  7. I don’t want to live in grandiosity. So that means I don’t over-extend myself financially. I have to be realistic about how far I can go with building my business based on what I can afford. I may not like that because it probably means saying no too often when I want to say yes. I know my Higher Power wants me to live within my means, and that includes investing in my business.
  8. I commit every penny I spend before I spend it in my personal recovery program. Doing so has saved my life. I don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t do that in my business as well.

Where I need help is in working the tools. I’d love to hear more specifics from members on how they work these tools just as we get detailed help and guidance on working the steps.

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