“Stop. Let’s go in here,” I turned to Wayne, as we drove down auto row just outside of Sacramento, California.
After abruptly leaving a town in Nevada, I was starting my life over. With a little over 100 people in the off-the-beaten path town and having experienced my fair share of trouble, I was literally being forced to leave because of my bad choices and actions.
Actually, I was 86’d from the town. You’ve likely heard of being 86’d from a bar. Well, I was such a master at mess ups that I got 86’d from the entire town.
I was determined to get my life together. It was early 1980, and I was ready and eager to start fresh. I was hoping beyond hope for a miracle. The kind of miracle where someone would give me a break that would get me on a better path. A break that, for all outward appearances, was nowhere in sight.
But I had a “feeling” that someone would help me with a hand up. Not a handout, but a hand up.
Wayne pulled into the parking lot of the small, used-car dealership. Late model, low-priced cars and trucks of every description were scattered around the lot. The typical string of plastic triangular and very colorful mini-flags were strewn from one end of the lot to the other.
Wayne no more than parked his car, when I fumbled for the handle to get out and make my way to a 1963 light blue Riviera.
A tattered sign hung in the window. It read $1,000. With less than $10 to my name, I was torn between walking off the lot or heading toward the office.
“If only,” I thought. “If only I could afford this, but there’s no way.”
As quickly as the first thought entered my mind, a second came flooding in. “Why not? What’s to stop you? What do you have to lose? The worst they can say is no!”
Just then my eyes glanced over to the small office building, with a highly visible window sign that read: “Absolutely NO Credit. Cash only.”
The decision to stick around was made with the simple statement: “She’s a beauty,” from a friendly looking middle-aged man. He seemed friendly enough, encouraging me to take a test drive.
“Take her for a drive. See how she handles,” he said with a huge smile that went from ear-to-ear.
“She sure is, but I don’t have $1,000,” I said as I ran my hand on the edge of the hood.
With the chaos of the life left behind by only a matter of days, a voice in my head whispered, “There is no way you deserve this. You may as well leave right now.”
Yet I could “see” myself driving this car. I really wanted this car.
Before I knew it, the man I was talking to, who happened to be the owner, gave me the keys and said, “Go ahead, take her for a spin.”
The grin on my face was the first big smile I had had for a long time. As I slid into the driver’s seat, Wayne went around to the passenger side. Within minutes of driving off the lot, I knew this was to be my car.
Not quite sure how I was going to manage coming up with $1,000, which may as well have been a million at that point in my life, I decided to trust whatever was going to happen next. After all, I had been sleeping on Wayne’s couch, since being run out of the small town. So what made me think I could figure this one out?
What happened next can hardly be explained. A different voice said, “Trust the process. Things are different. This will work out.
Pulling back into the car lot, I got out of the car, handed the keys to the owner and said: “I would love to get the car, but I just don’t have the money.”
“Can I offer you a cup of coffee?” he gently asked. Figuring I had nothing to lose, I followed him into his tiny office.
With one or two questions, the middle-aged man found me giving him a story that would likely make him wonder how the heck he got into this conversation.
“And so…,” I concluded my recap of the past few months and how my bad choices ended me up without a job, car or more than $10 in my pocket. “I just need someone to believe in me. Someone to give me a chance.”
“I’m not sure why I’m going to do this because I NEVER give credit, but something tells me you’re telling me the truth.”
He leaned back in his squeaky chair with his hand on his chin, “Okay, I will give you the car, and you pay me when you can,” he said with a smile as he extended his hand.
He pulled out a small piece of paper, wrote: “I owe $1,000 to ______. To be paid as soon as possible.”
I scribbled my name on the bottom piece of paper. I knew I would be coming into money from an insurance settlement for my other car that had been wrecked in the small town. So as soon as I got it, I would pay it off.
I also knew I needed a car to give me the mobility to do a job search. At this point in time, any job would do, as would just about any car.
I could hardly believe what was happening. Years before, I had read The Magic of Believing by Claude Bristol.
The book is about how our thinking and what we visualize become manifest. When I first read it, the content seemed so far-fetched for someone like me. And after literally being run out of the small town, I had lost most belief that anything good could ever happen to me.
But here was someone willing to give me a chance. Here was someone willing to believe in me until I could believe in myself.
Even though this was almost too good to be true, we sealed the deal with a handshake and signature. Off I drove in my newly acquired blue beauty.
The next step was to get a job and get one quick. Holding onto the great feeling I had from the car experience, I just “knew” I would find a job.
Within 48 hours, I was offered three jobs. All were minimum wage, but I knew saying yes to one of them would be the next step to getting my life on track.
The most ironic part of all of this is, within a couple of weeks, several other serendipitous episodes happened, and I paid the car off in full.
Looking back 35 years to where I was then and where I am now, my life doesn’t even come close to resembling that young woman. And yet, it is the experiences of who I was then that created the person I am today.
Has it been a walk in the park since that time? Absolutely not. At times, life was downright grueling. And yet, if I ever get to a place where I don’t feel like things are on track, I simply have to take a walk down memory lane and remember how frightened, lost and uncertain I was back then.
Do I ever go through uncertainty now? Absolutely. And yet, I have evidence that if I put one foot in front of the other, take action and adjust the course as needed, everything manages to work out. Thus, the times of uncertainty are minimal and few and far between.
The lessons I learned from my life literally hitting rock bottom in my twenties have served me well in business. What I know to be true is, no matter what the outward appearances, if we are willing to change our thinking, beliefs and actions to ones that are resourceful and productive, amazing things happen.
Although the past does not determine the future, what we do today creates our future. One of the most important things I have learned to do, and to do often, is to express gratitude for that which I have.
I hold a belief that the more I express what I have to be grateful for the more I have to be grateful for. It’s all about energy.
Energy is at the core of all we do including our relationships, health, finances, business, spiritual wellbeing and impact on others.
Lately, I’ve talked to quite a few people who say they want to incorporate a more spiritual flavor to what they do in business. Many have the belief that it has to be an either/or proposition.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The world needs entrepreneurs who are willing to incorporate spiritual principles into what they do, teach and offer.
The caveat to all of this, though, is that if you teach it, it helps it you live it.
Plenty of people have been down and out, turning their misfortune into their fortune. People like Russell Brand, Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah Winfrey, and Tony Robbins to name just a few. Each of these amazing people turned their own misfortune around to become incredible leaders who inspire millions of people.
It’s their story that appeals to those who love them. It’s also their story that polarizes those who don’t care a bit about who they are.
What’s your story? Where did you have obstacles to overcome? What are you doing to inspire others with your journey?
If you’re ready to inspire others with your experiences, then you’re ready for Speak, Sell, Profit Intensive Retreat.
Join me on February 4 – 6, 2015 in Portland, Oregon for a life changing retreat. To determine if this is for you go to http://powerupforprofits.com/retreat.pdf