Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Forward Momentum Begins With Standng Firm

by Karen D. Swim
Photo Credit: Kimba, Flickr

As the mighty winds blew and the rains beat down, a Father grabbed his young daughter and stood her in the doorway in the hall. With his hand upon her trembling shoulder he looked into her eyes and said, "Daddy has to leave but I want you to stand right here. Do not move, no matter what happens. Her little heart beat faster as she drew strength from her Father's voice. Nodding her head, she squared her shoulders and stood.

Through wind and rain she stood. Debris scattered around the house and she stood. The storm finally ended and still she stood. A police officer picked his way through the debris and crossed what had been the threshold of her home. Spotting the little girl, his eyes grew wide, "Honey, how did you survive this storm?" The little girl declared, "My daddy told me to stand right here and not move."

Before we can move forward toward our goals we must be able to firmly stand our ground. Like the little girl, we have to find that place where we can stand with confidence when the winds are raging and the rain is beating on our roof. We must stand when the voices within and around us try to move us to the left or to the right. You don't have the credentials to do that. That sounds risky, are you sure you aren't making a mistake. The economy is bad. Be sensible, keep your day job and do this on the side. Yeah, you know the voices. The well-meaning friends who want the best for you. The colleagues who are just trying to spare you from making the biggest mistake of your life. Your own fears, doubts and insecurities. But, before you can move forward you have to learn to stand.

When I got the idea to start my business, I was newly widowed and broke. We had lived off our savings for 3 1/2 years while I stayed planted by my husband's side. After my husband's death, I briefly took a job but volunteered to be laid off when the company needed to cut back. Jobless and sorely in need of cash I devoured books from the library on starting a business. I read, took notes, and wrote plans. I dressed in layers, wrapped up in blankets, ignored my growling tummy and excitedly planned the launch of my business.

I was cold and often hungry but I was certain of my place. I was standing firm while the winds howled outside my door. It was crazy to start a business while mourning the loss of my husband and with no money. Why not just go back to my nice cushy job in Corporate and do this on the side? Yes I could have followed conventional wisdom, but I knew where I was supposed to stand and refused to be moved.

I was neither brave nor stupid, or maybe I was a little of both. I didn't know how I was going to accomplish my dream. I didn't even know what direction to head. I did however, know where I was supposed to stand until I had the answers.

I am not advising anyone to take the same route I took. I am simply encouraging you to find a place where doubts and fears (yours and others) cannot huff and puff and blow you down. Look within and find that place that you need to stand and then stand firmly. When you do take that step forward, your legs may still wobble but the ground beneath you will not be moved.

What about you? Are you standing firm or being tossed around? What is keeping you from moving forward?


Yvonne Russell said...

You are such an inspiration Karen.

Thanks for sharing this poignant, powerful and inspirational story.

ellen wilson said...

Wow Karen. You find out something new about a person everyday!

I think the think that stands out for me about this piece is linking the old building with your state of mind. It seems solid and immovable and dependable - a structure to depend on. It's true you must have a firm foundation, but like you said, sometimes you just have to jump into it, and no amount of planning will prepare you for it.
I often feel overwhelmed, but I keep plugging along. That is where all of our blogging buddies come in! They do it, I do it, etc. A community of movers give eachother a foundation. Yeah.

Words For Hire said...

@Yvonne, thank you so much. I have been equally inspired by you. It is wonderful that we can support & encourage one another.

@Ellen, ooh, you and your visual intelligence. I love that you made that connection. I still get overwhelmed too but like you said the blogging buddies are a huge help. There is so much wisdom, and support that as we stand together our foundation becomes stronger than it ever would be with just a single brick. Yay community! There is also so much darn humor that when things go horribly wrong, someone is there with a laugh!

Jamie Grove - How Not To Write said...

What an inspiring story, Karen!

About 10 years ago, I jumped out of a bad job and went to work for myself.

Even though everyone thought I was nuts to do it, I made money and had tons of fun.

Yet somewhere along the line I fell prey to corporate recidivism and ended up back in the workaday world.

Your post is timely. I think I'm up for parole again every soon. ;)

Words For Hire said...

@Jamie!!! :) I truly believe that to everything there is a season. There was a time for you to break free of corporate and a time for you to return. All of your experiences build upon one another and when you take the next leap you'll be well prepared. I for one am happy that when you're paroled, I can greet you by name at the gate. :)

Janice C. Cartier said...

Excellent Karen. You said it all. And eloquently.

ellen wilson said...

It's true, what you said, we all have "different" intelligences, or different ways of seeing, or understanding reality. This is a huge theory in educational circles, via Howard Gardner. Probably 2/3 of people are visual learners, versus the other 1/3 of strictly absorbing written material.

Steph VanderMeulen said...

Oh my God, this is perfect. Just what I needed! I wish I'd seen this earlier. At least it now confirms what I've just written about. Thanks!

Michele Trotman said...

Hi Karen,
God sure knows who to put together and exactly when. Before your call this evening I was feeling low as I googled the job sites, knowing that there was not a job out there that fit my purpose. What you spoke of in this blog was exactly what I needed to hear. Keep on speaking the truth.
In Christ,
Michele Trotman

Words For Hire said...

@Janice, thank you! I appreciate the read and the comment!

@Ellen, I have read a great deal about the varying intelligence theory and wish it were more widely understood and practiced in education. But, I guess that's a post for another day! :-)

@Steph, I am happy to be the vessel that validated what you knew in your heart was right. I left sunshine prints on your blog ;-) and will continue to cheer you on as you boldly take control of your destiny!

@Michele,I am really thankful we met and loved talking with you tonight. Iron sharpens iron so I'm happy that I could be used!

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