Did you know those mind games we call daydreams or wishful thinking can turn into reality? Some who’ve witnessed this reality consider these fateful life-altering detours miracles. I was a skeptic most of my life until I was smacked in the face with my own miracle. In fact, there have been a slew of miracles since the first one and I can’t wait until the next one occurs. Because now, I believe my dreams are real.
I retired from corporate America about ten years ago in order to pursue my own passion. I discovered the joys of canine sports and decided I wanted to spend more time having fun with my dog than tied to a desk for forty-plus hours a week. Once the elation of being “free” wore out, I felt the urge to find new purpose in life again. I began looking for a vocation that would be stimulating yet less time-consuming than a full-time job nor as regimented as punching a clock. After all, classes and competitions with my dog were still my priority.
I looked for a way to support my hobby so at one point, I tried multi-level marketing. That was not the right venture for me, but their model for personal development set me on a course that built my confidence and reignited old dreams.
A friend from my multi-level marketing business invited me to join him at a seminar which, ironically, he missed. As I sat through the intense three-day workshop with a few hundred strangers, I discovered so many intriguing thoughts and ideas I’d never explored in depth before. At each point of the workshop, there was an upsell. There’s always an upsell. I decided to purchase a year of coaching.
From the onset, I discovered this was a good option for me. One of the first questions my coach asked was, “What’s your passion?”
I told her, “I love dogs!”
“Why dogs?” She inquired. I told her my story.
My passion began with my first puppy, Prince. I was ten years old when he came into my life. He arrived two daunting and lonely years after my father died. My dad had liver cancer and survived less than four months after his diagnosis. My father was never sick so it came as a shock that his condition was terminal. Up until then, my life was idyllic. I had a father who doted on me and was the only truly positive influence in my life. The shock and grief overwhelmed my mother. She withdrew into herself and hardly ever spoke of him again.
I was left to reconcile my loss alone. I was an only child so no siblings were there to console me. Since my dad was no longer around to buy my friends after-school treats or drive them home, I was no longer relevant to them. They moved on without me.
My father’s absence and a series of childhood maladies descended on me like an avalanche the next two years and I became more of an outcast than ever. First, I was diagnosed with astigmatism. That meant wearing glasses and moving up to the front of the classroom. That shift became an annoyance to my classmates just because I upset the status quo. Shortly after, my teeth required braces. A few months after that, an orthopedist found I had a bone aberration in my knees and I ended up having to wrap my knees for six months. I couldn’t kneel without excruciating pain. No more dance lessons or playing outdoors during recess. I secretly begged for these physical debilitations to stop! Why was all this happening to me?
I began to distrust people and I certainly refused to cry in front of them. I didn’t want to seem weak. I learned to suppress my emotions. Being vulnerable would only worsen the taunts I’d receive. I was miserable and I had no one to pull me out of my lonely isolation until Prince came into my life. Soon, the tight grip of despair began to loosen. I unburdened my heavy heart as I buried my tear-stained face in Prince’s soft, warm body. He would lick my face and show me that life wasn’t so bad because we had each other.
I spent many days writing about my dad and how different live would’ve been if he’d lived. Daydreams? Wishful thinking? Yes, those thoughts couldn’t come true, but I learned how to use words to tell stories that took me away from my pain. As the years flew by, I put those writing dreams away. Journaling was my way of finding a compassionate, non-judgmental companion, just like Prince, who would allow me to immerse myself in emotions I wasn’t willing to share with others. The years passed and I earned my college degree. It was time to put my writing away and find a “real” job.
Forty years later, my coach and I continued to probe about my passions. She asked if I’d thought about writing a book.
“Funny you should ask,” I said. That dredged up my old dreams so vividly. I had some material that I saved over the years, thinking those memories would make a great story about one of my dogs. So, “yes,” I replied. “I kept some material just in the event I might ‘someday’ write a book.”
When she heard my comment, she drew a line in the sand and said, “Well, the time is now! Let’s do it!”
In true competitive spirit, I took it as a challenge and agreed to tackle the project.
Over the course of the next seven months she encouraged and cajoled me into writing a book about Duffy, my beloved miscreant Australian Shepherd. He wasn’t one of my first dogs, but definitely the most challenging. He deserved to be the centerpiece of my cautionary tale. I promised myself I’d finish the book by December 31, 2012 and I actually met my deadline two days early. That, to my chagrin, was just a preliminary draft, but what did I know about getting a book ready for publication? I thought I was done! Now, I needed to get it published.
Four days later, I received an email out of the blue from a gentleman who I later discovered was an acquisitions editor from a small publishing company. Where he got my email address or how he knew I needed his help was inexplicable. The topic of his webinar was “How to Write a Book Proposal and Find Your Champion.”
I signed up for the event and had so many questions about the process when it was over. I sent my questions to his email and hoped he’d answer it in a day or two. He surprised me by popping a reply back in five minutes! Who does that? He called me to answer my questions and suggested I send him my information based on his template from the webinar so he could write the proposal for me and submit it to the review committee. What?!
This was starting to feel otherworldly! He also invited me to a writers’ conference being held by his publishing company in Los Angeles, just a short drive from my home in San Diego. I couldn’t believe my ears! I was either dreaming or getting scammed, but this happened, and kept happening.
I decided to follow the proposal format I learned on the webinar and write the proposal myself. Then, I could submit it at the conference.
In the meantime, I took the first couple of chapters to a writers’ group and also arranged to stage a reading for several friends to get a reaction for the story. After the readings, my first draft was in shambles. A few reviewers said the story was “cute” and one reviewer completely trashed it. I was crushed. It wasn’t the reaction I’d hoped for. I thought I had the great American novel! Why were my reviewers so patronizing or critical?
So, back to the drawing board I went to rewrite my entire book. The core content didn’t change, but I needed to find a way to make people care about my story. The biggest hurdle was answering the questions, “So what? What made Duffy so special that anyone would want to read about him?” That was a tough two months of rewriting to give the story substance. I had a deadline and it was the conference.
I completed my draft and the proposal just in time. I attended the event and met with a couple of publishing professionals and the editor I spoke to earlier. He took my proposal and said there would be a review of all the submissions after the conference.
About a month later, I heard back from them. My book was accepted for publication! I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry so I did both! How did this happen? “Unreal” became part of my everyday vocabulary.
This is a sample taken from a chapter in the book Believe and Succeed: The Law of Attraction Uncovered. The chapter is written by Faith McCune. Click here to pick up your copy.