Friday, April 28, 2017

Why I Hated (and now I LOVE) Rainy Days

April 28, 2017

Why I Hated Rainy Days - A Story of Business Success

As a child, I loved those rainy days. Sometimes they kept you inside and you would pop some popcorn and watch a movie, or perhaps you would go through some old photos or play dress-up. Then there were the days were you went outside, splashed in puddles, ran around, picked up worms and totally energized your soul with the fresh scent of the rain.

My dislike for rain didn't come in my childhood years. Or even my teen years. As a young adult however, rainy days held a much different meaning for me and while you may be reading this wondering how this could possibly relate to business - read on and you shall see!

Why I Hated Rainy Days

I had my first child in my early 20's. I didn't choose to go to University or College after High School, mainly because I didn't know what I wanted to do. So rather than waste money on an education in some area I'd likely not stay with, I choose to travel a bit. I met many people from across the world and have memories that will last me a lifetime. I gained confidence in myself as a person and from the skills I did learn at the various jobs I held during this time.

However, shortly after having my first child I became a single mother. Being a parent in general is not easy and being a single one is even harder. Finding daycare, working the right hours, trying to work but not being able to when your child (inevitably) gets sick - it is a challenge.

Without having a professional education, I mostly worked in the hospitality industry which I often worked late day/evening shifts. I am very thankful for my parents who helped me out during those couple of hours where daycare was closed and I needed care for my son. I wasn't rich, but I wasn't poor either.

My son was always well dressed and had the proper clothing for the seasons. We always ate healthy foods and I made sure he grew up having the same opportunities his friends had (playing sports, going to birthday parties, having sleep-overs, going to the movies once in awhile). He and I played outside often, enjoying the simple things in life like a picnic in the park or a swim at the public pool or beach. He grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba where there was almost always some sort of free arts/music/food festival going on and we got out there and enjoyed life.

Sounds good doesn't it? So where is the dark side of this story?

My bank account was most often showing red numbers with negative signs in front of the numbers...even AFTER payday. I made sure my bills were paid, I made sure my son was taken care of and I made sure we ate healthy, but it came at a cost. I didn't buy clothes or things for myself and so, eventually, my shoes got holes in them. Which brings me to why I hated rainy days, because I have hated having wet feet ever since grade school and (kids being kids) got into deep puddles that left me sitting there with cold wet socks all day.

I would walk to the car with my son (he is his rain boots, me in my shoes with holes which were also my work shoes) and I would try so hard to avoid the big puddles (He of course would charge right through them as he had rubber boots on! Ah, the joys of rain when you are a child!) I'd use the car heater to try to dry my feet/shoes as best as I could as we drove to his daycare where I had to get out and get my feet wet again. By the time I got to work, my feet were still wet but if it was a good day, they were only damp. Nonetheless, being in wet shoes for 9-11 hours is no fun!

How Many Rainy Days Passed

I really can't remember how long I was in this situation but I do remember the day it began to change. I knew I needed to change my life and no one was going to do that but me. I knew I could make that change, I just had to be open to it. This is not some inspirational story saying that if you start your own home business you are going to be have to work for it, like I did.

I decided to go back to school. 25 years old with a 2 year old son I first applied to the field of Radiology and the wait list was 2 years. Since I needed to get my Physics (although I graduated with a Science major in High School Physics was the only Science course I hadn't taken!) I went on the list and started doing my Physics correspondence at night, after my work, and after my son was in bed for the night. I was rocking the courses, finished Grade 11 quickly and was working on Grade 12 when I got the news there was an admin mix-up and someone forgot to put my name on the list!

Was I mad? Oh yeah. But, that wasn't going to change anything so I checked out the other course they had because I couldn't wait another 2 years to get my education. I got into Business Administration and really, I couldn't have known just how much I'd come to use that course in my future!

Keep in mind, I'm still a single mom of a now 3 year old, now paying for tuition and books and living on my own. School full-time and mom full-time means no working to make money which guessed it...even more debt. Fine, you only live once and I have the rest of my life to pay off debt, but I knew I had to make this change to go forward.

The Day I Noticed the Rain...and Smiled

I worked hard. This 2 year course was tough, brutal and demanding. I was exhausted and spent all my free time doing my homework and keeping time aside to keep being a mom to my son. I was already in debt but I knew I was on the right you know what I did? I bought some shoes!

No more holes in my shoes, no sir/ma'am, not for me! It was the moment I realized I was worth it and positive attracts positive. If you always think you will be broke - you will be. It was time to reward myself for my hard work, my positive outlook and of all, bravery for taking the chance to better my education for a better future for my son and I!

I remember a Friday evening shortly after this, my son and I dressed up and we went out for dinner to our local Pizza Hut. A rare event to go out but we deserved this. He deserved this! He was so patient with me and understanding. I told him how much I appreciated him and how things were going to get better once I graduated.

As we left dinner that night, hand in hand, we stepped outside and I noticed it had rained....and I smiled!

Why I LOVE Rainy Days

As I said in the beginning, as a child I loved rainy days. The calm, the bringing of new life, the smell of the rain cleaning away the dust. It is a life-giver. So of course, I still love rainy days and rain itself but now, it holds a different meaning again. Rainy days, for me, serve as a reminder.

They remind me where I WAS. A time where I thought there was no way out. A time where I had no money (quite the opposite) and couldn't even come up with a dollar for a slurpee for  my son on a hot summer day. A time in my life where I never, ever, would have imagined myself doing what I do now.

So what is it that I do now? I work from home. Have for 10 years now. After graduating I worked in Sales and then moved from Manitoba to Calgary where I worked in various office positions. Then, after becoming pregnant with my second child, I looked for a stay at home job to do while on maternity leave. I found Watkins and have been with them ever since. Working from home allowed me the work/life balance I was looking for. It has taken time to build the business up, it always does. But I've been rewarded not just with the freedom to set my own schedule and be here for my kids, and not just financially, but with perks like free vacations paid for by the company and meeting people from all over, building relationships that are super rewarding as well!

When I think about where I am now and where I was, I never would have thought it could happen. Recently I came back from a trip paid for by the company in Cabo San Lucas and I met someone who reminded me of myself those years ago. Never say never, because back then, I never would have imagined traveling to these destinations, let alone having a company pay for it!

I didn't think the plan out and outline what I wanted and how it would look, I just acknowledged the fact that I needed change and I would do what it took to make that change. The rest fell into place over time.

I will never look at a rainy day the same again but I am thankful for the experience. I wouldn't change a thing if I could because I have learned so much and the most important lesson: To never give up. Your success is within your grasp,  you just have to believe and be willing to work for it. Remember, I didn't have much time and I didn't have much money, but I had drive and desire to make that change so I took the risk. I had  many reasons, my son and a better life for both of us was my main motivation. To be successful, you need to find your motivation and keep reminding yourself. You only live once so make the most of it!

About Tamara:

Tamara lives with her family in Airdire, Alberta and has been self-employed since 2007. She is a J.R Watkins Indep Consultant and National Team Bronze Manager. You can learn more about the business and see Tamara's vacation stories and photos at http://www.WhyNotNorthAmerica.com

1 comment:

Debbie Smith said...

Loved reading this Tamara !