Somthing New

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When you start something new, there’s a learning curve, right? It doesn’t matter whether you’re a newborn baby and your “something new” is life itself, or you’re a 65 year old man entering retirement and your “something new” is a fixed income and reprogramming your body not to wake up at 4:30am for your shift at the factory. New things bring with them excitement, wonder, and optimism, but they also bring anxiety, doubt, and difficulty. Starting a new business or attempting to market your existing one to the next level is no different.

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When I decided to become a freelance writer, I couldn’t wait to get started—but short of just transferring the thoughts and ideas in my head onto my computer screen, I had no idea what to do. I had to go through the aforementioned learning curve. That required plenty of research on exactly what a freelance writer does, what topics I would write about, how to get my writing seen, how to market myself, how to be published, how to appeal to my audience, and how to make money doing it. As technology, people’s interests, and the world in general change, I have to learn to adapt. I am constantly learning new ways to use technology, brainstorming ways to stay relevant to my readers, and researching ways to grow my audience.
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I parallel my journey to becoming a successful writer to that of a baby’s journey to becoming a thriving adult.

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teamwork

Unfortunately, I went through the beginning of my aspiring writer learning curve solo. I didn’t realize the importance of having the right people around you with similar interests and mindsets, but more experience and solid success. As I start my latest endeavor with Empower Network, I’m anticipating the learning curve but the great thing about it is that there are so many training resources and knowledgeable, successful members that my learning curve thus far has been pretty narrow. Having such a strong team of people to support you and guide you around the learning curve is amazing. Whether you’re bold enough to take the Empower Network plunge and start living your dream on purpose, or you have some other “something new” going on, make sure to surround yourself with a great support system.

learning curve, something new, business, entrepreneur, freelance writing, becoming a freelance writer, blogging, freelance blogger, make money blogging

So keeping all of this in mind, what is your “something new?” Are you embarking on a new career, buying a new home, or just trying to get your life and your income to the next level? Whatever your “something new” is, don’t get discouraged as you swing around that learning curve. Just hold on tight and lean into it. You can do it!

Let’s help each steer this learning curve and make some moola in the process.
Click here to join my team!

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How I Met My Husband

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On the way home from work just I now, I heard a song on the radio called “When I’m with You” by Tony Terry. It is a beautiful love song in which Terry tells of all the wonderful things that happen when he is with the one he loves. You can listen to it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fR-e5KJzREc

I’ve always loved this song and since I met my husband, Anthony, I think of him whenever I hear it. Today when I heard it, I thought of our relationship, in particular its first budding moments.

I love hearing stories of how couples first met or began dating. Most people who know me personally know my husband and I met at work in 2003, but only a few know how it all transpired. Since it’s on my mind, I want to share it with my readers today.

I had just started my first real job at a Fortune 500 company and thought I was on top of the world. It was an entry-level position, but at 22 years old it was the bee’s knees. It was a first shift, 40-hr per week gig that required me to dress business casual and gave me full benefits. I was used to the, “Would you like fries with that?” kind of jobs so a job like this made me feel like a real adult.

Not only was I used to a less-mature position in the drive-thru industry, I was also used to the same exact type of romantic (or lack thereof) relationship. I was in love (stupidly) with a guy who had never felt the same and had proven it time and time again by lying, cheating, and being disrespectful. When I landed this job, it definitely made me think deeper about changes that needed to be made in my life—including in my relationship. This relationship was already slowly fizzing out, but I just wasn’t ready to let go of something that in reality was already gone.

My new job demanded more of my time and concentration, which left less of both for my relationship. I was meeting new people who were on a totally different level in life than the man I was dating, who was young and just out of college. Although I still saw him, I was less and less concerned about him and what happened to our relationship.

Towards the end of the job’s three-month training session, the new-hire class and I were given our new team assignments and were out on the floor meeting with a few of our soon-to-be new team members. I noticed a couple of guys who had just entered our area and were shaking hands and introducing themselves to some of us new folks. The two guys happened to be standing directly in the entryway that lead to the restrooms. I really had to “go” so I attempted to briefly walk past them and be on my way.

As I tried to go past without drawing attention to myself, I felt a loose grip on my wrist. One of the guys had stopped me and was attempting to introduce himself. My focus was on the tingling sensation in my bladder and not on anything he was saying. I did, however, notice he was kind of cute but looked into my eyes just a little longer than I thought he should. I told him my name (without the slightest clue of what he had just said his was), gave him a quick, “Nice to meet you,” and made a bee-line for the restrooms.

A few days later, our class graduated from training and moved to our new teams. Lo and behold, there was the guy whose name had come second to nature’s call sitting in the desk right behind my new one. Fortunately, all of the desks had name tags, so I took a quick glance at his and committed it to memory. He saw me, smiled, made some corny joke that I can’t remember, and then made a comment to the other guy who had been with him when we first met, who also sat nearby on our team.

Over the next few weeks, we got to know each other through team interaction and his endless bank of jokes. This guy was a real clown. He always had a witty comment or snappy comeback ready. At times he was a little corny (forgive me baby, if you’re reading this), but little did he know, I was quite corny myself. A guy who could keep me laughing had a good chance at stealing my heart.

As the weeks went by, we exchanged numbers and started taking our lunch breaks together. It turns out that he was just as friendly as he was funny and I was enjoying being his friend and spending time with him at work. I was still seeing the other guy occasionally, but more out of habit and not really knowing how to let it go. Though I was growing closer to my friend at work, I still didn’t know him very well and my other guy and I had “history.”

Unfortunately that “history” meant nothing to my guy. He showed his true colors when I needed him and pushed me right into my new friend’s arms—literally.

A couple of months into our friendship, my lease was ending and I had accepted a new one with another apartment complex. Even though I had a grown up job, I still wasn’t completely experienced at making grown up decisions—my old lease was ending two weeks before the new one could begin. I wasn’t able to move in early or move out late so I was basically homeless for two weeks!

The natural thing to do (in my eyes) was to let my guy know the deal and ask him if I could crash there for a couple of weeks. No big deal right? Wrong! He came up with some lame excuse about being out of town or some nonsense. Immediately, I knew the real reason was because I wasn’t the only girl he was seeing. Honestly, that didn’t even bother me as much as his not willing to put that on hold and help out the one who had been there for him for the past three years. My best friends had moved away a few months earlier and I literally had nowhere to go.

Back at work, my friend was wondering why I had been acting so distracted so during one of our lunch breaks I told him that I was on the verge of living out of my car for two weeks. Without looking up from his sandwich, he nonchalantly said, “You can sleep on my couch for a couple of weeks if you need to.”

I almost choked on my lunch. How could someone who barely knew me so freely open up his home (couch) to me? I thought it was very sweet and kind, but of course I was a bit cautious. I hadn’t known him very long, but after a couple of months of seeing each other almost every day, talking on the phone a couple of times a week, and going out to dinner a few times, I felt he was a pretty good guy. I didn’t expect him to try anything inappropriate, considering we had to work right by each other every day.

I thanked him for his offer, but didn’t accept right away. I told him I would let him know. In the back of my mind I knew it was either his couch or the back seat of my two door Cavalier coupe. I think he could sense the uneasiness in my response so he invited me over for Sunday football (Go Cowboys!) and snacks so I could see where my prospective, temporary living quarters might be.

Though I wasn’t a big football fan at the time, I had a lot of fun watching the game and hanging out with him. He made me feel very comfortable with him in his home and I thought his big, soft, oversized couch could be a perfect makeshift bed for a couple of weeks. At the end of the night, I took him up on his offer and began packing up my stuff in the next few days.

I was still a bit nervous the first couple of nights staying in his place, but he was such a gentleman, not overbearing and didn’t try anything inappropriate. Like me, he is a movie buff so we spent most nights just making dinner together and watching DVDs. I was surprised at how good a time I had with him during those two weeks. It was like being able to hang out and have fun with a good friend every evening after a long day of work.

Once my apartment was ready, he spent the weekend helping me move in. In the two weeks we spent together, we had become very close and had learned a lot about each other. I realized that I really liked him and felt like he really liked me. I hoped that I would still get to hang out with him now that I was out of his place.

While I was unpacking and arranging my things the day after my first night in my new place, my phone rang. I started to ignore it because it had been ringing off the hook for the past few days. My old guy kept calling and calling and calling and leaving messages. He was supposedly concerned about me, wanted to know where I had stayed for the past two weeks and if he could come see me. I had been letting all of his calls go to the voicemail. The audacity of him to think that I actually believed he was concerned about me and that I even wanted to speak to him. But, this time, something told me to answer the phone.

When I picked up the phone and looked at the caller ID, I felt my mouth spread across my face as I began smiling from ear to ear. It was Anthony! I was so happy to hear his voice. He asked me how I was getting settled in and if I needed any help. He had already helped me so much and I didn’t want to seem needy, so I told him I was fine and didn’t need any help. That was true, but I really wanted to say yes just so I could spend some time with him. What I got was much better than spending a few hours together that day.

We made small talk for a few more minutes and then I will never forget the words he spoke to me just before we were about to end the call. He said, “I really enjoyed having you stay with me. I miss you and I want you to come back.”

That was just the first of many, many sweet things he would eventually say to me in our time spent together. Within minutes, I was off that phone and packing a bag to take back over to his apartment. Later that night, I was back on his big, soft, oversized couch, but this time I was snuggled up in his arms—just like I have been every night for the past eight years (different couch now, though).

A Mailbox, a Snake, and a Lesson

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A simple trip to the mailbox became inspiration for a motivating message to my readers.

Yesterday afternoon I took the brief walk down the driveway to the mailbox as I always do. As I walked I absently glanced about at the houses in the neighborhood, the kids zooming past on their bicycles, the four lazy cats dozing in the shade of my neighbor’s oak tree. I barely noticed the crunchy, sun-scorched leaves and dark chips of mulch that I could see in my peripheral vision sprinkled about the white concrete driveway.

Once I made it to the bottom of the small hill, I reached into the mailbox grabbed the papers, shook them out (in case spiders were crawling inside!), and slowly started back up the driveway.

As I waltzed up the hill, flipping through the envelopes and magazines I had just collected, I lifted my head and glanced up the path. One of the small gatherings of stray mulch I barely noticed on my way down the driveway was now much more noticeable.

Less than three feet in front of me, the small pile of mulch actually proved to be a coiled black snake!

I am deathly afraid of snakes, spiders, and all creepy crawling things. As soon as my eyes focused on the snake and my mind computed that it was no little pile of mulch, my knees went weak. I screamed, panicked, and broke out into a sweat. How was I supposed to get back up the driveway now that an anaconda was blocking it and ready to swallow me whole?! (It was actually just a simple little black snake barely over a foot long and not paying a bit of attention to me, but in my mind it was something out of a horror movie.)

My husband and son hadn’t gotten home yet so I couldn’t yell for them and I didn’t want the neighbors to see me acting like a crazy person. I could either stand in the driveway until someone came home or have a showdown with Mr. Anaconda.

After a couple of minutes of sheer terror and panic, I decided I would go around the house to get back to the door. Instead of walking the short 10 yards or so to the kitchen door by the driveway, I decided to cross the entire front yard, walk around the side of the house, cross the entire back yard, and come around to the kitchen door.

As I came around the corner and walked up the three brick steps to the door, I looked back down the massive snake pit (my empty driveway) and saw Mr. Anaconda slithering away down a storm drain.

It’s funny how when I wasn’t aware of the snake I made it to the mailbox with no problems. If I hadn’t looked directly at it on the way back up the driveway I would have been past it in a fraction of a second and back into the safety of my home, saving myself from a near heart attack.

Reaching our goals in life is a lot like my experience with the “anaconda.” As long as I focused on my destination and not the snake, I could make it. As soon as I turned my focus to the snake, I panicked, became afraid, and made it harder on myself to reach my back door.

No matter what problems, obstacles, or setbacks happen throughout our journey, we can’t focus on them. We can’t dwell on them. We need to put on blinders and point our gaze only in the direction we want to go and not let what is going in around us distract us, get us off course, or stand in the way of our destination.

When my husband sliced his fingertip in half with the hedge trimmer last month, he said he felt a prick when his finger made contact with the blade, but didn’t feel the pain until a few seconds later when he actually saw the wound and all the blood. You’ve probably been in a similar situation where you didn’t realize you had been hurt until you saw the bruise or the blood and then felt the pain based on what you saw. It’s only when we focus on the setback do we succumb to it and allow it to distract us.

The story of Peter walking on water to Jesus is another example of what can happen when you focus on what is going on around you instead of your destination. As long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, he did fine walking across the sea. But as soon as he started looking at the raging storm around him, he began to sink.

I knew there was something in the driveway as I walked past. My husband knew he had hit his finger. Peter knew there was a storm going on. But as long as none of us looked at the snake, the wound, or the rain, we made it. Once we focused on them we were afraid, we hurt, we sank.

You may know there’s something trying to block your path, but keep moving forward and focus on your goal.

Don’t let a storm, a snake, a gossiping coworker, a negative parent, a failed job interview, or a closed door distract you from reaching the goals you’ve set for yourself. Nothing can stop you but you.