My $1,325.70 overdraft: a lesson in self worth vs net worth

I overdrew my bank account. Not just by $5. Not just by $25. I overdrew my bank account by $1,325.70.

Negative one thousand, three-hundred twenty-five dollars and seventy cents.

And that’s when I was forced to face all of my doubts, fears and judgments about how I earn money. That’s when my battle of self worth vs net worth began.

The mother of all overdrafts and my emotional spiral

As a self-employed woman, I have to pay my own taxes and that means writing big checks to the government. So a few weeks back, I’d written a massive check to the federal government. Massive. As in I’d never written that large of a check to anyone in my life.

I knew this check was going to be cashed sometime soon (as checks often are when you write them). I also knew there were a few other large bills to pay before that check went through, and I had some extra savings to cover the gap.

But I waited to transfer that money over into my checking account. I waited because I’d assumed I’d be okay. I’d assumed a paycheck from my client would come through first. I’d assumed I wouldn’t have to dip into my Freedom Fund.

I’d assumed too much.

Somewhere deep down inside of me knew this was coming and I knew that I was rolling the dice on the timing. I knew that I was breaking the cardinal rule of personal finance by writing a check and not having the money in my account by the time it was cashed.

I was expecting it. So when I received the email from Bank of America telling me I’d overdrawn my account, I rolled my eyes. I had seen this coming.

But then I saw my bank account balance.


This is the actual screen shot.

My eyes widened. I breath quickened. My mind raced with the implications and grasped for ways to stop the hemorrhaging.

I’d bounced a check with the federal government, my rent was due in a few days, and I knew I had to expedite my savings transfer or find another way to get cash quickly.

After I processed these logistical implications, I was hit with another emotional wave. Doubt. Insecurity. Lack of confidence.

All of my fears began bubbling up to the surface. Self-criticism overtook my rationale thought, and I spiraled into self-judgment.

  • I felt like I was incredibly irresponsible
  • I felt like a fake entrepreneur who couldn’t even pay her taxes
  • I felt like I wasn’t capable of earning enough money
  • I felt like this wouldn’t have happened if I had focused solely on making money and less on my passion

I felt like I had made the wrong decisions in life, and this was my punishment.

I felt like I wasn’t worthy of having money.

Self worth vs net worth

My savings took a few days to transfer over. In the meantime, I had plenty of time to stew in all of the emotions that were stirred up. But I also had the chance to dig deep down and really try to understand what was going on with me.

Because as I always say, it is about the money… but it’s never about the money.

So here I was: my bank account in a major deficit, and I asked myself: where are the other deficits in my life?

Where was I lacking? Where did I need more wealth?

And the answer hit me: it was belief in myself. It was my own self worth that was missing.

Until that moment, I hadn’t fully believed I could create a wealthy life through my own business.

I hadn’t fully believed that following my passion would actually pay off.

I had been undervaluing my work.

More importantly, I had been undervaluing myself.

And there, staring back at me, was the manifestation of my beliefs.

So I had a choice:

Be consumed by doubt and insecurities and use my money as the metric of my value and success.


Believe that I am more than my bank account balance.

That’s when I realized that my self worth, my value, and my ability to succeed in life is not tied to a number on the screen that fluctuates daily.

In single instance, my account could fall below zero. It did just that. But just as easily, my account could increase by thousands of dollars in a moment.

It’s not a fixed measurement. And it’s certainly not the measurement of what I’m worth.

My self worth is tied to:

  • How I show my love
  • How I show myself love
  • How I give to and serve others
  • How I live with integrity and character
  • How I seek out growth and challenges
  • How I choose to live a purposeful life

I must believe in my own self worth before I can bring in more net worth. I must believe that what I’m doing for my vocation will not only bring me joy, but money as well.

I believe that my work is worthy and valuable. I believe that I am worthy and valuable. And if I hold onto that value for myself, the money will always follow.

Believe and measure your self worth first

Overdrawing my account was a huge lesson – an extremely uncomfortable lesson. But moments of extreme discomfort allow us to shine a light on our insecurities. And when we shine a light on our insecurities, we no longer give them the power they once held over us.  We give power instead to the measurements that matter in our lives: love, joy, generosity, courage, resiliency, integrity and belief.

Whatever number you’re facing in your life, whether it’s your debt balance or your bank account balance, please remember: it’s just a number. You are not that number.

Your self worth comes from another source: you. And when you focus on your self worth first, your net worth will follow.


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