My Family Fantastic

Creating Experiences That Help Relationships Thrive

Category: Writing (page 2 of 2)

How I Punched Fear In the Face

A few weeks ago, I did something super scary. I told a room of 50 strangers about my dream of starting a business. Up until this moment, the dream had been somewhat of a secret. I had a business plan, I pitched the idea to my husband, and I told a few close friends. But, the thought of telling strangers was terrifying.

What if they didn’t like my business idea? What if they laughed? What if they didn’t share my opinion or views? Aghhhh! There were just so many things that could wrong.

And, guess what? I pitched my idea at a business pitch competition AND everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

  • I fumbled.
  • My message was unclear.
  • I made dumb faces.
  • I forgot what I wanted to say.
  • And, I even cried.

It was a horrible experience. I cried whenever a nice person tried to tell me that “you did okay.” I cried when anyone tried to console me. I cried on the Metro ride home, and I cried when I told Morris about the whole debacle that night.

And, then I went to bed. But, I didn’t sleep. Because, I kept replaying the day’s events in my head.

Fear Holds Us Back 
Fear holds us back from soooo many things: mending relationships, taking new jobs, moving, etc. Fear is powerful, because we focus on everything that could go wrong. We tend to forget about the things that could go right.

The good news is that: even when everything does go wrong…we survive.

The Good News
I think that’s why the Bible talks about fear so much, because the Lord understands that it only holds us back. And, even if bad things happen we survive. He’ll be with us.

Joshua 9:1 says: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

Isaiah 41:10 says: So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

I Bounced Back 
The crazy thing about the pitch competition is that the first time was only practice. So, I had to go back the next day and do the pitch again in front of twice as many people.

But, the Lord’s mercies are new every morning. So, I got up super early and began practicing with my webcam. It went well that time, and…I was selected as a finalist!

I’ll know in June whether or not I’m selected to enter the Count Me In/Capitol One Business Accelerator program. But, even if I’m not selected I feel like I’ve already won…because I punched my fears and I survived. By the way, check out my Hire Me! Page…it’s another step in me fighting fear.

Tell me how is fear holding you back? And, what could you do to punch it?

I look forward to hearing from you. Love, Simone


A Kind Rejection

Last week, I received a kind rejection note from one of the magazines that I submitted an article to. Although, I was a wee bit disappointed that I was rejected…the editor was gracious enough to respond in three days and give me constructive criticism.(Typically, editors respond in three months…if they choose to respond.)

My previous two submissions were met with complete silence, and I am thrilled to hear back from someone. So, for me, getting a response is 1) progress and 2) encouraging.

I’ve been on a quest to escape my boring job for 18 months. And after repeating the grueling process of informational interviews, submitting applications, following up, and interviewing for umpteen times. I’ve decided to give up the non-profit job search and refocus my efforts on writing. You know that question that interviewers ask you “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

I would always think “Honey, I plan to be on a book tour for my first novel by then.”

But, I would always say “I would like to stay with the organization as long as the relationship is mutually beneficial.” Because you can’t tell an organization that counsels people or educates children that you want to write a novel that tells stories of families conquering life together. Typically, writing novels does not fit into their respective strategic plans.

So, I’ve decided to write with the same fervor that I gave the job search and we’ll see what happens. I don’t know where this writing journey will take me, but I do know one thing- persistence is the key to being successful.
Morris and I studied persistence last week in 12 Traits of the Greats, and it says that “great achievers often achieve great things simply because they refuse to give up. They don’t retreat in the face of setbacks. They don’t shirk in the face of disappointment, and they don’t quiver in the face of delay.”

In my own family, my brother, Isaac, is the model of persistence. He has been relentless in his pursuit of a degree in sociology. Despite setbacks, discouragements, and having to balance being a husband, father, and having a full-time job…he graduated this year. And now, he has been asked to present his Senior Thesis at a sociology conference. I’ll be leaning on Isaac for advice heavily as I pursue this book tour dream, and reminding myself of Winston Churchill’s speech “Never Give In“.

Photo from My Black Piano

I know that you too are pursuing goals and dreams. So, let’s stick with it and keep me updated on your progress…and I’ll write about your journey and we’ll get to the finish line together. Lauzi, a Chinese philosopher, said that “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” So, we might as well get to steppin‘.

Back 2 Basics

I realized something a few months ago. This blog has been all over the place Japan, Jury Duty, Goals, etc. The original intent of this blog was to introduce me, my family, and our antics. I have introduced Michaela (one of my two sisters), Issachar (one of my five brothers), and my Dad. However, I think this blog has disproportionately been about me and Phillip.

So, in an effort to get back to basics, I will continue with the introductions of my family members for the next few postings. 

2013 Goals

I like to begin the year by setting new goals. I set my goals based on the person I hope to become. For example, I hope to be a good wife and one of my goals is to play a sport with Phillip. I also want to win a Pulitzer Prize and two of my goals involve writing. I like to think of each year as a step toward living an extraordinary life.

2013 Goals
1. Complete One Bible Study with Phillip
2. Post 52 Blog Entries this Year
3. Lose 4 Pounds
4. Play a Sport with Phillip
5. Write 2 Letters per Week
6. Publish a Paid Article
7. Write 50,000 words

However, there seems to be a trend that is down on goal setting/new year’s resolutions. After talking with a few friends, the sentiment seems to be that setting goals is setting yourself up for disappointment.

But, I disagree. A goal missed, is better than a goal never set. There are lessons to be learned in goal setting. I set a goal to have two hundred blog followers last year. I failed. This year, my goal is to post 52 blog entries. 

I learned that I have to set goals based on my input, not an expected output. 

So, if you are reading this blog perhaps we can help each other. If you are anti-new year’s resolutions, perhaps you can help me see the folly in my logic. If you are pro-new year’s resolutions, perhaps we can help keep each other on task. 
What’d ya say?

The Pursuit of Excellence

I have read The Pursuit of Excellence two or three times now, and every time I read it I learn something new. The book discusses goal setting, the importance of mistakes, the perils of the status quo, and being creative.

I have been setting goals consistently for five years. I set my goals in January, in June and July I evaluate my progress and/or adjust my goals. November and December are generally crunch time. And, crunch time is where I am now. My 2012 goals are:

1. Eliminate Debt                                                                                                                                             At one point, I paid $360 per month in interest to Sallie Mae. Sallie Mae and I are not friends. Morris and I paid off $28,000 of debt this year, and we will make my final student loan payment this month.

2. Finish Rosetta Stone Spanish                                                                                                              This goal changed to Finish Thank You Notes for Wedding Gifts and Get a New Job. Our friends are incredibly generous and kind. I know that etiquette says your have a year following your wedding to send Thank You Notes. However, I want thank folks as soon as possible. I have 28 more Thank You Notes left. I do not have a new job, yet.

3. 200 Blog Followers                                                                                                                               I did not meet this goal. However, I would like to thank Adrian, Angel, Byron, Diann, Jordan, Heather, Monica, Michaela, Nan, Quinn, and Rachel for following this blog. I am grateful for your support.

4. Get Married to the Man of my Dreams                                                                                     Done.
(Btw, I set this goal after we got engaged last year)
5. Make Jesus Famous                                                                                                                        

This is a hard goal to quantify. But, I try to accomplish it by living a life that will be pleasing to Jesus. This year I visited someone in the hospital that I didn’t know. I wrote letters to friends and family members when they were hurting or to simply tell them that I loved them. I gave money away. I texted and called people just to tell them I was thinking of them. I watered my neighbor’s garden, although I’ve never met him personally. Six of our friends joined our church this year.

6. See Japan   Done.

* I lost 4 pounds of the 8 pounds that I planned to lose before Thanksgiving.*                                                                                                                

Why is Work So Boring?

I have asked myself this question over and over again for the past year. And, the past few months  have been especially challenging. Almost every day is a battle to get up, be there, and be cheerful. Almost every conversation with a friend, family member, or Phillip ends in me disparaging my work. ( Forgive me for that…I am going stop it.) And, at least once a week I end up crying in my office with a sinking feeling that I am trapped and will never get out of this crummy job.

In all fairness, my job is not all that crummy. I have a wonderful boss and I love most of the folks that I work with on a daily basis. I make more money than I ever thought possible at this age. I am off every other Friday, and I have a beautiful walk to work. So, why am I bored and miserable?

The past year has lead me to one answer. My job is not a good fit for me. I love people. I love talking to people, learning about people, and helping people. And, I need a job that allows me to do that. So, I began the quest for my dream job in June.

My dream job has not materialized. But, I have met some great people in the process and my friends and family have been both patient and supportive. I made the decision today that I am going to be grateful for that. The new job will come when the time is right. Just like everything else.

*I gained back the two pounds that I lost last week. Booooo me.*

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