On January 29th I took my car in for a quick service appointment.
While waiting, I read an article about the American Small Business Championship Contest hosted by the Service Core of Retired Executives (SCORE), with financial support from Sam's Club. Winners would receive a $1,000 gift card to Sam’s Club and a year of free mentoring from SCORE.
To enter, I was to answer the question: “What sacrifice have I made to help my business succeed?”
This is what I wrote:
What an odd question! A better question would be, “what have I gained as a result of helping my business succeed?” I have gained an appreciation of the amount of tenacity, focus, and perseverance needed to run a successful business. I have lost a few friends as the result of cutting back on my free time, but what I lost in numbers, I have gained in quality — both quality of time and friends. Both are invaluable. I sacrificed home ownership and a steady paycheck when I began my business. I have gained flexibility, increased appreciation of my customer base, and increased awareness of the importance of budgeting both time and money. I have gained so many loyal customers from around the world because of my new location so far from my home state of Wisconsin. I sacrificed my life of mediocrity for the opportunity to grow my art, and myself into a world-class quality art business, reaching a worldwide art market. In doing so, I am uplifting those I reach through my art, my words, and by teaching my art process to those who want to add more positive creativity and joy to their lives.
The words flowed easily and quickly and I felt GREAT!
When my car was ready, I took the Likelike Hwy to Sunshine Arts Gallery. About halfway over the mountains, I saw a two-foot tall animal on the shoulder of the road with its back to me. It was light brown, had two small pointy ears, and was standing up straight (erect). I didn’t know what it was.
Imagine my surprise when, as I passed it (at 50 mph), I looked into the rear view mirror to see a small “kangaroo”!
What? Kangaroos do NOT live here! Not even at the zoo! I was excited and a little freaked out. What was it doing here? Was it okay? How did it get here?
When I arrived at the gallery, I called the Humane Society to tell them what I had seen, “You might think I’m crazy, but I just saw a little kangaroo on the side of the Likelike Hwy.”
The woman on the phone graciously replied: “You’re not crazy. You saw a wallaby. About 100 years ago, before it was illegal to import them, a private zoo in the Kalihi Valley had wallabies in it. They either escaped or were let loose. Because the wallabies have adapted to our climate, there are so few of them, and they are very shy and rarely even seen, we have allowed them to continue to live on the island.”
I felt as though I had “won the lottery”! If you had told me Unicorns live here, I wouldn’t have been more surprised.
I also felt as though the wallaby was a “sign.” Perhaps it meant that I was “on the right track,” that I was “living right,” that it was my “lucky day,” or maybe that it was a really good idea for me to enter the American Small Business Championship contest!
My wallaby sighting and the ASBC contest might not be related to one another, but they will forever be linked in my mind. Because you see, I did win the contest.
I was named one of 102 American Small Business Champions!
Two small businesses from each state and the District of Columbia were chosen to receive the gift card and mentorship. I intend to make the most of this opportunity.
I will be watching for wallabies whenever I’m on the Likelike Hwy! The real wallabies are not as colorful as my “Lucky Rainbow Wallaby”, but they truly are even more adorable.