9 years ago today, I said yes. No, not to getting married, but I guess you could say that I was saying yes to ‘happily ever after…’
On March 8, 2009, I nervously took a step into entrepreneurship. I didn’t know that’s exactly what I was doing at the time, but I could tell that I was on the verge of something new and something scary and something big. I had signed on the dotted line and committed myself to learning what I needed to learn, and staying the course no matter the obstacles.
I had no idea that I was taking the first small step onto a path that would change absolutely every part of my life.
You see, at that time in my life, I was 25 years old, newly married to a soldier, and living with my soldier husband, at my mom and step dad’s house. I had just moved back to California from San Angelo, Texas (aka nowhere), where Thomas and I were stationed for basic training and fire tech school for the US Air Force. Although I had been married at the courthouse about 10 months earlier, on March 8th of 2009, I found myself less than two months out from my wedding (you know, the one where over 200 people would be in attendance to watch what they thought was our ACTUAL wedding vows). Upon returning home to California, I had returned to my job as a medical assistant for a local eye doctor and was working full time plus weekly overtime.
It was not an ideal time to start a business.
But I knew that I didn’t want the future that I saw laid out in front of me. I didn’t want to work full time, all the time, until retirement. I knew my husband would be headed into shift work in the fire service in the civilian world, and I didn’t want to be ships passing in the night as we chased our separate paychecks. I knew kids were on the horizon- although not what I would consider soon- and I knew that I wanted choices. I didn’t exactly long to be a stay-at-home mom, and honestly I had long since given up that ideal, knowing full well that would never be our financial picture. I knew that the path we were on was not going to work forever, but I didn’t know how or when I would ever have a chance to change the picture.
And then I was introduced to Arbonne.
I had never heard of Arbonne, but I knew that Network Marketing wasn’t for me. I thought all the things people think- I’m not a sales person, this is a pyramid, I don’t know enough people, this only works for some, I definitely don’t have the time, I don’t have ANY money to get started… and most importantly… what would people think?
On March 8, 2009, I was on the other side of all those fears and hesitations. I still wasn’t a sales person, but I didn’t figure I’d have to sell anyone on the idea of shampooing their hair, or washing their face, or shaving and so I felt okay moving forward with the idea of education. I had learned about the industry and knew that it wasn’t a pyramid. The book The business of the 21st Century had really enlightened me on business ownership and although it taught me a lot, I was still not what you would call ‘confident.’ I didn’t know enough people, but I knew some. And as far as I knew, they all showered. I still thought that maybe it only worked for some people, but I figured that I was ‘some’ people. Maybe I could figure it out! I didn’t have any money, but I did have a charge card and a lot of debt so I figured what was $79 more if it meant that I might have a chance to live an extraordinary life. And no, I really didn’t have time. I just didn’t. But I did have a list of priorities that I just rearranged. Oh yea, and what would people think? Well, I still don’t know what people think of me, but I guess I figure that it’s none of my business, right?
I thought I could make it work, and I knew I wouldn’t quit until I did…
And so I started.
Did I know this was entrepreneurship? No. I had simply identified Arbonne as my ‘hope.’ I didn’t know what it meant to be a sole proprietor, but I did know what it felt like to be broken and riddled with stress. I didn’t like that, and so I figured I’d give being hopeful and optimistic a chance!
I set out chips and salsa, opened a bottle of wine, and waited for the red head I had met only once- almost 5 months before- to show up in her white Mercedes to teach me what the heck to do.
(What on earth would I do without this redhead in my life? I shutter to think…)
I was scared. So scared. Because I didn’t know anything, and I wondered if I was crazy, or stupid, or both. I felt brave also though, because I knew that I was taking a road less traveled. I knew it was a road that many wander down, but few truly commit to, and I felt ready for whatever life was going to throw at me.
I knew only two things for sure, and now looking back over the past 9 years, I’m fairly sure that these two things are the ONLY two things that one needs to know to be successful in probably anything they choose to pursue in this life…
- I was willing to learn.
- I was unwilling to quit.
Nine years later I wanted to share nine things that I am grateful for because of having taken this crazy road less traveled…
- I don’t have to check my bank account! Actually, If I’m being honest, I have no idea what my bank log in is! This might sound silly, but for someone who used to check her account multiple times a day to see if I would be able to fill up my car, go to the grocery store, stop by Starbucks on my way to work… or if I’d have to wait until payday, this is a huge blessing. Did you know that if you have less than $20 in your account you cannot pump gas at the gas station? The machine won’t authorize it. I know this to be true. I’ll never forget meeting Thomas somewhere between Tahoe and Luther pass with the extra gas can for the lawn mower to put in my car so I could make it home.
- I travel not just once a year, but many times a year. Maui every January, somewhere tropical every October and many trips in between. My 2 year old had been to Disneyland twice before he turned 1 (my personal dream come true, because obviously that’s for me, not him, right?). We’ve traveled absolutely ALL over the western United States with our kids and my dogs have peed in more National Parks then I can count. I have always had a heart for travel, but my finances were always going to dictate a different life for us.
- No alarm clocks! I am NOT a morning person. This is an understatement as a matter of fact. I don’t like to get up and get dressed and rush out of the house- unless I’m headed to the airport for a trip- and because of the road less traveled, I don’t have to. Well, in truth, that’s only partly true. I do set my alarm clock for 6:40am so that I can wake up my husband so that he can wake up our 6 year old daughter and get her ready for school. He lets me stay in bed because he’s a wonderful- and very smart- man. I love sleep, and I love laying in bed reading my devotional and journaling in the mornings, and these things take time and can’t be rushed. My mornings are now my favorite. And the morning is followed by day after day after day of quality time spent with the people who matter most to me. Not because I don’t work, but because I work differently. I work from home. I schedule it around my family. I get to be present. We get to grocery shop as a family. That may not sound like a ‘get to’ to you, but for us, it’s a blessing that we cherish. I’ve never missed a moment against my will and I’m grateful for that. Time. Time is the currency that I didn’t know mattered more than money ever will. It’s the only thing that we can’t earn any more of…
- Faith is the core of who I am now. I never believed in much of anything before I started down this road. And somehow along the way, I was exposed to such amazing people of character, integrity, and humility and they credited it to something I didn’t think was real. It was an exposure to the answers I had never really had, but the answers that my soul was desperately seeking. It’s given me hope, peace, perspective, light and direction. And if nothing else came of this crazy Arbonne journey, my faith would have always been enough. But there is more…
- Influence! I had no idea I was a leader. I had no idea what I was missing in my life in the way of personal development. I was riddled with anxiety and depression when I started down this path, and through facing obstacles and fears and twists and turns, I’ve become a person I’m pretty in love with. And this isn’t meant to be a self loving, brag blog, but I honestly wasn’t sure that I’d ever be able to be a person who could say that she really loves who she’s becoming. But I’m on my way, friends. I have always loved to write and to speak, but I had no idea how that would not just serve me, but hundreds and thousands of people. I never realized anyone would find me inspirational, or that I could affect a change not just in my own life, but in countless others. THAT’S PRETTY DANG AMAZING, let me tell you what. I had no idea that each of us had a ripple that we could send out into the world, one that would echo far beyond the reach of what I ever dreamed would be possible. What’s funny is that I spent the majority of my life leading up to March 8, 2009 chasing down a dream of being an actor. Not necessarily because I wanted to be famous- although that wouldn’t have hurt- but more because I wanted to be good, I wanted to be seen, noticed, remembered. I wanted to stand on a stage and make people think. I wanted to stir up something inside of people, where they left different than when I found them. That is exactly what I get to do now. God is so faithful in the ways He answers promises. They almost never come in the form we’d expect, but they’re there all the same.
- Friendships. Readers, I hope you guys are Sex and the City fans because who isn’t? But do you remember in the second to last episode of the entire series, when Carrie is getting ready to follow that stupid Russian to Paris and she’s sitting at dessert with her three best friends in the entire world and she just says, “I had a thought today…” and she looks at them each, meaningfully in the eye, and she continues… “What if I had never met you?” You guys, this is what I’m talking about. You know you’re eyes immediately flowed over like a pregnant lady watching a sentimental commercial when she said that! These are the types of friendships that bless my life today because of this pursuit. As an adult, it’s hard to make friends, let’s be real. We’re busy, we’re moms, we’re working, we’re wives, we’re tired. There is no time for friendship, at least not deep, meaningful friendships that fill your days with intense, six pack ab making laughter. This is one of my most favorite blessings. I am so grateful for the humans that have laced up their hiking boots and are out here paving their own ways right along side me.
- My husband is retired. This is a gem in my life. Nine years ago I could only dream of my children having a present mom. I had zero clue how we would ever be able to swing my being able to quit my job and be home with our kids, because we just had to much debt and too much of a financial burden to bare for just one parent to be working. I couldn’t even imagine what it would be like to have the choice to be present with our kids. But because of the amazing blessing of our business, I was able to give my kids the most amazing gift that I believe I’ll ever give them: Their dad. I joke when I say that Thomas is a WAY better mom than me, but I’m not actually joking. He’s a blessing to them, as much as to me, and I’m so grateful that they will know him. They will have him. Always. And I’m grateful everyday that I see him playing baseball with Merit while Gage is napping, or teaching Cadence about chickens hatching, or just snuggling Gage on the couch while they watch tv. I know that this is the most uncommon and most cherished blessing for these three beautiful babes. Which leads me to the second most amazing blessing for the kiddos…
- We live on our dream farm. Almost a year in, and we’re more pleased then we could have ever imagined that we’re living our wildest dreams. I know it doesn’t make sense to everyone, but to those of you who get it… I know you know. This is what we used to talk about on our early dates, Thomas and I. We used to talk about space to play, building a dream house, having lots of animals, growing our own food. Thomas and I both grew up running around the countryside of Woodland and we always wanted a big piece of what we could call ‘ours.’ But we also knew that it would likely stay a dream. It’s hard to afford, it’s a lot of work for people who work full time, and it’s just not really something we could ever see ourselves pulling off. But if you could see my husband’s face most days here… and if you could see the kids running around chasing turkeys and following their dad through the fields… you’d do absolutely anything it took… just like I did… to have gotten your family to this place. Because although it’s hard, and so many of my fears have been realized over the past nine years, you’ll never hear me say it wasn’t worth every last second.
- And then the thing that I’m perhaps most grateful for, that I’m certain wouldn’t be a part of this story if it were not for this business, is my sweet baby Gage. My third baby would have stayed locked tightly in my heart, had it not been for the financial blessing of feeling confident having another. If I was still working, I know we wouldn’t have been able to justify having another baby only to put them in daycare. And Readers, Gage is so cool. He’s so filled with light and love, smiles and snuggles. He’s the absolute perfect caboose to our crazy train and I’m so blessed and so grateful to know that I get to be his mom.
Now, please know that the purpose of this blog today is NOT to impress you or to make you feel guilty or sad in anyway, or for any reason. This isn’t about adding to the mom guilt, or pointing out that you may not be where you want to be. This is not a rub in the face moment.
The point of this story is to celebrate and to reflect on what I see as the specific rewards and blessings in MY life and in MY story for MY steps outside of my comfort zone. This may not have anything to do with what you want in your life. This isn’t about guilt tripping mom’s who work into believing that they should WANT something different for their family if they don’t.
This is just the life that I would have designed if I had been given a magic marker.
And I want you to know, and feel encouraged by that fact that if you WANT to paint yourself a different picture, you have a magic marker waiting for you too.
It may not be in the form of a business and it may not have anything to do with Network Marketing and that’s perfectly okay. But if you want a different life, if you feel like the things you love the most and the priorities that you’d love to hold closer are being dictated by something other than you… If there is a calling on your heart that you can’t find a way to live out… I encourage you to pick up your magic marker. Find your vehicle. Chase down your road less traveled. Do. Act. Don’t wait. Because I can promise you only a few things, but I think I can pretty confidently say that I know at least these few things to be true after nine years of wandering down this road…
- What you’re looking for… is not in your comfort zone.
- If you want something different, you’re going to have to do something different.
- There will be fear. Struggle. Heartache. Judgement. Fear. Loss. Fear. Pain. Sadness. And Obstacles.
- You’ll be grateful for every. last. bit of it. Because it shows you what you’re made of.
- You have to be willing to learn.
- And you have to be unwilling to quit.
I don’t know everything, I’m still learning because God is faithful and He is not done with me yet, but I do know that life is too short. Don’t waste it. If you’re not where you want to be or who you want to be, change.
You’re not a tree.
Here’s to the next nine years. Let the rest of my days be the very best of my days!