Tip 1: Standing up for yourself isn’t hard – it’s just different
And it gets easier
You probably wouldn’t believe how often I get asked the question: “is it hard to defend yourself from the debt collectors?”
Or maybe you would.
If you’re being sued or harassed by a debt collector, one of the very first decisions you face is whether or not to defend yourself. And it is tempting to walk away, no doubt. So what you want to know is, how hard is it not to run away, but to stay and fight?
And luckily, it isn’t really hard.
One Step at a Time
I’ve started a lot of things in my time that if I’d had any idea how much work they would involve I probably never would have started in the first place. Fighting debt collectors is probably not going to be one of these things for you. But what makes it possible even to do the truly difficult things in life is simply to concentrate on the one step in front of you. As a debt defendant you will have a series of these steps. That’s what lawsuits are – a series of things to do, like steps. How many steps it will actually take, no one can say. What I can say, with certainty, is that if you are reasonably smart and willing to work a little bit, you can do every single step. One at a time.
Debt law isn’t rocket science.
You’re going to need to file an Answer or Motion to Dismiss. Could you do that if you set aside ten hours to do it? Yes. Using our litigation materials, it will take you half an hour to draft an answer, and you can do it yourself without our litigation materials in a somewhat longer time.
You’re going to need to draft “discovery,” which is the formal way you ask the other side what they have to use against you – what could hurt or help you. Could you do that? Yes, you could. Our materials make it relatively easy, but again you can do this on your own.
You may need to file or respond to a motion. Or more than one motion. Can you do it? Certainly you can.
And so it goes. You need to develop a broad strategic plan and then take a series of very manageable steps to get there. You may or may not need to take them all – again, only the debt collector really knows how far it will take things – but you can take every necessary step from being served with the suit through trial if necessary. Each step is relatively simple.
The Difficulty is in your Mind
What is “hard” about standing up for yourself is not the actual standing up or doing what needs to be done. What is hard is to do something different than you have done. Debt troubles are usually not an accident. They are usually the result of certain actions that you or someone took (or failed to take). They are often the result of certain habits. And these habits often accompany a habit of not “taking charge.”
Habits can be hard to break, but anyone can do it if they’re determined enough, right?
Standing up for yourself is “taking charge.” It’s just a different mind-set. Easy as pie – and hard as the devil! I won’t kid you – if you are going to defend yourself you must be willing to start to make the shift from “letting things happen to you” to “taking charge.” It isn’t “hard,” in the sense of physical labor or even intellectual challenge, but it does require paying attention to things you haven’t paid attention to before. And it requires looking at something you’d probably rather not look at, right?
It does require “growth.”
This growth is why people who do stand up for themselves and beat the debt collectors feel so good about doing it. Even more than the money, maybe, standing up for yourself and growing into that sort of person is deeply satisfying and – yes – liberating. You will never be sorry if you take on the debt collectors. Any work you do on it will be “good” work. You’ll know that right from the very beginning, and you’ll get to like it more and more, probably.
The difficulty is just in changing. It’s like stepping through a wall that isn’t really there. So if you’re going to do this, start today to look out for yourself. And watch for the next tip tomorrow.