When Life Comes with Instructions

When I got laid off eight weeks ago, my initial reaction was two-fold: the visceral pain and shock and the entrepreneurial delight with opportunity. I knew where I wanted to go: a successful writing business that would make my old salary look like a month’s work. The problem is, I had no idea how to get there. Life does not always come with a map.

The first thing I did was tell everyone in my professional network that I was staring my own grant writing business, and in those first two weeks, I got inundated with requests from people. I took each as a sign that I was moving in the right direction. My first “pitch” meeting was horrifying: I arrived 20 minutes early –which is shocking to anyone who knows me, including myself — and sat in the car trying not to throw up with nervousness. Funny, I can speak in front of 100s of people without a second thought, but having to sit down with one and sell myself is a whole different story. Fear is as relative as any emotion, I suppose. I ended up not vomiting, going over my notes in the car, and getting the client.

bookshelf.jpgSomething else that will shock those of you who know me (and my spelling) is that one of my recent gigs was copy editing. Slowing down my brain to read for errors is something I am almost totally unaccustomed to doing, but I figured I’d give it a shot. My first step was to go out and buy the Chicago Manual of Style. Not a map, but literally a book of answers.

Making it through life without that coveted map makes the arrival at any goal feel like triumph. Still, I am grateful for every single time there is some sort of cheat sheet (like the Manual) available to make the journey a little easier.

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