More about Me
When I read that quote by Arthur Ashe 8 years ago, I I was NOT living my authentic life. I was far from understanding and utilizing my strengths and talents. In fact, I really didn't think I had any. I always refer to myself as a below average person, with nothing special. At the age of 40 I was trying to live a life I have been told to live.
I held a position at a large corporation which gave me no joy or fulfillment. It was extremely stressful, provided me very little income and was a dead-end position with no future. I had two young kids, which I barely spent any time with. My marriage was falling apart mainly for financial reasons. My parents, who were about 6,000 miles away from me, were having serious health issues, and I couldn't spare neither time nor money to go visit them. My own body was suffering with extreme pain and discomfort. But the worst part of all was the feeling of failure I had to endure everyday.
I was full of fear and had no idea what to do. All I knew was I had to do something and I had to get to a better place for my kids. I thought, as a parent I owed my kids a better mom and a better life.
I was the sole income provider for my family, so quitting my job was not an option. At least that's what I thought at the time. But after reading Arthur's quote "Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can", it became clear to me that I had to start "where I was".
A few weeks later, I quit my job and took a straight commission position at another company, which provided me no base salary, no health insurance, no benefits. It was a sales position, and the only promise was a "possibility" of a better future. I decided this was my "start," so I took the position. Not knowing where my next paycheck would come from and how much it would be, I dove in and gave it my all.
I worked harder than ever before. I still didn't love what I was doing; I was still stressed out and in pain. I still had no time for my kids or my parents; my marriage was getting worse. BUT, this time I had one thing. I had HOPE! I knew if I succeed doing this, I would eventually start making other changes and improvements in my life. It took a lot of patience and prerseverance. Most nights I lay in bed sleepless and had to drag myself out of bed to get going in the mornings. I was living one day at a time. That was the best I could do.
Now reading this, some people may think that it was an absurd move and I made an impulsive decision. After all, nobody in their right mind should do such a thing.
You are right! And there were times I questioned myself and thought that it may have been the wrong move. But, I want you to understand that "Boldness" has power. When you step into the unknown with faith, unknown forces will rush into your life to help you. I burned all the bridges behind me, so I had no other choice but to move forward. And, I truly believe that was the key!
Photograph by Robert Hamlin
It took me about 2 years to replace what I was earning at my other job. And in my 5th year with the company I was at a place I never thought was possible. I was the #1 in the state of Illinois with my quota. I earned my first 6-figure income that year, which was more than I have ever earned in any of my previous positions. I qualified for incredible bonuses, and all expense paid vacations. I received trophies and got recognitions beyond my wildest dreams.
With one major goal accomplished, I started to work on other things. The next big goal was to either fix my marriage or get out of it. Getting out was not the ideal choice, but in spite of all the efforts, things weren't improving. So, we decided to part ways. I made so many big decisions in my life, but this was by far the most difficult one, because it involved my kids. I would either have to stay and be miserable for the rest of my life OR get out and give my kids a chance to see a mom who was mentally present when they needed her. I had to do it for my sanity.
Things took a while to settle down, but I kept making one decision at a time and did what I could under my current circumstances. I followed exactly what I read in that quote and changed my life.
Today, I can confidently say that I am in total peace and harmony with my life and extremely optimistic for my future. No, I haven't resolved all my problems and accomplished all my goals, and nor do I want to. I realized that it is not about doing it all and getting it done. It is about figuring it out as you go along; making new decisions, setting new goals, making necessary course corrections and not feeling bad about starting over when you need to. It is not about completion, it is about the process and the experience. It is about truly living.