Preserving Our Past For The Future

Monthly Archives: January 2015

Do you ever have the days you feel like you are hitting a rock wall? I do. Sometimes it is weeks, months or even years of it. I have a problem, an issue, a long time “thing” that bugs me or controls me or worries me. It makes me fret, moan and groan and become otherwise hyper-focused on it. I spend money, waste time, flap my jaws and talk about it, purchase books, magazines, and sit in webinars about it, cry into my beer (or diet coke) with friends and try to solve it…but when all is said and done, I seem to never really get anywhere in taking care of the problem or the root issue.

My health, in particular my weight, was one (and only one) of these kinds of issues for me. I’d get to the point of really dedicating myself to it. This was the scenario….I’d back way up from the rock wall issue of my weight, look at it hard, steady my focus on it. My adrenaline would run high. I’d hunker down determined to tackle it, the ball would get snapped, and I’d take off and fly down my field…only to hit the rock wall with my shoulder and fall back flat. As I lay there dazed and wondering why the latest thing I tried didn’t work, I’d let my failure to succeed become my failure to even try anymore.

But one day, I had a simple epiphany, if you will. I realized the rock wall was really me. I started to envision myself not running, but walking at first. Then as I got closer to the rock wall, I’d jog, start to sprint, and then by the time I’d hit the wall I’d be running full force. I was expending all my energy before on the front end of the running and by the time I actually reached the wall, I was hitting it with the least amount of force I had left in me instead of the other way around. So I decided to do little things, not great huge sweeping things like cleaning the pantry out of all the bad food. I’d just give up one favorite item at a time and replace it with a new one. That was a start, it was walking it out and not trying to run before I could walk easily. Once I got started, I could see it coming easier and I increased my speed, I started losing weight very consistently, and found I loved the way I felt because it wasn’t exhausting me mentally or physically to do so.

I also changed the way I viewed the wall (me). I started to see myself after I busted through the impending wall, rather than my running and approaching it. There is something magical that happens inside when you do this and see yourself through your problem rather than just approaching it. You see success instead of experiencing the moments of  “will I be able to do this?”  And you say “Yes, I CAN” a whole lot more.

I never really connected why this time has been so much easier for me to lose and stay focused than the millions of times before until I saw this picture of my grandson Isaac from the park the other day. My daughter said he went through the rock hole, came out the other side and said “tada!”. The hole was already there, he knew he could do it, he went through easily, and tada was how he felt. He didn’t wonder if he could make it, he just DID IT because he saw himself through it already. In the past I had seen myself in every way, but never already through the rock wall. This time…I saw the hole in the rock and I saw myself coming through the other side. And I love living my new tada life! 🙂

Isaac saying tada outside the hole in wall

Rhonda pic for blog 1
I often have the same conversation with various folks. It goes something like this…

They: Did you hear so and so is doing xxx at their shop/in their estate company now? (at one time you could insert “cleaning company” for the words shop/estate company since I owned a cleaning company for many years)
Me: Oh? That’s interesting.
They: It’s amazing how much business/customers/inventory they are doing/servicing/selling.
Me: That’s great, they do a lot of business, I have heard that about them/seen that.
They: Have you thought about changing and doing a/b/c too? If it works for them it will work for you, don’t you think you should do that too?
Me: I will look into that.
And I do, but not to copy…I usually find I have a very different business model than my competitors. I am all about steady, but slow and sustainable growth. Most I have had contact with in business of all kinds are more about making quick money. I am about making investments in other people and myself, and end up getting paid for it.

I had the following article hit my inbox today….and it speaks to me. This is so the way I have always tried to run my companies. I have always said my best competition is myself, period. I don’t look around too much to see what others are doing and trying to mimic their choices and attain their results. I am interested, yes. I am educating myself on different ways of doing things, yes. But to become them? No…I can’t be different if I am the same. That is a pretty simple concept….one that other business owners often fail to embrace and be ok with and thrive on. That’s why I will listen when others tell me this and that company is doing such and thus, but I don’t let it deter me from my steady course. I have a path, I stick to it till I know I should veer off because MY business tells me to do so. What happens most often if you (I) run after those competitive rabbits is this…you spend your money and time chasing THEIR ideals and dreams, and not your own. Sometimes the best plan is just to stay the course, and nod your head a lot and smile. And a well-timed, “hmmm, interesting” doesn’t hurt either.

Today was a day I had been working up to for a week. Don’t know why, don’t really know where it started…but a minute at a time, experience here and frustration there had finally culminated into a day Alexander would have been proud of. You know the guy I mean…”Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”.

I got up with a full slate of things to do, not only today, but really the entire week. This was my first real work day since the holidays, and I needed to hit the floor running. But discontent had become my friend over the last several days and my mood was negative to say the least. So being chipper and positive about going back to work today…even work that I totally enjoy…was not destined to happen.

Early last week I had made several sales through the resale sites. But I had also had more than my share of stand ups and real flakes I had been forced to deal with, and each one just added fuel to the cranky fire. I’d have a good talk with myself, pull up the bootstraps, and then another would bow out on their pick up or pass on an item too late for me to offer it to another person. This had not been my experience at all with the resale sites, so it was discouraging.

From there, a chain of things began to happen. I found out something about someone close to me that was upsetting and a cringe of new disappointment in this person every time they crossed my mind began a pattern for the week. A different person criticized me with absolutely no cause another day and I felt angry and fed up and had a whole lot of head talk going on, and more than once said “to heck with it AND you”. A third group of circumstances happened, and I felt taken advantage of and unappreciated. I wasn’t sleeping well, I was waking tired and anxious. I would wake feeling like a fat lady was sitting on my chest, and I hadn’t felt that in years. To top off the week, I was balancing the checkbooks and realized I somehow taken money out of my account balance as if I had paid a bill online, but then forgot to pay it, so a late fee occurred. I hate it when that happens, don’t you? There were other things, but today…well…it was the grandaddy of it all. Or at least it felt that way on the heels of all the other incidents.

I went to the shop and had a no show on a pick up, even though I had reminded the person and could see they had picked up my message, but chosen not to reply to my “we are still on aren’t we?”. I was frustrated to the hilt and mad. Never mind that the other three folks showed up just as they said they would, were happy with their purchases and complimentary of our shop. I was laser-focused on the one who didn’t keep her word.

Then, I decided to stock the floor a bit and two items I had purchased just today crumbled in my hands today before I could get them out on the showroom floor. Frustration again.

Swinging by to get a soft drink and head out to try and find costuming for my granddaughter’s upcoming theater show, I climbed back into the car. I still don’t know how, but 30 ounces of that 32 ounce diet coke came out of the bottom of the cup, filled the cup well in the van, went into my seat (you remember how cold it was today right?) and started seeping into the carpet. And no paper towels or anything to mop up the mess in the car was to be found. I had pulled into the parking lot of Goodwill, the third place to try and find costuming, and had not found one items on the list as yet, and her show is next week. I was fussing in my mind because we had just gotten the list last week, I don’t have time for this, yada yada. Then the coke thing. Sigh.

I pulled out of that parking lot, narrowly missed getting sideswiped by some lunatic on a cell phone and barely missed a monster pothole on the other side. By this time, I was getting to the point of DONE.

I pulled into the parking lot of the thrift store where my friend was working and begged some paper towels, vented a bit, then got in the car to make one more attempt to find the costume pieces I needed. As I sat there for a minute, I felt like I was going to burst out in tears, and I am not that type in most cases. But I had just saturated to the point I didn’t want to do anything, be anything, or care anymore. And I actually sat there and voiced it out loud saying “What on earth is going on????” It is humorous to say it here, but I suddenly felt like God said ” I was kinda wondering the same thing, kiddo…what on earth is going on in you?”

So I sat. I didn’t analyze, I didn’t rant and rave, I didn’t cry, I didn’t try and figure it out. I just sat and let whatever it was just drift away in that moment. And I started to laugh, just a tiny snicker at first, but then it got the point of a hard, deep laugh. Yes, Rhonda…what on earth was going on in you?  Pretty much nothing that I would even remember a week from now, but I was letting it ruin and rule a potentially great day and all because I had started a stream of self-pity a week ago that I had failed to stop feeding somewhere along the way. It had grown fat and lazy and had begun to think it was here to stay. But in that one moment of laughter, I decided it had to go.

I prayed to have a good day from there forward, and even threw in a little prayer I’d find the items for the theater show. And you know, I did…in the very next store there they were. Hanging side by side were the three pieces in the correct sizes. I wasn’t in that store 5 minutes and was done with the shopping. Before the pity purge I had about talked myself out of my next item on the list….standing in the Wally World returns line….but changed my mind and took a chance since I had made the start on turning my day inside out. That return line was ginormous, long and winding around four registers and down the front aisle toward the doors. I hesitated for a moment, then took my place behind an older gentleman. Everyone before him and everyone after me in line were complaining and fussing, sighing heavily and so forth, but I was silent and watched him as he greeted each person that passed by the returns line, tipping his cap to the ladies, patting kids on the head. He was in the same yucky line as everyone else, was making the best of it, and it wasn’t affecting his personal day at all. But he was affecting mine, and I was grateful for that little old man where I may not have noticed him at all if I had been standing there an hour earlier. I would have been too busy sighing and griping myself.

On the way home I thought about that little old man. He may have had the same kind of week I had been experiencing, but he chose to allow the good parts, like sweet cream, to rise to the top and just enjoy his God-given day, and went even further to help others enjoy their day too by his pleasantries By reaching out to involve them as they passed by, he was the person who gained the most.

So, I made a decision to do the same. I picked up the phone, sent a message to my daughter and told her I was going to pick up my granddaughter for a few days. Yes, even with this really packed out week of errands and getting ready for a shop sale this weekend pending on the schedule book, and a house that is way messy and needs my attention. I did it because Lorelai needed time with me, but I really did it because I needed time with me. I knew reaching out to someone else was one of the best ways I would get that Rhonda time. I needed to reach out beyond myself, my feelings and my frustrations and just enjoy myself and the gift of “today”, and if someone else reaped the benefits, well that was ok too.

I picked Lorelai up, and we got in the car. She looked at me, put her soft little hand on mine, and said    ” GiGi, I am so glad I got to see you today.” I teared up…that is what I always make a point of saying to her when I see her…”I am so glad I got to see you today”. And I think probably God said the same thing to me today, too…and maybe added the word “finally” at the end…



Rhonda pic for blog 1

Sometimes you have a dream. It might be years in the making. It rattles around in your head. You get a piece of it here, a scrap of it there. You wake up in the middle of the night, grab a pen and start scribbling away in your journal, then revisit it the next time you wake in the middle of the night and you jot down a few more thoughts. Or maybe you don’t. It all depends on what kind of dreamer you are.
Many folks are dreamers–turned-visionaries. They plot and piddle, climb and fall, run and dodge until that one perfect dream comes true. They never stop, they fail a lot, but they never, ever, ever give up or give into the notion that the dream won’t come about. They, like Edison, just keep adjusting the experiment until the light finally comes on and everyone around them sees the brightness they envisioned all along.
Other folks are dreamers that stay in the dreamlike state. They float, they fault anyone and everyone but themselves when they can’t (or won’t) accomplish or push their dream out of the nest in their own brain. They are happy and content to stay in the fog of planning rather than do the hard work of the actual completion of their dream. Ecclesiastes says “A dream comes to pass with much business and painful effort.” Maybe that last part…the pain part…is what scares most of us off.
The difference between a dreamer and a visionary is simple. Dreamers are afraid to hurt a little to get what they want. Visionaries know the reality in the old adage “ No pain, no gain.” Dreamers have great and monumental thoughts, but visionaries execute great and memorable actions. Dreamers are well thought of and admired for their thoughts, but visionaries are often misunderstood and accused of controlling assertiveness when they are in pursuit of their goals. Dreamers think about the work it will take to have “something”, but visionaries? They actually execute the work to attain that same “something”. Dreamers do a lot of thinking and planning, but never put feet to their actions. Visionaries are born in running shoes. And when faced with a roadblock, a set back, or a difficulty, the visionary just adjusts, evaluates and continues to walk the dream on out.
In this world, we need both dreamers and visionaries, but they do have to embrace the value in each others’ contributions. Are you a dreamer without a vision? Or are you a visionary without a dream? Neither situation is a very good place to be…