What If?

What if you discovered you only had one year to live?

Morbid subject?

Perhaps.  But it’s a question that we should all stop and think about occasionally.

What would you do with that last year?  What would you do differently?  Would you stop spinning your wheels, attending to all the little details, being a perfectionist, taking care of the mundane tasks that don’t make much difference?  Would you spend more time on your business?  Travel?  Your friends?  Your family?  Your personal and spiritual life?

Each of us would answer that question differently.  Each of us sees life through different eyes.  All of us are at different phases in our life.  Each of us has different values, different goals, and different dreams.  And most of us think that we have all the time in the world to accomplish those goals and dreams.  But it ain’t so!

I don’t claim to be a philosopher and I certainly don’t have all the answers.  But each day that is added to our lives adds additional knowledge and growth.  And as of today, I’ve had 29,809 days to accumulate the joys and pains of daily living.

So, since I can’t speculate on what you would do, I’ll talk a little bit about me.  For me, my life is my job.  And that life includes family, friends, my own goals and dreams.  At this stage in my life, I find myself asking “Is what I am doing making a difference?”

I’m at the point in my life where I can do just about anything that I want to do.  I have enough money to live comfortably.  I’ve raised my daughters and take time to enjoy my grandchildren.  My husband and I will soon be celebrating 63 years of a happy marriage.  So why would I spend my time building internet businesses, writing blogs, and sharing what I’ve learned about business in general and the gift basket business specifically?

Part of it, of course, is the competitive spirit and challenge of creating a successful business that is as much a part of true entrepreneurs as breathing is.  But even more is the drive to do something that matters as I conduct business in a humane and ethical way.  The approaches I use to achieve my goals are as important as achieving them.

Take this blog, for instance.  As you can see, there are no ads  in the right hand column.   This blog was not created to be a money-making blog.  It has other goals.

The older I get, the more I require the freedom to express my own feelings and to tell things as I see them.  I’ve seen the backside of the results of the need for paying advertisers — even in our own industry.  For example, when you attend conventions and tradeshows, the products you are going to see pushed in the classes are not necessarily those that the speaker would have recommended if given the freedom to do so.  They are the products supplied by the vendors.  And if a speaker knows something negative about a vendor or personally feels that they aren’t a good match for our industry, the freedom to say so isn’t there.

I remember attending a “Jubilee,” when they were the conventions of choice a number of years ago.  All the speakers had this beautiful peacock printed cello that they used on their baskets.  Of course, it was available from one of the vendors.  And, impressed by the recommendation of the speakers that this was going to be the “hot” look for the season, I bought a roll.  That roll–and it’s almost a full roll– is still sitting in my bucket of cello.  Anybody want a roll of peacock-print cello?

I remembered this experience when I published the digital magazine for our industry for 13 years.  The advertisers included in it were ones that I had used and trusted.  They were ones that I could honestly recommend to my readers.

Writing is one of the talents I’ve been given and I’ve learned the techniques to make it work well for me. So, this blog is the result.  I can say what I want without having my hands slapped.  I can be honest and express my opinions.  I am beholden to no advertiser.  Of course, there are still the limitations of not writing something that is untrue and can’t be proven.  But I wouldn’t do that anyway.  This blog allows me the opportunity to share what I have learned through the years and perhaps, as a result, help others create success.

The same is true of another website that is more personal that I am currently creating called “One Day At a Time.”  When I discontinued the magazine as subscriptions dropped, I was looking for another outlet for my creative writing abilities other than my gift basket ecommerce site.  “One Day at a Time” is still in the early stages but you can check it out here.

This post is a lot longer than most — and more personal.  But, I’ve been asked:  “What is the reason for this blog? What do you hope to accomplish?”  And, I’ve felt the need to explain.

This blog is simply the answer to two questions:

  • My life is my business.  What am I doing with it?
  • Is what I am doing making a difference?

Back to the original question of  “What If? ”   If I died tomorrow, I could tell myself, “I’ve accomplished my goals.  I’ve allowed the most important parts of my life–family, friends, faith, entrepreneurship–to influence each other and, hopefully, I’ve made a small difference in someone’s life along the way.”

So take the time and ask yourself this scary question:  What if?

2 thoughts on “What If?”

  1. Good question, Joyce.

    My initial reaction was “hmmm, I guess I wouldn’t have to work so hard”, but then I thought, if not that, what? I have never envisioned a time that I would not have to work and I’m afraid that I might just get caught up in a downward spiral if I didn’t have to get up in the morning and start working.

    As far back as I can remember, I’ve had a need to be creative, whether it was through flower arranging, cooking, cake decorating, jewelry-making, etc., etc. I am also unfortunately one of the best procrastinators you’re ever likely to meet. Without those deadlines, I’m afraid that I might not accomplish anything at all.

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