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

Wishing Our Lives Away

I never understood it fully until just recently. Who would wish their life away? Crazy, right?

This is a truism (an undoubted or self-evident truth), my dad used to say when I made statements like, “I wish I was 16.” “I can’t wait until I’m 18.” “Mary, you are wishing your life away,” he would say. Upon rounding the “teen-bend” and running smack dab into the 20 year mark, it seemed as if my life had nowhere to go but down. And down it did! Not because 24 hours was now more like 12, but because of my choices. Then my complaints became, “I wish it was Friday.” “I can’t wait until Spring.” Legitimate requests/complaints, wouldn’t you say?

If I can inspire even one (but I’m hoping for many), to understand the moments to be cherished and the moments to create life where there seems to be none, then life as we know it, becomes more than a fleeting thing and more than it’s substance. Yes, I understand that days seem to last forever when we’re wishing we didn’t have to live them. My question is…what can we do with the moments we’ve been given? Are we to waste them, become bored with them, wish they weren’t ours? In the reflection of my own life, I believe the reason we grumble about the days isn’t because we don’t enjoy our jobs or what we’ve been given in life, so much as it is that we are very self-centered, pleasure-seeking, people. We’ve bought the lie that if you’re not happy 24/7, then life isn’t worth much. Please understand I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to want the more pleasant things in life, it’s just not a great scenario for growth, which in turn, gives way to a mature state of mind. Without the friction we experience in day-to-day living with others, we would be very spoiled, unsatisfied individuals. In addition to that, in order to be equipped to do the things we love to do, we must first earn some money to do them with. Mostly. Some enjoyments are free…but we don’t know that. 😉 And…why not make the day you are resisting, a great one? Others will hate you for it…call you a “brown-noser” and other unlovely words. They will call you a fake, a people pleaser. And yet, you are the only one responsible for your actions or reactions, not those of others. Isn’t that great?!!! There will be miserable times…times of conflict, times of distress, times of uncertainty. Those are the times we must remember that, in time, everything changes. Maybe you are to be a part of that change. What we do in the moment is what will make our day a good one (even during chaos), or a not-so-good one.

I grew up on a farm where we had a lower, and an upper, pasture. In the lower pasture there was a ground fed spring that ran into a creek, that ran right through our property. We had placed stepping-stones, not quite large enough to balance oneself on, from one side of the creek to the other. There were places along the stream we could just wade across…other places needed stepping-stones that were more like large rocks than smooth stones. We just called them stones. They weren’t comfortable to step on, but then again, they weren’t meant to be places of leisure. They were there to get us to the other side. Much like our places of employment…

Ahhhh…the stories I could tell you of my childhood (AND adulthood). Some really great ones…some very disturbing ones. Not much different from any of you. We all have our stories to tell. And because of those stories, we should cherish our days…not wish they weren’t a part of our lives. Have you ever seen a beautiful tapestry? Many colors, many weaves, full of variety. That’s what our lives were meant to be. One flat color may have its own beauty…but as a hair stylist, I can assure you depth is much more attractive.

We really can turn the ugly into something beautiful, or at least weave it into the beautiful parts that will give our personalities depth that is full of knowing acceptance of others difficulties…giving them the space and desire to make their moments ones to be cherished.

As the years get further in my rear view mirror, I am coming into the understanding of what my dad said. Don’t wish your life away…make it all that it was intended to be. Make it great!