Episode 68 – Rachel Cruze, Author of The Contentment Journal

We all know that choosing to be content with what we have is the better way to live. Yet so often we find ourselves thinking, “If only I could afford that, or weighed that much, or had this kind of marriage – my life would be so much better.” So many of us struggle with contentment, which is why Jessica’s conversation with Rachel Cruze is so important. Rachel is the bestselling author of The Contentment Journal, a 90-day journey towards contentment. Today, Rachel gives us some really practical knowledge about loving the life you have, and not someone else’s. And as a bonus, we’ll get some insider knowledge about what it was like growing up the home of famed financial guru, Dave Ramsey.

Rachel Cruz


Jessica: Hey, everyone. Welcome back to the Going Scared podcast. This is your host, Jessica Honegger, the founder of Noonday Collection. And this is your show for all things entrepreneurship, courage, and social impact. Today’s guest came during a very timely moment for me. I have been diving into this idea of what does it mean to be content. Well, Rachel Cruze is our guide. She just released a journal called The Contentment Journal which is a 90-day journey toward contentment—one where you actually love your life and not someone else’s. Rachel has also launched a new podcast called the Rachel Cruze Show, where she shares tips on how to make more money, get out of debt quickly, and make progress toward your goals. Now, for those of y’all that don’t know Rachel, you might know her dad, Dave Ramsey. That’s right. And I share with her pretty frankly that I was a little scared to talk to someone that is related to Dave Ramsey, because I myself have credit cards. But we cleared all of that up. We had a really great conversation.

Before we get going, I just wanted to give a shoutout to my Going Scared listeners. Thank you so much to Nicole Mullein, who left a review on iTunes saying that “Jessica’s energy is contagious, her vulnerability is refreshing, and her enthusiasm is igniting. This podcast has been a must-listen-to for me for months. It’s introduced me to thought leaders and social entrepreneurs rethinking how our businesses emerge from passion and calling. We’re all fearful about our sufficiency but togetherness in the fear changes everything. Thank you, Jessica, for extending a hand.” Wow. Hello, this made my day. If you guys have listened to the Going Scared podcast, I would love for you to just pay it forward by just going and leaving a little review, write just a couple of sentences, and this way more listeners can discover these conversations. And trust me, today’s conversation is one that you are going to want to share over and over and over. I’m constantly trying to find this balance between what does it mean to strive and go after your dreams and go after your goals, but to do it from a place of contentment and gratitude. That’s what we talk about today.

Jessica: Well, Rachel, I have been super excited to talk with you because I am in love with one of your best friends, Christy Writes.

Rachel: Oh, yes. Oh, my goodness. You know she’s just the best. She’s so fun.

Jessica: She is. And I told her this when I came up to your studio to record for her show, I seriously thought I was going to be struck by lightning. Because I had been in such horrible credit card debt.

Rachel: Oh, stop, Jessica, we welcome everyone to open arms. No matter where you are.

Jessica: But I don’t know. I always thought of Dave Ramsey is like hardcore, super hardcore. And so, I was like, “OK, is this OK?” My heart was beating. I was like, “I’m going to share my story. And, I mean, I still have credit cards. I think they’re great.” And, anyway. I’m curious, do you get that a lot? Do you see sometimes people like avoiding you? They’re like, “Oh, my gosh, I’m in debt right now. I can’t even look Rachel in the eye?”

Rachel: No, it’s more on like a personal note. If they’re like, “OK, I…” They like confess. They find place to confess to me like, “Listen, I have four credit cards in my purse right now. I just need you to know that.” I’m like, “I’m good. I promise. You’re fine.” I’ll go out to dinner with some—none of my good friends do this—but if I go out with someone that I don’t know super well, and we’re all out, and they’ll be like, “Sorry, I’m paying with my credit card,” or make a joke about it or something. And I’m like, “Trust me, I’m fine. There’s other things going on in my head besides how you’re paying for your dinner, so I’m good.”

Jessica: I see people do it to me when they’re not wearing Noonday jewelry, and they’ll automatically be like really apologetic, especially if they’re wearing Kendra Scott who’s in Austin company. And they’re like, ‘I’m so sorry, I’ve got Kendra on today.” And I’m like, “Guys.” It’s like, “Really? Don’t do that. She’s awesome, you know?”

Rachel: Totally, totally, totally. Instead I don’t say like, “God bless MasterCard.” It’s like that’s not any different. God bless Kendra Scott though for sure.


A Personal Calling in a Family Business

Jessica: I am so curious. I don’t know what has been your journey of going into the family business?

Rachel: Yes. So, it started probably my path I think when I look back really started when I was 15. We are always part of the company. I mean, our first shipping department was in our living room as little kids. Like we stuffed envelopes and shipped boxes of books and like we did all that kind of stuff, kind of the grunt work as little kids. But when I was 15, I started traveling and speaking with my dad. And back then our live events were on Saturdays and they were all day events like six hours long and I would go out before one of the breaks at each event and pitch our kids’ products that we have. And so, I had this whole like little seven-minute little sales pitch stories and jokes and all that. And so, get doing that 15 and these were arena like events anywhere from 9,000 to 12,000 people.

And so, I can remember the very first one I ever did. I was so scared obviously. I was like freaking out. But when I got done, I remember just like having this adrenaline high. And I remember the very first thing I said is I said, “That was so much fun.” And so, I learned pretty quickly that I did. I enjoyed public speaking. I was very comfortable in front of people and on the stage. And I learned that that’s uncommon. In our world today, most people are terrified of public speaking. So, I probably couldn’t name it then, but I think that was kind of the first steak post, if you will, in my story of God kind of opening that door for me and me learning that early in my life. And so, I did that all through my sophomore, junior, and senior year of high school and on the weekends I would travel with dad and do that.

“I enjoyed public speaking. I was very comfortable in front of people and on the stage. … So, I probably couldn’t name it then, but I think that was kind of the first steak post, if you will, in my story of God kind of opening that door for me and me learning that early in my life.” Rachel Cruze

And then when I went to college, I stopped all of that and I was like, “I’m just gonna go to school.” I was away at college. And the first … gosh, the first week I was there, I remember meeting this girl, and she started kind of telling me her story, everything about her new car she just bought that she has a car loan with it. She kind of starts unpacking the story, unbeknownst to her, by any means that I’m Dave Ramsey’s daughter or any of that it was just these two, 18-year-olds having this money conversation. And that was really a light bulb heart moment for me where I realized in that moment, “Wow, I’m 18 years old. I’m talking to this peer that already believes the debt has to be a part of her life. That car loans are just what you do. And she’s already believed these lies at 18.”

And I remember thinking like, “I don’t know a ton of stuff, like I don’t know everything. But I know enough that probably could help her shift her habits early on, which will help her later in life when we graduate and all of that.” So, that’s really kind of where my heart started more into the message when I was coming face to face with people my own age already making mistakes with money. So, when I graduated college, I sat down with my parents. I was like, “This is what I want to do. I want to travel, and I want to speak to high school students and college students about this topic of money.” Because I looked at my dad as kind of the emergency surgeon, and I was the preventative medicine. If you could get this early, you can do it. So, I did that whole message and that audience for about three years out of college. And then I looked up and I was like, “Wow, talking to high school students, it’s kind of miserable. They’re a really hard audience to speak to.”

Jessica: Pretty much that’s hardest audience you could choose.

Rachel: It is, right?

Jessica: Perhaps seventh graders, maybe that’s a little worse.

Rachel: Oh, my gosh, yes. So, I mean, I thought when I was like I was married. Now I have two kids, actually one on the way. So, with my life stages changing and growing to a mom and working, my message is definitely adapted to that. And so, my audience says … they’re a little bit older now, I guess you could say than high school students. But, yeah, that’s kind of really where it started. And, and I think a lot of people just assume when they know that I work and this is my job and this is what I do, that “Oh, of course, this is what you do. You’re Dave Ramsey’s daughter.” But mom and dad were so great. I credit them so much because there was zero and when I say zero, truly zero pressure to come to the family business. Dad is like, “If this is what you’re called to do, come on. You’re going to work twice as hard if you choose to work here. But besides that, like you can come but if you don’t, and you want to go do your own thing, go do your own thing.”

There was not this pressure, or this expectation of us which now, but fast forward, I’ve been doing it for 10 years. I look back and I’m like, “Man, that was such a healthy lens that they looked at this business through as parents to their growing kids. And so, I’m thankful for that.” So truly, I’m doing what I’m doing today. Yes, it helps that Dave Ramsey is my dad and my story obviously intersects with his a lot, but I do it because I love it. It’s so fun. And the fact that we get to help people day in and day out about the subject that is so stressful for people and we get to give them a plan and give them hope is something that truly I wake up and I do not dread come into work. And that’s a really big blessing and so I’m thankful for that.

“The fact that we get to help people day in and day out about the subject that is so stressful for people and we get to give them a plan and give them hope is something that truly I wake up and I do not dread coming into work.” Rachel Cruze


Mission and Commission

Jessica: It is. Well, it’s really inspiring, especially for me as a business owner because, I mean, this is how life used to be back in the day. You just took over your family business. And, I mean, I just got back from India and, I mean, every family I meet there it came from it, and they’ve been paper makers for every generations. And there’s something really beautiful about it. So, for me, it’s really inspiring. And we don’t have an exit strategy plan. I mean, we’re in this for the long-term. And, I mean, my kids, they come alongside me, and so I’m curious … I have no idea but it’s cool to think about that it’s even an option. And I’m curious how did you work out your compensation plan in high school when you were working?

Rachel: I got a percentage of whatever I sold at the back book tables after I was done with my pitch. So, I would run off stage, run to one of the product tables and however much product sold that I pitched, I got a percentage of it.

Jessica: Nice.

Rachel: I know. True commission. It was great.

Jessica: Yeah, because that’s a lot more than minimum wage back then.

Rachel: Yeah, fair. Oh, yeah, I got the hook up. For sure. For sure. It wasn’t all wages. I mean, it was a very small percentage, trust me. But it was enough that I was like, “Oh, it’s motivating.” And it was so fun, and you probably as an entrepreneur, you appreciate this. But like, we would compare events to events and some events so really well, some not so much. And my dad would sit with me on the plane and we look at numbers and he’d be like, “OK, usually, because this audience is in this part of the country and sometimes they’re just not … they don’t buy as quickly,” or, “Your pitch was off, Rachel. That joke did not land,” or I mean … we like perfected the whole thing. And yeah, looking back, I’m like, “It’s so funny being 15, 16 and doing it.” But, yeah, it was great. It’s fun to look back on.

Jessica: Oh, I’m definitely my dad’s little girl, and he’s an entrepreneur and I love him so much. So, I just feel kindred spirit with all of what you’re saying. It’s really fun. What did you do with your money in high school? Were you required to save a certain amount, or did you … yeah, like, I don’t know. Because, yeah, I mean, you’re making some pretty good cash in high school.

Rachel: Yeah, so the biggest thing is we had to pay for half of our cars when we turned 16. And so, dad called that his 401 Dave Plan. So, he could match us for whatever we saved. And so, yeah, for a good part of that couple of years was going to that car for sure. And then after that, yeah, I just kind of put in a little savings account and we were in charge of … mom and dad would give us a certain amount of money per month to spend on us because whatever money they would spend on us normally, they kind of total that amount. They’re like, “Here’s the amount we’re going to give you per month on the first. Put in your checking account, and you’re not allowed to ask us for money. And if you want more money, you got to go a job.” So, all that to say that was kind of my separate job. So yeah, I just kind of had it to spend and I did. I’m in an office, I save some as well. But looking back it was not a crazy amount. It didn’t change my life financially.

Jessica: It didn’t change your Life. Or like it changed your life, but it didn’t change your financial life.


Cutting the Credit Cards

Rachel: That’s it. That’s it. That’s the right wording, yeah.

Jessica: OK, I have these very clear memories of seeing your dad on Oprah and like getting scissors out and cutting credit cards. Is that a thing? Is that clear in my mind? Was that part of his shtick is people would get scissors and cut up their credit cards?

Rachel: Oh, yeah. It still is. Yeah. And they’re like mail it in and they’ll even like cut their credit cards in all these crazy shapes and make pictures of them like blotches and like send them to us. Oh, yeah. It’s still a thing. It’s the plastic surgery of the company. It’s almost like, yeah.

Jessica: OK. OK. Have you struggled with judgment along the way? I mean, as you have, especially you grew up in this sort of cash envelope system and just a very … more black and white formulaic approach to money. Has there come a point as you grew into an adult where you realized you were looking at a certain lens and you needed to kind of look at others more graciously? Or, I don’t know, I’m just I’m curious about this.

Rachel: Yeah, I would say for me, I’m just so confident in the principles because they work. And we’ve seen it time and time again, not just through my own story, but through literally millions of people doing this plan. And so, it’s based in common sense. It’s based in Scripture. And you just, in my opinion, I’m like, “You can’t deny it.” But I don’t go so far to say like, “It’s so black and white that it’s a sin, like deference. And some like you can’t get to heaven with a student loan.” Like you’re fine. But I do think that there’s choices you make in your life and some better your life and some can hinder and stress your life out.

“I’m just so confident in the principles because they work. And we’ve seen it time and time again, not just through my own story, but through literally millions of people doing this plan.” Rachel Cruze on financial planning.

And so giving people the plan to get them freedom from their money, not just the debt side, but even teaching them how to control their money and control their income and budget and be the ones to tell their money what to do versus their money telling them what to do. So, all of those things, I mean, are, yeah, I just I can’t deny them because they work. And so that’s the truth in my head. But yeah, I mean, other things that … you see anomalies, you see different … the credit card that you kind of talked about that are really referring. I’m like, “Can people have a credit card and pay it off every month?” Yes. “Do people do that in America?” Yes. “But does the average family in America owe $15,000 in their credit cards?” Yes.

So, the average family is not paying it off every month. So, our mantra is not going to be this wishy-washy, “Oh, yeah. If you paid off every month, then you can get the airline miles and points. It’s fine.” We’re just black and white. I’m like, “You know what? Just don’t have them. You don’t worry about them. Don’t have them.” So, “Are there people that do it?” Yes. But majority people don’t. So, taking this more extreme stance I think has given clarity to the message and help. But yeah. Yeah, so to wrap to kind of answer your question. Yes. Are there things that you see that may not be as … I should say, not as black and white, but you see other parts of the stories or other stories that are different? 100%, we see that all the time. But our stance won’t change because of the outliers.

Jessica: Oh, Rachel, I had a credit card and I paid off. So, I’m an outlier.

Rachel: I trust you, Jessica. We are still gonna BFFs.

Jessica: But at one point I didn’t. I will tell you that during the recession and, I mean, that’s kind of a big part of how Noonday was birthed.

Rachel: Oh, very cool. Yeah.

Jessica: We were putting our groceries on the credit card. We were flipping homes, and then suddenly that went belly up and we had decided to adopt. And so, I needed money for the adoption. So, then I started this business, which is crazy because it was born out of a financial crisis, which is not usually what you do in a financial crisis is start a business. And yet, that’s how Noonday was born. So…

Rachel: No. But sometimes your most creative juices and opportunity comes when you’re at the bottom, right? Where you’re, “There are no other options. I’ve got to create my own.” So, yeah, we actually hear a lot of stories like that. So, I love that. It was very cool. Very, very cool.


Journeys (and Journals) of Contentment

Jessica: So, speaking of beginnings, last of last week I was in … oh, gosh, I’ve been in a little bit of a hard place. And some of our Ambassadors had posted the podcast that you did with Christy about contentment. And this is even before I had been traveling and I hadn’t gotten to the office yet and received your book, which is beautiful, by the way. I’m holding in my hand The Contentment Journal.

Rachel: Oh, God. Oh, thank you.

Jessica: So, this is just such a cool story. So, I was finding myself in this place of … and I don’t think we hear people speak of this too much. We talk a lot about starting and even my book, Imperfect Courage, is a little bit about like just going scared, getting people oomph to just do the thing, to go anyway, not let perfection hold them. But with Noonday, we’ve started, and we’ve actually accomplished more than a lot of business owners have. We’re at the 20 million revenue mark, and we’ve got an incredible executive team, and it’s this beautiful thing. And we would love to be a household brand, you know?

And so, there’s that level of like we’ve reached this certain level of success and even I would say stability. We just got voted the best place to work in the Direct Sales Association by our own home office team. There’s so much good going on and yet, Rachel, last week in my heart, I was frustrated because we hadn’t met our sales goal for the quarter. And we had pulled some levers and they weren’t driving what I thought they were going to drive. And so, I was sitting in my car and I was feeling like almost this this paradox where it’s like, “I have so much to be grateful for. We just got voted best place to work. My kids are healthy. I’m happy. Life is good.” And yet, I was feeling all of this wanting more almost this hunger for more.

So, I listened to your podcast and I like started writing my little list. And then I just called an S.O.S. with my executive coach. And I was like, “I’m not in a good place. I’ve got to like … I need someone to help get me out of this.” And so, as I met with her, she just said, “Jessica, what I want for you over the next few days is choose to not want. Just surrender the wanting to want to be more and just accept what is.” And I looked at her almost mad, “Like what do you mean? I can’t accept what is because accepting what is it’s not what I want to be.” And she’s like, “But when we remain attached to these outcomes, we are not in contentment, and when we’re not in contentment, we’re not in gratitude.”

Rachel: So good.

Jessica: And so, I surrendered this whole idea of being in want and I spent my whole weekend just accepting what is and then suddenly gratitude started to flow. So, I wanted to talk with you about your journey because I feel like I’m in the beginning of a new season of really understanding what contentment is, and I would say it is not something that I’m very good at, at all. So how do you define contentment and what’s been your journey towards contentment?

Rachel: Yes. Well, welcome to the club because some of us are good at it. I’d say it’s still a struggle. Yeah, I mean, for me, contentment, and this is more out of my own personal business, this is not like a scientific definition, but it’s when your hearts at peace. When you’re at peace. And I think you can be at peace, and you still can be striving and hitting great goals, and I don’t think being at peace means complacency or just stagnant. So that’s the great thing about contentment is I’m like I think that there still is a part of us that is naturally wired and some of us, not all of us, have this kind of drive. But some of us that are more goal-oriented and more like, “Hey, yeah, I want to see results from doing this.”

“For me, contentment … it’s when your hearts at peace—when you’re at peace. And I think you can be at peace, and you still can be striving and hitting great goals.” Rachel Cruze

So, we’ll figure it out all that. And while I think all of that is still good, if it starts to become your identity, then that starts to mess with your heart. And so, that’s really the balance for me is that I have to know where my identity is truly, truly, truly, truly, truly, truly. And that’s where my peace and my foundation and my line if my lifeline is. And so, when that for me is there, and it’s in a healthy place and I’m good there, then the other things around it can surround. The other emotions, the other goals, everything else but it does not make or break me. Does that make sense?

Jessica: Totally. And I’m curious, how does it show up for you and your emotions and in your body when you kind of know that you’re not in that place?

Rachel: Oh, I would say levels of … not deep anxiousness. I know lot of us struggle with anxiety. I’m not one of those people. It’s not my story. But for sure, this unsettling this, “Oh, you’re just itching for more,” and thinking that the next great thing is going to make everything better. “Oh, if I could just get there, everything is going to be better.” But the truth is you bring you along on the journey, and if you’re not taking care of you and you’re not growing personally, you’re the same person that’s going to be moving along. Winston, my husband, we’re building a house right now. And we’re so excited about it. It’s been a goal for us for a few years and we’re in the last like five-month stretch of it and we’re picking out stuff and it’s just been really a fun process.

But I had this like moment literally in the shower—yeah, I was actually in the shower—where I was like I felt God just speak to me where He said, “Rachel, this house is going to be a blessing. It’s going to be fun. But you’re still going to have Caroline, you’re 20-month-old in the highchair throwing food on the ground and screaming. You’re just picking up the highchair and moving into a different kitchen. It’s not going to become this answer to all of your hopes and your dreams and your identity. It’s not going to be that.” And so everything in my life, I kind of now look through that lens of whether it’s my job, whether it’s a house, whether it’s a vacation, or what I think a perfect mom looks like or whatever it is like these things in our life that we think, “Oh, if I could just get there, everything will be better.”


The Lie of “Arrival”

But the truth is you bring you along the way. It’s still going to be you. And so that’s something I have focused on with The Contentment Journal walking people through this journey of starting with that gratitude, which is so true. Starting at that place of just where you are, be grateful. Be grateful for where you are. Be grateful for the smaller kitchen that you’re in now because it’s fine. You know what I mean? That’s better than others. You’re good. Be grateful for that. And then that’s able to move you to humility, which I talked about in the journal, but it’s true.

I love CS Lewis’s quote with humility that humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less. And so when you can be grateful for your life, then you’re able to kind of shift your eyes up and look outward and see other people and start to serve and look for other people’s needs and where you can kind of plug your life into and help them. And when you start doing that, when you’re grateful for your life and you serve others within that humility, contentment just comes. It’s a natural byproduct. And so that’s kind of been my journey and what I figured out.

“When you can be grateful for your life, then you’re able to kind of shift your eyes up and look outward and see other people and start to serve and look for other people’s needs. … When you’re grateful for your life and you serve others within that humility, contentment just comes.” Rachel Cruze

But it’s something, again, I have to relearn. Like the house thing, like that epiphany came like 30 days to come. Way after I wrote the contentment journal, right? I mean, it was like these moments, you still have these kinds of revelations in your life of things, and putting your hope in material things, or even I’d say, within a business, that kind of thing. That stuff … there’s going be ups and downs. There’s going to be failures. It’s not going to be the everlasting place that you can be 100% sure that it’s all going to be good. And so, putting my hope in that kind of thing makes me nervous. But I do it sometimes, mistakenly, and I kind of have to backtrack.

Jessica: Oh, I mean, it’s such a limiting belief. And this is something I said also to my last week to my executive coach, I said, “I believe the lie that there is a point of arrival.”

Rachel: Amen, sister. It’s good.

Jessica: And I think as a businesswoman, I think, “Oh, but when we get that kind of level.”

Rachel: That’s it.

Jessica: And it’s not even about the material things or the profitability. I think what I’ve realized for me and I don’t know, I’m sure you’ve gotten into the Enneagram, but…

Rachel: Yes, yes.

Jessica: Yes. So, I’m a Seven on the Enneagram. So personal freedom and optionality. Those are like things that I love. And so, I think in my head, I’m like, “When our company, when it gets to that, then maybe I am…”

Rachel: Satisfied.

Jessica: “I’m not gonna have to work quite as hard or I’m gonna have this option or I’m not going to have to do all the things that I don’t necessarily love to do.” Or I don’t know what it is but it’s this false limiting belief. And as long as we have that belief, this belief that there is a silver bullet, that there is a point of arrival, that absolutely holds us up from being in a state of contentment.

Rachel: Yes. And being present, right? Where you are currently at this very moment. There was a study done. I’m a Three, by the way, on the Enneagram. I love the Enneagram.

Jessica: OK, OK.

Rachel: But I think no matter what number you are, there’s something in our human nature, because there was a study done that talked to people about their incomes, and the average household income is $52,000 a year, OK? And so, they talked to someone making the average income in America and they said, “OK, do you feel rich?” And they’re like, “No. Like we’re currently making bills. No, definitely not rich.” They said, “OK, what would it take for you to feel rich?” And they were like, “$100,000. If I can make six figures. If I can make 100 grand, everything would be better.” They go and talked someone making $100,000 and they said, “Do you feel rich?” And they said, “No.” “No? OK, what would it take for you to feel rich?”

And they were like, “To feel rich?” And in almost every single one of them went up to half a million dollars. They said, “If I can make half a million dollars a year, that for sure I would feel rich.” Well, they did talk to people that have a million dollars, and it just get moved up into the finish like always moves to your point. There’s never this arrival of a destination. And so, I love that phrase that you said that that’s exactly right. Because it is and there’s something in our human spirit that just keeps us striving for more and more and more. And while some of that, there’s a point of it, yes, again, I still believe the idea of having goals and accomplishing things. I think there’s good in that. But when that becomes what you think, “OK, if I could just get there, everything is going to be better.” That’s a lie.

“There’s something in our human spirit that just keeps us striving for more and more and more. … I still believe in the idea of having goals and accomplishing things. I think there’s good in that. But when you think, ‘OK, if I could just get there, everything is going to be better.’ That’s a lie.” Rachel Cruze


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Jessica: Hey, I just wanted to take a second to thank you so much for tuning in. I just really appreciate this podcast community. And on that note, I want to get to know you. It’s really a hard channel to get to know people. And I want to know what has really resonated with you, what you like, what you don’t like, and I’m offering you a $100 gift certificate to Noonday Collection in order to get to know you better. We are running a listener survey right now, and I just want you to tell us more about you.

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Effort and Entitlement

Jessica: OK. We just talked about reminds me of “Chariots of Fire.” And this has been so quoted ever since that movie came out but it’s when it says, “When I run, I feel his pleasure.” And it’s that whole idea of working, but letting go of the outcome. Because I think what I struggle with is efforts—my effort entitles me to this outcome.

Rachel: Not so good.

Jessica: That’s not contentment.

Rachel: Right, right. No, and that’s just…

Jessica: Yes. It’s like how can we still work hard and be goal oriented and yet run just to feel his pleasure?

Rachel: Yes. Yes. I love the quote, “Work like it all depends on you and pray like it depends on God.” Well, because it’s everything you can do. You can plant the corn, you can toil the soil, you can do your part, but he creates the rain, right? At the end of the day, what’s going to come from it is partly your efforts, sure, that you put in because you actually planted the corn, right? You reap what you sow. But he brings the sunshine, and he brings the rain. Elements that you can’t control are controlled by him. And I think what that does too is that it still gives you a position even when you do have your wins and your success, it’s that you can look back confidently and say, “That was God.”

And as a believer, this is very important for me and my story, and my perspective because I’m like, “Man, once I start to believe that I’m the one that’s awesome in doing stuff, a lot of things start going downhill pretty quick.” You know what I mean? There’s just this element of like healthy perspective of being like, “Yeah. Like, man, we worked hard, and we did it, but ultimately, the results are because God chose to bless it. And here it is unexplainable, right? I mean, like I look at our business either in solutions I’m like, “God, Dave Ramsey works harder than probably anyone I know, and he’s created incredible team. He’s very intentional with culture and leadership.” All the things, right? I mean, we’re not perfect, but, man, there’s a lot that goes into this organization. And so, as a result, yes, there should be some great outcomes, but to the level where we’re at it’s like only God can do that.

Jessica: Right. I think if there’s ever any sensitive demand or entitlement or, I don’t know, those sorts of emotions might be clues that you are not in a place of contentment—that you’ve been working with this entitlement attitude that it should result in this. Whereas contentment is just like, “Man, all his grace.”

“I think if there’s ever any sensitive demand or entitlement or, I don’t know, those sorts of emotions might be clues that you are not in a place of contentment.” Jessica Honegger

Rachel: Yes, yes, absolutely. And that’s what brings the peace of your heart ultimately. And living in that and in a world that … we had a speaker for our company this morning he talks about anxiety and how it’s kind of just like all over the place right now with our culture. And there’s several reasons because of that, how connected we are all the time and different reasons. But ultimately, I’m like peace is so lacking in our world today too. So, I think even what the person you talked to when they said that to you, it’s just like, “Hey, stop wanting, just be for a little bit.” I think that that it’s so healthy, so, so good.

Jessica: So, tell me what led you to write a journal? Because this is a very new project for you. It’s very contemplative. It’s really this beautiful book that you invite us on this journey to walk with you through this journey to contentment. What was sort of the trigger for you that helped you realized we teach what we need to learn?

Rachel: I don’t know. It’s so true, right? Well, out of my last book, Love Your Life Not Theirs, I talked a lot about comparisons and how that not only affects who you are and how you function in life, but it affects your money, ultimately, because you end up spending money and sometimes money you don’t have to keep up this lifestyle that you think everyone else is living and you’re missing out on. And that comparison game is so real. And we don’t want to talk about the financial side effects of it. But, man, they are just they’re everywhere.

So that’s what that main book was about. And so, out of that, kind of came that contentment and that gratitude message. And I think I just realized out of that, people gravitated toward those kind of things. And also, in my own life it is sometimes hard to just to say, “I’m going be content.” I just say it and be. I think that there is a little bit of this process. And so, as I was thinking through it, I’m like, “Man, it takes some time and it takes kind of forming new habits. And it really is this journey.” And so, in my head, I was like, “Well, I talk about gratitude leads to humility which leads to contentment. And what if we spent some time in this?” And I love to journal personally.

I love writing things down. And I have boxes and boxes of journals. I started this when I was in college journaling. And so that’s a big part of my story in my life and my habits. And so, I was like, “Well, what if we kind of pair the two together and we all go on this journey, 90-day journey through these three subjects?” And so, that’s kind of where it birthed out of honestly. So, a lot of the content from the book … but also seeing the need and the want from people and in myself as well. So, realizing that journey and that it’s not always just a black and white choice that you just decided to be content … It takes our hearts a little bit to get there.


Creating an Environment Where Contentment Can Grow

Jessica: It takes practice, and I feel like that. I think anything like rest, or gratitude, or sort of these intangibles that we want, I think we think that some people are just more content people than others. But know that there’s actually … it’s very encouraging that there’s actually practices that you can put in place to create an environment for contentment to grow.

Rachel: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely.

Jessica: And so, what is that environment where contentment can grow? Walk us through a little bit of your process.

Rachel: Through like daily habits? Is that what you’re talking of?

Jessica: Yeah, yeah.

Rachel: For me, personally, it is starting my day off right. And for so long, I had the habit of just picking up my phone, checking email, checking Instagram, and Twitter, and all that before my feet even hit the ground, like that’s where I started. And I realized, “Man, how I start my day really affects my attitude and the way I perceive life and the decisions I ultimately make.” And so, for me, starting with whether it’s a quiet time, whether it’s a gratitude list, I write down two things that I’m grateful for every morning, whether it’s the contentment journal. I’m actually going through it right now on Instagram stories with people that are doing it too.

So, I’ve been doing that and some. I think just setting your mind and your heart right and in the right perspective first thing in the morning. Because it is so easy just to pick up your phones, go ahead and dive into everyone else’s life, and what happens between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. But not a lot, but there’s still pictures up there of people what they’re doing. And catching up on all that … man, it just muddles. And I think that there is a true physiological shift that happens in our brains. And I think so much … gosh, when you’re just attached to that dang phone and being able to put that down at the beginning of the day and really center and focus yourself on that gratitude, humility, and contentment. For me, that’s like, that’s my game changer.

“I think just setting your mind and your heart right and in the right perspective … at the beginning of the day and really center and focus yourself on that gratitude, humility, and contentment. For me, that’s like, that’s my game changer.” Rachel Cruze

Jessica: That’s so true. Did you actually change where you stored your phone?

Rachel: You know that’s so funny you asked, no. But the speaker, again, I was hearing this morning talking about some of this. I literally had the thought, “Gosh, I know people that do this. They put their phone on the other side of the room.” And I’m like, “I need to do that. I have not done that.” My alarm is my phone, which I’m so lazy. I am like, “Oh, that means I have to get out of bed to go turn off my alarm. But I probably should do that,” right? I haven’t, but I had that thought this morning. That’s so funny you asked. So maybe I should. Maybe I do it tonight as an experiment and see how I feel.

Jessica: Well, our daughter she just turned 13 and she’s been saving for her phone. So, she got a phone. It’s been about a month.

Rachel: Yes.

Jessica: And we have a docking station. So…

Rachel: I love that.

Jessica: … no phones in the bedrooms is the rule in our home. And this morning, she was on her phone. She wasn’t in her bedroom but she was texting with a friend. I’m like, “It’s 7:00 in the morning, really? I mean, come on.” She hadn’t made her bed yet. She hadn’t eaten or breakfast. And I just noticed that her mindset was just different. She was already distracted. And so, there is something to that morning routine. And, by the way, they sell old school alarms. At Target, you can go, and you can get one of those digital alarms and you don’t have to get out of bed. You can just put it on your nightstand.

Rachel: That’s right. Totally, right? I know I can just Amazon one to my door. I don’t have to leave my house to get this alarm you’re talking about. I can have it shipped right to me.

Jessica: It’s so true. Yeah, yeah, just get on that phone. Oh, my gosh. I have to be out of sight out of mind. I mean, oh, my gosh. Oh, my God.

Rachel: We started that, Winston, my husband, and I, when we came home from work, I started just putting my phone in my room charging it and just leaving it there on my nightstand. And then I come back out to the living room in the kitchen. And, of course, I end up like needing a recipe or something. So more than likely I’ll end up having to go get it. But, man, during those times when it is not near me and in sight like you’re saying, oh, it’s so freeing. And the kids, I mean, four-year-old, she wants to play a game or … it’s just amazing, these devices. I’m not like thinking that they’re just absolutely evil. But, man, they just suck the life out of all of us no matter what your age is.

Jessica: Well, it’s kind of like money, right? It’s like we can’t be in a world without money. And it’s not that money is evil, it’s the love of money. And so, our devices, it is this place of like it’s not the device itself is evil or bad, it’s how are we attached to it, how are we using it, and how is it causing distraction.

Rachel: And the dependence, I know. I’m not an expert on all of this. So, as I’m speaking I’m like, “Gosh, I hope I’m not giving false information.” But there’s a guy I work with, and he read a study. It was an article, and he has not sent it to me but I’m like “Oh, I want to hear it.” But even us mapping everything, even using our Google Maps and not just going somewhere by memory, truly, it’s the function of your brain, the parts will start to shut down because we are so dependent on those phones. I’m like, “Man, I wonder if we’re going look back on it a decade and say, ‘Gosh,” call it, yeah, it brings some conveniences, absolutely. But the harm that it’s done like we may not even know the effects and that is kind of scary.

Jessica: I think it’s been about a decade. So, I think that they’re now starting to do studies that are going to show us some of these things. And I think we’re going to have more data-informed decisions that are going to inform some of these habits.

Rachel: That’s good because you even talking about your child and getting a phone like breaks me out in hives. I’m like I don’t even know where I will start with that with our kids are that age. I’m like, “Oh, my gosh. That’s a scary part of parenting that I’m not ready for it.”

Jessica: I know, girl. I mean, she was the last one at our school to get a phone.

Rachel: Good for you. Cheers. Props to you as a mom because I’m like, “Man, how do you know when they’re…” you know, all these questions.

Jessica: I know. But even now I kind of wish that … now she’s … I mean, seventh grade, come on, she’s a girl. They text. I mean, this is how they … So I’m very happy for that. It’s the friendship stuff, but even she has said when I asked her to reflect on the last few weeks, “What are some positives? What are some negatives?” And she immediately said, “Well, the negatives, I’m a lot more distracted.”

Rachel: Wow.

Jessica: What do we do? What do we do?

Rachel: So insightful—a 13-year-old.

Jessica: They are. They are.

Rachel: A part of me was like, “I just want to freeze my four-year-old.” And I thought, “No, I don’t want to do that. I do want to kill him.”

Jessica: Freeze nine. Maybe nine.

Rachel: That’s good. That’s a good age. That’s a good age.

Jessica: I don’t know about four. My boys are 9 and 10 ad I’m definitely like, “OK, let’s freeze the moment right now.

Rachel: That’s good. That’s good. I love it.


Contentment in Starting New Chapters

Jessica: Yeah. But, I mean, OK, this is getting really deep on a very random comment. But even that, that thought of when something is really good and we just want to grab on to it, that is this whole idea of not being content. You know what I mean? There is this contentment of right now. What if all I ever wanted is this moment that I have right now? And I didn’t have to grab on to it because it’s so good, or didn’t have to want more of it because it’s so good, or I didn’t have to want less of it. But there is this … I don’t know, girl, I’m like your book and that podcast you did with Christy really has launched me on this journey of wanting to really dig in and practice this idea of contentment.

“There is this contentment of right now. What if all I ever wanted is this moment that I have right now? And I didn’t have to grab on to it because it’s so good.” Jessica Honegger

Rachel: I love it. Oh, I love it. I know it is and that’s the great thing is I’m like, “Man, the learning and the self-awareness too grows you so much as a person.” And so, that’s something that I’ve enjoyed about myself that I’m like, “OK, good. I feel like I’m being stretched to learn. So, I love that.”

Jessica: Yes, yes, which awesome. OK, we like to wrap up by asking our guests, “How are you going scared right now in your life?”

Rachel: How I’m I going scared? Oh, man. So, I am starting the process of my fourth book. I’m trying to think what number it was. I’m like “Is this three or four?” And the topic which I hate to be that annoying person who is like, “I can’t tell you what it is.” But it’s intimidating me. It really is. It’s something that I haven’t really done. I’m confident that I can write it, but I’m really intimidated. Books and writing are the most intimidating part of my job. I can do these interviews all day, I can do my YouTube and Facebook show. I can do podcast, radio, TV, media. Put me on Good Morning America and I’m good. I like that stuff, I feel great. And those are my sweet spots. Writing is not. So, whenever I have a book project coming up, I get really … I do. I get scared. I get intimidated. I get self-conscious. So…

Jessica: Suddenly you need to clean out all of your closets.

Rachel: Yes, I know, right? Yes. So, yeah. I’m just like at the very beginning stages like outlines and getting everything approved. Actually, tomorrow, we have a big meeting tomorrow. But all that, I’m starting that journey again and, man, it’s just, it’s scary. It’s scary for me.

Jessica: Now as a personality at Ramsey Solutions, does the team kind of say here’s what we want you to write on next, or does this come from something you’re going through in your life?

Rachel: Yeah, it comes from me.

Jessica: OK. OK. So, you’re choosing your own projects.

Rachel: I’m choosing, yes. But it was good because I was telling our Vice President of our publishing department about all this, and I was like, “Oh, my gosh. You know me and books.” It’s a kind of a joke where I’m like, “OK, I can do this. I can do this.” I talk myself into it. And he was like, “OK, but you really do want to write about this?” And I’m like, “Yes.” And I said, “Because I’d be mad if someone else wrote it.” Because if someone came out with this book, I would be like, “Oh, crap, no, I could have done that.” So that’s the emotion I always go back to like, “No, I can do this. This is fine. This is fine.”

Jessica: Thanks for tuning in. Rachel was so gracious, we actually had my podcast platform completely stop working in the middle and we had tyo go get on another platform, but she just picked up right where we left off. Such a professional. I’d love for you to join me on this journey of contentment. Why don’t you hop on over to Instagram, go to Jessica Honegger—two Gs, one N—DM me and let me know what are you discovering about contentment right now? It’s a new journey for me, and I’m daily practicing my own list of gratitude, but even more than a list, I’m practicing being present, and I’m practicing this thought. What if all I ever wanted is what I have right now? That is my wish for you as well.

Our wonderful music for today’s podcast is by my friend Ellie Holcomb. Going Scared is produced by Eddie Kaufholz, and I’m Jessica Honegger. Until next time, let’s take each other by the hand and keep going scared.