August 23, 2020

“Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.” – Dennis Kimbro

“A young man told me: ‘I don’t want to expect too much.  That way if it doesn’t happen, I won’t go to bed all disappointed.’ That’s no way to live.  If you’re not expecting increase, promotion or good breaks, you’re not releasing your faith….If you expect a break and it doesn’t happen, don’t go to bed disappointed.  Go to bed knowing you’re one day closer to seeing it come to pass. Get up the next morning and do it again.” – Joel Osteen

We all face challenges every single day.  Right now, we’re facing more personal and societal challenges all at once than most of us have seen in a whole lifetime.  All our normal routines and plans have been upended.

Reading the newspaper each morning, I can feel pretty overwhelmed and disheartened about the state of the world. That’s why I always balance my “getting informed” time with spending 30 to 60 minutes reading inspiring books, praying and gratitude journaling. I make sure all my coaching clients do this morning practice, too. It helps us re-focus on our GOALS, not our FEARS, and set our expectations to POSITIVE.

I have come to believe that the number one trait of successful people is FAITH and the number two trait is PERSISTENCE. You can’t really have one without the other.  You can’t persevere in the face of seemingly hopeless adversity unless you have faith that a Higher Power is on your side and working on leading you to a good outcome. And you can’t give up when things look hopeless if you truly have faith in a Higher Power who wants you to succeed.

Since COVID-19 took hold in March, my husband and I have faced our share of financial challenges.  We have been fortunate that I still have a fair income from coaching (although not at the level I was used to), and he was able to get enhanced unemployment benefits for a few months when real estate temporarily ground to a halt.  Each day, we had to get up and persevere, without having a clue what lay ahead.

I know that God/The Universe has been our ally before and will be now.  I had a chance to prove it to myself in a big way recently, which showed me that if one door slams in my face, I can follow my Divine guidance to the open one that will get me where I need to go.

If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you will remember that I had to have a LOT of patience and determination in dealing with Experian, one of the big three credit reporting agencies.

As I wrote in “Stand Still – Blog 374,” for several days in June, I spent hours patiently and persistently navigating a maze of recorded phone messages and “call this other person” hand-offs. I was referred by a collections agency to a childcare provider, who then referred me to Experian (where I had originally started my dispute), in order to convince them that an $800 unpaid childcare bill “derogatory” that popped up on my otherwise pristine credit report wasn’t really MINE. I am well past childcare age, and I don’t live in Minnesota, where the collection originated, but as I learned, facts and logic mean nothing in the world of credit reporting.

At the time, I knew I needed a clean credit report because we had applied for a Small Business Administration loan that could greatly help us with our business expenses during the months to come, especially knowing the enhanced unemployment benefits Rick was receiving would soon run out.

It took a LOT of faith, persistence and positive expectation on my part to unwind that tangle.  I cannot tell you how sweet the moment was when I FINALLY reached a real, live person at Experian who said to me, “I am looking at your report right now and the name on this collection isn’t YOURS.  I am going to make sure this gets deleted from your credit report immediately!” The next day, my Experian credit score had increased by 25 points!

But once the report was clear, that was just the start of my long, winding journey into an even greater tangle of bureaucracy at the SBA.  After not hearing a peep from them for two full months after we applied, I got a “first step” email out of the blue, asking for a few more details from us.  Two hours after I typed my answers into the online template, I got a great big “APPLICATION DENIED” message back from the SBA, with no explanation.  It said I could submit an online request to be reconsidered, but without knowing why I was denied, that wasn’t a viable option.

I have to be honest, that was my lowest point emotionally.  I was running out of patience and emotional stamina and my faith was getting a little shaky too.

The next morning, I had a heart-to-heart Gratitude Formula Journaling session with God, asking Him to PLEASE make it crystal clear if I was supposed to pursue the SBA loan or if I was being directed to some better option — because this particular door seemed to be nailed shut.

I didn’t get any immediate clear urges, intuition or other “signs” as May McCarthy calls them in her wonderful Gratitude Formula book.  But I am proud to say that I didn’t panic or throw in the towel.  I just “got up the next morning and did it again,” just as Joel Osteen advises.

About a week later, my accountant emailed to ask if I had heard any more on the SBA loan denial because the final deadline for applications was fast approaching.  For some reason, her question lit a fire down in me that rekindled my persistence and determination!

I had a phone number for the SBA and right then, I picked up the phone and called it.  I was only on hold for about 15 minutes when a real, live agent answered.  While I was waiting, I had been visualizing who I wanted to answer:  Someone understanding, smart, knowledgeable, on my side, who could tell me exactly what to do to get the ball rolling again.

And that’s exactly who I got! She said there must have been a glitch in the system because there was no reason for denial at that stage.  She was going to send my application back into the system and promised that I should be hearing from someone soon.

Two days later, I got a personal email from a very nice loan processing subcontractor who was going to personally handle our application. It was so easy from there!

In four days, we were funded for FAR more than the amount I planned to ask for. (The SBA never asked how much we wanted; they just approved us for an amazingly large sum.)  We received the money at the absolute perfect time to meet our needs. All our business taxes and bills have been covered, and we still have most of the money sitting in the bank, in case we need it.  We have six months to decide whether to use more of it or send back the unused portion.  Whatever we do use, we can repay at 3% interest for up to 30 years!

Lately, we have seen a stream of wonderful new clients coming to both Rick and me, and we no longer have any stress or worry about how we will survive this challenging time.  I give ALL credit to God’s unfailing guidance and to myself for having faith AND for persisting, no matter what.

It is said that “dreams delayed are not dreams denied.”  I know this to be true. We just have to get up tomorrow morning and pursue them for one more day, and have faith that they will be fulfilled when the time is right.

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