One of my readers recently shared a success story that I would like to share with you. She gives the background behind her husband’s experience as the founder of Plugfones (see image below). I’m impressed with how raw, real and down to earth their story is, and I believe many people will relate.
I’ll copy their story below:
Our story of the past several years is quite long; maybe too long for most people to want to read. So here is the short of it.
Following some nefarious advice we had borrowed huge sums of money and invested it hoping to make a nice return which was supposed to cover the debt payments and our standard of living. It all went down the drain in the market crash of ’08. We lost our home, our rental properties, our vehicles, and a couple businesses and incurred mountains of debt Just before we lost our home to foreclosure I used a bit of credit we had left on a card and I purchased Leslie Householder’s FTMF course. I figured we were going down anyway – why not get a little education out of it. Little did my husband know at the time that I was sharing with him the things I was learning from Leslie’s course. Even as we concluded that we couldn’t keep our home we were employing the Principles I was learning. Our mindset made all the difference to us having PEACE through this journey, even when losing everything we had!
We had no money, no job, and a hernia surgery we had no way to pay for. We had little of our food storage left. I would stay up all Friday night to bake bread and then sell it at the farmers market on Saturday using the wheat we did have in order to supplement what we ate. Shaun adopted a new diet plan: eat every other day.
Through Diving Providence Shaun was led to a job working at a glass factory. We acknowledged each and every blessing no matter how great or small and I learned through the FTMF course how to be grateful for ALL things including our struggles. We were blessed to greatly and in so many ways – a topic that could take its own volume to cover.
It was while Shaun was working at the glass factory – in fact, I think just barely a day or two into the job, that Shaun started looking for earplugs that worked as earphones and could not find any. So he devised a way to create his own. (The solution to every problem is only an idea away!)
I remember how we struggled to come up with the $300 we needed for supplies. It was all we could do to muster up the money and I”m sure we over drafted the checking account.
Within a short time Shaun had created a very basic website and had started selling his creation. www.Plugfones.com was born. We had no idea where it would go – all we knew was that within a few months we were supplementing our income from it.
Shaun would work as much over the time as he could get, often working swing or graveyard, and when he got home he would sit in the corner of the bedroom jimmy rigging these things together. The business continued to grow. Eventually we were able to move the the very cramped duplex we were renting to a home that fit our needs better and was closer to Shaun’s work.
This is where we were living when I received a scholarship to attend Mentor Training. I took all the money I had made from my blog/website (www.TracisTransformationalKitchen.com) and from selling bread on the corner and to neighbors to be able to pay for travel expenses. I took the things I learned at the training to help Shaun update his website and to help our family continue thinking properly.
Eventually Shaun was working so much he was exhausted – truly he couldn’t do any more himself… so our boys started working with him. Pretty soon he had brought his cousin on board to take over Amazon sales.
All this time I was teaching our family about the Principles. We were using them daily. When we got discouraged or overwhelmed I would rely on them to get us through. When I went through 2 difficult miscarriages back to back I was using these truths to get me through. These experiences were tough – and they made us stronger, bound us together, helped us to be more grateful, brought us closer to God.
The business started to pay more than the glass factory and soon Shaun had to quit in order to keep up. Then, when Shaun needed the full time help, we were able to rent a REALLY nice home closer to Shaun’s cousin.
After a year and the birth of our 7th child we moved again; this time renting an even NICER home. Shaun brought on even more help.
We are still working to pay back all of our debts a piece at a time. But ever since we lost our home we have been living on a cash basis – no more debt incurred since then. No house payment, no car payment. We rent our home and pay cash for everything. Shaun’s business brings in more money in one month than we used to make in a year, working several jobs, by at least double! Of course, there are expenses and only a portion of that is ours but just the idea of it is totally wild! SERIOUSLY – this has been one very fun and very amazing journey.
So yes, it took me over 4 years to finish my FTMF course. Because of the things I’ve learned and the person I am becoming because of the principles Leslie teaches I wouldn’t trade my knowledge and experience for anything! The knowledge is like night and day to us! I can testify that ignorance is not bliss!
I know that there were and are great sacrifices made on the part of Leslie and her family to create these materials to help others. It brings me to tears to think about what they have been through in order for me to have received the blessing that made this crazy journey possible.
The mindset tools Leslie teaches are the key to our success. What is success? Learning to be happy today, whether we are brown bagging it or catching rabbits. That means that we could lose it all and still be happy. Knowing HOW to think means we could start over. We don’t have to cower in fear of something “bad” happening. We know that even though we might have gone hungry sometimes it didn’t kill us. We learned that there is always a way and the joy is in the journey. Thank you Leslie and Family!!! God bless you!!! – Linda Knudsen
A note from her husband Shaun:
My business is flourishing and I don’t know how big we will get but I do know this, I have proven myself and the principles I learned from the Jack Rabbit Factor. I have what it takes to succeed and even if things go south someday, I know I can build it again. This knowledge gives me a confidence and freedom unexplainable to anyone who hasn’t felt it. Thank you, Leslie!
I want to hear YOUR story, too! If you have an inspirational story that illustrates how you have used the principles from my books or programs, let me know. I’d love to consider sharing your story in a future blog post!
In December of 2012 I was asked to speak at my congregation’s sacrament meeting. This is one thing that is common throughout the church worldwide: that members are given opportunities to teach each other about the gospel, and how they are learning to apply it in their lives. Here’s the message I shared:
When we realized back in 2006 that we had purchased too much real estate at the wrong time, sometimes all we could do to calm the raging storm was to turn off the lights, close our eyes, and let “Peace Like a River” CD soothe our troubled and fearful hearts.
We tried to focus on the Savior, and let Him assure us that in the eternal scheme of things, everything was going to turn out okay if we fixed our faith upon Him.
He showed us that no matter how heavy the burden, he had the power to do for us what He had done for Alma’s people as described in Mosiah chapter 24 [in the Book of Mormon] when he told them:
“I will … ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that … you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.”
The Bible tells us to have faith in Jesus Christ, and to love one another. But until recently, I never really recognized an important connection between these two directives, and how it relates to the lift of our burdens.
At the time, I considered the peace I ultimately discovered to be a tremendous personal victory. We were still in a mess, but He taught us peace in spite of it. That all of that could be happening and that we could find peace anyway was a miracle to me.
As our difficulty stretched on, I felt that I could relate in a small way to the man who had been a part of the fateful Martin Handcart company who said, “‘I… pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary … that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and … said, I can go only that far and there I must give up…’ ” He continued: ” ‘I have gone on to that sand and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the angels of God were there… The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay, and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Handcart Company.’”
As hard as it was for us over those last few years, I wouldn’t give up the testimony we gained through it – that God lives and is mindful of us and gives us strength.
However, while it’s true, that when things appear to be falling apart, a return to the Savior (pondering his life’s example, repenting of our mistakes, finding gratitude, and imagining his steady and unconditional friendship) always brings peace, sometimes it can be really hard to set aside personal challenges enough to be able to think about helping someone else.
But what I’ve been learning is that our needs are cared for when we focus on others.
This is probably a more complete and true exercise of faith in Christ. Not just believing that He is real and finding peace in our challenges, but taking it one step further… do we really believe that our needs will be met if we forget ourselves? Do we really trust that the Lord will carry us through our problems if we lose ourselves in the service of others?
I remember back several years when my husband and I were trying to be anxiously engaged in a good cause, but our investment problems were screaming so loudly that it seemed nearly impossible to carry on.
We had come to the end of all of our visible resources – our savings were entirely depleted, our credit was completely exhausted, and with only $200 in the bank and no paycheck in sight (with another $15,000 in bills due in the coming 2 weeks), the moment we had tried so hard to avoid was finally upon us.
It was our anniversary, and with no other solution in sight, we decided to at least enjoy a dinner together and try to rekindle our hope in the future, and our faith in Christ. During our conversation, it dawned on us that even though we were at rock bottom, we were still alive, still breathing, and still able to help others.
We asked ourselves, if we were homeless, could we still teach? Could we still help others? Would we? Of course we could, and would. So that’s when our conversation shifted. Instead of focusing on our immediate needs, we projected our minds forward and imagined where we saw ourselves in 10 years. Did we think we’d be back on our feet by then? Would we have figured things out and put our lives back together by then? That seemed easy enough to believe. So then our focus shifted, and we brainstormed on the things we could do right away to serve others better, and made those plans.
By the end of dinner, we felt hope again. We felt the Spirit confirm to us that although we were in a pretty ugly mess of our own, we were on the right track.
So we paid the bill and just as my husband was opening my car door, the waiter came running out to the parking lot after us with a voided receipt yelling, “Since it’s your anniversary, the meal’s on us!”
In that moment, we experienced a little bit of what the Lord had taught his apostles. He had tried to assure them that as long as they would feed his sheep, their true needs would be met. We’ve heard it so many times: “Consider the lilies of the field…” “…trust the Lord with all thine heart” “…fear not…” but how it is possible?
After Christ was no longer with his apostles, in effect, Peter said: “Brethren, it has been a glorious three years. …But [it] is over. He has finished His work, and He has risen from the tomb. He has worked out His salvation and ours. So … ‘What do we do now?’ I don’t know more to tell you than to return to your former life, rejoicing. I intend to ‘go a fishing.’”
But, … the fishing wasn’t very good. Their first night back on the lake, they caught nothing—not a single fish. With the first rays of dawn, they disappointedly turned toward the shore, where they saw in the distance a figure who called out to them,
“Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find,” —and with those simple words, recognition begins to flood over them. Just three years earlier these very men had been fishing on this very sea. On that occasion too they had “toiled all the night, and [had] taken nothing,”…. But a fellow Galilean on the shore had called out to them to let down their nets, and they drew “a great multitude of fishes,” enough that their nets broke, the catch filling two boats so heavily they had begun to sink.
Now it was happening again. [They] eagerly lowered their net, and “they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.”
After a joyful reunion… Looking at their battered little boats, … and a stunning pile of 153 fish, Jesus said … three times, “Peter, do you love me more than you love all this?” Peter said, “Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.”
To which Jesus responded …perhaps saying something like: “Then Peter, why are you here? Why are we back on this same shore, by these same nets, having this same conversation? Wasn’t it obvious then and isn’t it obvious now that if I want fish, I can get fish?
“What I need, Peter, are disciples—and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do.
“Ours is not a feeble message. … It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world. So, Peter, for the second and presumably the last time, I am asking you to leave all this and to go teach and testify, labor and serve loyally…”
“If ye love me, keep my commandments,” Jesus said. So we have neighbors to bless, children to protect, the poor to lift up, and the truth to defend. We have wrongs to make right, truths to share, and good to do. In short, we have a life of devoted discipleship to give in demonstrating our love of the Lord. We can’t quit and we can’t go back…
To those who have not yet joined with us in this great final cause of Christ, we say, “Please come.” To those who were once with us but have retreated, preferring to pick and choose a few cultural hors d’oeuvres from the smorgasbord of the Restoration and leave the rest of the feast, I say that I fear you face a lot of long nights and empty nets. The call is to come back, to stay true, to love God, and to lend a hand.” – Elder Jeffrey Holland
Now, on Christmas we were blessed to spend some time on the phone with our missionary son Jacob, and I asked him: What can we do for you? What can we do to help you?
He replied, emotionally, “I just want you guys to love each other. I want you to do your best to get along with each other. It’s so true that you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. I just want you guys to also stay in touch with me, keep writing letters, keep emailing me, keep me posted with what’s going on in your lives, the good and the bad…”
Our Father in Heaven – during our separation from Him – wants us to love each other, and stay in touch with Him through prayer. He wants us to go to him with the good and the bad, and let Him be a central part of our life.
And when we have burdens too heavy and worries too consuming to think outside of ourselves, I testify that we can put our trust in the Lord, hand him our burdens, …and as we focus on helping someone else, everything will work out just as it should.
I have a special journal dedicated to this – for when I have a concern or a need that seems to be more than I can handle, I’ll write “What I needed” on the left side, and then on the right side I write “How He helped”. After all, He has asked us to acknowledge his hand in all things – and this is one way I’m trying to do it.
I know that God lives, that Jesus Christ is with us, He’s mindful of our heartaches, and ready to help. He is merciful. He loves us. He loves you. He knows what you’re going through; it’s not pointless.
May we exercise our faith in Christ not just by believing He is real, but also by trusting him – literally – to handle our burdens that feel too big, while we look instead for opportunities to feed his sheep. This is my prayer this Christmas, for all of us.
It’s been on the to-do list for half a decade and I’m finally getting some of it knocked out… making shorter clips of some of my events so that they can be used as quick reminders of the principles.
Here’s one I recently posted on YouTube and Facebook, and I thought it would be good to include it here, so that I can also add some clarification afterward:
The event was more than 2 hours long, so a 2-minute snippet will understandably miss some clarifications. Here are a few that I want to make sure are noted, in case you don’t get a chance to see the whole thing:
Just because you’re on the right track, and just because you have unseen help, it doesn’t mean that it won’t be difficult.
The fact is, living your purpose will stretch you and test your faith. But knowing that you have unseen help can help you hold on and keep moving forward until you ultimately meet with success.
‘Soul purpose’ means whatever it is that you are focused on right now, specifically something meaningful to your soul. At times it may also be your ‘sole’ purpose.
It will likely evolve throughout your life. Today’s objective may give way to something that is more meaningful to you tomorrow, because as you learn and grow, you become more fully prepared to accomplish the next thing you were put here to do.
(For example, 20 years ago my ‘soul purpose’ was to help struggling math students. It was my passion, my purpose, my love. It taught me to love teaching. 10 years ago it was to help struggling families with their income by teaching them success principles. Today, it is a combination of both, raising my kids and preparing them for college and life. )
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But along with all the UPs of this journey, I’ve also had my fair share of DOWNs, disappointments, frustrations, and defeat. I hit brick walls, I get mad, sometimes I just want to hide under my covers for days at a time.
Over and over I’m tested on what I know to be true, and over and over (after a period of maddening trials and doubts), it proves itself true all over again.
One day I hope that I will have learned it so well that I don’t have to keep going through the refiners fire under increasing levels of heat. Maybe one day my Maker will be able to look at the work in progress that I am and finally say, “It is finished.”
One thing that has helped me pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again, is to go back through the materials I created ten years ago when I was just plain excited and invincible, and when I was applying the principles with untarnished enthusiasm and expectation. I still believed that the principles were simple, so the process should of course be easy, too.
With that childlike faith and ambition, the success pretty much came predictably, and it was my excitement that carried me to it.
But then the challenges began to grow tougher. That innocent faith had to be coupled with grit and dogged determination.
And then just this year, I began to unearth some of the trainings I created in the early days, and began to listen to them again. Some of them I had completely forgotten about, but in a beautiful way, the older, more tired me began to re-learn some important principles from the younger version of myself.
It awakened some things in me and restored my faith in the process. It restored my faith in myself, and in the Lord who helps me.
I found the strength to start dreaming again; and inspired by what I was re-learning, I decided that for the 10-YEAR ANNIVERSARY of my business, I would make all of those trainings available to anyone else who needs a lift…
For the 10-year anniversary of ThoughtsAlive – (we’re so clever…) it’s just 10 dollars!
For less than the cost of eating out once a month, it will give you the regular diet of mind-food that will pick YOU back up, dust YOU off, and help you START ALL OVER AGAIN, too.
In my life now, the hope, the vision, and the expectation for good things is flowing again. And as a result, so are the blessings.
So join me on this journey of reawakening those long-since buried dreams. As the poem says, rest if you must (like I did), but do not quit.
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit-
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow -
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out -
The silver tint in the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It might be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit -
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.
So let’s stay on the right track now together.
You’ll find that we, as human beings, tend to make things more complicated than they need to be. Wake up again. Come see what I mean…
When I had that tiny inkling to do something to help people experience a life-changing breakthrough like we had experienced in 2000, I had no idea the magnitude of what the project would become. This blog is just one little piece of it.
It also turned into 3 international best-sellers, and countless trainings and workshops that have been changing lives all over the world. It also became:
Yet, in reality, I know it’s still only just the beginning.
But with the simple intention to wake people up, shake up their paradigms, and show them how great and powerful a simple thought can be, this work has made an impact on the planet for more than a decade, and will continue to ripple down into generations to come.
Mothers who wanted to be home from work, have come home. Fathers who wanted to provide more abundantly for their families are doing that. Single folks are rocking and rolling with it, too.
(Did you hear about Ben Southall who won the World’s Best Job out of 34,000 applicants because of what he learned from The Jackrabbit Factor?)
But along with all the UPs of this journey, I’ve also had my fair share of DOWNs, disappointments, frustrations, and defeat. I hit brick walls, I get mad, sometimes I just want to hide under my covers for days at a time.
Positive Thinking Tip: When the needed rescue doesn’t come by one miraculous windfall, look for evidence that you’re prospering by degrees.
When my husband and I learned about the principles of prosperity and began to consciously live by them, we experienced dramatic results, tripling our income in just 3 months. But the ‘good fortune’ wasn’t going to last forever.
Trying to be super-smart with our new-found wealth, we anxiously invested it in a number of wrong places. A combination of inexperience and haste led us to invest poorly, and get in over our heads to a dangerous level.
Add to that the fact that we had involved ourselves with business people who eventually slipped into hiding or went to jail, and perhaps you can get a glimpse of how quickly a fortune can be lost, even with the best of intentions.
In the wake of our poor decisions, needless to say, we were left with a big mess to clean up. But no worries – we understood the principles that had brought us the wealth to begin with, so we would just practice them again, and turn things around in short order.
Or so we hoped.
But we discovered that sometimes the consequences of our decisions have a more far reaching effect that can’t be turned around with just a snap of the fingers, so to speak. Turning a corner like that is something like turning a massive cruise ship around. You might get the rudder turned in the right direction, but it can take some time before the effects are noticed.
We had erroneously believed that we could “make” those bad decisions into good ones somehow just by “thinking right.” While it may be true that in every adversity there is a seed of equal or greater benefit, that doesn’t mean the adversity will go away with right thinking. It only promises that something good can be born from it.
In a determined push to create another massive financial breakthrough like the first, I locked on to the vision of a quick rescue, another big windfall. I’d seen them before, experienced them more than once. Many, many times we had used the principles to produce tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in a short period of time, so that’s what we were running for.
But something was different this time. For some reason, the mental discipline and goal setting strategies weren’t paying off like they had in the past. It seemed that something was preventing the blessing. The formula wasn’t panning out.
In time, I stopped trying so hard, out of sheer exhaustion. I started to accept whatever was, just as it was. I decided to find peace and happiness even in our mess, and begin focusing again more completely on my family relationships. It seemed I no longer had real influence or control over our finances (since I kept failing to meet my goals), so I directed my attention to the little things in my world over which I could make a difference.
It was during a Sunday School lesson at church that I had my next great epiphany. The class discussed a story about two groups of people who lived more than 2000 years ago, comparing and contrasting their experiences:
The first group was led by a man named Alma. Alma and his people were devout believers who worshiped God and were diligent in keeping the commandments.
The second group was led by a man named Limhi. Limhi and his people relied just a little too much on their own strength and wisdom. Both groups were in subjection to the same oppressive government.
When the government sent an army to destroy Alma and his people, they were warned by God ahead of time and were able to escape.
When the army came to attack Limhi’s people, they were given no warning.
Limhi’s people tried three times to deliver themselves from the oppression, and each time, they failed. Eventually, they began to reevaluate their approach, and decided that they needed to pay more attention to the commandments, and rely on God for their success with patience.
The record then states, “…the Lord was slow to hear their cry because of their iniquities; nevertheless the Lord did hear their cries, and began to soften the hearts of [their oppressors] that they began to ease their burdens; …The Lord did not see fit to deliver them out of bondage [yet]… they began to prosper by degrees in the land, and began to raise grain more abundantly, and flocks, and herds, that they did not suffer with hunger.”
That description – that the Lord did not see fit to deliver them, but allowed them to begin prospering by degrees – was my answer.
I had been expecting a big miraculous rescue, and was dissatisfied with anything less. I had thought I was being obedient to the commandments of God all along, but recognized I could do better.
What I feel that God wanted me to learn was simple: to not run faster than I had strength as I had been, but to take it at a pace that I could maintain throughout my life, so that I don’t burn myself out and become completely useless to Him.
So I slowed down and began to envision Him opening doors and preparing the way for long-term success. I lost interest in anything that promised big, quick bucks, because we had already experienced that kind of success. Instead, I became increasingly interested in principles that would allow us to rebuild on a more solid, long-lasting foundation.
It’s just a matter of getting back to the basics. It’s making smart choices, and sacrifices. It’s being smart with what we have, and anticipating gradual improvement. It’s watching more closely how we spend our money, and watching for evidence that we are being prospered by degrees.
We started noticing and celebrating each little bit of evidence, and realized that were were being prospered by degrees. I stopped lamenting the lack of a massive windfall, and started being grateful again for every simple blessing. The growth has been gradual but consistent. Our good fortune has been added upon every day.
It’s been a humbling process, but one that I am grateful for. I know we’re wiser for the experience, and that it will make a big difference for our future. Our family is already much happier, too, because I’m finally living at a pace that I can maintain.
There’s time to build your life right. There’s time to build your business right. There’s time to build relationships right. Looking for shortcuts can become an addiction. As you slow down and prayerfully live receptive to God’s guidance, you’ll find that there is no greater shortcut than that.
And when that guidance says, RUN!” then by golly, you’d better run!
But sometimes we run when we’re really supposed to stop and take the time to sharpen the saw, to reconnect with God.
She quickly chose to do the FTMF course, and it changed everything! Within the next year she and her husband had tripled their income and they are currently working on doing it again this year!
They have learned so much along the way. Katie is starting a blog to offer support and inspiration for life. Seriously, this journey is not always easy. It is rewarding, and good but reaching big goals requires big changes and sometimes those changes are very painful!
She wants people to know that they are not alone in their struggles. After tripling her income and enjoying several years of prosperity, she faced some new struggles, and their income was reduced to almost nothing. This year she has declared that they are going from $2,600 per month to $72,000 per month in net income, and they are inviting the world to watch them do it!
She is going to be very real about that journey and how she does it and what it takes. If you are a woman, a wife, a mother or just someone craving the next big jump then ride along! There will be awesome giveaways until January 25th. So check it out, subscribe and enter into the free giveaways! http://awomanwholived.com
“The more support that one has on this journey, the better, so if there is anyone out there trying to hit crazy goals this year too, please come and tell me about it! Declare it to the world (or at least me.:))!” – Katie
I didn’t think it would take me this long to get back to the story of why I dropped off the map in May, but it’s been on my mind each day because of the FLOOD of feedback I received from my last post.
Part of my hesitation (besides not finding enough time to just knock it out) has been trying to decide which details and how much to share, because to share it all would only leave me time to live HALF a life.
One thing I’ve learned about life is that there’s always something more to learn – it’s a curse and a blessing all wrapped into one. You can never coast too long without life delivering a challenge with a call to grow, learn, and improve some more.
Having come to terms with our financial mistakes in 2006, it was time to put the principles back to the test, prove them true again, and conquer. My message during that time evolved, from “You can prosper!!” to “Profiting From your Losses” and “Making Sense out of Setbacks”. I found it much easier to address these topics because they had become the new theme for my life.
My best blog posts during those years were the ones I wrote to coach MYSELF through the traumas from which I was trying to recover. Turns out my BEST epiphanies and most popular posts were the ones born from my toughest moments. I constantly worked to view my challenges the way I had been teaching others to view theirs, and where the “basic” principles introduced in Jackrabbit Factor didn’t seem to adequately address what I faced in those moments, I found new principles and remedies to help me cope.
Jackrabbit Factor is still an important primer, but the good stuff is in Portal to Genius. (Read the truth about Portal to Genius). It gave me a platform to show through fictional characters how to turn things around when you’re too tired or too cynical to apply the principles you learn in Jackrabbit.
It allowed me to answer my own question, “Do the challenges ever stop?” and gave me a place to show how you can find new purpose that can inspire you to move through despair.
Not quite ready to go public with our personal challenges (outside of weaving them into a fictional story), I shared my lessons learned since writing Jackrabbit only with a small section of my readers, requiring that they jump through some extra hoops to get to them. I told them how we had used up our savings, and had run out of available credit. I described how it felt to finally get to the end of our visible resources, and the “portal to genius” we discovered there*.
*After getting down to our last $200 with no other paycheck in sight, we were shown through a spark of genius (inspiration) how to solve our problem. We became conscious of some of our hidden resources, and pulled in more than $43,000 that month. We even had another similar month after that.
My favorite epiphanies over the years that brought us to that success are now gathered in the Top 47 list shown on the right sidebar of this page. The list isn’t complete because I haven’t had time to go back through and tag all my posts yet, but that’s where you’ll find some other amazing insights that helped me tremendously when it appeared we were doomed to lose everything… and the good news is, no, we didn’t end up losing everything.
(The new inflow got us caught up, but it wasn’t enough to repay our debts. It gave me renewed confidence in the principles, but we still had a long row to hoe.)
While tomorrow will certainly bring new challenges, and while I continue to learn how to roll with the punches, I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned so far, for the person I’m becoming through the challenges, and for the tender mercies of the Lord that assure me He is still mindful of me and my family, even in our failings. His hand in our life has kept us going from day to day. Can you say, “manna”?
Sorry – it’s so hard not to go off on tangents here. Back to the story (of why I disappeared in May.)
After the book was out, and in the summer of 2010 I reconnected with Kirk Duncan. I was a student who was ready for the next teacher to appear, and there he was. Although we had known each other for a few years already (because I had been invited to speak to his organization a couple times), I really hadn’t known who HE was or what I needed to learn from him. For sake of focus, that whole story will have to be shared another time.
I attended his Body Language Show, and his Master of Influence class, and something was re-ignited in me. I caught a vision of what more I could be doing to see even better results. Not only was I going to throw myself into the application of what I learned from him through our mentoring sessions, but I also decided to step it up and get busy actively putting on workshops again and generating new momentum for my business with the more sober, more refined, and more mature message I now had to share.
Perhaps I had finally turned the corner and I would start seeing more of an increase over and above the much appreciated physical, emotional, and spiritual manna on which we’d been surviving.
Perhaps it was time to stop holding back, fearful of taking too much time away from my family, and just GET IT DONE (get our debts paid back).
So that’s what I did. I gave my website a face lift, filled up the calendar with a year full of events, and went to work. The demand began to grow as the momentum increased, until spring of this year (2011) when I found myself flying out for an event nearly every weekend.
Kids? What kids. I didn’t have time to really stay connected with who they were and what they were going through. They didn’t like it, but they were willing to support the cause. We all pulled together to make it work, with the promise that it would mean we could get our debts paid once and for all and ultimately return to a more sustainable pace with normal family routines and a little more freedom to get and do more of what they wanted.
Despite one event in March, which was one of my worst ever (and about which I’m still embarrassed), I had a GREAT time on the Book Writing Retreat (because it was a retreat, after all), but by the end of May, I was figuratively black and blue from being away from home so frequently.
I knew something had to change by the time I spoke for Garrett Gunderson’s big Financial Enlightenment event with several hundred people, because I was so visibly weary that when it was over, some of the other speakers (and even quite a few participants) approached me with pity and hoped to help ME however they could.
I had lost my “beacon in the fog”. I could no longer envision a single reward in my future that was worth putting myself through this.
What made matters worse, was when I finally sat down to see how effective the year’s strategy had been, the revenue was only about a 4% increase over the previous year when I had kept a more reasonable schedule, doing most of my work online.
That was the final straw. Again, here was my “proof” that no matter what I did, the laws must be in suspend mode, and my results were probably just going to continue to be like manna, and manna alone.
I concluded, if I’m just going to be living on manna either way, what the heck am I trying so hard for? That’s when I began to seriously consider bankruptcy for the first time.
With the debts we had accrued (by trying to hold our bad real estate investments for far too long), and in spite of the steady annual growth we had been experiencing in our books / seminar business, the revenues had not been large enough to get rid of (or even make much progress toward) the heavy debt load. On paper, we were an easy case for bankruptcy.
Need I mention, our relationship was strained? My husband had left his job in 2005 to help me in the business, and over time his work building and maintaining our online school had become a full-time venture. Within about two years he replaced his income, so it made sense to keep at it. At least working on our business promised an unlimited income, while his previous job definitely had a ceiling.
The problem with this arrangement was that we had to pay for our own insurance (expensive), we were maxed out for time and couldn’t add another thing to our plate even if it meant earning more money, and even though he worked as much as 12-14 hours a day, there was no paycheck specifically with his name on it.
Not a big deal; we’re in this together and we share the business profits, but in my moments of weariness and despair, it was easy to latch on to the distorted notion that he wasn’t doing enough to solve our problem.
It often felt like I was shouldering the whole load because I was the one traveling, and that he had nothing really concrete to show for his fill-all-the-gaps-and-keep-things-running contribution. While I knew consciously that if he stopped what he was doing, it would probably all break down, it wasn’t enough to keep me from feeling like a major victim in the world of my own creation.
We had a number of meetings with several different mentors – marriage advice, money advice, business development advice – and some pretty ugly conversations between each other. Deep down we both believed we’d ultimately work it out, but at times we couldn’t see how it could be possible.
With some excellent advice to me from Dino Watt, (founder of the Business of Marriage), I gathered the strength to have a specific kind of conversation with my husband. That was the beginning of the much-needed surgery to address the root of our problem, remove the cancer from our relationship and heal the necessary incision. I had to remember that on the way to success, sometimes surgery is required, and in the middle of it, it would appear there has been a murder in the room. In reality though, sometimes surgery is necessary to save a life.
Through this process, which spanned many weeks, I got a good look at who I had become in the mad race to fix our mess, and I didn’t like what I saw. I couldn’t feel any more. I was numb, and ready to do whatever was necessary to find a pace I could live with. I didn’t care if it meant going back to square one and making sure that this time, the ladder was leaning on the right wall.
I’m a traditional sort of girl. My husband is a traditional sort of guy. We both want to fill the traditional roles where he is the provider and I am the nurturer. That had always been our plan and our intent, but somehow we had ended up in circumstances that appeared to be opposite of what either of us had ever wanted.
To rock the boat now, I felt like I was rebelling against God. Here I had felt led all those years to do what I had done, but I had no more strength left to continue. I was done. I didn’t care if it meant we’d end up in a shack. I was ready to let go, and NOT be tempted to pick it all up again.
This was the first time I didn’t really seek approval from God to stop; I was outright mad at Him for stringing me out so long, and wasn’t really interested in his opinion on the matter any more.
At the same time, I knew I was cutting myself off from his inspired solutions, and hardening my heart. But it just hurt too much to respond in any other way.
It wasn’t long before I started noticing some interesting things going on around me. I can’t really share all that transpired, but within just a few days, I had multiple encounters with people who said or did things that got me thinking differently. Through these experiences, I learned with certainty that the Lord understood what I was going through, that He had compassion on me, and that it was “complete”.
What was complete? Did I hear someone say, “It’s complete”??
The words “It’s complete” repeated in my mind twice nearly audibly, and many times more as I reflected upon their initial arrival. Accompanying those words was a feeling of peace, and tenderness. I knew they were not of my own invention, because I was already convinced that I was jumping off a ship I should have been steering. But no, this impression let me know that God was still at the helm of my life, and that everything was playing out just as it was supposed to be.
Could God really be that merciful? Now? Even in spite of my bitterness?
I still get choked up as I think about it.
I was in awe. Even as angry as I had been, He put people in my path, inspired some conversations, and prepared my heart to hear and recognize his confirmation to me that this child of His was throwing an unnecessary tantrum.
In one meeting with my bishop (who is like a pastor or minister in my church), he listened, counseled me, and then knowing how hard-hearted I said I must be, he left me with this verse: “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God…” Romans 8:38-39
In other words, not even my bitterness was separating me from His love. Suddenly, He didn’t feel so far away to me anymore.
In time, I had to smile, because I realized that, had I bothered to ask His opinion, I may have discovered that these changes were sanctioned all along, and that, in fact, I was not rebelling at all. Turns out the changes I was “selfishly” making for my own self-preservation were actually necessary for His purposes as well.
How mysterious are the works of God. That’s all I have to say about that.
That night I had a dream. It was a recurring dream that I’ve had for many years, so it didn’t really surprise me when it began. I think I’ve had it enough that I know I’m dreaming as it happens, but it still always has to play out nonetheless.
Generally, I find myself on a campus, usually a high school, but I can’t find my classes. I wander around, and eventually get to where I’m supposed to be, but by the time I get there, I’ve already missed several weeks and I’m unsure of what to do about it. Or, I manage to get to class, but somehow I don’t have the homework that I’m supposed to turn in. In every dream, I wonder if I’m not learning what I’m supposed to learn, or being where I’m supposed to be.
But that night, the dream was different. This time I was on a college campus, and I could see a graduation ceremony taking place. Again, I was in the wrong place. I felt like I was supposed to be in the ceremony with the other graduates.
Then my dear friend Carolyn Cooper appeared. None of my friends had ever shown up in this recurring dream before, so I was thrilled to see her. She could tell I was feeling disappointed that I had missed graduation, and said, “Don’t worry, your life experiences count toward graduation, and you’re only two or three classes away.” Then she even added, “I’ll show you where they are.”
I woke from that dream completely at peace and satisfied with its conclusion. I felt gratitude and amazement – to realize that the recurring dream and this new ending was another way for God to assure me that everything is just as it should be, and to be patient and trust him. It rounded out my experience from the day before, and helped me understand what had been meant by the words “it’s complete”.
Here’s what I know: I was supposed to create what I created over the last 10 years. But despite my fears, it was never meant to be an unending assignment away from my favorite and most important role as a mother. It was necessary, but temporary.
I recognize God’s hand in our family during those years, and how he held us together, taught each child individually through his Spirit, and strengthened us all while the work was in process. But it’s complete.
And now I know, that even though we have debts to pay, I don’t have to keep rushing to create new, bigger, or better products and services, always leaving my previous projects under-developed. Too much of a good thing can be bad.
A conversation with Rich Christiansen helped me recognize that in my business it’s time to shave away the activities that don’t fuel me, and which aren’t really profitable, and pick the few things I love the most and drive them deep, fine-tuning them and developing THOSE products and services to their peak potential.
Long story short (even though it’s too late to call this one short…), Rich also taught us about “dancing in your tutu”. This means that you keep your eye on the ultimate goal, but sometimes you have to do what’s uncomfortable for a season so that you can get there.
Men, imagine, standing on the street corner dancing in a tutu to make the money you need to fund the achievement of your ultimate dream.
In the Jackrabbit Factor, it’s called going after another paper sack even though you’re really on a rabbit hunt.
In our case, my husband and I both agreed it was time for me to settle down, and time for him to dance in a tutu, while we put our life back in order. It was time for us to redefine how we want our relationship to look, and start the lengthy process of putting in all in place.
We’re in this for the long haul, and knew that if we want the kind of golden years we’ve always had in mind, we have to stop and re-define the guard rails of what we are, and are not, willing to do.
About this same time, my children participated in a Pioneer Trek where they recreated some of the experiences of the early Mormon settlers. They dressed in clothing from the 1800s, were assigned to families with a Ma and Pa, carried their only belongings each in a single bucket, and pulled handcarts across wilderness terrain for several days. Along the path, they were told true stories about those who had lived through the original trek, and learned how to cope with and overcome many of the same kinds of challenges.
On the following Sunday at church, quite a few of the youth stood and shared their experiences and lessons learned. As I listened to their stories, one of the experiences struck me personally. They talked about the women’s pull.
The women’s pull was the section of the trek when the men left the trail because they were needed in the service of their country during the Mexican War. The men who left were known as the Mormon Battalion, and this left the women to shoulder the load alone.
What touched me was when they talked about the end of the women’s pull. During the mock-trek, the young men did leave the young women to pull the carts alone for quite some time over rough and discouraging terrain. But after the simulation was over, the young men ran to help again, and the women’s pull was over.
The words “It’s complete” returned to my mind as I heard their stories, and I felt assurance again that things in my life really were finally transforming. I didn’t need the changes to all be immediate, after all, I still expected that there were a few more lessons I needed to learn before I could “graduate”, but the path was laid before us and we both knew it was good.
It’s nearly 3 am again – I’m eager to share what those extra lessons turned out to be, and you’re probably wondering, “so, what about the debts?” or “what are you going to do with your business now?” but I’ll have to save those details for next time.
If this exposé is helping you at all, please comment below. It helps me feel like all our drama (or trauma) wasn’t all for naught.
positive thinking tip: Having money does not create peace of mind; it begins with peace of mind.
What is the natural reaction of non-swimmers who are thrown into deep waters?
They panic, and thrash violently. They become consumed with the fear of, “What if I go under and can’t come back up?!” Full of adrenaline and in order to avoid the worst, they claw and pound the water, in a frantic effort to stay afloat.
Eventually, if they don’t get some help, they go under out of sheer exhaustion.
If you’ve ever had to “abandon ship”, leaving your regular source of income to go out on your own in search of another boat, you may feel like the non-swimmer, fully exposed to choppy waters, surrounded by the mysterious depths, and at risk of drowning in bills and other pressures.
The natural inclination is to panic, and work too hard frantically trying to stay afloat – ultimately wearing yourself out and sinking into despair.
The truth is, that the principles which keep a new swimmer afloat in the water are the same principles that keep you afloat financially… and here they are:
1) Take a deep breath,
2) Relax, and
3) Keep your chin up
That’s how you stay afloat in the water, and that’s how you stay afloat financially, too.
Having money does not create peace of mind; it begins with peace of mind.
Only after you discover that you can float, will you be able to learn how to swim efficiently. People who enjoy financial freedom have learned to swim in choppy waters without being overcome by exhaustion.
And it only works when you stay calm. When you are calm, you float; not just in water, but with finances, too.
If you’re not actively pursuing a dream of your own, you may be a passenger in someone else’s boat, going to the destination of their choice.
Now, that can a great place to be, if you believe the captain knows what he’s doing, and if you trust that he’s taking you and the crew somewhere important and wonderful.
But you might determine that the boat you’re on isn’t taking you where you want to go financially.
You have options; there are other boats passing by headed for other destinations, but it isn’t always easy to find a vessel that has all of the benefits you’d like, and one which will welcome you aboard.
So, you might vessel-hop for a while, until you find one that seems perfect for you.
Maybe your “perfect” ship travels quickly, provides abundantly for all your wants and needs, and is so big that you can’t even feel the waves beating against it.
But there’s no guarantee that it won’t spring a leak, and that the captain won’t send you away in a little dinghy without long-term supplies. It’s even possible that you’ll just have to abandon ship altogether with not so much as a life vest. Maybe you end up just treading water, hoping for another ship to come along before you go under for good.
For the entrepreneur at heart, it doesn’t matter how big, fast, and beautiful the boat is; traveling in someone else’s vessel will never completely fulfill his/her needs. There’s something inside that says, “I may be headed in the right direction on this vessel, but I won’t rest until I’m steering my own ship. I need the freedom to change course directions at will.”
Whether you leave the ship by choice or not, finding yourself in the water can be terrifying, especially if you never learned how to swim. But hope and optimism literally and financially make you more buoyant.
Discover the truth of this and you may also discover that swimming peacefully allows you to get where you want to go without a boat at all.
(The unseen current can take you farther than you ever thought possible, if you let it… if you don’t fight it.)
So, breathe… relax… keep your chin up… and trust the current to take you to the next boat or port on your journey to financial freedom.