Hi! I’m Teresa Romain…
The short version of my story…
For 25 years, I have said that I am the perfect example of the expression “you teach best what you most need to learn.” Here’s why…
Back in 1995, my husband and I were trying to build a successful network marketing business. Our savings were gone and we were drowning in debt. That experience of scarcity became the catalyst for my growth. I began studying principles of prosperity, the Law of Attraction and money management.
Along the way, I tried making more money thinking it would solve my scarcity. That if I only made enough or had enough money, I could live the life I longed for.
When that didn’t work, I went to the other extreme and tried spending less – LOTS less. Not needing as much money meant I didn’t have to work as much. I had time to do things that fed my soul. I had time to read, meditate, take long walks, get out in nature and play in our garden – even sleep. I convinced myself I was happy, not wanting to admit there were so many other things I loved to do but couldn’t. We didn’t have money to go to a movie or out to dinner. Not to mention not being able to afford to go on a family vacation with my siblings and their kids.
It took me nearly 20 years to recognize there was an unseen archetype of scarcity at work in my life. Among other things, it kept me living in an “either/or” world. Either I could make a lot of money or live a life fueled by joy. Either I could have money or the life my soul longed for.
Astonishingly, it is all the scarcity I’ve experienced that has become my greatest asset. One of the greatest gifts I give the women I work with is that I accept them where they’re at – because I’ve been there. I also know that the way out of scarcity isn’t simply a matter of making more or spending less money.
Rather, we must redefine abundance. In doing so, we can begin to reclaim a long-forgotten archetype of abundance as the new basis for our lives. I share that new definition with you here, confident it will empower you as much as it has me and my clients.
There you have it, my friend – the short form of my story. If you want to hear more of the juicy details, please keep reading! Or feel free to connect with me.
Now for the juicy version…
When I was in third grade, I dreamed of being a Campfire Girl. I was over the moon at the prospect of weekly meetings, merit badges, field trips and camping trips. Not to mention being part of a group of other girls. You see, I had a pretty lonely childhood.
My mom said I couldn’t. She said it was because our house wasn’t good enough to host meetings. She didn’t want the other girls to see it. She also said being a Campfire Girl cost money.
That’s the first time I remember thinking that I wasn’t good enough if I didn’t have a nice house or other nice things. And that money was more important than me and my dreams.
Those beliefs were reinforced in sixth grade when I couldn’t join Band because it cost money. And again in high school when Mom told me I couldn’t be in sports. She said I needed to get a job and make money for college. Only when I found a job that would work around my sports schedule did she give me the permission I needed.
This pattern repeated itself my freshman year of college. I wanted to change my major from accounting to theology so I could work for the church. My mom’s response? ” You can’t do that, Teresa. You have to make money.”
Ever the good girl, I took a ton of theology classes but graduated with a business degree and a corporate job. I wanted to make my mom happy. Within a few years, I was making close to $100,000 a year. (FYI – This was in the late 80s in the Midwest.)
I loved having money. I had a nice apartment that was the place everyone gathered – for meetings and parties alike. I had a nice car, nice clothes and money to spend doing things I enjoyed. I had more friends than I had ever had in my life. Looking back now, I realize that having those things made me feel “good enough” and important.
I loved everything about my life except my job. Once my student loans were paid off, I was ready to quit and follow my heart. I wanted to do something that would make a difference in people’s lives. Then I discovered my income would plummet if I did. It seemed that, once again, I had to choose between doing what I loved and making money.
Again, the money won.
In 1991, I began dating a guy who introduced me to network marketing. Even though he wasn’t making much money, I thought I had finally found my answer. That business was the way I was going to make a difference in people’s lives and make a lot of money.
That guy, Dan, is now my husband. Once we were married, I quit my corporate job to follow my dream. I was sure we would be successful. People expected us to be successful. We spent a lot of money trying to succeed. We also spent a lot creating an image of success. One year later, our savings were gone and we were piling up debt. I avoided my old friends in shame, believing they wouldn’t love me because I wasn’t successful. I didn’t have a lot of money. Clearly, there was something I was missing.
You know that expression, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”?
That was what happened for me. I learned a mind-blowing system for getting out of debt. I started studying the principles of prosperity. I dived more deeply into personal growth. As I did, I shared what I was learning with my friends. It supported them as much as it did me. So I started my business, Access Abundance, in 1996.
Finally, I thought, I had a way to make a difference in people’s lives and make money.
During the first 10 years of my business, I succeeded in making a lot of money. It’s a good thing, too, because we needed it to keep up with our debt payments. I also didn’t want to give up the lifestyle I loved. And, of course, I needed to look prosperous. Who would want to work with an abundance coach who wasn’t?
What no one knew is that I was working ALL the time – including evenings and weekends. When we entertained or traveled, we charged it – adding to our debt. I rationalized it, convinced I’d be making even MORE money soon. Then we would pay it all off.
I kept it up for nearly 10 years until, exhausted and burnt out, I couldn’t keep going. Dan suggested we file bankruptcy – an idea that repulsed me. After all, I was an abundance coach. What would people think?
I felt angry, betrayed, embarrassed and ashamed. Despite my resistance, it seemed the only sane way out. It seemed the most loving thing I could do for myself. We officially filed in court on a Tuesday in October, 2005. I remember because it was my birthday.
Afraid and ashamed, it became my secret. Motivated, I worked even harder –this time trying to get ahead financially. If only we could create some savings and a retirement fund, then I could relax and enjoy my life. But no matter how hard I worked or how much I made, it was never enough.
In December of 2010, I was on a call with my coach, Pat. I blurted out, “I’ve tried to make a go of business for more than 15 years and it hasn’t worked. I’m just not happy.”
She replied, “So when are you going to stop?”
I was stunned. As appealing as it was, the idea had never occurred to me. At first, I didn’t think it was possible. Then I found a way. I gave up the money.
For the next five years, I scaled my business and our lifestyle back to nothing. We were living just above the poverty level. I didn’t care. Finally, I had time and energy to play in our garden, read good books, take long walks, and do things that fed my soul. I had time to pray, meditate and be still. I could sleep in and relax. I felt unburdened and free. Life was simple but I was happy.
At least, that’s what I thought. Until Monday, April 25, 2016…
We had returned on Sunday night from a trip to Detroit for Andrew’s wedding. Andrew is Rob and Ann’s only son – and Rob is Dan’s best friend. Because they treat us like family, we were included in all the festivities, at their expense. For three days, we were surrounded by people we loved. We went out for meals and stayed at a nice hotel. We spent the time laughing and telling stories, dancing and having fun. I remember it because I hadn’t felt that happy or alive in a long time.
I woke up at home that Monday morning feeling like I had died inside. I knew I couldn’t go back to the constricted, shrunken shell of a life I had been living.
I let it all spill out on my call with Pat. “I can’t keep going like this, Pat. This isn’t the way I want to live. This isn’t living.”
“This is GREAT news!” she exclaimed.
“Huh?” I was stunned.
She continued, “You are finally open to go where you haven’t been willing to go. Now we can take the lid off what has been holding you back.”
She was right. That day was the turning point for me. It was the beginning of a new trajectory for my life. I began to recognize the unseen archetype of scarcity my life had been built upon. More importantly, I discovered a long- forgotten archetype of abundance. This is the archetype I now embrace and practice living from every day. It’s the one I am committed to empowering others to live from as well.
Here’s what has happened since that Monday in 2016…
My income has gone up even as I work fewer hours. I have hired people to support me so I don’t have to do all the work myself. I spend most of my working time doing what I love – creating, coaching and connecting.
We have no personal debt and we paid off our mortgage in 2018. While I have some business debt, it was to invest in myself and I’ve already received a greater return. We have more money in savings than we’ve had since I quit my corporate job. And I now have a retirement fund. While the amount is less than I want, I no longer feel ashamed about it or afraid about the future.
My mom thought I needed to grow up and make a living. She never wanted me to experience the poverty and scarcity she experienced in her life. And I love her for that.
What she didn’t know or fully trust is that I wasn’t born to make a living.
I was created on purpose, with purpose. I am here to live a life of unconditional freedom with infinite resources to support me. That includes money. I am here to richly bless others and be richly blessed myself.
And the same is true for you, my friend.
If you’d like to discover how and if I might be able to support you to access those resources, let’s connect!
Fairmont, Minnesota – a small town with a chain of five lakes in southern Minnesota
Where I live now
With my husband, Dan, in a 155-year-old small farmhouse in the country near Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. They finished building our house the same month that Abraham Lincoln was killed!
I’m the youngest of seven kids. One sister, Mildred, died before I was born. My oldest sister, Coleen, was 28 years older than me. My next oldest sibling, Barb, is my “birthday twin” – I was born on her birthday when she was eight. I had two nieces and two nephews before I was born. I now have a total of 14 nieces and nephews, 28 great-nieces/nephews and 4 great, great nieces/nephews – not counting the ones on Dan’s side. Speaking of Dan, we’ve been married for 27 years.
These are a few of my favorite things...
Sandhill cranes, hummingbirds, cardinals – actually all kinds of birds.
Any combination of fresh basil, fresh mozzarella and fresh tomatoes.
The custom opal ring Dan gave me for Christmas a few years ago.
Chai tea with organic soymilk, sweetened with stevia and a sprinkle of cinnamon
Anything on the water – boating, canoeing, floating, fishing or simply sitting on the shore.
The hour before sunrise each morning when it is so perfectly still.
My organic cotton pillows from Costco.
Thai Iced tea.
Having friends or family over for dinner and fixing a feast for them.
Concocting new dishes – no recipes – when I cook
My homemade, from scratch, veggie pizzas – both multi-grain and cauliflower crust versions
All sorts of ethnic foods: Indian, Mexican, Thai, Italian, Ethiopian, Mediterranean and more.
Some of the people (living and dead) I would love to have dinner with:
Megan & Harry; George & Amal Clooney; Oprah; Greta Thunberg; Brené Brown; Liz Gilbert; Pope Francis; Julia Roberts; Katharine Hepburn; Gregory Peck; Audrey Hepburn; Bobby Kennedy; Michelle & Barack Obama; Jimmy Carter; Princess Diana; Hugh Jackman and his wife, Deborra; Kobe Bryant; Mother Teresa; The Dalai Lama; Tom Hanks; Christopher & Dana Reeve; Nelson Mandela; Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis; Fred Rogers; and Harrison Ford.
When Calls the Heart
The West Wing
Anne with an "E"
The Good Karma Hospital
Perry Mason reruns
Touched by an Angel reruns
Friday Night Lights
Signed, Sealed & Delivered
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
Meet John Doe
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
The Greatest Showman
The Pride of the Yankees
It's a Wonderful Life
The King's Speech
The Scarlett & the Black
Judgment at Nuremburg
An Affair to Remember
The American President
Agatha Christie mysteries
What We Talk About When We Talk About God
by Rob Bell
Louise Penny/Inspector Gamache mysteries
The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett
Eat, Pray, Love & Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
All Nancy Tillman books
The Shack by William P. Young
The Time is Now by Joan Chittister
Hope for the Flowers by Trina Paulus
Breathing Lessons & The Universal Christ by Richard Rohr
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
The Gift of the Red Bird by Paula D’Arcy
Books by Debbie Macomber
Books by Erin Hildebrand
Books by Carolyn Brown
Books by Mary Kay Andrews