I was afraid to fail but was moved and compelled by the “what if” question. I did not want to get to my fifties and ask myself: what if I had taken a chance in my twenties to start a business? What if I had let go of my fears to do something different? What if I had tried even though I might have failed? So I took the plunge. I tried.
Almost two years ago, I had a good job, never mind that job stands for just over broke. It was a good thing to be away from broke. I had things going in a good direction. If I had continued down that path, by now I’d have a higher monthly income. But I left, and thanks to pension funds from my two years of work, I had something to call ‘savings’ when I walked away from the life of full-time employment. I felt liberated in many ways. With some money in my pocket and a dream in my soul, I was unstoppable! It was easy to speak about success because I saw it so clearly in my mind’s eye. Who could stop me? What could stop me? I saw no obstacles, only a clear straight path to achievement.
With high optimism, I took my savings and set up a cloth-making workshop and retail space. All my time and money went into my business. Things went well for a while and then the curve started down a slippery slope. High operational costs, non-paying clients and other unforeseen dynamics took me straight to zero. I had made a number of mistakes. 8 months from its set-up, the business and I were both flat broke and since then it has been a very steep uphill climb.
I moved out of my place and I am currently staying with my generous brother and his wife (I thank God for family). What was supposed to be a stay of just two to three months has morphed into almost nine months and counting. I’m writing to you as I approach that nine-month mark. I am writing this somewhere on that steep hill climb that I spoke about above.
A few months ago, I did a pitch to possible investors for my business “House of KEA” and after that, a friend commented and said I should write on my blog more and share my journey. Friends, the reason I haven’t been writing as often is that I have had some really conflicting times. This blog I run is a motivational blog and I will be honest in saying that I have needed a lot of motivation myself. When my small business started going under, I needed a lot to keep myself from sinking. Many times getting up in the morning was a struggle. I did not notice it but I have been dancing between depression and hope, quite a lot, simply hanging on, going under one minute and just above the next. I have always felt the impact of it when someone asks how are you? Even now, the answer does not come without some hesitation.
What has kept me hopeful is love. The love of my family and friends has been key. I thank God for these amazing people. They have supported me, held me up and above all, they’ve been understanding and encouraging yet blunt and honest at the same time. They have been a great support system.
Another thing that has kept me going is getting some good comments from clients past and present, as well as people who have seen some of my work and said they like it. That helped me feel that I was on the right track.
In my low moments, I have spoken to my God and He has listened, responding to me in many different ways. One of the ways he has spoken to me is through other individuals. This Sunday, he spoke to me through my pastor-the location pastor for the church I attend. It’s an awesome church by the way. Something he said to me was profound. I’ll paraphrase his words. Generosity is the deliverance from a poverty mentality. The way to overcome lack of something is by being generous with that very thing. Be generous with what you have. Your giving is a way to tell God that you trust He will provide from the bounty that He has. Plus, your giving doesn’t have to be money but rather anything that you have.
Friends, this has really changed my perspective.
You see, I haven’t been doing this. There have been times for example, when I have had absolutely no money. I do not mean no cash at hand and some money in the bank. No. I mean none at all. I felt the pinch, pang and pain of those moments and because of that, when I do get a few coins in hand, I don’t want to let them go, most especially not by giving them away.
My other major need through the last months has been MOTIVATION. I have needed the motivation to keep moving. Every once in a while, I would get a boost through family, friends and unofficial mentors. I am, however, still in need of motivation because like I said, I am still on that hill – that steep hill. Because I have had so little internal motivation, I have often felt inadequately prepared to GIVE that motivation to others. I have battled with thoughts of closing down this blog. Sometimes, I felt like a failure and wondered how I could run a motivational blog when I am struggling myself. I have started many posts that are lying unfinished and wondered whether what I have to say will truly motivate another person. Often, I have lacked the motivation to just finish those posts. I realize now though that what I have, however little, I need to give. And I will give it from my heart of hearts every time.
I am stripping myself bare and letting you know what I am going through so that you know authentically where I stand. More importantly though so that you understand that I am drawing deep from a well of things I have experienced. Have you lost a valuable relationship or friendship? I did a few months ago and I know what it feels like. Have you lost all the money you had and are struggling to stay afloat? I have and I know what it feels like. Have you doubted yourself and wondered how to turn your circumstances around? I have. Have you felt disappointed in yourself for putting your family in a position where they have to shoulder your needs? I have and I am still in this position. Please note, I am NOT saying that I have had the worst-case scenario because I HAVE NOT. With family and friends around, they have been my buffer and my protection from any worst-case scenarios. I acknowledge that there are people who have it worse. I am not painting my circumstances black. NO. I am simply being honest about what I have, actually, been through and felt. This is to say I am still on a very steep slope.
The good new though, is I am climbing up and as I climb, we can do so together. We can rediscover our strengths and mitigate our weaknesses together. We can find that motivation to keep moving, together. I will share my struggles and most importantly the VICTORIES that spring forth from those struggles.
I am going to keep moving forward, no matter how slowly, making changes as I go and growing forwards.
I am wiser from my mistakes.
Tracy Mcmillan said in a TED talk “A mistake isn’t actually a failure, unless you don’t learn from it and, unless you don’t grow.”
This is a journey, and I WILL GET TO THE TOP. YOU WILL GET TO THE TOP. YOU HAVEN’T COME THIS FAR TO STOP NOW.