Tag Archive | business

Bringing Your Dreams to Life

Well, as a follow-up to the last post, I thought I’d go a little bit into some more practical aspects, what we can actually DO to put our dreams into action. Because, well, ah, yes, it’s all very nice and good – you might be thinking – the idea of putting our dreams into action and living them instead of dreaming them. But…… HOW??

Dreams and Dreaming

Most of us have NO idea what to do to make our dreams a reality. So I thought I’d share some ideas here and, of course, I welcome any ideas that anyone else may have on this subject too, and I’d be happy if you’d share them with us in the comments at the end of this post.

I guess the first thing we must do, if we want to make our dreams a reality, is to KNOW WHAT THEY ARE to begin with! If we don’t know what we dream of doing, having or being, how are we going to fulfil those dreams?

I am very lucky, I have always known what I wanted all my life, and the only thing that I was always lacking was TIME to dedicate and devote to my dreams, because I had to earn a living for myself from an early age (yes life can be tough!). But even if you’ve never given it much thought, you can still discover what it is that you really want. Let’s say you won the lottery right now. What would you do?

Would you travel around the world? Give up your job? Would you buy a new home? What would you do?

Perhaps you would open a new company, go back to school or study a new career. Or maybe you’d go out and get those babies and start that family that you’ve always dreamt about having.

So, now that you know WHAT it is that you want, I imagine that you would need some sort of plan as to how to go about getting it.

If it’s a new home or a trip around the world that you’re hankering for, then perhaps you could check out the possibility of saving up for it, starting right now. Go out less for dinner or don’t order that pizza, and save up the money for your dream. Get a second job. Sell newspapers. Walk dogs.

You don’t need to buy a new dress or new shoes every season. I only have one pair of shoes for the winter and one for the summer. Well, all right, I live in a warm place anyways and if I’m really stuck I can just go out and get some dollar store flip flops. I imagine that those of you who live in England, Ireland or Alaska probably don’t enjoy that luxury, but I guess you know what I mean, right? Quite simply put, if you don’t need it, then don’t get it. Put up the money instead, use it for your trip to Jamaica. What would you rather have, anyways? A trip to Jamaica or a new pair of pumps?

If, on the other hand, your dream involves doing something, then start right now jotting down ways that you can do it. Draught up a plan, get to work brainstorming. Do you want to go back to school, but you’re missing some credits or a high school certificate? Is there any way that you can get what you are missing? Most countries offer high school classes for adults.

And right from the start, get mentalized to the idea that we have to arm ourselves with lots of patience. Most dreams take a lot of work and time. It takes time to get a high school certificate. It takes time to get into a university. Whatever it is, it takes time. But if you really want it, you can wait. If you wait a year now, perhaps in five years you will be doing what you love to do. But if you can’t wait out that year, you will probably still be working at the same boring old job five years from now.

With a good plan, belief in your dream and the desire to fulfil that dream, of course, patience and the will to not back down from your dream no matter what, you can attain it. You can achieve your dream, fulfil your lifelong wish.

I don’t very often recommend other websites, but this is one that I have always found quite helpful: http://www.learnmindpower.com.

Peter KummerAnd for those of you who read Spanish or German, I thoroughly recommend a little book called “Nothing Is Impossible” (“Todo es posible”) by Peter Kummer. It is a real little gem, I find it absolutely amazing. For a long time it wasn’t available in English, but I believe that recently it has been translated. I’m pretty sure that if you follow the advice on the above website and in this little book, it won’t be long before you, too, are fulfilling and living your dreams.

In subsequent posts (probably two years from now! but anyways, as I said before in my previous post, since I’m so busy working on fulfilling my dreams, I just don’t have time to blog!), if I’m up to it, I will put up some details about what I’m doing, so that you can see on a practical level how to put these wonderful ideas into action, by showing you what I myself am doing, and how it is working out. However, I’m not much of a person for going on about “works in progress”, so you might have to wait a while before you can read about these things……

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Dreams

Well so it’s obviously been a while since I posted anything here. I was always real inconstant at keeping a diary anyways, and I suppose a blog is not all that much different.

We have been quite busy these past few months but I suppose, like most people, just living a fairly ordinary and mundane, routinary life like most people do. The kids have gone to school every day, I’ve been going to work…… In other words, a very normal life.

I am often surprised when I look at people, just surviving from day to day, and I wonder, what happened to their passion? Where did their dreams and their spark go? What did they dream of doing or being when they were teenagers, and what happened to all those dreams?

Dreamcatcher

Your dreams can be of any sort, there are as many dreams out there as there are things to be and do out there. Did you dream of sky diving when you were young? Or maybe you wanted to travel around the world. Or have your own house with a garden that you could tend and cultivate.

Maybe you’ve always wanted to visit Jamaica.

Whatever it is that you’ve always dreamt of doing, why aren’t you doing it, or working towards it? Why don’t you start saving up for that holiday in Jamaica, or that house with a garden?

Why don’t you get onto the internet and google “sky diving” and see if there is someone who occasionally offers sky diving trips for complete beginners in your area? We all have to begin somewhere, after all.

My children don’t have any dreams. They are small, they live life from day to day. The only thing they want to do is play with their Nintendo. A good day is when they get to spend most of it playing on their Nintendo. A bad day is when they have to go to school, or someplace else which takes them away from their Nintendo.

I often wonder how children can live like that. Isn’t there something that they wish to do in the future? Don’t they have dreams?

But I suppose dreams are something that comes up in our lives when we reach an age where we are aware that we HAVE a future at all to begin with, usually when we reach our teenage years.

In reality, I suppose the best way to live life is like my kids do, spending every minute of your day just doing what you most love to do, just as they are happiest when they get to spend the whole day playing on the Nintendo. I don’t know what they will be when they grow up, and I do agree that some discipline is necessary in life. However, no one forces them to play on their Nintendo, they do it just because they love it.

What is it that you do just because you love it? That no one has to force you to do?

Of course, maybe we can’t make a living at whatever it is that we love to do. Maybe we love to sew, or play golf, but you don’t see yourself as a golf champion earning your bread from playing golf. Well, that’s okay. You can still play golf. You can spend all your spare time playing golf. Or you can save up and open your own golf course or a golf-related company of your own.

You could become a golf teacher or a caddy, or get a job on a golf course that allows its employees to use its facilities for free.

Of course, in every life we have to eat and fill out our income tax forms (yes, fellows, it’s that time of the year again!). But when we aren’t involved in these necessary evils (well, all right, eating isn’t evil, actually I LOOOVE eating very much!!), we can be doing what we love to do.

So, getting back to the question I was asking myself at the beginning of this post, I do wonder, how do people manage to get ahead every day, if they are not doing what they love to do, what they have always dreamt of doing, at some point in their lives? If you want to be a film-maker, you can make videos on the weekend, as a now-famous Spanish film director used to do (I don’t remember his name, however I can assure you it was not the archi-reputable Almodovar, however the film director in question is also well known).

Where can your joie de vivre come from, if you aren’t trying to fulfil a dream, doing something that you love, at some moment? I really don’t know what can fuel people on to continue living, when they are not doing what they love to do or working towards a dream. Where do they find the incentive to keep going? How can they possibly survive? We all know that there is more to life than just paying the bills and putting food on the table.

Maybe what you enjoy most is blogging and sharing your points of view and your life with the rest of the world. If that is the case, I would love it if you would like to carry out a blog exchange with me. Just click on this link to read more about exchanging blogs with me. (Or more accurately, exchanging blog avatars.)

So, what was all this all about, anyways, you might be wondering?

Well, for a while now I’ve been working at a job that I’m not too fond of, and I’ve been wondering, what is the point of this anyways? Why do we work at jobs that we don’t like? In my case, of course, I’m a single mother and I have to pay the bills and feed my kids some way or another, and in these times of crisis, well, it’s not like we have too much choice as to what we can do to pay these bills and feed our kids, do we?

However, paying bills and feeding kids doesn’t give us LIFE. It keeps you alive but it isn’t LIVING.

I have always wondered how people could go on without SOMETHING to propel them forward, something to look forward to, something that they have always wanted to do, and CAN do.

But you can only live on dreams for so long. At some point in your life, it’s time to bring them into reality.

And that is the point where I am right now. Which, however, leaves me with very little time for blogging. Argh!

So, I don’t know when I will post again, but you can rest assured, at least, that if I don’t post for a while, it will be because I am finally at last starting to LIVE my dreams (and therefore I’m too busy living my dreams to write blog posts!), instead of just DREAMING them!

Of course, I will, however, let you know every once in a while, with a new post here, about how I’m doing and how it is all going. It may be a while, but then, as they say, the fun lies in the journey.

The Way I See Blogging

Well I was thinking of blogs, and I was thinking that I have ambivalent feelings about them. On the one hand I find them lots of fun, I myself personally enjoy reading blogs very much. You feel free to say anything that you want on a blog.

But on the other hand, I find that, well, you do wonder, what is the point of a blog anyways? It’s just a hobby. It doesn’t do anything for you.

Most blogs that you can find out there you will see that they were written mainly for and usually foremost as a way for the blogger to keep in touch with family and friends who live far away. You can tell that by the comments, where most of the people who write in obviously know the blogger well and comment on things about the blogger that it’s clear they didn’t get that information from the blog, because you’ve read the whole blog through and there is nothing in the blog about what the people are commenting. Like for example, the blogger’s real name, which apparently all the commenters know in spite of the fact that the blogger never uses his real name in the blog, etc.

Senselessness

So in that sense you can clearly see that keeping a blog is a hobby. It’s a hobby that makes sense for people who have lots of family and friends who live far away who read the blog as a way to keep in touch with the blogger.

And as a side effect it also entertains complete strangers, like me.

Now, I personally LOVE reading OTHER people’s fantastic and amazing blogs. They are life-changing for me, I’m most happy that they exist and that I get to read them. Peruse them. Devour them! Admire them.

I just mainly have a gripe with my own blog. With this one.

I find that, on the other hand, for someone like me to keep a blog, when no one I know personally reads it, well, you do sort of feel like you are writing into a vacuum.

You aren’t really writing the blog for anyone, because the people that you know don’t read it anyways. And unlike a website you aren’t writing it to give information which you hope will help people either. So, what and who in the world ARE you writing it for??

Unfair Competition

Unfair competition is getting me depressed.

Lately people want me to lower my prices to about 6€ an hour. I don’t know about you but I’m sure in the States you wouldn’t pay ANYONE 6€ an hour for ANYTHING. Not your cleaning lady, not your babysitter. Not anyone. 6€ an hour is not even minimum wage, not even here in Spain.

However those of us who work in the black market – and I do admit that I work in the black market, but I do so because no one is offering jobs in this depressed and poverty-stricken city where local unemployment is at over 36%, and if we don’t work on the black market, then we don’t work, and if we don’t work we don’t pay our bills, our rent or feed our families – as I was saying those of us who work in the black market can’t really complain, protest or report anyone anywhere. We just have to take it or leave it.

Or move out to a more prosperous region. If we can afford it, that is.

If I don’t agree to charge 6€ an hour, there are 10 more people in line waiting for my work. And some of them are even willing to work for free.

As I said, unfair competition.

Blank Wall in blue

A blank wall, because this is what you get when you hire someone for free. Because in life you DO get what you pay for. Well, blank walls are good on your home, perhaps............

They are willing to work for free because they are loafing around in their parents’ homes where they are more than adequately fed, clothed and warmed by the heater (well air conditioner, more precisely, especially in the hot summers that we enjoy here). So all they want is to earn a little pocket money so that they can go out for a drink on Friday evenings, or spend the whole night in a disco. Let’s face it, a drink and a night of dancing on the town cost a lot of money!

However their drinking and dancing all night is depriving my children of their daily bread.

We just spent a whole weekend where I couldn’t even buy a loaf of bread for my kids to eat the whole weekend long. No bread, no potatoes, not even a brik of milk. I was cleaning the bathroom with toilet paper because we couldn’t afford a roll of kitchen paper towels. (All right I admit I’m not the pickiest house-cleaner around, I’m sure others have a whole stash of every brand name of everything. Me, just bleach and some paper towels – when I can afford them, that is.)

And the reason for this is because of negotiations the whole week long with potential new clients. Clients who want me to lower my prices because there are 10 other eager workers waiting in line willing to work for free.

Yes, for free.

So, it doesn’t matter that these free-wage workers are teenagers with no experience, who haven’t even completed their high school studies and therefore their knowledge would be more or less at a par with that of their students, who are also high school kids.

It doesn’t matter that it’s even possible that these “teachers” know even less than their students.

It doesn’t matter, because they’re free!

So what is the point, you might ask, of people working for free anyways?

Well, you get work experience, so essential in a city where unemployment is at 36% and the rate for people who have never worked before shoots up to a whopping 50%!!

(Although I believe that the rate for us foreigners and ex-pats would probably be somewhere closer to 100%, but who cares about foreigners anyways? I mean, if you don’t like it, just pack your bags and go home!)

You get references. And references are very important in a culture where who-you-know counts more than your curriculum vitae.

And if you work for free, you can always harbour the hopes that your clients will like you so much that next year, when you decide to begin charging for your services – you will, of course, still charge a very low, modicum price, however, say 3€ an hour maybe? – your clients will be willing to pay you in order to retain your services, because they were very pleased with you.

All right, so why should I charge for my services when others are doing my job for free? (Other than, of course, that I need the money to live on and to feed my kids.)

Well, I’m a native English speaker. So no matter how you look at it, I will inevitably speak English better than any Spanish high school student who has only studied English for 2 years, like their own pupils. The only difference being that these free-wage teachers have probably gotten an “A” at school in English class whereas their pupils probably failed English.

I have many years of experience teaching English, so I can identify people’s difficulties and weak points and give them solutions, to help them solve their problems. I can also teach any kind of student, from children to elderly people.

However, who cares about that? People don’t want English classes for their preschool kids or for their elderly parents. They don’t need the services of a native speaker. They just want the bare minimum so that their lazy teenager, who wasn’t paying any attention in his classes at school and hates English and will never, ever use it in his lifetime, can pass his exams.

Besides which, what have they got to lose? After all, it’s free, right?

And at the very worst, the only thing that could happen is that their free English teacher is very, very bad, the lazy teenager flunks again and they would only have lost one school year.

So then they can start all over again next year. After all, there are more free English teachers out there. Maybe the next one in line will turn out to be better than his predecessor.

Or maybe they might just start considering the possibility of hiring a paid teacher next time round.

But that won’t happen till next year.

Or until the economy gets better and the crisis goes away.

Business 101 by a Business Dummy Like Me

I’m not a business person. Not at all. Not in the least bit. I’ve always HATED business and anything business-related with a PASSION! At university when everyone else was ploughing off into BA’s and Commerce and the like I just drifted around and ogled at stars in the clear, cold, semi-Arctic night sky. So I never imagined that I could ever learn so much about the business world or managing my own business. Or want to learn it, for that matter.

I’ve been running my own fairly successful free-lance business for a year now. I never meant to work free-lance, even though it was something I’d always hankered to do, because I detested having bosses over me or fixed hours (which generally got longer and longer instead of shorter and shorter, as bosses coerced me ever more often to put in increasing amounts of overtime – if I wanted to keep my job!). I wanted to be able to take off for a few moments to go and have a coffee with a friend if I felt like it. Or an hour to run off to a gym (everyone’s gotta stay fit ya know!). But low-level, menial office jobs somehow just don’t happen to include these kinds of privileges in their working conditions. Shucks!

Having children made it even harder to get in to work. I couldn’t just keep taking time off to care for my son, who was born with an illness that often kept him confined to the house. But I was a single mom and if I didn’t go to work, we wouldn’t have anything to live on. A real catch-22.

And then finally, the crisis crashed down like a pall over our little city which had never been exactly a model of prosperity to begin with, seeing as it’s located in Spain’s poorest region, the “deep south”, whooo. A city with virtually no industry to speak of, little commerce, one that depends almost entirely on tourism, mostly foreign tourism, to survive. And with the crisis people just weren’t going on holidays anymore. I mean, holidays are expendable, it’s more important to fill up the pantry first!

So unemployment shot way up to 36% (as opposed to the national average of only about 15%) and I couldn’t get a job. The only alternative I could find – other than adopting a rich granddad or seducing and then marrying a tycoon, that is – was to strike out on my own.

So I started out peddling everything I knew how to do. I pasted posters offering myself for everything from dog-walking and babysitting to Reiki massages (carried out in the comfort of the client’s own home, no less) and palm-readings, not neglecting, of course, every North American-in-Spain’s ace up the sleeve: teaching English.

Countless North American and English students taking a semester of Spanish classes in Spain, or doing their full degree here, have survived thanks to English classes. It’s practically a tradition here. So of course, I offered to do it too.

After about a month or so I already had several English students – and not a single dog to walk, baby to look after or backs to massage (even though Reiki massages more than just backs, but then again, that’s a different topic altogether…….). Since teaching English also happens to be more lucrative than walking dogs or watching over babies anyways, I ran out and pulled down all my ads except the English-related ones.

So I had already learned a basic, fundamental lesson about running a business, and this without ever having stepped into a Business 101 class. And that was, that advertising was super, super important.

After a few months teaching English, someone asked me if I also knew French, since I’m from Montreal. Their son was studying French at school in addition to English, and if I could teach him French too it would save them all the bother of searching for a good, qualified francophone tutor, and it would mean more income for me. I said yes and added French lessons to my repertoire.

As the next logical step I decided to add to my services, lessons in everything that I knew enough about to teach. And thus I also learned a new lesson, one which business gurus just can’t emphasize enough and charge people a fortune to teach it to them: diversify. Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket. If you offer more services, and different kinds of services, you are much better prepared for “lean cow years”. If demand for one of your offerings drops you aren’t left out in the cold.

And I guess I’ve got 2 more gems hidden away here and which I’m currently working on: always do the best, be the best you can. If people are happy with what you do they will refer you, and come back for more. I would say about half of my students today are from referrals.

And innovate, improve, find out what other people don’t offer and offer it. Develop something creative and original. Fill in the holes and gaps left out in the marketplace.

So now I bump into people out on the street all the time, acquaintances, strangers, beggars (you can read the story about my debate with one of these acquaintances in the very next post), and they all say the same thing to me, “It’s impossible to be doing well today in Malaga, there are no jobs, no one has money…….. You’re just LUCKY!!”

But I always want to tell them, nay yell it to them, shout it out so everyone can hear: “Luck has nothing to do with it!!”

I don’t believe that I’m doing well and have many clients because I’m just lucky. First of all, I worked hard for it. While some of my acquaintances were out drinking it up in a bar and the beggars were sitting around with a little dish in front of grocery stores, I was pasting posters to walls all over the city. I spent hours doing that. My acquaintances spent hours getting rid of their unemployment money or their welfare money or their parents’ money in pubs and taverns, the beggars spent their time begging, and I used those hours to do a lot of exercise running around the city (when you’re unemployed you don’t take the bus!) and gluing ads up on walls. So if the next morning I had a new client and my acquaintances and the beggars didn’t, that wasn’t an accident.

And then, I also set out to be a vibrational match for what I wanted. We probably all hear a lot about that lately in New Age/spiritual development circles. And it’s really hard to explain. It’s not something to sit around in an ashram and understand in theory, it’s something you DO. So for me, doing it meant, well, just “doing it”. (There must be some reason why Nike athletes are so successful after all, right? Haha.)

Just going out and doing things that could attract clients to me. Looking over the kinds of English lessons I could teach, so when people called me up and asked me what I did I wouldn’t just go, “Huh? Well I dunno……” I networked of course. I designed my own little business cards on the computer and made photocopies of them (when you’re broke you don’t go to a printer). Then I cut them up at home with scissors. And I also advertised on the internet. I’d say half of my clients today come from the internet, and the others from the original ads I had put up on walls and their referrals.

I never wanted to learn anything about business, I never meant to learn anything about business. And I didn’t start working free-lance because I wanted to know anything about business. I lugged up a free-lance career because I needed it to survive. But now after a year I can sure appreciate everything that that free-lance job has taught me.

So Maybe I Need a Shrink?

The other day I had a debate with an acquaintance. This young man is really into protest marches to try and get the current government to resign. He blames them for the crisis and the high unemployment, and he thinks the government ought to give jobs to people. I told him, it’s not the government’s responsibility to give you a job, it’s YOUR responsibility to prepare yourself for a job and then go out and look for one!

He went on and on: but that wouldn’t make any difference, there wasn’t any point in people preparing themselves for a job if the government didn’t make jobs for them, people would never find jobs as long as there was still a crisis and it was the government’s responsibility to get rid of the crisis and etc. etc. I told him I was doing well and earning money, even though I didn’t have a job in the sense of working for someone else. I said if I had waited for the government to do something for me I’d still be sitting around twiddling my thumbs. He said, meh but you’re just lucky.

But that did get me thinking. For a while now I’d been pondering about things like, how come in spite of all the obvious and humungous improvements that I had experienced in my life thanks to receiving a healing session in the Soul Realignment modality (and which I’ll definitely be blogging about at a future date, I mean, clearly, I wouldn’t have gone to all the time and expense of studying something and offering sessions in it if I wasn’t absolutely convinced of its awesome effects, and its undeniable ability to move complete mountains in a person’s life! But more on that subject in another post…… someday……), there were areas where I still remained obstinately, immovably STUCK!

My professional/financial situation was undoubtedly what I had in mind as I carried out these ponderings. I refer to, how come, even though I now made a good income and earned enough for me and my kids to live well, nonetheless we were still suffering from scarcity and a lack of abundance? I was bringing in income from many sources now, I’d gone from Welfare Single Mum to Working Single Mum, we weren’t deprived anymore of things that we really needed but, I also wasn’t able to save anything. We don’t have a spendy lifestyle, I hardly ever buy unnecessary items like clothes or shoes unless I really have to, because for example everything we have is all worn and full of holes already! I don’t go out a lot, do the nightlife thing (but then again, after all, how many single mums do you know out there who do do the nightlife thing very much anyways?) or even go to the movies. And even so I’m not attracting so much that I can actually save, every cent that I’m earning has to go to something, if not food for the kids then bills, or rent.

So then I got to thinking about the people around me. People around you and their attitudes towards you and towards life can tell you a lot about your own because, as they say in popular wisdom as well as in Law of Attraction, well, like attracts like.

So I got to thinking about that young man that I quoted at the beginning of this article. And I also thought about one of my ex’s, who is always criticizing me for having too much stuff, like books and CD’s and things. (I asked him, but what’s so bad about books and music? They enrich your life, you … … (unquotable name that one might occasionally use to refer to ex’s there)!) But he thinks that books occupy too much space and don’t have any use. What’s the point in enriching your mind and your spirit, he wonders. You can’t eat off of a rich mind or a prosperous spirit, you need a fat bank account for that! And books won’t bring you a fat bank account, quoth he.

I also remembered that sensation of sheer panic whenever I observed my bank account beginning to grow. It’s a strange sensation, as if on the one hand I just knew that any moment now SOMETHING would happen to make it all disappear, someone would show up and take it all away from me. And on the other hand, it was like, who am I to have so much when other people are starving??

Well, that sensation is also known as guilt! So I realized that guilt was keeping money out of my life.

When people, like the young acquaintance I was talking about earlier, tell me that I didn’t do anything to bring in more money, that I was just lucky, what they really mean is that I simply don’t DESERVE the money that I’m getting. That they think that maybe I’m still not working hard enough, or I’m not a good enough person. Maybe, in their opinion, they ought to be earning more than me, even though they’re just sitting around on a sofa twiddling their thumbs (or more like standing around in a picket line twiddling a poster), just because supposedly they’re worth more than me, they’re better people than me, they’re superior, therefore they ought to be earning more money than me even though they’re not doing anything.

It’s illogical, I mean, that young man spends all his time griping and complaining to people about his unhappy lot in life, then goes out every night and drinks it up with his friends. He doesn’t work, just hangs around parliament buildings (or more like the Moncloa, here in Spain, as we don’t actually have a parliament building here). I mean, of course I’m earning more money than he is! I go out to work every day. When my clientele slacks down I go out and advertise more. I don’t do it because I’m greedy, I do it because my kids need to eat, and if I don’t pay the rent we won’t have a place to live (even if it’s just a tiny, cramped little 1-bedroom-with-a-walk-in-closet in da inna small city). But I still feel bad about that. I still feel greedy.

Must be something to do with my upbringing. Or maybe I need a shrink. Sigh!