From Frozen Stiff to Stirring Hope

From Frozen Stiff to Stirring Hope

by: Karen Raines

For many, if not most, life is a series of steps taken on a continuous course that remains constant from its beginning at young adulthood to its end, at one’s retirement.  There might be stops along the way, maybe even a detour or two, but the direction and condition of the road pretty much stays the same from start to finish.  Once begun, familiarity sets in; then experience. Then, perhaps expertise, which leads to comfort – and for many a traveler, reaching the point of being comfortable is the ultimate goal from the start.

Then there are the lucky souls who, like me, one day find themselves at a cross roads in their journey.  They can go in one direction or another.  But they cannot go forward along the same path they’re on. They must make a choice.  If they’re truly fortunate – and wise – they will meet that fork in the road with the realization that it’s actually a blessing in disguise, a  proverbial silver lining whose alluring tinge suggests that a more satisfying destiny awaits than what they had in the familiar. That is, if they are willing to grope their way blindly without a road map, armed only with their personal sense of direction to guide them.

Suddenly having the option to forge a new career is exciting, to be sure.  But it can also be terrifying in its uncertainty.  If you’re like me, with several ideas clamoring for your attention, each of them as viable as the next and all as demanding of your time, the prospect of having to choose can be overwhelming. Before long, you’ve become buried beneath an avalanche of possibilities, and just as frozen stiff by fear-driven indecision and its inevitable byproduct, inactivity.

Luckily, there are ways to combat or break free of the numbing effects of not knowing what to do next, or how. And some wonderfully helpful business- and life coaches out there to show them to you. I found mine in Amy Edge, CEO of Leading Edge Institute, who helped me differentiate between activity and productivity, brought clarity to my options and focus to my efforts. I’m more confident now as a result of her expert guidance. And that’s just the point: sometimes you need another’s expertise in order to move forward. You can’t do it all yourself. Nor are you meant to. We’re all put on this earth to help each other. I’m thankful to have benefited from the insights shared by several kindhearted individuals willing to help fledgling entrepreneurs like me, and like you. When you’re at a standstill and need another’s guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out: you’d be surprised at how many regard helping others as an honor and a joy, and who are more than happy to oblige.

I found myself among the privileged travelers to whom a change in flight plans is offered five years ago and have recently been inspired to take stock of what I’ve learned since then.  My own altered course came at a  high price: a debilitating triple fracture from a dog-walking pet-sitting assignment. But it was a price I was willing to pay, because I recognized immediately, at the very moment of my fall, that it was my window to change. That makes me one of the fortunate ones. But was I among the wise, as well? Time will tell. Or maybe you can be the judge, based on what I’ve learned, listed below for the sake of others who find themselves newly embarking on a home-based enterprise for the first time in their life:

  • Rather than mope over what is lost, take stock of what you have left and focus on that. What resources do you still have in abundance that you can capitalize on and use in some way to generate income?

Case in point:

I could not return to my day job at a nursing home or to pet sitting because of residual effects on my ROM and weight-bearing capabilities in my right arm. But I could still conduct poetry readings at senior facilities (for pay). I also conjured up new programs, some using collectibles (alias, clutter) I have in abundance from past decades and marketed them to more facilities, building up a regular facility clientele that produces a steady income stream to this day. And that led to my becoming the conduit between others offering their senior-oriented programs and their local senior facilities, nationwide, in the form of, in a perfect example of how great things can come from the humblest of starts!

  • Given a choice between two ventures, go with the one that will benefit the most people.  Chances are, it will be the more successful of the two.  Especially if it borrows from some inherent character trait or strength you possess naturally. That could be what you’re meant to do.
  • Don’t sacrifice your health to a misguided notion that being dedicated to your business means sacrificing a regular fitness routine to spending every moment on it.  Incorporate some time at the gym into your routine regularly.  You’ll feel better, think more clearly, and be more energized to meet the day. Besides, it would benefit no one if the head, and most likely sole employee, of your embryonic enterprise were to suffer a heart attack or be otherwise incapacitated by poor health before it could even get off the ground.
  • Having a daily routine structured with SMART goals is important. Otherwise, in the absence of boundaries, a task can too easily expand to take as long to finish as there is time available. Whereas, from the satisfaction of each completed task comes renewed confidence to tackle the next one.
  • Have an end time to your work hours, no differently than when you worked outside your home. Just because you lost the commute doesn’t mean you must also lose the joy that comes with the end of the work day. Nor should your family or pets.
  • Be forever grateful for the opportunity you’ve been given to change your destiny and don’t take the freedom you now enjoy to chart your own course for granted.  Of all the truths gleaned from the past five years, this is the one lesson I didn’t have to learn. It’s what I’ve known and felt to be true all along. Which some might say could suggest the presence of maybe just a smidgen of wisdom, after all.