"You can't win if you don't play."
Mom used this sentence to justify a lot of behavior when I was a kid: learning to ride a bike, auditioning for plays, joining the cross country team (I took 11th place in the city meet). And yes, mom played the lottery. She had a winning streak where, with a little help from technology and lottery dream books, she won several days each week for a few weeks. Naturally, those words rang through my head every time I was faced with a risk-reward decision.
Until this week.
If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you may have already heard about how I found this lottery ticket on the ground while I was on a field trip with my kid. I thought it was trash (LITTERBUGS! ARGH!), so I picked it up to throw away when we got to the car.
But when I saw it was a lottery ticket, I figured I'd check the numbers when I got home, just in case.
I won the BIG money, honey! TWO WHOLE DOLLARS! WOO HOO!!
Every morning, I sit down to do The PEACE System (a process I created to help clear my head and prioritize my day). Because field trips can be stressful - particularly with a special needs kid - I made a point of setting the intention to look for miracles.
Frankly, a well-behaved child would have qualified as a miracle in my book. I certainly wasn't expecting free money to fall at my feet. But hey, I'll take it!
I asked for (and was looking for) a miracle, and I got it. And the kid behaved, too!
You've probably heard stories about people who say "I won the lottery and it changed my life." Never did I think I'd be one of those people, since I don't play the lottery.
But winning those two bucks most certainly changed my life. If you want to test out your luck as well, you can go to sites like 바카라 사이트, for example.
"You can't play if you don't win" is a double-edged sword. In a way, I did "play" because I picked up the ticket and cashed it in. But in a way I didn't play, because I didn't actually buy the ticket. It wasn't even given to me (in the traditional sense). And the person that dropped the ticket probably thought it was a "loser" because they played $10 and "only" won $2. They lost money on the deal.
But from my perspective, I was $2 richer!
The last 18 months have been arduous and hard for me on a lot of fronts. At some point, I probably faced down some depression, though I was never clinically diagnosed. I've done a LOT of questioning my worth, my value, and why I'm really on this planet in the first place.
Two dollars won't even buy me a soda at my local restaurant, let alone pay my rent, but it was a sign. A clear sign that miracles are there if we are looking for them. I know that sounds kind of mystical and metaphysical, but it's true. I found that money because I was looking for it.
Well, I was looking for a miracle, and I chose to see this "win" as a miracle.
You have to have your eyes open and show up.
You have to be willing to go for what matters to you - even if it seems unreasonable. Even if it seems impossible. If it's in your heart to have it, you have to be courageous enough to show up for it. And keep showing up consistently.
In that respect, Mom was right: you can't win if you don't play.
But she was also wrong. I won without playing "the game" (by society's rules, at least). That little lottery ticket opened a Pandora's box of questions about the "teaching" that's been passed down through my family for generations. The "lessons" and "stories" that, in a previous era, had to be true for survival no longer serve the person I'm becoming in this era of creative entrepreneurship.
In the past, if you didn't "play by the rules", you wouldn't be taken seriously, and you probably wouldn't even get a foot in the door, let alone win. There were gatekeepers, expectations, and unwritten "rules" that were foisted on you by your industry, society and "the world". These rules were designed to keep certain people out, and to protect the survival of others. You had to play their way, or you simply couldn't play.
Now, you have a lot more latitude to define success on your own terms and not just survive, but thrive. You can create your own career, doing what you love, and make good money doing it - without selling your soul. That's the entire premise of how I help my clients!
Those old stories that once served to protect, inspire, and motivate me, had been holding me back from the life and career I was meant to have. I couldn't see that until I won the lottery.
What thoughts, beliefs, and stories do you hold as true, that might actually be limiting your success without you even realizing it? Untangling those beliefs and thought patterns can be tough, but the rewards far outweigh the risks.
But here's the other thing that rattled my brain. I won $2. Winning anything was contingent upon someone else. Somebody else played the game, bought the ticket, left it on the ground. At least three other people walked right past the ticket before I picked it up. In short, I had no control over the outcome. All I could do was be in the right place at the time of the miracle.
Miracles are awesome, and they can feel magical. But they are, in many ways, unpredictable - even if you're looking for them. You don't know when they'll arrive, or in what form, and sometimes it's hard to know if it even is a miracle until well after the fact. Sometimes the worst thing that ever happened to you is actually a blessing in disguise... a miracle you won't see until years later.
In life, we can wait for others to open doors for us, or we can make a plan and get sh*t done. (Tweet This)
Waiting around for miracles is the snail's path to success. Can it happen? Sure! I just won the lottery, for crying out loud! But, I only won $2, because that's all the ticket was worth. Someone else got to dictate the terms of my success. I could only win what they played and paid for.
I don't want someone else to dictate how successful I can be. I don't want someone else to have that much influence over my success journey. I mean, I won't turn away blessings when they show up - even the $2 variety - and I'm not going out of my way to play the lottery, either.
I know I can't control everything - and some might say that control, like safety, is an illusion. But if I set an intention and follow it with consistent action, I'm going to move the ball further down the field more often than the guy standing around, waiting for a winning lottery ticket to fall at his feet.
Will there be setbacks? Most likely. As we all know, the so-called "overnight success" stories usually involve a lot more preparation and hardship than we realize. As Thomas Edison famously said, "opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."
I'm no stranger to hard work, although I'd like to be. 🙂
There were other gems of discovery that I'm still unpacking, and I'm sure you could tease out a few lessons of your own from this story, but ultimately, while I welcome all the miracles and blessings coming my way, I'm not going to sit on the sidelines and wait for them. I'm going to keep showing up, sharing my Great Work, and defining success on my terms. Not my mom's terms, or the terms of my ancestors, or even the terms of my fans and clients.
My game is the only game that matters for me. It's a game I'm happy to play, and one I can't lose, because I make the rules.
This year was about "Divine Alignment" - and there was a lot of re-alignment happening.
Every year for half a decade now, I've intentionally chosen a "theme" and a "theme song" to set the tone for my year - both personally and professionally. As a personality-based brand, it's important to choose something that reflects both pieces of the puzzle. So much of what I do overlaps, connects, and is even interwoven throughout my life and work. It makes sense, then, to craft something that has meaning in both arenas.
Here's a summary look at my 5 Key Areas for 2014:
For me, faith is where my core beliefs and values intersect. The values in focus this year were freedom, space, contribution, creation, and joy. That meant doing more of what I love and reaching more of my right people. Trips to Atlanta, Minnesota, New York, Vegas, and Arizona had me re-connecting with bunches of people that mean the world to me - and connecting with a few new friends as well. Talk about JOY! And I've got a car again, so there's some more space and freedom opening up for me. I did a LOT of connecting this year, including more work with Des (and the incomparable Damn Whippersnappers) - and TWO online shows.
I was also pleased to be able to work with my friend and coach Teresa Romain in her year-long program. The folks in that group are always so inspiring, and I'm lucky to now count many of them as friends. My Faith cup runneth over this year, to be sure.
"It's my life. It's now or never. I ain't gonna live forever." - It's My Life
My oldest not only managed to turn 18 this year, but fell in love and moved out. As a mom, there's still a bunch of emotional baggage I carry about that, but as a coach, I recognize that I can't live his life for him, and he's a much happier, better adjusted, more responsible guy now. So in that respect, Mom's happy. He's actually working to get his GED so that he'll graduate ahead of the other kids in his class. Go figure! After years of struggle, it's so nice to see him happy, healthy-ish, and living a life he's proud of.
The rest of the family is drawing closer. Hubby and I are staring down the barrel of our 10th anniversary this year, and we've managed to carve out a bit more time for one another. Our current pastime is "Netflix at Night" - where we carve out an hour or two to cuddle on the couch and watch a series from beginning to end. This year we checked off "Burn Notice" and we're swapping through "Psych", "Criminal Minds", and "Royal Pains" as we speak. We're both a little bummed that "Psych" is kaput. That's some funny stuff for any child of the 80's.
As I say in my book, "sometimes friends are as family". My extended family this year includes two amazing groups of women: my mastermind, and a spiritual group that evolved from Amy Oscar's Soul Caller retreat last year. They've always been an encouraging, uplifting, and often enlightening bunch of ladies. My Mastermind had their first get-away weekend, a book-signing event in Traverse City for Jill, and a jaunt around the lake in Ortonville on Pam's family boat. Our retreat group had a reunion gathering this year that was simply amazing.
It's always a blessing to watch these ladies soar to new heights, and I expect that 2015 will be even bigger for them.
I'm making slow, yet steady progress on the 100 pound weight loss goal I set for myself at the beginning of the year. I'm about 75% dairy-free now and closer to 95% gluten-free. The challenge comes when I am not home, and don't have a back-up plan - like when I'm mid-flight and ravenous, or when someone brings brownies home the night before grocery day when the cupboard is getting bare. It's forced me to be more proactive about my meals, which is rarely a bad thing. I'm at my lowest weight all year as I roll into the holidays (pray for me).
I've still got a few pounds to go before I hit 20 for the year, and I'm being compassionate with myself. I'm not giving myself carte blanche, though. I'm still doing what I can to be mindful. See all those cookies? The Aunts in my family have an annual tradition: Cookie Day. We made 11 different varieties of cookies. I had a few, but I shipped most of them to my son or my sister in California. Hee hee.
On the mental/emotional side of the Fitness coin, I did a lot of self-education this year. Aside from the work I did with Teresa, I jumped into several online courses, books, and training programs. I also got designated as a Certified Profit First Professional Business Coach (ooh! Fancy!). After being one of the editors for Mike Michalowicz's book by the same name, I recognized that implementing the Profit First approach meant that my business would be guaranteed a profit at the end of the year (it worked!). I was also able to work with a few clients in this approach, one of whom went from losing $10-12,000 each month to turning a $2-5,000 profit during our time together. Sha-zam! If you're interested in getting your own profit analysis, let me know. It's the first time in my life where I've said "I LOVE RUNNING THE NUMBERS!"
As I mentioned, my business turned a profit this year. Not only that, but I took quarterly profit sharing distributions - a first for my business. In the past, I didn't really feel my profitability - it was more on paper than anything else. This year, it felt empowering to cut myself a profit check at the end of each quarter. I'm really looking forward to next week's check - which should be the biggest of the year.
The shift was almost entirely due to the Profit First approach. It meant scaling back on a few things I didn't want to admit were not serving me. It forced me to be ruthlessly honest with myself about what was working in my business, and what wasn't. Gone were the "big" clients were playing "Moneyball" with my Great Work. I hired a kick-ass VA, updated the website, and got clear on my target market (not necessarily in that order).
I created content - lots of it. There are nearly 100 tunes in the 300 Songs project - many with videos now. My YouTube channel had over 50,000 new views this year, and now sports almost 250 subscribers, which is on pace with my goal for the year. Woo hoo! I also launched my new Dreamblazing program - a strategic planning system for personality-based business owners to meld their personal and professional goals.
"Tomorrow's getting harder make no mistake. Luck ain't even lucky. Got to make your own breaks." - It's My Life
I spoke at a National Conference in Arizona (and had a ball!), taught a workshop in Minnesota, and got to perform in a variety of ways - including work for one of Detroit's biggest rap superstars (no, I did not rap, btw).
But the coolest thing that happened was seeing The Secret Watch hit multiple Amazon best-seller lists in the UK and here in the states. An experiment as part of my annual give-back campaign, it was a thrill to see my name "in lights" next to Tony Robbins and other business luminaries. What was even cooler was seeing all the 5-star reviews. Heartwarming at this time of year.
I got me a car, yo! I traveled a bit during the first half of the year, but I was still relying on others to get around. By the end of the year, I got my own set of wheels, and I am mobile, baby! When I made the commitment to pay cash for my ride, and NOT have a car payment, I thought it would only take a few months. It took YEARS, but here we are, and it was SO worth the wait.
On Father's Day, me and the fam took a trip to Cleveland so I could audition for The Voice. I learned a LOT about myself on that trip. I was in the audition room with a backup singer who was taking a break from a tour with a big name artist. He forgot his words and tripped over his introduction. I nailed my audition. Neither one of us got a call back, which just goes to show you that it's not about talent as much as it is about casting. So much for "blind" auditions.
"I ain't gonna be just a face in the crowd. You're gonna hear my voice when I shout it out loud." - It's My Life
Since this was a value in focus this year, there was a lot of getting myself aligned around the sense of freedom. I did a LOT more of what I enjoy, met some pretty amazing people, and had one of the best years of my life. And I turn 40 in a few days, so that's saying something!
I've put in a lot of effort over the last few years, tried on a lot of hats, and sorted through a lot of stuff that didn't end up working for me.
The time for all that is over. I've finally merged my love of music and performing with my love of business strategy in a way that works for me. It's taken years of doubt, trial, tears, and effort. This is the year of The Singing Business Coach, yo! Watch me work! 🙂
Creating your own niche isn't easy. There are definitely easier roads. I could just perform, or I could just coach, but neither would be fulfilling. It's like asking me to choose if I'm white or black: I'm bi-racial. I'm both. Deal with it.
So I've got to focus in, and stick to it, no matter what. I'm going in, guns blazing, determined to see what can happen for me in 2015.
Bon Jovi may have released it in 2000, but the lyrics really connected with me this year. I was especially struck by the Frank Sinatra reference: "Like Frankie said, 'I did it my way'." The idea of doing things my way has always come with a lot of baggage, and I'm ready for that to be different now.
I've had to "force" a lot of things to happen over the years. And doing things "my way" often meant doing things the hard way. Pushing to meet a goal or a deadline. Putting my financial or personal health at risk in order to achieve something.
Now I understand DUMB goals, and how my way doesn't have to be "push, push, PUSH" all the time. I lived it this year. I like it. And I'm ready for more.
"This is for the ones who stood their ground... who never backed down." - It's My Life