Picture of runner with medal after running the Atlanta Marathon

Who inspires you?

Is that too serious a question to begin a Yakezie new member post? Perhaps, but it’s extremely relevant for me because I think about this every time I sit down to write. Dwelling on this keeps my writing focused on my mission. Above all, as noted here on Yakezie recently, it allows writing to be fun, knowing that it serves a higher purpose than just benefiting me.

In case you don’t know, my name is Brian and I blog at a site called Luke1428. For those wondering where that name came from, you can find the short story behind it here. It certainly fits with all things related to personal finance and successfully pursuing life goals once you understand the context.

To answer the question, I derive my inspiration from four sources. Those of you that have followed my writing know Luke1428 has a religious bent to it’s content. I am a Christian and work my thoughts into some of my writing, most notably my Hidden Nuggets Series, which highlights money related themes from the Bible and their relationship to contemporary cultural issues. My relationship with God has been a true blessing in my life and I think about what might or might not honor Him every time I write.

My faith teaches me that one of my highest callings is to serve others. That’s a huge reason I started writing in the first place. Nothing can be more personally gratifying than giving of oneself to touch other people’s lives. Knowing that the words I write may impact someone for good keeps me inspired each day.

I have four awesome pieces of inspiration, scurrying around our home. Right now, it’s raining on our school’s first day of spring break and they are all downstairs watching TV, keeping it quiet so this can be written without distraction. (Ahh…the quietness of a house with four kids is a moment to cherish.) Even more so to cherish though, is the gratification I receive knowing my words are being taken in by their little eyes and ears eager to learn about life and money.

My last source of inspiration has been with me for 18 years. She’s the reason my blog exists. And it wasn’t due to her words only…her actions were truly inspiring.

Our Family Transition

Four years ago, my wife decided her career as a teacher was coming to an end. She taught upper level math at the private school where I was serving as principal. She was excellent at that role, but felt something was missing from her life. Teaching simply wasn’t igniting a fire anymore.

She was always preaching to her kids saying, “Hey, anything is possible. Students with excellent math ability can pursue incredible careers.” At some point, the message she had been impressing on the kids turned around and fired back at her. “Why not me?” she said after dinner one night. “Why can’t I be the one pursuing a dream?”

We first began by looking at teacher related fields, like in-house and online tutoring. That wasn’t satisfying the itch. She thought about being an actuary but that would have likely meant moving, as demand in our area is not high.

Then one night I said, “What about becoming an accountant, a CPA?” She paused and a twinkle flashed from her eye. I knew we were onto something.

For starters, she had to go back to school. This required taking a few undergrad programs simply to get into her Master’s program. That was instant frustration right off the bat.

Our plan was for her to continue teaching while she pursued her degree. Much to our surprise, she was offered a position at an accounting firm, through a close friend who knew of her intended career path. So now, in addition to being a student again, she was dealing with a new job.

For her to take that new position required a huge sacrifice on my part. I agreed to step down from my principal position of 10 years and move into the classroom to simply teach. With her extended work hours, plus nights and weekends devoted to study, someone had to be responsible for the kids and overseeing the house. That became me, as I was glad to make the sacrifice for her to pursue this dream.

The new career and schoolwork was nothing compared to what took place when she began to study for the CPA exam. In case you are unaware, this is one of the toughest professional exams around, with a pass/fail rate near 50%. She dove in with abandon. I’ve never seen anyone so focused on passing a test. She passed all four parts on the first try and it wasn’t even close.

In this short post, I can’t begin to describe how difficult the transitional journey was. I’ll get more detailed in the e-book I write one day. Needless to say, it was excruciatingly hard on many days when you only had 30 minutes to interact with your wife.

However, in one of those brief moments as we talked about our dreams on a cold, winter night, she asked me, “Why don’t you start writing a blog and share your ideas about personal finance?”

Overcoming the Fear

My first reaction was gut-wrenching fear, quickly followed by an unequivocal “No, I don’t think so.” Why would I put myself out there (wherever “there” was) and risk ridicule and rejection? I’m safe right here.

Then came the excuses built out of my fear:

“Besides I don’t even know what a blog is.”

“I won’t have time to write now that I’ve taken over the house responsibilities.”

“Why would anyone listen to me? I’m nobody.”

“We can’t deal with anymore change right now. Your deal is enough for the moment.”

So the blog idea quickly found a place in File 13.

However, when I wasn’t looking, my wife removed the crumpled remains of the idea from the trashcan. Over the next few months, she kept gently prodding and encouraging me with the idea. There was no badgering. She simply knew I had it in me.

I only had to believe and want it myself.

The Blog Is Born

Two years into my wife’s journey, I started Luke1428. So what changed? How did I overcome the fear?

A large part was simply the passage of time. Giving it some time allowed me to process my feelings about it. It also let me start reading blogs to understand what they were and to see how people interacted with one another. (Note – the feedback on a personal finance blog is a lot different than what you find on a Yahoo or ESPN message board. Who knew?)

However, I was mostly inspired by my wife’s fearlessness when it came to her journey. I had seen her not give in, lose sight of the goal or succumb to tired moments when her emotions were shot. She was succeeding in marvelous ways and it simply led me full circle to the same conclusion that started her journey, “Why can’t I do something extraordinary and out of my comfort zone also?”

So, thank you to my wife Kim for being my biggest earthly inspiration. I could not have completed this challenge without your example and encouragement along the way.

To Where From Here?

I don’t know where my blog journey will take me. At this point, I’m proud and thankful to be part of this network. I appreciate the support I’ve received at my blog from the members here and am looking forward to getting to know more of you in the days to come.

I know there is much for me to learn, especially when it comes to the technical aspects of blogging that lead to its growth. I’m still pretty green in those areas, as I simply haven’t had the time to devote to learning about it. With all my duties at work, the kids and the house, writing alone has consumed what time I have left.

For those who haven’t made a connection with me yet, I can be found at Twitter, Facebook and of course at my site. Thanks again, to Sam and the membership committee for bringing me into the fold.

Who inspires you to change? What was your biggest fear in starting a blog? What other obstacles did you have to overcome? Other than networking and guest posting, what strategies/methods/tools have you used to grow your blog?