Last week was an F+ week for me. Okay, maybe it was more like a C- because there were some high points, but over all, it was a down, down, down week. I felt tired, didn’t want to wake up, was not motivated at the least, and ended up in tears last Thursday evening in my therapist’s office as I realized “this” is where I am.
I don’t want to get into the particulars of my week because there aren’t particulars, per se. There is just a jumble of emotion that I can’t properly explain to anyone. Heck, I haven’t been able to properly explain them to myself. What resulted was me going through the motions of each day, but feeling dejected. Yet, through the misery I felt, good, no, GREAT things happened. Things that reminded me I am very much alive and well and happy.
Last Thursday, I attended a writing course called “Business Writing for Results.” It was an all day affair and I wasn’t looking forward to it. Remember, unmotivated week? I can’t say that I learned that much from the seminar itself, but I learned a ton from the guy who presented the seminar and the woman I sat next to and enjoyed lunch with during our break.
The guy who facilitated the seminar is named Russell DeWitt and if you ever get the chance to meet or talk to this man, take it. When he started, I found him borderline obnoxious and abrasive. I was wrong. As the seminar went on and he started discussing his personal philosophy, I realized that I needed to listen to him with open ears, mind and heart.
Yes, he was loud. Yes, he was in-you-face. Yet, he won me over when he said, “you’re here to learn how to write succinct business letters, but the number one rule is it has to come from your heart. If it doesn’t, nothing you do will have meaning.”
Really that’s all he had to say to win me over. After those two sentences, I listened with complete attention and felt I was meant to be at his seminar. Seriously. Throughout the presentation he peppered the exercises with his own experiences- some good, some bad. He stressed the importance of reading and investing in education. He also spent a good 15 minutes on the importance of the written word and letter writing. He meant all of this in the context of writing business letters, but he also meant it for letters written between any two people and brought it back to the importance of those written words coming from the heart.
As the proprietress of S2 Stationery and Design, I want people to write more and to write heartfelt messages, often. Listening to him as he spoke, touched my heart in a way that had me feeling motivated and less dejected than I had all week. Actually, I can compare it to the feeling I experience when I’m at a concert and I suddenly (and closely) look around the crowd and realize that hundreds of people, some who I will never know, and I are standing/sitting in a crowded room, swaying to music and are connected in that moment in a way that we will never be again. That’s how Russ made me feel that afternoon. Readers, if you experience this, relish it and hang on as tight as you can. It’ll leave you as quickly as it came, but it doesn’t make it any less real or powerful.
When I walked into the session late, there were no seats aside from a handful scattered at the front. I picked a seat in the front row on the right hand side and sat next to a woman, L, wearing these amazingly funky red and green sneakers. We were on the same work team, but we didn’t really talk during the presentation before lunch. At the break however, we started speaking, found our way to the restroom together and finally outside to find lunch. As we walked, we decided to lunch together and found a burger joint for us to eat. We then walked to the fountain area across from the Time Warner building and Central Park, sat, ate, and talked.
We talked a lot actually. We talked about S2 Stationery and Design. We talked about her daughter and education. We talked about Russ and his message. We talked about our full-time jobs. We talked about being creative-she’s a writer. We swapped business cards and promised to keep in touch.
Talking to L was easily the highlight of the seminar. (Where as I enjoyed Russ, I am not friends with Russ. L, on the other hand, is my pal.) There we were, two strangers who managed to sit next to each other and connect in a way that was not expected, at least not on my part. But it’s part of the adventure that I subscribe to (and that Russ discussed at one point) in life. I have always enjoyed finding my way by talking to strangers. Of course, I don’t make it a habit to talk to strangers on the streets of NYC, but if I’m traveling or in a situation where I’m alone and there are lots of people to meet and talk to, well, then I will talk to them and maybe even find a new friend. Some of my best friends have been found this way. You never know!
After lunch, we sat next to each other again, but she left before the second half ended. As she got up to leave, she turned to me and told me that she wished me well and was glad we got to talk. Then said she would keep an eye out for me and S2 Stationery and Design because, “I can see you having a shop somewhere, or being a big name in lights”.
If you can imagine, I was overwhelmed. The fact that a stranger had such positive things to say about me and my company, without knowing anything about my work, meant more than anything I could have heard that week. It made me appreciate the randomness of the connection between L and I that afternoon.
Her comment also reminded me of a guy (who holds a special place in my heart), who after hearing me talking about my stationery company said, “one day you’ll be living on 5th Ave!” I have never forgotten that comment, not just because of the person who made it, but because it was the first time that I had been confronted with respect for and belief in me and my passion. This guy had never seen my work, he just said what he said and raised me up in a way I had yet to feel. It was both a striking and eye-opening moment for me. Several months later when I went on a date, I told the fella bout my stationery company and he told me I was “lofty.” I knew in that moment that we would never work out-I can only spend time with people who believe in me, the way I believe in them. That’s something that is across the board in all of my relationships, not just romantic.
Just so you know, L and I have made contact a few days after the seminar. It has happened before where two people will promise to keep in touch and never do. I hope that this does not happen between L and I because she’s such an amazing woman.
On another note of compliment, the very next day, Friday evening, as work ended, I dashed out of the office to meet a friend who placed an order for thank you notes (they’re stunning-photos coming soon). As I approached her, I called her a fashionista and she said to me, “Sara your smile could melt all the problems of the world.” Not exactly a compliment about my stationery, but it was a compliment about me. One that I greatly appreciated and welcomed that afternoon. It really helped me usher in the weekend and focus on the good of the week and my life.
As I contemplated where and how I wanted to write this blog, I realized that I needed to reflect on all of the positive energy in the air surrounding me. If you were around me last week then you know that I was brooding and unhappy. Absolutely miserable to be exact and yet the universe and the amazing people that came into my life, reminded me that there is positivity running around me reminding me that even if I’m frustrated there is always something around me to be happy about in each and every moment. Such an important lesson for everyone, not just business owners, and definitely one I need constant reminding in the day-to-day. I woke up today reading to write this blog and to face the day with adventure and a smile. Happy Monday. Happy Week.