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Ask Cathy
Making it Big

Q. I really want to make it big - really big. Right now I have very little, but I act as if I am well off.

I have a few really expensive articles of clothing and jewelry and am leasing a car way beyond my means. I feel that I have to look and dress the part to be accepted by the people that I want to end up with.

My mother knows the real me and says I am being phony - that I should be myself. But don't you have to be seen at the Blue Point and Sushi Rock and not Denny's and McDonalds?

Dear Big, Really Big,

It is a sad commentary on us all that how we look and where we eat is what opens doors and provides opportunity.

Because I do not know your educational background or employment history, it is tough to know what tools you have to work with to excel. Whilst it is true to say that certain powerful social circles decide on your inclusion and value you according to what you possess, some may also rate you by your education, job title and intelligence in the first instance.

I am a true believer that you make it big, really big, through education first and job performance second. The rest, if you are gifted, will follow.

It is far better to scale back on your lifestyle and seek further education that will lead to a higher paying job, than to remain with a job where you feel you must over-extend yourself to achieve financial contentment.

I do think that if you are stretching yourself too far, you will break/brake suddenly under serious stress and pressure.

Why not stand back and look at what drives you? Identify where your passion is and go for it.

Arrange to obtain education, or whatever it takes, to make you a success. Scale down and ask for an internship in something that turns you on and where you can prove yourself.

Where you currently are, over-extended and stressed by finances, is not really "phony." I would say that you are, instead, just not being authentic or true to yourself by improving your earning power to achieve, truly, your financial goals.

Step back from Blue Point, Sushi Rock, etc. for a while and make a master plan that gets you back into those places through sweat and achievement. It will mean so much more and you will have a stable framework for authentic success.

Good luck.

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Cathy Horton-Panzica

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