Read how GP is helping TV presenter Dawn get her finances back on track

Around 8 years ago I regularly appeared on the Lorraine Kelly show as one of the UK’s leading confidence coaches. I also had my own TV show on The Discovery Health Channel and I’d regularly travel around the world speaking on stage. I was inspiring people to achieve their potential by helping them to overcome low confidence, anxiety and depression.

My career hit an all-time high when I was about to join a leading multinational on a £5 million women’s empowerment project. I was flying so high and really believed I had made it. I was the working class lass from a tiny mining village in Scotland who had achieved her dreams. Little did I know that my life was about to be turned upside down.

At the point of signing the deal with the multinational, the financial crisis hit and our project didn’t go ahead. I was devastated. With 26k in the bank, I decided to set the project up by myself. With no experience in online marketing, I very quickly realised that I was out of my depth. I began to work tirelessly, day and night trying to get the business off the ground.

Three months in, my savings ran out and disaster struck when I received a £50k non-negotiable bill from the council to renovate the outside of my property. This huge blow was followed by a catalogue of back- to-back unexpected personal events. I felt trapped; it felt like my life was spiralling out of control. I was now firmly in the grip of debt.

The banks wouldn’t lend me a penny and my credit card interest was crippling. I spent big chunks of my days applying for 0% credit cards and moving balances from one account to another. Within only 24 months I found myself 100k in debt. Each day my mind was consumed with how to survive without going bankrupt. I was a single mum with a teenage daughter who needed ‘stuff’. Our luxurious lifestyle was over; I was now shopping for basics at Lidl. I was out of money, out of confidence and out of steam.

I had gone from being a famous, successful, worldwide confidence coach, someone constantly in the public eye to a single mum, helpless and terrified with no idea about what to do next. No one knew what was going on as the shame I felt was unbearable.

Then one day when I couldn’t shoulder the pressure any longer, I picked up the phone to Gregory Pennington to discuss my options. The rest is history. The pressure melted as I closed down my company, started a debt solution and began my life over again.

Five years on my life is in a completely different place. This difficult and painful experience has taught me some really valuable lessons.

I’ve learned to be deeply grateful each day. Although I currently have around 50k debt, I don’t get focused on that number; if I did it would probably drag my mood down. Instead I count my blessings that I’m not stuck in my pit of debt hell. I’m so thankful that my head is no longer full of endless worries. Each day I simply put one foot in front of another and work to meet my monthly debt repayments. As long as I can do this, I feel in control and happy.

In the last 7 years I haven’t spent any money on luxuries. I knew that to stop the pain of feeling like I was missing out, I needed to train myself to stop wanting ‘stuff’. I learned to make do and mend with what I already had.

These days I shop for ‘designer’ gear in second hand shops and buy and renovate furniture from Gumtree. On reflection I feel slightly uncomfortable about how I mindlessly bought things I didn’t need.

I’ve learned to really love and appreciate the simple things in life. I was conditioned to appreciate fast cars, luxury travel, designer clothes and gourmet restaurants. My fast way of living became habitual however these days I find myself going wild over a M&S meal deal, a nice bottle of wine or a bunch of flowers from the sale bin in M&S. I really believe that by making the simple things special we can experience big joy without lots of cash.

Tell us your story: We’d love to hear about your personal debt journey. If you’d be happy to talk to us please email [email protected]. We don’t have to use your real name or photo, so you can remain anonymous.

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