This is My Mountain
I had two thoughts as our Prius snaked up the burnt orange roads to the peak of Bryce Canyon.
Utah has no guardrails and we’re driving next to a 400-foot cliff.
I can do this.
After attending my first Young Living Convention in Salt Lake City, my mom and I rented a car and drove into the desert. We were new to the Southwest, but are heat-seeking travelbugs who relished seeing red rock pillars sprouting out of the sand, mauve-dusty sunsets, and rattlesnake jerky sold in the gas station.
“You could do it,” mom said. “You could make this your business. You could have the freedom of time and finances to do what you’ve always wanted to do: charity and travel. You could buy your own house, and start fostering and adopting. You can fund your own dreams.”
“I can actually do this,” I repeated. And as we pulled into the parking lot at the top of the mountain, I believed it.
In six days, I’m headed back to Utah with a team of oily bossbabes that bless me everyday through their brilliant attitudes, hard work, and blossoming success. I’m so happy to do this with them. And as I’m looking back over the year, I’m thankful to God for the blessings and lessons. Mom was right: I can do this, and together, we are.
‘Entrepreneur’ has a gazillion vowels and none of them are ‘I’
Being an entrepreneur was NEVER my dream. No, I was determined to be poor and dedicate my life to nonprofit like a good millennial. By mid-2014, I was poor, and working for a nonprofit. The thing was, I realized I couldn’t give. I was choosing between donating to causes and paying my student loans. I was 24, and squirreling away savings because I had no future. I had no place of my own, and it wasn’t happening anytime soon. I had arrived. And yet, wasn’t at all where I thought I’d be.
It wasn’t until I was driving in the middle of the desert, that I realized I hadn’t dreamed in five years. So I started to. Maybe, I could do more. Maybe freedom of time and resources could be used to bless others. Maybe, having a lot of money was a good thing if it was used to change the lives of people who were stuck, sick, or destitute.
I’m not a prosperity junkie. There are preachers out there who would have you believe that God just exists to give you stuff. That’s crap. It’s BIG crap. Just because God told Noah to build a boat doesn’t mean His divine purpose is to get you a yacht.
I’m not talking about God raining down stuff that sits in driveways collecting spiderwebs.
If you had an extra $1,000 a month, what could you do with it? $5,000 a month? $10,000 a month? What about freedom of time?
When I decided to do this, I had to Google the spelling of ‘entrepreneur’ and I majored in English. THAT’s how off the radar being a business owner was. Calling myself one was even harder – it felt cocky. I couldn’t spell it, how could I be it? Here’s how:
Community: A solid group of people to share their knowledge and enthusiasm when I wanted to give up. I needed a team.
Grit: I knew I couldn’t give up when it was really hard. I had to dig deeper and push through, even if I cried and fussed across the finish line.
Faithfulness: I had to work harder than I’d ever worked, faithfully, consistently.
Faith: Bottomline – God was going to do this, not me. I would just show up and do the work. He’d handle the big stuff.
It’s a Rocky Road, but who doesn’t love ice cream…?
I handed the bank teller a $2,000 deposit to open my business account, as he ran through a list of questions: “How much do you intend to make your first month? Do you have paperwork from our county recognizing you as a business? What sort of business is it?“
“It’s network marketing,” I said quietly. Not quietly enough.
The bank manager heard me, and shouted for everyone in the bank to hear. “An MLM?! Are you kidding me, Samantha? Are you ever going to make any money doing that?”
I flushed for a second because I’m Italian-Irish and have a temper. But I also lived with Southern roommates, so I knew how to be a lady AND fire right back.
“Why yes,” I replied with a smile. “I have a friend in this business who is making $25,000 a month after a couple of years of work. I intend on making a TON of money. I’ll bring you my checks and you’ll see.” [Insert big smile at the end for effect].
There have been others.
The man who eavesdropped on my private conversation, laughed, and then began to shout loudly (as if I wasn’t there), to a roomful that my product was stupid.
The well meaning friends and family who give me a slanted look and ask “Is this a pyramid scheme?” (Those are illegal, and no its not).
The ladies who laughed and said to my face “I’m so sick of THOSE PEOPLE who sell things to their friends on Facebook.”
What did I think in those moments? “They don’t sign my checks.”
They don’t see the lives we’re changing. They don’t see my team member who is quitting her day job and can afford to be at home full time with her baby. They don’t see my friend who is helping traumatized people deal with their pain using aromatherapy. They don’t hear the testimonies. They don’t see the money we’re giving back.
They don’t see. They don’t know. They don’t sign my checks.
This is My Mountain
A year later, it has not been an easy climb. I work long hours. I still feel too cocky saying I’m an entrepreneur, but at least I can spell it now. I’ve had to grow like no other job has ever taught me to grow. There are days when I catch crap.
But I’ve seen the top of the mountain. I’ve tasted the abundance at the top. And I know this is worth it. This is my mountain, folks. I’m not coming down.