Once upon a time I was living my best life.
No, for serious, I really was.
Five years ago I was pretty much the happiest I had ever been.
I was living just outside of Washington, DC and engaged to my Prince Charming. Working in my chosen profession of massage therapy, I had left the corporate world behind and called the shots on my career. I worked with my ideal clients, set my own schedule, had time for self-care and fun and found the fulfillment in my daily life that we all desire. I even made enough money to pay my bills and have a little bit of fun! Doesn’t get much better than that right?
So what’s the problem? What happened? I got greedy...
They say you can’t have it all (at least not at the same time) and those stupid “theys” are sometimes right. Because in addition to a fulfilling and financially viable career and being in L-U-V love, my honey and I decided to shake things up by moving to Buffalo, NY (before I lose all credibility here we both have family roots here so this actually made a lot of sense). We were seeking a slower pace, less traffic, and an abundance of chicken wings and Buffalo was everything we hoped it would be. We even got married and bought a house.
Sadly the thing that suffered was my career.
A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do
with poise and profanity
Unfortunately my professional license didn’t magically transfer between states so all of my training, certifications and professional experience didn’t really matter to the great state of NY. What did this mean? Like Billy Madison I had to go back to school for the bargain price of one year of my life and a five figure hit to our budget. And THAT meant I found myself back in a 9-5 desk job to pay for it (insert sad face here).
Spending a full year working 40+ hours a week and another 15-20 in school felt like a mean episode of deja-vu but I don't give up on my dreams so I wrapped myself in determination and said LET'S DO THIS. I trudged through each day with a smile on my face, a few choice curse words, and a big black "X" on the calendar until the day I received my official license.
Annnnnnd that’s when I realized I was stuck.
IF IT'S NOT ONE THING IT'S ANOTHER
and another, and another
My real challenge came when I finished school, got my NYS license and was ready to jump back into massage therapy. As much as I was full of intention and eager to build a practice in my new hometown, my wallet wasn't so understanding. It takes time to build any type of business and I needed MORE time to see ENOUGH clients in order to make ENOUGH money to have it be my only source of income and walk away from my steady paycheck. Anyone else dizzy trying to figure that one out? I was working 40+ hours a week so extra time was limited. I looked into part time jobs for extra cash but they only took more time away from my goals.
So I did something I had never before considered but the only thing that made sense. I did my research and I started a direct sales business. I found one that was built on brand excellence with a proven track record of success, required no inventory, no home parties, and no huge investments. I was able to squeeze it into the little spaces in my very busy life and, despite all of my doubts and fears, I put in the effort and it actually WORKED. Within 10 months I was making enough income on my own time to supplement my growing massage practice and that allowed me to step away from the desk and get back to my table full time. Yayyyyy!! And she lived happily ever after.
Ha! JUST kidding!
OH BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!
"No one expects the Spanish Inquistion!"….or cancer.
Just as I thought I had everything tied up with a pretty little bow the world turned upside down. Three weeks after turning in my first rent check on a year long lease for my very own massage studio space I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
That’s the sound of the air sucking out of the room when you realize you just quit a steady paycheck for a career that requires you to be hands on and you are told you have to have surgery and can’t work for two months and then OH WAIT let’s throw 8 rounds of chemotherapy in for good measure, because dying would really screw up your future plans.
I spent 8 months unable to work as planned, feeling pretty shitty most of the time, and learning how to use Snapchat filters to take away the pain of seeing myself bald and pale. It should have been one of the worst times in my life.
THE UNIVERSE SAID "I'VE GOT YOU"
because it's rigged in our favor
My "side" business that had gotten me through a difficult situation once before now again rose up and said “I can help.” A virtual business with no physical requirements that I could work from a hospital bed or chemo chair. Residual income that took away the financial burden of not being able to see my massage clients. Throw in the feel-good-women-empowerment community factor of overwhelming support that I had never expected when starting but now couldn’t live without and you’ve got yourself a tear jerker full of gratitude.
In one of the hardest times of my life where I felt like I had the least amount of control, I found myself still running a business, earning a check, and even feeling GOOD about my situation all while unable to “work” and bald as a baboon’s ass (but much much prettier thank God and I don’t think that counts as bragging just fact).
And of course through the hardest times come the greatest lessons. This was the moment that I realized that a decision I had made out of desperation was actually one of the smartest moves I had ever made and changed the trajectory of my life. And it wasn’t about earning prizes, or trips, or cars (though of all that can and does happen), it was about having a sustainable business that I could count on even when I couldn't count on much else. And as my business has grown I have been able to create MORE time and financial freedom, which ultimately is all about more CHOICES in my life.
AND SHE LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER
and so can you
Today I am proud to say that I really am living my best life. I am able to:
+enjoy the way I spend my time each day instead of dread it
+work with my ideal clients in the amount of hours I feel comfortable each week
+not worry when my schedule and massage income fluctuate
+have the freedom and flexibility to make time for family and friends
+step away from my practice by CHOICE for things like extended vacations with my hubby and still EARN through my virtual business (in 2018 we took a month to travel through Europe and plan to do it again soon!)
The best part? I get to help others do the same.
It doesn’t matter what struggles you have had or have yet to overcome. It doesn’t matter what your dreams are. They are YOURS and you have a right to make them come true. How? There is always a way if you are willing to open yourself up to new opportunities.
Through my recent experiences I have come to believe that life happens FOR us and not to us as long as we stay open to what comes our way. And maybe, THIS opportunity has crossed your path for a reason. Aren’t you curious to find out why?