Wow, where should I begin? In all honesty, I guess there is no best time, as the present time. So, here goes … forty-two years old, a wife for nearly fifteen years (yay), a mom of three beautiful, trying, extremely different kiddos, ages 15, 11, and 18-month-old (yes, my 40th birthday came with a huge surprise), and I decided a few months ago that I would walk away from my job I liked (so-so, the people were good, I just felt, I don’t know, not a good fit) to open my own brick and mortar consulting firm and education center.
Congratulations to me, right? For stepping out on faith and being fervent in my dream, right? Yes, and yes, but …let me be honest, I did not have a bankroll of money to get started. I was denied, twice for the EIDL loan program that I'd been had hyped up about. And my last short-term resource for funds, pay pal credit shot my application to the curb. So, now that I had made this decision, I had gotten myself all ready to launch, there were no funds. I went back and forwards with myself, contemplating just going back to my so-so job, where the people were okay and the money “helped” my husband pay the monthly expenses ( I could elaborate further, but let me just make a long story short, I’d just started this job, because the classroom had burned me out mentally, physically and spiritually. Thus, I quite a $50k a year job for this less stressful, less demanding, so-so job, that I liked, for $24k a year). In hindsight, I was fumbling around bumping my head anyways! I was not happy!
I knew I loved to teach – to inspire others to be the best version of themselves. I loved the classroom. Coming from an executive position prior to teaching, I knew that I would do very well in managing my own office, as I had managed the local tourism office progressively well for over six years. I knew that I loved every aspect of entrepreneurship skill-building, as well as career achievement because that is what I had been teaching 11th and 12th graders for the past 3 years. I also knew that no matter how few the resources, how slack the leadership, regardless of what position I took, that I would excel. Why? Because I am a leader by nature, it is in my makeup. According to my colleagues, I have great listening skills, diplomacy just comes naturally, and have an uncanny ability to relate well with others - people like me, trust me and they listen to me.
With all of that said, I. Did. Not. Want. To. Go. Back. To. That. JOB! I did not want to go back to any job for that matter. I wanted to launch my career. I wanted to not just be my own boss, but to be a businesswoman in my own right. But how? I had no money and I could not in good conscience get my husband to agree to take on all the household expenses and allow me to snatch funds from the savings account, I mean, could I? Yall, that's when it started - a downward spiral that nearly took me out. I stayed stuck in my head (Oh Lord!), then came to the anxiety, I started chewing on the inside of my jaw (nasty habit, a huge indicator that I am stressed), and I couldn’t sleep. At this point, I was bitter, anxious, frustrated, and tired – such a horrible combination for a wife, a mom, and just for my own self-preservation. Oh, let us not forget the imposter syndrome -who am I to want such a thing anyway? The worst thing about it ladies, and yall don't hate me, but, I snapped-off on my husband, terribly bad, for nothing really and I did it in front of my kids. I had fallen off the wagon head first!
I reached out to my good friend, my confidant, and my spiritual mentor. She undoubtedly supported me starting my business, in fact in the eight years we’ve been buds, she’s always encouraged me to be the best of me (I have both my degrees because of her “incessant” encouragement). Anyway, she set me straight! Then, she loved on me and encouraged me to share her power verse, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all things and He will guide your path” – Proverbs 3:5-6. She urged me to repeat this verse anytime I started to feel any form of stress, anxiety, worry, and most of all to allow God to step ahead of me, ordering my steps. So, I did! And like the ‘shadow man’ on Princess and the Frog says, “It was Transformation Central” for me. My real journey began!
The next morning, I woke with praise on my lips and recited this one simple thing, “Lord, what is it that you would have for me to do today?” It was a Monday, but it was probably the best Monday I had – had in a long time. I WON the lottery!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!LOL!!!!!!!!!!
Ahhh, nope! I am just joking. I received a small loan opportunity for $2500. I had not applied for this loan and was not expecting it. I received the check in the mail from the local loan branch and after a quick call to confirm, Christy told me that the loan was real and all I needed to do was come by with my last pay stub and license. Okay! Then I received a call from my brother ( another huge supporter) and he said, I think I found you an affordable place in Collierville for your office and Education Center. Here is the address, go check it out! Okay! Capital One emailed with a $1500 credit increase on my credit card for my excellent payment history. OKAY!!!!! By Friday, yall I had a prospective small office and Ed center for less than $600 a month, I had now $4000 to launch my office and center, and my husband was on board with the transition.
Let me go back for a moment, that Monday morning’s one-question, and favor for obedience, led me to my new daily routine, for which I am about 45 days. I am not a morning person, I am nocturnal to my heart, and to digress a bit, truth be told, I am the most optimal between 12am-3am. So, every night after all are snug in bed, I read my daily devotional (I LOVE MY BIBLE, it is designed for the woman after God’s own heart), study, and meditate. Every morning, I ask God that one simple question and read a quick devotional from my bible app. The transformation has been amazing! In fact, my goal is to grow both spiritually and in business simultaneously, because, for me, they are mutually exclusive, my business cannot prosper without my divine purpose and God's grace.
Now, I am about 6 weeks into my business launch, and I have had a few small service clients, no real money yet, but I am getting my back office set up. However, I have had a hard time trying to find the best way to do that. And in fact, just Wednesday night, I went into my home office, closed the door and I cried! You see, the devil wants to deter our blessings. This trickster has taken my car ( I was rear-ended my first week at my office, and the insurance company totaled it), my husband took on side jobs (maintenance and repair) for supplement income, and his truck quit, we have not secured me any other transportation and our rental is up any day now, and a few other things … so yes, I sat in my office and I cried!
I felt as if my dream had become a burden on my family. My mind was telling me to quit and just go back to teaching in the school system somewhere. I mean we need the income. My heart said, no, remember the promise God has made to you. “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to give you hope and a future”, Jeremiah 29:11. I cried, but as my late granddaddy would say,” that was a good cry gul”, a cry of healing and upliftment. I needed that cry. I closed my computer and went to bed, but …. At 1:30 am I was back up. I went into my office; I was able to create a launch strategy that made me jump from the desk and shout amen! Seriously! After that, I was able to create formidable goals and micro goals to meet well with my vision and purpose – to edify others, support them in finding hope, healing, and freedom from the things in life that hold them captive (Isaiah 61:1). See, my study has taught me that my focus is not the money or worldly success, my focus is God’s purpose for me. If I keep my eye on His will, abundance and overflow will come.
I am a good seed. I have been planted by the Father, at the right time, and right place because that is in His divine plan for me. I am also uniquely designed – a #DistinctiveStranger. It was hard for me to get my back office set up because I was trying to do it like everyone else. I was stepping outside of God’s plan for me and my purpose. I think differently, believe differently, act differently because it's apart of the plan for my walk in life. My purpose calls for me to see and discern things the way I do, with endless possibilities! I am meant to be a visionary. I am meant to be a fact and truth type of personality. I am meant to believe in integrity, respect, and accountability. I am meant to weigh heavily on the value of loyalty. I am meant to be introverted at times so that I can discern with clarity, the good from the bad stuff. Yet, I am also meant to be that super extrovert, if only a quick burst in time, so that can invigorate and inspire others, and vice versa.
I am meant to be exactly who I am, where I am, for the purpose of why I am, to edify those whom God leads onto my path, to provide uplifting words, replenishing hope, fostering healing, and finding freedom, of one's self, for one's self. I had to endure the trials and challenges of being Stuck so that I could with sincerity and grace help others to get #Unstuck!
- Lakisha Buffington