Giving Up Is Not an Option

Well…I suppose, in truth, anything is an option. But when we set our minds, our hearts, on something that is filled with hope, giving up will haunt us with the “what ifs” for the rest of our lives. Is that really what we want? If we are honest with ourselves, we won’t be saying “I don’t care”, as I’ve heard others say when their backs are up against that proverbial wall. You know the wall I speak of, because we all face it (or our backs do), at some point in our lives. And it’s usually right when we least expect it, things begin to turn around.

There will be times we are pulled between what seems to be two different worlds. The safe, do nothing world…and the challenge filled, reach for the stars world. In reality, the “safe” world isn’t really that safe. It’s just a place where we think we can breathe free, with little to no challenges. Again, truth must be faced. No matter where we find ourselves to be, there will be times when our minds do battle. For one thing or the other. If we are still breathing, life must happen.

So, work is hard. Business is hard. Life can show itself to be hard. But what is the alternative? Let me be clear. Life isn’t hard 24/7. Life is what we make it. How we face the “hard” issues. There are times, God will pull us aside, and whisper “peace” in our ears, especially when we allow the cares of this life to pull us away from His grace, His peace, His reality. And at that moment, we really do breathe free.

Tomorrow is always a new day…a new opportunity, a new way of looking at life and it’s challenges. Change happens on a consistant basis, and if we position ourselves to receive of its goodness, the bright days will show themselves faithful.

What are you passionate about? What have you given your heart to do? It doesn’t necessarily have to be about the profession you have chosen, but can hold true even in the trenches of life in general.

As we put our hands to the task in front of us, whatever that might be, we will also reap the rewards. We won’t reap, if at first, we don’t sow.

Never give up, Passionistas!

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Never say Never

Never in a million years would I have guessed my “fork in the road” would lead me off the well-worn, already conquered obstacles road, that it Elements Fork in the Road 3did. My husband and I have faced, and defeated, many of those nasty difficulties we must forge through in the course of a lifetime. Those that really mattered anyway, and unlike Alice in Wonderland, we usually knew where we wanted to go.

August 2012, brought a whole new adventure for us. That was when we made the decision to pack up as much as I would need for a short period of time, and headed toward North Carolina. Having left my home of 37 years, surprisingly, the trip was a really good one. I felt no remorse as we got further and further down the road. We had fun along the way, not being in any hurry. The horizon looked promising, even though we knew there would be new obstacles to face. We knew our future depended on our attitude and the hope God had put inside us for our last hurrah, or as some would say, “The place of spreading the icing on the cake.”

My husband would stay in Oklahoma, until our house sold, to move to where he was taking me. We weren’t comfortable leaving our house empty, and felt it was the appointed time to get the new salon business started before the holidays of 2012, and really believed the wait would be only a couple of months, at the most. So, off we went. And now, here it is 8 months later, and he is still there…and I’m here. That’s a really big bummer. Yet, it won’t be forever…

Those of you that have kept up with this business blog will remember the post titled “Passion, Patience, and Persistence”.  It’s something anyone starting out in business, will need. The three P’s. I remember those first few months way back in 1978, when I started my very first business, and thought I would never make it this far. Fast forward to 2012 and starting over in a new state some 1200 miles away, I am once again reminded of the three P’s. As I sit here writing this, I’m once again amazed at how quickly the years seem to have slipped by us.

This new business of mine is located in Apex, NC, in a Market Square with other types of businesses. Yet in my particular building, there are other beauty salons in close proximity to me. Like next door, close. It’s a whole different set-up than what I had grown accustomed to in Oklahoma. I’ve always had a “stand-alone” building in which to do business. I liked it like that. But change has happened, and I adjust pretty well to change, it would seem.  I rent a room…a suite…from an umbrella salon called Sola Salons. Not much of a compromise of old passions. Instead of owning my building, I simply rent a room to house my business in. The area my room is located in, has many rooms rented out to 22 other stylists, and one Esthetician.  I was the only one in this industry starting afresh with no client base…at all. Well, I think the esthetician was beginning fresh too. When asked how I was doing, I would declare that I was “hemorrhaging” at the moment. In other words, a lot of money was going out the door in rent and professional products, along with purchases to make the room look as good as it could. But I knew it wouldn’t last. I made the statement, “I’ll know in 6 months if I’m going to make it here.” I felt I would know the signs of business health within that period of time. Yet, I also knew it would take twice that long to build a sufficient client base to become a viable entity. Many were the days of waiting, hoping, praying…doing everything I knew to do to expand the business.

The time came when I was finally able to make rent and not depend on my Oklahoma business savings account. That felt really good, as I watched the numbers rise. Bleeding stopped. Yay!  And then what I was waiting on, happened! Clients began re-scheduling and even asking to be put on a “standing appointment” basis. Elements Salon was on its way up.  Now, all I need at this point, is a blood transfusion. A lot of money was taken from the savings account, and now it needs replenished. I’m still not where I want to be. It’s only been 8 months, so there is a lot of room for growth. I have way too many open schedules. But we’ll get there! It sorta feels as if the wind is at my back now. That’s a great place to breathe a little easier in. Out of the red and in the black now, albeit minimal. Regardless, the bills are being paid without assistance. Elements is sitting up now…not quite standing yet…but at least we’re not horizontal any longer.

The moral of the story is this…never give up on what you’ve been given to do. Many times we quit right before the break-through, thinking it just isn’t going to happen. We fail to make the curve in the road, and end up crashing and burning. I suppose it’s possible to choose the wrong profession. I will give you that, simply because I think we try our hand at different things hoping one might work for us, and too easily move on to the next idea, before giving it a real chance to blossom.  And there are times we don’t have a choice. We must have money to live. But, if that is the case, we should see those jobs as stepping-stones to get us across the torrent that is trying to sweep us away from what we love.

We must follow our passion, and watch our life change! Follow the road Passionistas! Possibly I’ll see you there and will be able to help you forge ahead.

Passionately…Mary

Passion, Persistence, & Patience

Beauty and the Business Valentine

Ahhh…the holiday for lovers…and love. Passion, along with persistence and patience, is directly linked to this very famous holiday. If you know the original story of Valentine’s Day, you know why it has gone down in the annals of history. Let me share St. Valentine’s Story…

St. Valentine lived in Rome during the third century.  At that time, Rome was ruled by an emperor named Claudius. Valentine wasn’t the only one that didn’t like Emperor Claudius! A lot of people shared his feelings.Claudius wanted to have a big army. He expected men to volunteer to join. Many men just did not want to fight in wars. They did not want to leave their wives and families. As you might have guessed, not many men signed up. This made Claudius furious. So what happened? He had this crazy idea of not allowing anyone to marry. He thought that if men were not married, they would not mind joining the army. So Claudius decided to enforce this idea of his. Young people thought his new law was cruel, as did St. Valentine. He knew he couldn’t support this new law, because it was against God’s laws. St. Valentine was a priest and he took orders from God only. He took a lot of pride in marrying couples. Even after Emperor Claudius passed his law, he kept on performing marriage ceremonies — secretly, of course. It was really quite exciting. Imagine a small candlelit room with only the bride and groom and the priest. I imagine they would whisper the words of the ceremony, listening all the while for the steps of soldiers.One night, they actually heard those feared footsteps. It must have been very scary! The couple escaped, but St. Valentine wasn’t so fortunate.  He was thrown in jail and told that his punishment was death. He stayed cheerful even knowing his fate. Many young people came to the jail to visit him. They threw flowers and notes up through his window, to show their admiration of him. They wanted him to know that they, too, believed in love. One of these young people was the daughter of the prison guard. Her father allowed her to visit whenever she wanted. Sometimes they sat and talked for hours. She helped him to keep his spirit up. She agreed that it was the right thing to ignore the Emperor and go ahead with the secret marriages. On the day St. Valentine was to die, he left his friend a note thanking her for her friendship and loyalty. It was signed, “Love from your Valentine.” That simple, heart-felt note, started the custom of exchanging love messages on Valentine’s Day. It was written on the day he died, February 14, 269 A.D.  Now, every year on this day, people remember. But most importantly, they think about love and friendship.  So, when you think of Emperor Claudius, you can remember how he tried to stand in the way of love, and laugh — because you know that love can’t be snuffed out.

Okay…stay with me here, as I connect this story with what I’m going to share about business.

I think I was the only salon owner in my home town that required a signature on a contract when prospective stylists applied for a position at my place of business. The contract was for them as much as it was for me. It told me they were serious about what they were going to embark upon. There was never a time that any of the great gals who worked alongside me, didn’t know what I expected during their stay. Well, with the exception maybe, of the gal who convinced me she spoke English well enough to communicate with English-speaking clients. I must have had blinders (maybe earplugs as well) on that day, wanting to bring her on staff because of our Latino community.

I provided an atmosphere, not only for the client, but for the stylists and myself as well. One that was void of gossip, bad language, and unclean spaces. If we are to spend the majority of our waking hours at our businesses, shouldn’t our surroundings be pleasant? Shouldn’t we be PASSIONATE about what we do…like St. Valentine was? Shouldn’t we PERSIST in the face of weariness? Shouldn’t we, of all things, be PATIENT knowing that with patience comes true love?

In this new endeavor of mine, I have had moments of discouragement and impatience. Who would have guessed…this person that lets very little get in her way of making things happen, also has moments of self-doubt? I think St. Valentine may have had his moments also. Except when the young girl came to encourage him.

We, also, need to encourage each other…especially when we see that lonely look in another’s eyes. The look of doubt, discouragement, and disillusionment. Once we’ve made the commitment to see passion through, that old hum-bug Claudius (aka FEAR) can’t throw lasting discouragement at us, like keeping clients from our door. True love will start to blossom for our profession.

Remember…Passion, Persistence, Patience…all winning attitudes. Happy Valentine’s Day!!!