Tuesday, March 5, 2019

All They Can Say Is No

I posted something on social media the other day. It was a post with words. I usually don't get a lot of engagement with those kinds of posts but this one resonated with people for whatever reason. It read "If you don't ask, the answer is always no." This is a principle I have lived by for a long time. Here is what started this mindset.

Picture this, Sicily 1932. LOL! No, actually it was College Park, MD, April 2002. I'm all set to graduate with my baccalaureate degree in General Biology in May 2002 when I received a letter in the mail that totally knocked the wind out of my sail. Basically, the letter said that I would not be able to walk because I was short one credit. ONE! CREDIT! Ok. I get it. I wouldn't receive my degree on that day but to say I can't even walk. I felt that was a bit much. Imagine finding this out in April. One
month before graduation. I had to walk. HAD TO! All of my family had already made arrangements to come in town for my graduation. My parents had planned a huge celebration. This couldn't be life. So, I put my thinking cap on and went to talk to my "counselor".
In December 2001, I had a serious car accident that resulted in me having to postpone taking my finals for the fall semester. Which resulted in my not doing so hot on one of my science finals. I was already on thin ice for this class, so I ended up with a D instead of the C I would've probably gotten had I taken the final a scheduled. That class just so happened to be in the category of laboratory science classes that I needed to graduate, resulting in me being short one credit. I was devastated but not defeated. I asked what I could do to get this one credit, so that I could walk. The counselor did not seem optimistic but all I could do was give it my best shot.
Believe it or not, after all of that, this wasn't
even my degree. It was a picture of the "M" 🙄
First, I had to get the registrar's office to approve late registration for a one credit "independent laboratory study class", THEN I had to find a professor who would be willing to read a paper on the research I was doing at my part time job as a research assistant at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, and grade it with a C or better. Easy breezy, right? Well, it ended up working out but it was stressful as heyall! I had to call on my Emmy award winning acting talents to convince the registrar's office, showing up with pictures of my mangled car, discharge papers from the ICU and, of course, eyes full of tears. It worked. I was registered for a one credit laboratory class in the proper category.

The most stressful part was finding a professor who would read a paper and grade it. Shouldn't have been too hard, I mean University of Maryland College Park had at LEAST 200 faculty in the Life Sciences department alone. I could find one who would do that for me. All I needed was one yes. Just one. One professor who would do a solid for a mediocre, not so memorable student they had never met before. *sigh* That was the reality I was facing but all they could say is "No", right? I would never know what they would say if I didn't ask. And besides, I only needed one "Yes." So, I started emailing. And emailing. And emailing. I emailed every. single. professor. at UMCP's department of Life Sciences. Every last one of them. All of them said no, except for one. And that's all I needed was one yes. I wrote the paper, got an A, not only walked in my graduation but actually finished that chapter of my undergraduate studies on time. Barely. But I did it.

I went on to get a second bachelor degree, a master's degree and become a certified specialist in my
How a Transfusion Services Supervisor's desk looks. LOL!
field. My career goal was to become a laboratory manager. I hit that goal by the time I was 29. How? I reluctantly took a job at the American Red Cross after I graduated from the National Institutes of Health's Specialist in Blood Bank program. I loved what I did but I hated the work environment. One evening, after a I had a disagreement with my immediate supervisor, I went online looking for a new job. I saw the position for a Blood Bank Supervisor. They wanted someone with managerial experience. I had just finished school, so I didn't have that. I applied anyway. What's the worse that could happen? All they can do is say "no". They didn't though. They took a chance on me and EYE was able to leave that god awful work environment I hated.

I have a few friends who thanked me for giving them the same advice when they were applying for graduate and professional school." Just apply. So what if your scores aren't where they recommend. All they can say is no. You only need one yes anyway." They took my advice and BOOM! They were admitted and right back on track to hitting their goals. Ok, you applied to 10 graduate programs and got rejected from 9. Go to the one who accepted you. Duh! LOL!

You will not die if you get told no. I mean, your feelings may be hurt but you will not physically perish and cease to exist. So, stop being afraid of hearing it. Shoot your shot. The worst thing that could happen is you get rejected. So what!!! Brush yourself off. Figure out why you were rejected. Improve. Try again or go somewhere else and try. However, if they say yes.....EVERYONE wins. But if you never ask, if you never try, the answer will always be "no". And you'll probably always be wondering "What if I had gone for it?"

MORAL: Life is way too short to live with regret. Just do it. If it works out, it was meant to be. If it doesn't, Jehovah definitely has something better in store for you. Trust.

Shameless Plug Alert:
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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Signs Are Right In Front Of You

My husband and I closed on what we consider our "Forever Home" in December 2010. The previous owners had very different taste when it comes to paint colors than we do. The foyer was painted grey and white. There was a navy blue accent wall in the living room. One bedroom was painted royal blue. Another bedroom had a black accent wall. In my opinion, the house was dark and gloomy. Not very inviting.

Our bedroom walls had been painted with neutral colors. Not too bad. My husband's closet came already outfitted with a closet system. My closet was just an empty room with a few shelves in it. Kind of disappointing but we can say it was a blank canvas. My clothes were all over the house. I rearranged and reorganized my closet at least 3 times before I started getting quotes from California Closet Systems and the like. Five figure quotes for the closet of my dreams. How disheartening. We definitely didn't have $10,000 for a closet when we needed to repair the roof, upgrade electricity, open the pool, renovate three bathrooms, so on and so forth. So, I put my shabby chic hat on and got to brainstorming....

I WANTED a closet system but all I really needed was racks to hang my clothes and some more drawers for storing other items. I found some quality Z-racks on Craigslist. My father and I went to the Loading Dock, a warehouse that sells used building material, and found some bottom kitchen cabinets to create a closet island. He had a counter top in his storage unit - very random, I know, but just go with it. He is an investor and rehabber. And the final step was choosing paint colors for the wall.

It's the summer of 2012. I wanted bright and vibrant colors that would make me feel alive when I walked into my closet. I went to Home Depot and picked swatches. They looked good together, in my opinion. Orange, purple and green. Don't ask. I painted the walls. Then painted all of the trim gold.  I spray painted the drawers of my bootleg island gold and the counter top was white with gold trim. The final product....looked kind of juvenile but whatever. It was my closet. My labor of love. And I did it all for under $500. Eff dat California Closets quote.

Fast forward to 2014. I'm becoming a real business woman and decide that this little LLC. I've established is going places, so I need a logo. I hire a graphic designer to design it. She sends me a survey asking questions about my business and personality. I pick the font and the colors based on her recommendations. The colors I chose represent wealth, wellness, and luxury. The colors were orange, purple and green. Go figure. Based on my choices, the Fancy Free, LLC. logo was official. We've gone through some rebranding but the logo and colors remains pretty much intact.

Interior decorators recommend that you freshen up your decor every 5-10 years. We're coming up on 7 years since I "renovated" my closet. Seven years, a pool renovation, 4 roof repairs, a new refrigerator, one cat, two businesses and two children later, I'm ready to spruce my closet up again. Preparing my daughter's bedroom and FINALLY buying a bedroom set for the master suite inspired me. I read  "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" and purged about 75% of what was in my closet. Now, I have a lot more space to work. More wall space. More space on my racks. I'm looking around thinking of color palettes and furniture configurations when it hit me. OMG! I chose these colors WAY before starting a business and it was staring me in my face all this time. The colors that represent Fancy Free. Orange, purple and green. Wealth, wellness and luxury.

At 30 years old, I had achieved all of my healthcare career goals. I was just looking to occupy my time when I started my first direct sales business. That business opened my eyes to a whole new way of life. I thought I'd achieve the time freedom and income through that company but Jehovah had already planted the seed. He had something different in store for me. Something that I had full ownership of. Something that I could pursue with all of my passion and remain true to what I believe in. Building generational wealth and helping others do the same. Creating products that support wellness. Having the luxury to spend my time as I choose. Offer "Fancy" products at affordable prices that make people feel luxurious without breaking the bank.

Of course, hindsight is 20/20 but it never ceases to amaze me when I look back at the "signs", good and bad, that were right there in my face. Honestly, had I done a computer composite of what my closet would look like with those colors, I would have switched it up. But I just rolled with it. After all, it's just paint. An inexpensive way to drastically change the look of a room.

So, what's the point? What's for you is for you. Always have a plan but be flexible and open to things that aren't necessarily in your plan. New experiences. Learning new skills. Broaden your horizons. Let Jehovah show you the grand plan He has for your life. Don't fight it. Even if it feels uncomfortable. His plan is WAY better than anything you can imagine for yourself. Had someone told me in 2012 that I would retire from healthcare 5 years later, I would have told them they were crazy. Look at me now, Fancy and Free representing orange, purple and green! Bars! LOL!

Shameless Plug Alert:
Fancy Free Hair & Skin manufactures quality products for hair and skin, as well as provides natural hair consults for women who would like assistance on their natural hair journey. Our motto is "Keeping you fancy and free of chemicals." Visit our website, www.fancyfreehairandskin.com, to see a full range of our products and services. Sign up for our mailing list to receive natural hair tips and stay up to date on sales and the latest happenings with Fancy Free.