Eye-Opening Moments are real-life stories of adversity, encounters, and perspectives intertwined. In this episode you will hear about Life's Pendulum and Connected by a Dream.Support the show
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Hello and welcome to episode #75 of Eye-Opening Moments where you’ll hear real-life stories of adversity, encounters, and perspectives intertwined. They are moments that can lift your spirits, give you some food for thought, or move you. For the introspective mind that likes to reflect, discover, and find solutions or meaning in a complex life, this is for you. I’m your host Emily Kay Tan. In this episode, you will hear about Life’s Pendulum and Connected by a Dream.
Walking around Boca Raton, Florida, I heard screeching screams and looked to see where they were coming from. I felt anxious because I thought a crime was being committed in broad daylight while many people were strolling the streets. On a bright, hot summer day, I saw people screaming from a giant swing. People were strapped and buckled together with a bunch of ropes that converged into one rope. They hung facing down from a high platform. From the elevated position, they were released to swing down with the pull of gravity but would also swing up as the rope swung them from side to side like a pendulum. I was attending my first national convention for entrepreneurs, and unbeknownst to me, this scene of the swinging pendulum would be my first lesson about business, people, and life.
As I heard scream after scream, I wanted to join in on the thrill. The screams now sounded like fun, and I wanted to participate. I told my new business partner I wanted to go on the giant swing. She said she was too scared to go on it. I said, “Come on!” She refused, but as we continued walking around, I heard the screams of fun and didn’t want to miss the opportunity to try it as I had never seen such an activity before that day. “Come on, let’s go try this swing!” I insisted. Lila refused. I said, “How could you tell me to be my own boss and make millions when you don’t even dare to play on this swing?” I was serious. The words came out of my mouth, and in the next moment, I found some truth to what I was saying. I turned to Lila to inquire, “You want me to take a chance in doing this business, but you don’t even dare to go on the swing? How can you help me when you don’t even dare?” She was speechless.
Though Lila was speechless, she also desperately wanted me to be active in the business. So, she called her mentor in the business to go on the giant swing. There was a bunch of us roaming the streets of this unfamiliar town. We walked over to Derek. Lila told him I wanted to go on the giant swing, and she was too afraid. She invited him to go on the giant swing. Without hesitation, Derek said, “Sure, let’s go!” I was thrilled. I was going to have fun! Now I saw Derek as my mentor; he was unafraid and willing to take a risk.
Off we went; Lila, Derek, and I got in line to go on the giant swing. I think Lila came along as Derek told her to, and she wanted to set a good example for me. I wasn’t sure I wanted to become a businesswoman, but I was sure I wanted to go on the swing. The sight of the activity excited me, and I was all smiles. I was so glad that two people would join me on an adventure.
Looking at a photo that someone took of us before we were hoisted up into the air, I saw my young thirty-something face full of happy smiles on the right side of the picture. Derek was in the middle because he was heavier than Lila or me. The worker who strapped us told us how to position ourselves so that we would be better balanced. Derek also had a smile, but he didn’t look as thrilled as me. Lila, on the left side of the photo, had fear combined with smiles. Her eyes were closed before we were even released to swing through the air. Strapped tightly next to each other, Lila wrapped her arm around Derek because she was so scared. Derek made space under his other arm, suggesting I put my arm under his arm too. I did. Lila kept saying we were crazy and that it would be all our fault if she died. Her face was full of smiles, and you only knew she was so afraid because she told you. We all looked like we were having lots of fun while strapped together.
Finally, we were at the top of a high platform. In a matter of seconds, someone released the swing to go down and up until it was swinging no more. Derek and I were quiet and smiling with our mouths open. Lila screamed at the top of her lungs with an open mouth. The ride was all too short for me.
After we were all unstrapped, Lila said she had fun. Derek said it was fun and no big deal, so Lila didn’t need to be so afraid. I was quiet, but my face said it all. I was overjoyed. I am glad I still have pictures of that day when we went on the giant swing.
I was an inexperienced lady trying to start a business, and I got two people earning a six-figure income to join me in an activity that required us to demonstrate fearlessness with a zest for fun. The activity showed that I already had the grit for risk, thrills, and fun!
As I got more involved in the business, I remembered going on the giant swing because our business was like a pendulum ride. Sometimes we moved forward by making sales or recruiting partners. At other times, it seemed like we moved back when we were not making sales or gaining recruits. When sales and recruits were low, it was like swinging down on a pendulum, and my heart felt like it was dropping out of me, and I was hollow inside. Sometimes, it was nauseating. The falling was scary and gut-wrenching. When sales and recruits increased, it was like the pendulum swinging up. The climb up was thrilling. The anticipation or hope of getting to the top was riveting. And the moment of reaching the top by hitting large numbers in income or team members was electrifying.
Many times, the ride would be so speedy. One day you make a big sale and are high on top of the world. Another day you make no money, and you are at the bottom. Sometimes the highs and lows alternate so fast that you feel your blood pressure is at risk. At other times, when the lows last a long time, you keep working to inch up, all in the hope of reaching the top. If you have been to the top, you know the thrill is worth it. It could be like drugs giving you a high at the top and severe withdrawals when you fall back down.
As I was on the business pendulum ride, I realized why I learned so much about life through the business. The business pendulum was similar to the life pendulum. The difference was in the speed of the swings. The business ride seemed to go faster. The life ride was not as speedy, so I didn’t notice, or it was not as apparent to me.
Who could have known I would learn so much about life’s pendulum by going on a giant swing?! When I was in the business, I called the ride up the struggles. I named reaching the top ecstasy. It was just like my life, full of challenges with only a sprinkle of joy in between. Now older and in another business, I wear different lenses, and the view is different. I appreciate my adversities for the lessons learned and the strength of character built from them. I treasure my fortunes for the joy and happiness they bring me. I now find all the ups and downs, good and bad, combine to make a meaningful life. With this new view, I want to revisit the swing and see if the ride feels different, too.
Connected by a Dream
I could have never predicted that a short phone conversation with my cousin Eason would begin to touch a seriously far-reaching part of me. And it helped relieve a childhood trauma that was embedded within me.
Cousin Eason and I grew up in Boston, but I had settled in San Francisco for many years as a grown woman. To my surprise, Cousin Eason, whom I hadn’t seen for nearly twenty years, was in town and called me. I hadn’t seen him since he was five years old, and I was over ten years older than him.
By the time Cousin Eason contacted me, I was engaged in a network marketing business while juggling a full-time career and married life. He was a young college graduate. He was in town busy taking care of some unknown matters to me and said he had a little time in San Francisco to meet up with me.
I told Eason that I was out of town, busy with a business opportunity. I informed him that he could check it out as there was a presentation in San Francisco. Though I invited him to the presentation, I didn’t think he’d show up! Usually, you invite someone to a presentation, and you show up yourself, but since I was out of town, I didn’t.
I was shocked that he showed up by himself and signed up to be a business partner with me! It was a national network marketing company, so we could work together even though he lived in Boston and I lived in San Francisco.
Though we did not get a chance to meet up in person, I called Cousin Eason and asked him if he had a chance to check out the business opportunity I had told him about. To my great astonishment, he said, “Yeah, I signed up already. I didn’t get a chance to stick around because I had to catch my flight out.”
The last time I spent much time with Cousin Eason was when he was just an adorable baby learning to sit up. Since we had a significant age difference, we hardly spent much time together while he was growing up. Now he was a grown man and still remembered me: The cousin who left Boston long ago.
Because of this opportunity to work together in business, I learned a few things about Cousin Eason, but most surprising was his impact on the far reaches of my mind.
As we began working together to recruit business partners and make sales, I discovered that we were a perfect fit to be business partners. Eason seemed to easily recruit people into the business, while I had difficulty doing the same. I had no problem training and motivating team members, which was not easy for him. We complemented each other well and got along. Though we worked together long-distance, it didn’t stop us from creating some success.
The unbelievable beauty that emerged in our partnership was not the business itself but the journey we took with our teammates.
Most of our teammates were in their twenties except for me and a few others. Young or old, we were all connected by a dream. If not, it was unlikely that we would have ever gotten together. Everyone in the company had the vision to make millions to make all their dreams come true. We saw many people become successful. We bought the business opportunity and what it could do for us if we sold the products, recruited team players, and multiplied our income.
Though the nitty-gritty work was not the most appealing, the magic was in the team. This team gave me a warm fuzzy feeling that I had never had in my life. This sense of belonging was what Cousin Eason unintentionally gave me through the team he helped me build. Belonging was the seriously far-reaching part of me that was never previously fulfilled. Before joining the business, I never felt like I belonged in any group but belonged during my time in the company.
I had short hair early on, while my sisters had long hair. I was the first to be sent away and quickly didn’t belong in my family. I lived with aunties and uncles who told me I didn’t belong in their family either. In school, I was a quiet and shy girl who didn’t belong to any particular group of friends. When I started my teaching career, my students consistently had the best test scores and behaviors. It made me stand out and be different from the other teachers. Many have told me I was unique, as if it was a good thing. I thought it to be not good because it made me not belong anywhere. I was usually in a group by myself. Now in business, I finally had a place where I felt belonging.
Unexpectedly, I found myself in a team where camaraderie warmed my heart. The team and I gathered at national conventions, where we spent long hours together eating, learning, and strategizing how to help each other move forward in building a larger team and making more sales. Seeing many successful leaders speak and motivate us to make our dreams come true was exciting. Tied together with ideals and sharing the experience made it all the more exhilarating. We seemed to have little in common in our day-to-day lives, but we had so much in common when it came to working to realize our dreams.
Though we didn’t spend much time in a year together other than communicating on the phone, the times we saw each other in person were intense and jam-packed with activities. It was amazing that we didn’t get on each other’s nerves! Short as the times might have been, we got to know each other pretty well. One team member, Edison, was eighteen years old and the youngest on the team. As we were chatting away once in the car, he said, “You are like a crab.” I thought it was a negative comment and protested, “What do you mean?” Edison said, “Like a crab, you are hard on the outside, tough. But on the inside, you are a softy with a caring heart.” Edison floored me with his intelligence and perceptive observation. No one had ever called me a crab before him, but he was pretty accurate!
Flying to Boston to work directly with the team was also heartwarming. They expressed great appreciation, and it only motivated me to help more. As the team leader, team members looked to me for help, motivation, and hope. The satisfying feeling of being able to contribute was more than I could put into words.
I joined a business because I was sold a dream, but what I got was beyond my dreams. I never knew how fulfilling it could be to feel camaraderie. I never thought I would lead a team where my followers appreciated and looked up to me. Though I helped them by training and motivating them, their efforts and enthusiasm helped me believe that dreams can come true. They also showed me that I could make a difference. My teammates valued my efforts; nothing could be more fulfilling than contributing to others. The sense of belonging, camaraderie, and contribution were the gems I unexpectedly got through Cousin Eason. They were the diamonds found with a team of dreamers.
Though I only went on a giant swing for fun, I ended up learning about the business pendulum, which was similar to life's pendulum but faster.
Though my team and I connected by a dream to do business together, we had camaraderie and the spirit of team bonding us together.
Next week, you will hear two new real-life stories called My Invisible Wall and Money Hater. If you enjoyed this episode of Eye-Opening Moments, please share it with others, subscribe, support the show by clicking on the link in the description, or go to www.inspiremereads.com and leave a message. Thank you for listening!