If You Don’t Know Where You’re Going, You Could End Up Anywhere

Alice in Wonderland (2010 film)
Image via Wikipedia

And Seriously, is that so bad?

Life isn’t about setting a goal and being so laser focused on it that you never stray from the Path.

I don’t mind ending up anywhere, anywhere might be more interesting than either here or there.

I was just reading about a stay at home Mom who had become very successful in her business, but she is giving it all up

for the family  that she stayed at home for in the first place! See, she realized that she just never got to spend any real quality

time with her husband or her kids so for her  that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow  just doesn’t shine as brightly

as the two bundles of joy she had given birth to.

I’m not saying that you should give up on your dreams and aspirations, oh I would never even suggest such a thing!

What I am saying is that the road is your life.  You’ve  heard it before,  it’s the journey not the destination.

So enough about you, lets talk about me…

As a child, I thought I would be a doctor when I grew up.

As a teenager I thought I would be a writer when I grew up.

As a twentysomething single mother of two I thought I’d do something with computers when I grew up.

As a thirtysomething wife and mother of three I finally got my Bachelors and planned to be paid more than my age when I grew up.

In my early 40’s I found myself a musician’s wife and thought that I’d just travel a lot and say “I’m with the band” when I grew up .

In my late 40’s I thought I would become the next MLM success story when I grew up

And as I prepare to hit that half century mark, I can honestly say – I still don’t know what i want to be when I grow up, but man I have had so much fun and met so many nice people  while I’ve been trying to figure it out.

I can’t wait to see what’s next!

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I Wish You Enough

Sunny yellow flower by Sharee Basinger

Sunny yellow flower by Sharee Basinger

Shortly after Christmas last year I received one of those sappy forwarded emails which I usually scan and then delete. I kept this one because the message it contained resonated on some level. It was the story of a father saying goodbye to his daughter at the airport, and he told her “I wish you enough”. There was a lot more to it of course, but this is the part that drew my attention.

The question is what is enough? Once upon a time in America, a good job, a roof over your head, clothes on your back, and food in your belly were always enough. This was the good life , when cars and vacations were paid for in cash; “bills” meant utilities such as water, heating, electric, and a home phone; and a house large enough to fit the family was  more than enough.

Very slowly, we decided that enough was no longer enough. Suddenly we needed a cell phone(for everyone in the house) in addition to the home phone, two cars instead of just one, vacations that cost several months worth of paychecks,  a mini- mansion in what used to be the country and is now the suburbs. And suddenly, home cooking wasn’t good enough – I know stay at home Moms who buy the kiddos lunch at McDonalds!

Of course we could no longer pay cash for all of this, so we had to have a credit card or two or three. For the most part we took out  large loans with exorbitant interest (any interest is excessive if you ask me) for the cars. And I won’t even cover what we’ve agreed to so that we could have those mini-mansions in the suburbs.

When the economy tanked in the past couple of years, I think (I hope) we all realized that we had gone past having what we needed, to having things that we wanted just because we could pay monthly on them.  I hope that we have learned to pay with cash, and that buying “on time” means giving up years of your earnings for something that will have very little value at the end of that time.  I know that many of us have had “enough loss to appreciate all that we possess” and I hope that we take this lesson learned with us and pass it on to our kids.

In closing I wish you enough:

  • Enough money in your bank account to pay your bills .
  • A roof over your head that is paid off or at least paid for on time each month.
  • Enough time to enjoy your children because they are grown and gone so quickly
  • Enough gratitude for the people and things in your life so that you may attract more good things and people
  • Enough winter so that you appreciate spring and summer when they finally arrive
  • Enough despair that you appreciate hope and the smallest bits of happiness
  • Enough clarity to explore the alternatives
  • Enough hate and war,  so that you appreciate love and peace

The Elephant in the Room| How I Crossed My Racial Divide

guesswhoscomingtodinnerBack in 1997 when my teenage son began dating the blonde haired, blue-eyed girl next door, my reaction can almost be called hypocritical. After all, hadn’t I spent the years after my divorce specifically dating only Caucasian males?

Well perhaps it was this specificity in my past choices, which led me to believe (as many still do) that just as lesbians and gay men “choose” to be homosexual, so do teenagers “choose” to date outside of their race.  I was distraught over my son’s choice because I felt that in choosing to date a white girl, he was rejecting his  Black mother, and all of the other Black women in his family tree.

So, what did I do? Well what could I do?  You know from my previous posts that I love my children just the way that God gave them to me – unconditionally. And, for  that reason, I would never allow them to feel less than loved by me.  When my son was 5, he said to me “Mommy, how come you’re white and we’re black”.  Hmmm,  even at 5 my boy had deep thoughts ; as you well know, I am not white, but I am less brown than my children are and I mention this only to illustrate that kids don’t start seeing color and differences until we point them out.

When it comes to people, our childrens’  likes and dislikes are based on their feelings about those people, and race and ethnicity don’t even come into play for them. That is until we start to point it out. I think that my reaction to his choice of girlfriend freaked my son out because I am the last of the hippie chicks, the love everybody equally generation, the don’t judge a person by what’s on the outside school of thought.

And there I was being a big fat hypocrite when my son did exactly as he was taught and didn’t judge the book by it’s cover!

12 years later I am older, wiser and more accepting. I know now that you love who you love, and like Michael Jackson so eloquently stated “it don’t matter if you’re Black or White” . I know that my childrens choices when it comes to their partners is not a rejection of me or their race. I believe that if we leave them be, our children will obliterate the racial divide – if we let them.

Unfortunately, I saw on Mamapedia that there are parents who are now entering the struggle.  I have a friend who is white and her  teenage daughter likes  a Black  child in her grade. They are unofficially dating, I don’t have a problem with it, but my friend does, even though she has never mentioned it to me.  I feel like there is a big old elephant in the room every time we are together, that there is something we should talk about but don’t. We discuss husbands, diets, raising kids – you name it. But I see the elephant out of the corner of my eye, and I so want to mention him.

I know in my heart, that she will come around on her own, 12 years from now she will probably laugh about this and wonder why the situation upset her so much. You see when our children date outside of their race it’s not about us, and if we will remove ourselves from the equation we would not be upset about the color of the other person and we would be free to judge them on “the content of their character”,  just the same way we judge anyone who dares to date our child.

I think it’s telling that this interracial relationship is totally accepted by her child’s peers. The future looks bright after all.

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Papa Was A Rolling Stone, But…

I got out of bed on Monday morning April 28th,1997 after a sleepless night

Papa was A Rolling Stone

Papa was A Rolling Stone

and looked out at a beautiful spring morning. The birds were chirping like crazy, there was a nice little breeze and as I looked at the sky thru the 26 pine trees I could see from my kitchen window, I realized that my Daddy wouldn’t be seeing that sky any more.

I really took my Father’s death hard,  and today 12 years later I finally understand why. You see my Papa truly was a rolling stone, a good looking ladies man, father of 5 children with my mother, 4 other children that I knew of, and God knows how many unknown offspring.

I was a Daddy’s girl, he took me everywhere that he went (even if it was to visit one of my other “mothers”) and I loved my father to the Sun and the Moon and back again. And I believe he loved me the same way too. So when he brought us to America in November 1969, dropped us off at a luxury apartment, and then got into his car and went home, well the bottom dropped out of my world.

I prayed really hard every night that he would God would see fit to put my parents fractured marriage back together; instead God allowed me to overhear the conversation where my Mother asked my Daddy what she should tell his 5 children – and he replied “Tell them I’m dead”.

Oh, how I could go on with the list of ways in which my father wronged me, and the many reasons that I had to bring so much baggage into all of my relationships. I knew as I made each mistake in my life that it was my damn father’s fault, I was always searching for my Daddy.

Do fathers even realize or understand that when they reject and abandon the mother, they are also rejecting, abandoning, and scarring the daughters?

In 1993 when i was pregnant with my youngest, I realized how angry I was with my father for everything. I was so angry that I had to see a therapist (it didn’t help, do they ever?).

In the months before he died, Daddy begged me to come see him because he was dying. But I was in school, I was working on this huge project for work, I was renovating the house, I was full of excuses because I didn’t believe him. The last time I saw him he was well enough to point out that I had gained some weight, and I somehow managed to tune out how sick everyone told me that he actually was.

Sometime between April 20, 1997 and April 27, 1997 my father called me and left a message. I had every intention of calling him, but never did.  I saved the message until someone erased it accidentally. Regrets.

A few nights before he died, I was  sitting at my computer working on a

Disco Syd - The Rolling Stone

Disco Syd - The Rolling Stone

project for school, when suddenly I felt an embrace and started to cry uncontrollably, I was not crying because I was unhappy or sad about anything. As I cried I couldn’t even figure out what I had to cry about, but I felt strangely comforted.   Later, I told my Mother what had happened and she said that in the old country they believe that in the days leading up to your death, your spirit walks the earth, revisiting the places you’ve been and the people you’ve loved.

I firmly believe that because I would not go to him, my Father came to see  me one last time. I believe that it was his embrace and his regrets and his sadness that brought me to tears.

You see my papa was a rolling stone, but it didn’t mean that he didn’t love me.

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6 Ways to Use “The Golden Rule” When Networking & Prospecting

{{w|Kindergarten}} on the Ministry of Agricult...
Image via Wikipedia

I remember kindergarten like it was yesterday, don’t you? I was petrified, didn’t know why my father had abandoned me by leaving me with a bunch of strangers.Eventually I made a lot of friends, learned to love my teacher (she was my aunt, it was a small town in a small country), figured out that I had to either stay away from the bullies or befriend them. And like 5 year old children in kindergarten classes around the world, I learned The Golden Rule: Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You. We even sang a song about it just to really get it into our heads-:)

That first day of kindergarten feeling of absolute fear is one that we all experience from time to time in; whether it’s at a networking event of some sort, a business meeting, or just picking up the phone to call on prospective network marketing associates.  Why are you fearful when placed in a situation where you must present your business opportunity, product or service to a stranger? Think about it, do you think that your business opportunity is a scam? Do you believe that your products and services are overpriced or don’t work as advertised? Of course you don’t, so quit wearing disbelief  like a cheap suit and those fears will dissipate.

How can you utilize the Golden Rule in your business and life? I love the movie “Beaches” , I especially love this line from Bette Midler because it really describes a specific networking style

“Well enough about me, lets talk about you, what do you think about me?”

  1. Never, ever , ever begin or end a conversation by talking about yourself, your opportunity, or your product. Your conversation should be about the person that you are speaking with. You want your prospect to walk away from your conversation with the feeling that YOU really care about HIM. So FOCUS on HIM, do not interject yourself into any part of the conversation.
  2. Ask questions that  require  more than a Yes/No answer. For example: How did you get started in your business? What do you enjoy most about being a stay at home Mom? Wow That’s a great suit, where did you get it?
  3. Try to go at least 3 deep on each question (but only if the conversation lags, don’t cut them off to ask the next question). So for the firs questions above your three deep may look like this:
    • How did you get started in your business?
    • What do you enjoy most about what you do?
    • What’s your least favorite part of what you do?
    • What advice would you give to someone just getting started in your business? (note that these questions also work as followups to to the stay at home Mom question: what advice would you give to someone who wants to quit working and stay at home with her children?)
  4. If your prospect gives short answers , then ask questions that take a part of their answer and extend the conversation. Prospect:  “I love being here when my kids get home from school” You:”When your kids get home from school?” Prospect: “Yeah, they used to come home to an empty house, and now I’m here to help with homework, run them around to soccer, and ballet classes” You: “Soccer and ballet classes? “
  5. Ask not what your prospect can do for you, instead ask what you can do for your prospect. As network marketers we tend to want to cut right to the chase, put our opportunity on the table and if they don’t enroll we say “NEXT”.  But remember your prospective associate? Sure you may have something they need, but maybe right now they cannot  A) see it or   B)afford it. That does’t mean that they won’t see it, afford it and get into it with you in the future, but in the meantime you need to find out what you can do for them by asking the question “What can I do for you?” or “How can I identify a good prospect for your business?”
  6. That last one kind of threw you for a loop didn’t it? You’re thinking “What?!? Why would I want to find prospects for someone else?” OK, let’s revisit the olden Golden Rule and the Law of Reciprocity – it is a universal law that we get back what we give out. Give of yourself  with no expectation of a return on your investment , and simply because you enjoy helping people to be happy and successful, and the universe will bless you – this I can attest to.

Who can I help today?

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10 Things To Consider When Choosing a Work At Home Opportunity

working at home
Image by atconc via Flickr

With a New Year comes reflection ,soul searching and then the desire to BE or DO…something.  That something can mean anything from finding a new job to creating  a new way of life that includes more time for yourself or to spend with your family. Whatever that something is, it often finds you on the internet searching for work at home opportunities.  Given that a work at home opportunity can be anything from Virtual Assistant to Home Based Business Entrepreneur, here are

10 Things To Consider When Choosing a Work At Home Opportunity

  1. Do want to supplement your current income or are you looking for financial freedom?  This question could be reworded as “are you looking for a quick fix to a financial shortfall or is your goal a significant increase in your income over the long term? ”  It is the first and most important question to ask yourself. If you want to supplement your income for a little while then a second job  would be a good option, but will that scratch your itch long term? Consider where you were a year ago and where you want to be a year from now. If you were looking for extra income a year ago then you will probably still be looking a year from now, because your finances are probably even more messy than you care to admit. In a case like this you want to think long term financial freedom.
  2. How much income are you looking to generate? Is $10 an hour enough for you  or do you need an extra $2000.00 a month? You can find hourly jobs and short-term  gigs on craigslist, elance.com, and wahm.com for starters. To create a consistent livable/sustainable income from home may require a business opportunity as opposed to a job. (Coming soon “Use Your Passion to Get Into Profit Mode” with tips on earning money by doing something you like to do, as opposed to doing something that you have to do).
  3. How much time are you willing to invest in a work at home opportunity? Meaning, how many hours a day do you actually have for this? Do you want something do a couple of hours on the weekend and in the evening or do you need  9-5 telecommute job kind of thing ?  Do you want the ability to set your own hours and go at your own speed or do you require scheduled hours that provide structure and discipline? You should know and understand the differences before you start  filling applications out across the web.
  4. Are you looking to spend more quality time with your family or to be home with your kids? Many work at home opportunities do not have room for children in them. A home based business is something that you can do with barking dogs, meowing cats, and crying babies. When you talk to people on the phone they hear all that and realize that maybe you are not calling them from a call center in India or Yugoslavia or (worst yet) Arizona. There are customer service and telemarketing  jobs that you can do from home but some restrictions apply. You will need a hardwired telephone line (not Magic Jack or VOIP), an office where you can work quietly (no doorbells, no kids, no pets), and the ability to commit to scheduled hours which usually include the weekend. If your kids are not in school and you don’t have an au pair, these are not for you. But again check out some of the sites I listed above for jobs that are not so strict.
  5. How much do you have to invest in a work at home opportunity? Some jobs require that you pay certain fees for a background check for example. Most business opportunities also require an up front fee as well as a monthly fee  or an auto ship (requires you to receive x amount of products per month). Affiliates are often free to get started, but may have some costs down the line.
  6. How long are you willing to work ? If you just want to make an extra $500 for 6 months and call it quits then you are looking at a short term gig, whereas a $200,000 per year income  may take you anywhere from 2 to 5 years to generate (and I can’t promise you that it can be done with a job).
  7. Do you understand the 40 year versus the 4 year retirement plan? That’s where you work for a company for 40 years and then retire with a pension that is so small you have to supplement your income with the 401K that you (hopefully) contributed to while you were working or … you end up as a greeter at Walmart. The 4 year plan is where you start your own business and work really  hard for 4 years to create a $100K+ residual income that allows you and your spouse to retire before your kids get to junior high school. This is based on the premise that if you are going to work hard anyway, why not be the main beneficiary of your hard work? Before you jump into a business read this.
  8. Do you know the difference between a home based business and a work at home job? A business opportunity requires self discipline, the ability to dream big,  and a strong desire to succeed. There may be some costs associated with it, and there is a learning curve. but if you can stick it out you will earn a steady income from it in two to four years. A job on the other hand provides an income immediately, sets a schedule for you, and doesn’t require any more self-motivation than you currently have. A job is viewed by many as the safer, less scammy option but…given that over 500,000 people applied for unemployment in December alone, jobs are not as safe as they look and  you will have a lot of competition.
  9. Do you want  to make a lot of money quickly? Then I suggest you sell something on Ebay ( your first born or your house maybe) or rob a bank. Neither a job nor a business is going to get you rich quick, everything requires ramping up and then building.
  10. How big is your biggest dream?  How you answer this question will determine the direction you take.

What do you want to BE or DO in 2009 ? Tell me what I missed in my list of 10 Things To Consider When Choosing a Work At Home Opportunity.

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