I’m not certain when the tides shifted. I don’t even know if I’ve ever really come up for air in my lifelong entrepreneurial pursuits. For you and me, this is not a choice, but something you are born with albeit no guarantees of success. To some, it looks like a lack of focus or laziness even. For me – it is an un-ignorable-craving, to build something for yourself that supports the way you want to live and contribute. I can tell you the one thing that finally led to the rumblings of success, and I am by no means where I want to be yet, but for the first time in 20 years I am on my way.
Yes, 20 years. Wait. Don’t get discouraged. It will not take you 20 years. But you have to hear my story first.
There are two distinct memories that I have – each extremely significant. One is far back; one is near, both terrifying. I often share with my people a little snippet of an evening when I was quite young -- 13. It was late/early, the moon was out and I was on a beach with 10 or more sea turtles. I had run on to the beach not aware of my surroundings at all and halted suddenly to see something I had never seen before. Here were these large dark lumps plodding along on the beach, most back toward the ocean and piles and piles of sand like someone had been searching for buried treasures.
The sea turtles were of course laying eggs and returning to the sea. It was very quiet, just the faint sound of shuffling on the sand over the sound of the waves. I was careful not to disturb the eggs and quietly approached a turtle. I reached out to touch and was startled by the glimmers of light (?) that responded to my touch. Of course, the turtle kept trudging forward; she had an un-ignorable-craving. I was later told that was phosphorus that shimmered, but to my 13 year old mind, it was magic. It was a promise that there are good things even in the midst of really, really bad things.
It was a display of something very biological and beautiful. I consider myself lucky. The part of the story I don’t share is this…I was running on to the beach to escape the scene of my father beating his girlfriend. I exited the back of the condo with her screaming, him cutting the phone line, and telling me to get out. I was shaking so badly by the time I reached the beach, that I had trouble even wiping tears away.
Next memory: I’m a single mom working at a job that requires me to stand all day and move fast. I’m exhausted all the time and hate every moment of it, but I need the money. $6 at the grocery store last night did not go far and I am grateful that my kids understood and didn’t complain about a dinner of rice and gravy…again. It’s humiliating.
I met a customer at work who needed some print work done on a brochure for an organization for women in need (like abuse). She commented how she hoped the changes we made would make the brochure more interesting because they had no applicants for their cash award. I quietly applied for their woman of opportunity award and shared my story. I received a call not long after that I had been given the award and was invited to their ceremony. Someone heard me, they really heard me.
I was 43. I had been married for 23 years to a man in the military only to find that he had been unfaithful for 18 and as a result of his uncountable lies, was losing his mind in alcohol and anger. Walls had been punched, threats made, and even stalking. Suddenly I was starting all over again with no income and very little umph and a stomach full of fear.
You must know, I have been a successful Coach and Virtual Marketing Assistant, Store Owner and Copywriter. I have lived all over the U.S. and in other countries. I am smart and strong and driven to never-ever give up.
But I almost did.
Today, I can tell you the one thing that has finally led to my rumblings of success is never giving up. Despite the trauma and the heart-fracturing setbacks, I also failed over and over again. I keep trying. I keep refining. I keep pushing forward. The more you try different ideas & strategies and the more you fail, the higher the likelihood of success. I used that money I was awarded to start again and this time it stuck. I’m a copywriter, and email marketing consultant launching a new membership program.
But let me ask you, if you give up now…
How will you know if tomorrow is the day that everything shifts?
How will you ever see the backs of sea turtles light up like magic?