Eye-Opening Moments are real-life stories of adversity, encounters, and perspectives. In this episode, you will hear about a moment of adversity called Letting Go, a moment of an encounter called Walking on Crispy Leaves , and a moment of a perspective called The Color Blue.
Comments or questions are welcomed on Twitter @emilykaytan OR on https://inspiremereads.com.
Hello and welcome to Episode #22 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 Letting Go, Walking on Crispy Leaves, and The Color Blue.
A moment of adversity called: Letting Go
It took two years of contemplation. Just the process of frequently thinking about it was distressing. I had a stable and secure job; I loved what I did and was successful at it. So, why would I want to quit? Why would I want to throw away a wonderful career? I asked these kinds of questions to myself repeatedly. I enjoyed what I did, but a part of me wanted to let it all go.
Another part of me also said that the future of my career was predictable. I was never bored with the job as unexpected things always came up, and children's behavior always brought surprises. I would always have a new group of students every year. I loved that there was always a beginning and an ending to things. Though there would constantly be challenges, they were manageable. So, the nagging questions remained. Why would I want to give up a job that was never boring? Why would I walk away from something that brought out and utilized my strengths of organization and management? I became a teacher because I wanted to make a difference for children, and I was doing my job with that purpose. What could be more satisfying than that?
I was content, yet I was not, too. I was satisfied with my career, but I wondered. I suspected I was missing out on something in life. I had been teaching for seventeen years, and I had only been in one world, the world of elementary education. There had to be a lot more out there in the world that I had never seen or experienced. I was missing out on something. This thought pestered me in my mind. It was unsettling, and I was constantly reminded about it as I went to business meetings at night to learn about another potential career path.
I learned about a business opportunity that promoted great wealth in the financial services industry. While that could draw many people, that was not what attracted me to the business! I saw that I got to meet many different people from various professions. In my job, all my co-workers were teachers. It was exciting to interact with people from different backgrounds in the business. I learned new things from them, and it broadened my perspectives. It led me to think of things I didn't consider before. While there was always a gathering of new and seasoned people in a weekly evening meeting, what connected us all was a dream for a better life. Perhaps it was the allure of fame and fortune, the fun of socializing, or the chance to take action to make dreams come true that drew crowds of people to the office.
I enjoyed getting dressed up in business attire, something different from my regular day job, and going to an office to see enthusiastic people smiling and welcoming others to come to chase and realize their dreams through the business opportunity. Learning about how money worked, getting new ideas, and interacting with people who were not teachers were fun. It was more fun than parties of eating and socializing. The pre-meeting time of people chatting had a purpose and was meaningful. It seemed to keep telling me that there are many opportunities out there, and it was up to me to go for it. It exposed me to people from all walks of life. It expanded my world and begged me to see more of it.
What impressed me the most were the conventions. Successful leaders would speak on stage in front of thousands of people. They would share some knowledge but spend most of the time motivating and exciting people to go out and make sales. They knew it was not easy to work with high rejection rates but showed that they kept pressing on and didn't give up to arrive at success to make millions. Their stories made me dream. I dreamed for myself to be that leader on stage in front of thousands. I wanted to move, touch, and inspire people as they did. I had a voice that wanted to come out; I wanted to make a difference for others on a large scale. That motivated me to be in the business, even though it was full of challenges. I knew the reward would be great if I overcame the challenges.
Though I was happy with my job, I realized that I lived in a small world. The Sagittarian in me wanted to explore more places, meet more people, and learn more things. I hungered for more than I had. I could no longer be satisfied with what I had. I suppose that was why the voice in my head kept asking me if I would jump out into the business world. I knew it would be out of my comfort zone, and I wasn't sure I wanted to jump into it. It would be uncomfortable, and it would be the unknown. The question marks only made the imagination go wild. What if I jumped out and I fell on my face? What if I failed? What if I lost money? Would I create problems that I never had or didn't need to have? The struggle to decide annoyed me immensely because I was usually a decisive person.
Finally, one day, I walked to visit a neighbor-friend who lived right in front of my house. She was a stay-at-home mom and was often home. I sat down at a small white round table to chat with her as we always did. Her son was in a crib nearby and quietly stood there, not interrupting us. I shared with Abby that I was still struggling to decide what to do about the business opportunity. Should I quit my job or not? So far, I didn't, and I didn't spend much time on the business. If I spent more time selling, I wondered if I would have more success or make more money. Since I didn't spend much time in the company other than learning about it, going to meetings, and engaging in an occasional interaction to drum up some business, I knew I had to do something drastic to produce different results.
Somewhere in the middle of our conversation, Abby said, "If you don't do it, you will always wonder."
After two years of contemplation and torturing myself, that one sentence led me to come to an immediate decision. So, for better or worse, I had to know. Whether it be success or failure, I had to know. I needed to know. Not knowing would be more torture than failure, so I decided to quit my safe and secure job to go into business full-time. It would be a very insecure and unpredictable job. Still, the possibility of making a difference for thousands and making some money along the way was far more enticing than making a difference for twenty to thirty students a year. After all, there is a much bigger world out there to conquer!
Just like that, I resigned from a career I loved to embark on a scary but exciting new adventure. I made zero dollars the first year. I barely got by the next few years. In year five, I finally made some money. And then the company went out of business!
It was a long rollercoaster ride where going up seemed so long. It was full of struggle to try to make ends meet. But in year five, I got to the top of the ride when I made $10,000 from two hours of work but many hours recruiting a business partner and customer to make that sale. It happened a couple more times, and it was beyond belief for me. After four years of endless efforts with little results, I finally made a five-digit income for a couple of months. The money earned in five years was never in the millions or even a six-digit income annually. Was it worth it?
Maybe not moneywise, but the value I got from it was worth it. The thrill from receiving that first $10,000 paycheck for making one sale was beyond belief. It was only about two hours of work to get that amount of money. I didn't even make that much for a whole month working at my regular full-time job! The euphoric moment of happiness was all worth it.
Most precious was finally earning the right to be on stage to give a speech because I was one of the top ten earners one year. That dream of being on stage to give a speech in front of thousands to inspire others finally came true. It took five painfully long years, but it was well worth it. I brought home two trophies. Never in my life did I experience tears of joy, cold shivers in my body, hot sensations in my face, and tingling vibes along with surrealism, all simultaneously felt in a few moments.
Aside from one incredible evening of speeches and awards, the most exceptional gems from joining the business were the experiences, knowledge, and personal growth and development gained. The benefits would prove to be invaluable and long-lasting life skills. The adventures would also leave unforgettable memories.
I morphed from an introvert to be a little more extroverted. I transformed from a schoolteacher to a businesswoman. I shifted from inside a safe box to many outside-the-box experiences. I moved from a small world to a bigger world. I slid from conformity to nonconformity. I leaped from a well-guarded life to a life of engaging in many risks!
While the business did not altogether bring those results, it provided the opportunity or space to help make it all happen. Though I had abilities in me, I had trapped myself in a cocoon for most of my life. The business compelled me to go through a metamorphosis, break free, and be a butterfly freely soaring. The difficulty of letting go was the fear of the unknown and the fear of failure. Once realizations and courage broke the chains, freedom and fun appeared.
A moment of an encounter called: Walking on Crispy Leaves
I hear walking on crispy leaves, and I think of fall because autumn is my favorite season. After decades since I first read an essay about autumn, I still recall reading it in elementary school. In this poetic essay, the fall leaves were blowing off the trees and blowing in the wind. The leaves were like dancers dancing and swaying near the ground with red, yellow, orange, and brown dresses. The cool breeze was so soothing as one watched the dancing leaves perform their dance of joy for autumn's arrival.
The beautiful leaves of fall also remind me of when I was in college and walking through a forest of fall leaves in Connecticut. A guy had invited me to go to the mall. I said it was too far to walk there. He said he found a shortcut, and it would only be a thirty-minute walk. He insisted on going, and I was reluctant to go. I didn't care to shop, and I didn't want to walk a long way with him as I didn't like him, at least not in a romantic way, but I suspected he did. Who could have known that this walk through the woods would be a memorable and romantic image left in the recesses of my memory bank?
It was a cool early autumn day. As we walked through the woods, the leaves rustled under our feet. The ground was covered with all the colors of fall. We strolled through at a leisurely pace. There wasn't a clear path for many people to walk through. The air was cool, but not cold. We never saw a single person in these woods during our entire walk. There were boulders and rocks here and there. We stopped to take pictures because it was just too beautiful. He had the camera. He must have planned it! I have a photo where he sat on top of a boulder, looking cool by posing sideways and looking away from the camera. I have another one of him holding his jacket behind one side of his shoulders; another supposedly calm and relaxed look. There were pictures of me on that giant boulder and in the autumn leaves of the woods, too.
As we walked, he started to sing a love song, "Can't Help Falling in Love With You." He said he liked Elvis, but knowing him, he had a double meaning behind what he said. Anyway, it was unforgettable for me. I had no romantic feelings for him, but to this day, I think it is one of the most romantic scenes I have been in: Walking through the woods in the fall with a guy singing me love songs as the colorful leaves surrounded us. I am glad for the precious and sweet moments.
A moment of a perspective called: The Color Blue
The most beautiful blue is the bold blue Mongolian sky. On a clear sunny day in Mongolia, I looked before me while riding on a horse. The rich blue sky before me caught my eyes between two rocky mountains. I had to stop to stare at it in awe. I had never seen such a beautiful blue sky in all my life. With puffy cumulus clouds all around, it made the blue sky look all the more beautiful. It looked like a perfectly painted picture, but it was not; it was real. I kept staring in disbelief at the natural beauty in front of me. I didn't want to stop looking!
A different blue, a clear sparkling light with a hint of a baby-blue color, is also beautiful. You can see this on an island in Thailand. I sit down in the water close to the sandy glittering white specks at the beach and look at my legs and feet in amazement because I can see them while they are all in the water. You would almost think that you are in the bathtub of your own house, but you know you are not because of the sun shining on the water with glimpses of baby-blue. With this unique experience with the sea, I had to sit with it a bit longer.
I began to buy blue bath towels, blue bedsheets, a blue rug, a blue shower curtain, and blue wasn't even my favorite color! Yellow and green blend together to make blue. I love yellow for warmth and cheeriness. I love green for growth and nature. I suppose bringing the two together creates tranquility for me. And so the color blue has become the primary color of my décor at home. Just the other day, a friend said, "When I walk into your home, it is so Zen, so calming." I thought, "That is exactly the feeling I want to have when I come home; I want to come home and relax!"
I am always looking to be calm; I don't enjoy getting angry and having bad feelings. Getting mad is me losing control. Surrounding myself with blue, I help keep my emotions under control. Suddenly I am reminded of how I like to be in control. It is power. I do not want to allow others to take advantage of me, bully me, get to my emotions, and have me be less level-headed.
All at once, I am reminded of when I once got a speeding ticket. I was driving at 35 mph in a 25 mph speed limit area, and it was not a residential area. Drivers in front of me and behind me were all getting ticketed! With the ticket, I went to driving school. While in class, I saw videos of drunk driving or impaired driving and the horrific results. Before watching the videos, each person in the class had to state how they got a ticket and specify what happened. To my surprise, most people were just like me, driving faster than the speed limit. And no one was moving at extremely high speeds or on the freeway driving fast. We were reminded not to drink and drive.
During the lecture, to my surprise, I discovered why I don't drink alcohol much: I refuse to lose control. I like to be in control. Unbeknownst to me, I want control because I think losing control will make me vulnerable, and I refuse to put myself in a position of vulnerability. If I am in such a position, I may get hurt. What a revelation!
Blue is the sky, blue is the body of water, blue are my towels and sheets, and blue is my apartment walls. What lengths have I gone to surround myself with blue, calm myself with blue, and be in my world of peace! Of course, I cannot fully insulate or protect myself from the painful parts of life, but I can do something to reduce it. The colors you choose for your environment can make a difference.
Though I had a safe, secure, and satisfying career, I hungered for an adventure to see and experience more in the world and I found it in a business opportunity.
Though I was reluctant to take a walk to the mall with a friend, our stroll ended up being one of the happy moments engraved in my memory bank.
Though blue is not my favorite color, I have found it to be a most soothing and calming color to decorate my home!
Next week, you will hear three new real-life stories called Blackout, A Lesson on Trust, and Birthday Celebrations. If you enjoyed this episode of Eye-Opening Moments, please leave a comment, share it on your social media, subscribe on Youtube, or go to www.inspiremereads.com. Thank you for listening!