A Letter from a Fellow Traveler on the Road to Changing Course

November 16, 2017 | ChangingCourse.com

It’s hard to believe it’s been 23 years since I ditched my 90-mile-a-day commute to become the Dreamer in Residence here at Changing Course.

In that time I’ve received scores of letters from change seekers just like you.

Some had recently taken the leap to being their own boss and wanted to share the good news.

Others, like the woman you’re about to meet, were just starting the journey.

I found Jody’s letter while I was cleaning out old files.

Her story once again brought me to tears.

Dear Valerie,
I have felt driven to write to you all day today, to tell you how finding your web site has changed my life.
Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Jody and I am from the Detroit area. I am a forty-eight year old grandmother of three, and someone who has spent the past twenty years of her life not having a life.
Being a retail manager in a 24-hour store for years meant not only working long shifts or undesirable shifts, but every shift. It meant being robbed at gun-point twice, being spit on, insulted, spoken down to, and just generally abused on a daily basis. It also required being open for every holiday, missing family weddings, graduations, anniversaries; you name it. Sobbing in my car to and from work had become the norm. All the while, I did this while raising four sons alone in Detroit.
Fortunately, my sons grew up and moved out; I paid off my house and the company closed down my store; all in that order. I did not know what to do, so I went back to college.
College has been a wonderful experience! It is stimulating and has built my self-esteem, both of which are things I was in great need of. Every word they say to you however is specifically directed at landing you in a corporate office somewhere. That is the last place I want to be!
To continue, I ran across your site quite by accident two weeks ago. I did not pay it much attention at first and thought it was just another one of those, “Buy my book and you’ll be rich”, scams. Something made me keep going back and reading more. You see, I have been telling myself for all these years that I do not know how to do anything except pump gas, sell candy bars, and write “A” papers at school. (Who really cares about that except me?) Nevertheless, I read on.
Something strange started to happen. I became excited! It had been so long since I had been excited about much of anything, that it was a little scary. I was reminded of the times when I used to do things I loved, and proved that I was also very good at. Writing has always been a passion of mine. The back of my closet holds volumes of books and children’s stories which have only been passed around to my family and neighbors.
I continually find myself editing letters and reports for people, tweaking their resumes, and all on my own time and without compensation. I also thought back to all of the years I was the neighborhood pet-sitter for vacations and what-have-you, and again, all for free. I had thought of two things which I could be good at and love doing! Suddenly I thought of myself, “wow”!
Since then, I have been like the “Energizer Bunny”; going non-stop. I have read everything I can get my hands on. I have decided to pursue both of my ideas.
As for pet-sitting, I have already checked into and received the forms for licensing, registered for a certification class, and also for a pet first aid course. At this time I am researching domain names, business forms, and professional organizations to join.
While in class on Saturday, I mentioned my idea to the class, and had four people ask me if I was serious, and if so, they were in need of my services. Three people have offered to give me paying jobs this week alone, although I have not yet begun to open a business.
It has been very uplifting, and through this endeavor I am fortunate to have received compliments, which otherwise I may have never known. Compliments from fellow students and my professor about how I am thought of as trustworthy and responsible because of my academic demeanor.
Finally, I would like to say that even if this idea does not pan out in the end, something else will. Running across your site was the kick in the pants I needed. I suppose someone else needed to remind me that I’m still in here somewhere. Just the motivation to remember myself for the past two weeks has been a huge thrill. Thanks a million for the boost and the support!
P.S. I believe that it is no small accident that the same day I found your site, I had just read an article by Dr. Phil McGraw concerning the difference between living your “authentic” life and living your “fictional” life.

What You Can Learn From Jody

It’s been nine years since Jody sent her letter.

And I’m as moved by her story now as I was then.

Her’s is a wonderful reminder that, as George Elliot wrote, “It’s never too late to be who you might have been.”

True, it took Jody 48 years to realize it really is possible to live and work on your own terms.

Still, it’s a lesson that so many others trapped in low-wage, low satisfaction jobs never learn.

And “learn” truly is the operative word here.

So many people throw up their hands claiming they can’t move ahead because, “I don’t know how.”

Instead Jody rolled up her sleeves and did her homework.

She put her dream out there and the universe rewarded Jody with encouragement — and very likely, her first customers.

Most importantly, Jody took A-C-T-I-O-N.

I wish I could tell you Jody’s launched her businesses and lived happily ever after.

The fact is, I don’t know what happened next.

And that made me a little teary.

Because there are only two ways this story ends.

The optimist in me hopes a very determined Jody took the next step and the next and the next… and is now blissfully self-employed.

But after 22 years in this business, I also know how easy dreams can get derailed.

6 Reasons Dreams Fail

1) You got side-tracked by the next cool idea.

2) You hit a road bump and lost faith… and confidence.

3) Worse, you never had the confidence to begin in the first place.

4) You’re surrounded by people who say you need to be”realistic.”

5) You expected overnight success and when that didn’t happen… you gave up.

6) You love so many things that you can’t pick one. Which makes you what my friend, Barbara Sher, calls a scanner.

The reason all of these dream killers make me cry is because they are SO freakin’ avoidable!

So I’m considering putting something together to help make sure you and all the Jody’s of the world don’t get stuck.

I haven’t put all the pieces together in my head…

But it will definitely be online so no one has to travel.

I may make it free (still noodling that one in my head) or at least super affordable.

But before I put too much work into creating something, I really need to get a handle on where YOU are in the changing course journey.

In other words are you:

1) Still trying to figure out what you love to do

2) Know what you love to do — but don’t know how to make money doing it

3) Have a great idea but don’t know where to begin

4) Other…

Tell me which number best describes where you’re at in the comment section below, or email me at info@ChangingCourse.com.

If I get enough interest, then I’ll move to phase 2… making a plan.

And if Jody from Lincoln Park, Michigan is out there…

Your fellow travelers and I would love to know how you’re doing on the road to changing course!

Join the Conversation!

Let me know where YOU are in the changing course journey by commenting below.