Eye-Opening Moments are real-life stories of adversity, encounters, and perspectives. In this episode, you will hear about a moment of an adversity called Running and Floating, a moment of an encounter called An Unimagined World, a moment of a perspective called My Heartbeat.
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Hello and welcome to Episode #19 of Eye-Opening Moments where you’ll hear stories of adversity, encounters, and perspectives. These are real life stories that can lift your spirits, give you some food for thought, or move you. I’m your host Emily Kay Tan. In this episode, you will hear about Running and Floating, An Unimagined World, and My Heartbeat.
A moment of adversity called: Running and Floating
I was never the most athletic person. The most active was jogging three miles a day, five days a week, while in my last year of college. I never kept running or jogging after twisting my ankle one time. So, it was a big surprise when many years later, a business partner of mine said, "Man, you were running up there so fast like you were flying; why were you running so fast?" As he told me, I thought, I don't think I was running! I think I just floated on up over there; I don't know how I got up there so quickly! I can only remember myself feeling ever so light, floating in slow motion, and it seemed in a matter of seconds I was up there, up there on stage after I heard my name called to receive an award.
I couldn't believe my ears when I heard my name. I even asked my friend who was sitting next to me, "Did they call me? Did they say my name?" She said, "Yes, hurry up, go!" It felt surreal. I heard my name announced on a loudspeaker, but it seemed like it was in the distance, something happening far away from me. I saw my name on the giant screens on the stage, but I said they must have made a mistake; why is my name up there? It's never been up there before. I have been to these conventions for years, and my name has never been up there. So, they must have made a mistake. Still, somehow, while floating on a cloud, I managed to end up there on stage, TWO times! I got two awards for being one of the top 10 earners of the year!
As fast as I got up there, I grabbed my awards and ran off the stage to my seat quickly, too. I could feel myself shaking; was it nerves? Excitement? I don't know because I never had such feelings rush over me. I shed a little tear; I wanted to cry, I don't know why. Why would just getting two awards be such a big deal? I had been in sales part-time for several years and barely made any money because I was a shy person who had no business being in the sales business! Then I quit the safe and secure job that I was good at to go full-time in business to see if that could be the impetus to get me out of my shell and start making some real money. Even then, it took several more years before this day when I finally made a five-figure income per month and floated on a cloud to go up to the stage.
That same day, I went on stage for the third time. I had finally made it into the top ten earners' list, so I earned the right to give a speech on stage. Years ago, I joined the company, went to a convention, and was mesmerized by the speeches, teams cheering their teams. I secretly dreamed of the day that I'd be a leader who would inspire others to achieve greatness.
No one, I think, could understand why I stayed in business for so long when I wasn't making money. I had bigger dreams than just making money. No one knew. No one, I think, could imagine anything more fantastic than making lots of money. So, it would be a waste of time for me to share my secret.
In my imagination, I'd see myself giving speeches in front of thousands of people, and thousands of people would be moved, touched, and inspired by me. That was my biggest dream. And after five-plus years of struggling to make some decent income, I finally got a few minutes on stage to give a speech. Over five years, I had never worked so long and hard to make some money worthy of finally getting an award.
It was not just a "job" per se; this was something that took doing so many things outside the box. The quiet and shy me had to pull myself out of my shell to go out, to go out relentlessly, and approach strangers to make connections and try to make a sale or recruit a business partner. Aside from that, I creatively designed many ways to constantly find new clients and business partners.
I faced more rejections than acceptances in the world of sales. I spent more money than I earned. The business tested my character and strength to the core. It pulled out every ounce of my energy and being to keep on trying in the face of failure. It seemed like the world was saying I couldn't do it. Even I thought I couldn't do it. But I couldn't accept defeat, or I just wanted something so badly that I couldn't let myself give up.
Make sales and make a difference. Is it that hard to do? Yes. I never had a job that challenged me to the core of my being. With all the struggles and hardships, was it worth it for those few minutes? Yes. The experience of sheer joy, accomplishment, and floating on the clouds with tears all at once will be forever in my memory bank.
Beyond the moments of standing before thousands and beyond the dream finally coming true, I was a transformed human being. I moved from being an introvert to being a little more extroverted. I shifted from being more reserved to be more of a risk-taker. I transitioned from living life carefully calculated to living life fully. I transferred from being passive to asserting myself more often. I switched from thinking or caring about myself only to considering and caring about others. I transposed from basking in a comfort zone to seeking outside-the-box activities. It was perhaps always deeply hidden inside me, but opportunity knocked, and it finally revealed itself. Like a friend of mine who watched a presentation I once gave said, "It is fun seeing you emerge like a butterfly coming out of a cocoon."
A moment of an encounter called: An Unimagined World
People were smiling, mingling, chatting, and dressed nicely in business suits. Everyone seemed to be in a joyous mood. What was this? People came by invitation only. My husband's friend had invited him, and my husband asked me to come along. All dressed up to go, I was curious to learn about the event. As it turned out, we attended a presentation about a business opportunity.
The atmosphere and the people from different walks of life were more enticing than the opportunity. So, week after week, I went there with my husband. Each week there would be new people to meet and some familiar faces. I looked forward to dressing up and being surrounded by happy people who wanted to do something for a better life.
Though I was satisfied with my career and was not looking for anything outside of it, something about the opportunity attracted me. People talked about dreams and hopes. And the opportunity was the vehicle to realize the dreams and hopes. Considering that I was still there even though I was satisfied with my life at the time, you'd wonder why I wanted to go there week after week to attend the same event but with different guests. I wondered myself.
After a few months, a national convention was to take place out of town. Everyone was encouraged to register and attend. Successful leaders from all over the country would be there. I wanted to go for the chance to travel. I liked traveling and didn't do much of it since I got married. Hubby got drawn into all the hype, too. Off we went to the convention with all the people from the office.
There at the convention, I saw thousands of people from the company. I soon realized that I was part of something bigger than myself. Each team wore the same colored polo shirt to distinguish each group. I was a part of the biggest team. People from other teams would look at me in awe because I was a part of the largest team. Since I was not very involved in the business, I didn't understand what it all meant. However, the convention made its impact on me.
Of course, I learned some of the nitty-gritty information about the business. What touched me more than anything was seeing leaders speak and the reactions. Though many speakers didn't even speak most eloquently, the audience, myself included, was moved and inspired by the leaders' success and encouragement to press on and not give up.
Succeeding in the sales industry and network marketing is no easy feat. You approach family, friends, coworkers, acquaintances, and strangers. You get more rejections doing the business than your whole life put together. So why would anyone want to do it? When you succeed, the rewards are all worth it.
For me, I believe, I had a unique purpose. While most people joined the business to make more money than their regular nine to five job, I was drawn to it for a different reason. I became a teacher to make a difference, but my outlook changed when I saw the thousands of people at the convention. I wanted to make a difference on a large scale. I saw how leaders were making a difference in mass. I wanted some of that. I hungered to move and inspire others to greatness. I saw the business as the vehicle to do that. I got motivated to do the business.
Had it not been for someone inviting my husband to the business opportunity, it would be unlikely for me to attend such an event. My husband was not particularly interested, but he agreed to go since a friend was inviting him. Hubby never got very involved in the business. People were surprised to see that I got more involved than him. I was the quiet and shy schoolteacher, so it seemed like I would be less interested than the friendly and sociable engineer of a husband I had.
By getting involved in the business, I came out of my comfort zone. The shy me began approaching people to initiate conversations. The unsociable me began attending networking events. The seemingly passive me became a go-getter and a risk-taker. The seemingly boring me appeared engaging in fun and crazy activities. The quiet me came to give presentations and training. I even moved and inspired people who thought I would never amount to anything. One leader said I was like a sleeping volcano. I slept a long time, and then I erupted. You are left baffled and amazed.
My husband, who is now my ex-husband, unwittingly gave me the opportunity. It was an opportunity I was not looking for, but it gave me a chance to go on an adventure of a lifetime. For that, I need to thank him. Despite the failure of our marriage, I gained greater strength in character and exercised many unflexed muscles because of the business he invited me to tag along.
You never know who can make a difference for you. It could be someone you like or despise. It could be someone who just happened to provide you with something or bring you to the right place. Though I initially reluctantly wanted to acknowledge my ex-husband for bringing me to the business opportunity, I have to say that if it were not for him doing that, I would never have had the chance for such an incredible experience. Aside from learning some things about business and gaining small moments of success in it, the most valuable was me coming out of my cocoon and shedding layers to reveal the astonishing me.
A moment of a perspective called: My Heartbeat
When I hear the pumping of a heartbeat, it tells me time is running out; life is not infinite. How do you want to spend the rest of your life? What do you want to get done before you die? What is on your bucket list?
Many years ago, a video I saw took a spot in one of the seats in my memory box. It was a train moving, a clock ticking, and a voice saying, "Time waits for no one." What a powerful statement. The impact of this statement continues to affect my life.
At work, when I am dictating sentences or moving on to another activity, sometimes my students would holler, "Wait!" My response would be, "Okay, just for a moment." If I had to wait on too many occasions, I would give a short lecture. My lecture would go something like this: Have you ever ridden on a bus? a train, an airplane? The answer would be yes to one of those. Then I'd say, if you are late, will the bus wait for you? Will the train wait for you? Will the airplane wait for you? Usually not. "Time waits for no one." Time will keep moving forward no matter what you are doing. You can't buy back time; you can't go back in time; once it is gone, it is gone. We better treasure every moment we have in our lives because once it is gone, it will not return.
Sometimes, it is midnight, and I break open a bag of Lay's sour cream and onion potato chips and watch a movie. For a moment, I will think this is not good to do. It is unhealthy, and the time of eating it is all wrong. In the next moment, I will ask myself, is there something else I would rather be doing or spending my moments doing? No, I am enjoying what I am doing! So, I justify my moments of vice. If I am enjoying myself, if there isn't something else I'd rather do, by all means, do what I will!
After I traveled out of the country more than once a year, I quickly moved to three times a year, four times a year, five times a year, and six times a year. It didn't take long to have six times a year to be my new normal. People would ask, why do you travel so much? Why don't you wait until retirement to do it? I'd say, "You have to live life!" If I wait until retirement, I may not be so healthy; I will be older, I may not be as mobile, I may not have the money like the flow of income now. Now is the best time because we never know when will be the last day of our lives, so we better maximize living it up now!
I could die tomorrow, so I better live life NOW! I shall live more in the present and think about what I want to do now and not in the distant future. As I heard, we only have this moment, so we better think about how we would like to spend it. The clock is ticking; time moves with no stops between life and death.
I am writing memoir stories; I want value in my life. I want to leave knowing there was meaning in my life. While it wasn't all great, it wasn't all bad either. Most important is that I lived life, with all its ups and downs; I had me, I had a character that is of value. The chapters of my life are not blank pages; they are not empty and meaningless. They are full of stories, full of highs and lows; whatever they were, they were whole, not monotonous. They were not plain; they were scenes of a life lived.
And my little Emily, my comforting baby teddy, brings smiles to my face, reminds me to smile, to live, to dream.
As I daydream, a part of me says I am wasting time and not living in reality. Another aspect of me that I learned from being in business says, dream, dream big. Dreams are free. You can dream whatever you want; it doesn't cost anything. More, I now say if it doesn't happen in reality, by all means, I should make it happen in my dreams, in my imagination, and then move it on to reality!
I hear the beating of my heart. Time is moving; time is running out. If I am not enjoying myself now, what do I want to do? I need to do it now; there is no time for later.
Though it was a lengthy time struggling to make ends meet, it was all worth it for that moment of glory.
Though it was an unimagined world that I stepped into, it was an adventure of a lifetime.
Though time will keep ticking relentlessly, I shall keep living life, fill it with what I wish, and not waste it.
Next week, you will hear three new real-life stories called No Place to Call Home, Expired Friendship, and The Meaning of Clouds.