When nothing is certain, everything is possible. ~Unknown
After writing for many years, I finally took the plunge and launched my new business last year. I became a full-time professional writer. As any entrepreneur can tell you, itâ€™s without a doubt the most gripping ride of your life.
Before I left my part-time office gig, I had enough business to justify setting out on my own and enough savings to carry me for a year. So, with that in mind, I grabbed a handrail and held on like my life depended on it.
Not long after that, I discovered Dean Graziosiâ€™s book Millionaire Success Habits. This treasure trove of information lit a resolve in me and I started implementing many of the golden nuggets right away. One of my favorites was scheduling my phone to remind me at certain times of the day, encouragements that I wanted to remember. My number one favorite is: Iâ€™m always in the right place at the right time.
I focused on networking, meeting a lot of new people, and figuring out the best candidates for my services. When things were rocky, I considered what was going right. Like everyone starting out, I had days that were less than ideal. On a particularly down day, people would reach out to encourage me just when I needed it most. Without even knowing I needed it. Most were people I did not know very well.
Sometimes, my mind would start replaying tapes from the negative people in my life saying all those doubt-casting things that only served to discourage me. I wouldnâ€™t allow myself to utter them aloud, because I didnâ€™t want to give it any legs.
In the middle of last year, a young woman reminded me about the story of Howard and the Purple Crayon. She said it was about a little boy that would draw pictures and then what he had drawn with his purple crayon would become his reality. She said, â€œAs a writer, I see that working for you too. Whatever you write will become your reality.â€
Stop here and indulge me for just a moment, and consider that, will you? What if you had a magic pen and EVERYTHING you wrote with it CAME TRUE! Would you want a pen like that? What would you write? What would your to-do list look like? What dreams would you want to come true? What ideas, that seems entirely freaking impossible today, would you dare to write down just to test it and see if it would come true? You wouldnâ€™t have to lift a finger to make it happen, just write it down and trust it will come to pass.
- Who would you want to be?
- Where would you want to live?
- Who would you want to be friends with?
- What changes would you make in your life, in the life of loved ones? In the world?
- Would you be beneficent?
- Would you use it to heal?
- Would there be habits youâ€™d break off your life?
- What negatives would you banish from your day to day?
What would your top 10 look like? (Please share, I am really curious!)
This very thing, my words coming true, had already happened the year before! A story I wroteâ€”Recovering Clarkâ€”had come to pass in my personal life. The day after our conversation, I felt strongly compelled to run out and buy two boxes of purple pens. And when I got them home, I put some in my desk, the pen holder by my couch and bed and all the places where I write or get ideas. I regarded them with a new appreciation. And I started writing.
When my new business was uncertain, I wrote. When those slumps in business arrived, or I felt a little discouraged, Iâ€™d write in my notebook in purple the way I really wanted things to go. Iâ€™d write how my life would look, the clothes I would wear, the brand new thing things Iâ€™d like to get (a new car.) I wrote about what I would offer my clients. I wrote about the kind of clients Iâ€™d work with. I wrote about where Iâ€™d write from (you can travel and write!) Iâ€™d write about the quality my writing and the happiness of my clients.
I wrote it as though it had already happened. I put myself in the moment I had created with my pen. I imagined what it would be like breathing the air when those things happened. I imagined the smile on my face, the feeling of validation Iâ€™d have. And how in awe of God I would feel that He blessed me with answers to purple ink prayers. I created an atmosphere of expectation. I dwelled in that place as long as I could, practically willing my new life into existence.
Of course there were many days when I silently asked, am kidding myself? Can this really work? Can I really write fulltime and make an income that would make my husband proud of me? He would tell you he has always been proud of me. Iâ€™d go right back to networking, and thinking and writing in purple.
It didnâ€™t happen overnight, as we all know that if you plant a seed in the ground, it doesnâ€™t sprout the next day (unless youâ€™re growing magic beans, then stand back and watch out for those towering stalks!) To better steward my resources, I cut back on the â€œwantsâ€ and focused on needs. I refused to buy anything on credit. I sacrificed a few â€œfrivolousâ€ things and reminded myself that this was for a season, not forever. I decided when I could pay myself, Iâ€™d reward myself by obtaining some of those special treats and when I did, Iâ€™d appreciate them that much more (interestingly, I didnâ€™t miss a great many of them.)
The months that followed were not at all what I had thought they would beâ€”but they were better in ways I could not have anticipated. I gained new clients. I expanded my network over 200 percent and met loads of fascinating people in my city and abroad.
I was very careful to guard my words, and say what I wanted to be true, instead of bemoaning where I was.
â€œHowâ€™s your new business coming along?â€
â€œItâ€™s on a really healthy trajectory.â€ I could always point to an upside. All my wants were paid for in cash. I had not incurred any debt. The dialog in my head was not always kind, and those voices I did not dare repeat. But the good ones, I put as reminders in my phone. `
It caused me to ask what is success to me? How would I actually know if I was successful? What were the tangible goals I wanted to reach with my business? Was it a number of clients? Was it a dollar amount? And as I painted the picture of success with the words I wrote with my purple pen, I became aware on a different level what actually rang true with me. Sure I made errors. I realized as certain jobs came to pass, that some of what I was doing was not the best use of my time, strength or talents. I trimmed those away to sharpen my focus.
Some people call this their opus. If youâ€™re a musician, you probably donâ€™t add selling flowers to your resume. You stay with all things musical. You might add writing jingles, or special event songs. You might even teach music to others. By knowing what you love to do, felt strongest doing, you learn how to provide services to clients that directly pertained to the product they seek.
Those uncertain days could have beat me if I hadnâ€™t scripted a plan. When I felt down, I networked even more, I reached out to more people and talked with my network. Sometimes I wondered how it would all come together.
I couldnâ€™t have done it without the support of my husband who made sure to tell me that he believed in me from the start. He knew it was now or never. He understood my need and the value of paying for an awesome (Jewish) mentor who gave me solid advice, pointed out my strengths and actually said to me, â€œYouâ€™re a natural at this!â€ (even before I started turning a profit.) Through her I met another instructor in my field.
To be able to do what you love to do and get paid there is not feeling like it in all the world. To enjoy the people you work with and have some control over the level of income you want to make. Priceless.
What does this mean for you?
Are you playing small? Doing what is safe and keeping your risks really low? Are you bowing under the weight of your safety net? Certainly if you arenâ€™t living the life you always wanted, you are probably living below your full potential. You are called to greatness, no doubt about it. We are not called to play it safe. The most successful people in the world took risks that seemed enormous at the time.
Maybe what you need is a purple pen to unleash your imagination. You can start with the one step so many people fail to take, get your ideas out of your head and onto paper. Itâ€™s the first step to making them a reality they now exist in ink. Then, believing and pondering them, start asking yourself, how can I make this happen? I dare you! It could be the most exciting, life-changing exercise of your life.