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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Can't See the Forest From the Trees By Blanca Stella Mejia

I always pondered on this saying and don't think I really understood what it meant until today where I fully experienced this through a situation that presented itself for me as a perfect learning opportunity.

I was driving looking for an address."I think I know where I am going," my sister calls me on the cell phone. Here we are talking about our plans, our dreams and our future or should I say she was, because all of a sudden I find myself lost while she is talking up a storm as to "how on fire she is" with our dream. For the past year, we have worked intensely together creating a blueprint for our concepts and our dreams. The plan was we would be making these real estate deals so we could continue to fund our dreams. I had left my "job" after basically having a stable income for all of my adult life in some form or another. Of coarse, we were able to do this through a business credit line, of which we had anticipated to pay back within the year due to the projected sales of real estate.

But then came the real estate crash, who would have thought........ Go figure, right???? And even in the crash, with the listings we had, and good solid contracts coming in, the deals fell apart because the sellers were suddenly upside down. There is no way we could have foreseen the drastic drop in prices in one year in Miami. At the time the market seemed to be doing well. But life has a way of take funny turns. My sister is a single mother and I, while married, and in a very stable relationship had been the major bread winner in our household. All of a sudden my sister and I are faced with no income coming in and debts piling up. It so happened that at this time my sister was also in the process of a surgical procedure to repair damage to an injured ankle from a car accident five years ago. The pain was so bad from barely any cartilage, she could hardly walk.

We were both faced with: "Now what?" There was no other option but for me to go out and find another "job." This was excruciatingly difficult for me, probably as much as the pain in her ankle.

I have been in the system of working for someone and receiving a "paycheck" for 30 years since I got out of college. On the other hand, my sister has always been self-employed and an entrepreneur in her real estate business. Quite a different world for each of us. So when I began working with her, it really took a long while for me to make that shift from "paycheck mentality" to self-employed, entrepreneur, creator of my own destiny. Don't get me wrong, I have had my own small private practice and within the last 15 years worked as an independent contractor with different agencies. But our work together was different. It was creating something different.

We were really creating our hopes, dreams and desires. And then came the real estate market crash, and then the financial markets crash. I had to go back to work in something that I did not necessarily receive a great deal of satisfaction but in the moment paid the bills and most of the time barely.

Going back to the beginning of the story, while I am on the phone with her and lost looking for this address, she was been "TOTALLY "immersed in continuing the dream because her schedule and lifestyle at this point allows it. (Thank God because if not our dreams would have died). One person always has to hold that dream.

A few months ago, I re-entered the "system of work "and all that this entails. Yes living paycheck to paycheck as so many Americans do this day. Today happened to be a more frustrating day as I experienced computer problems etc. etc. etc.

As we were talking on the phone, I finally get fed up with going around in circles and tell her I need to get off the phone because I am lost and need to find this address before 5:00 pm. I focus and begin to think as I am driving, "I know I am in the right area. I am only a block off, how can
I not find this place? "

As I retrace my steps to where I had been earlier I decide to go a little further in what I had assumed and thought was a DEAD END because I was in my frustration of the emotion of my conversation with my sister and was not paying attention. As I went a couple of feet further, there was the address that I was looking for. Yes it was the DEAD END" I HAD NOT GONE FAR ENOUGH.

Funny in our conversation on the phone my sister had said something about pushing - pushing for the dream. While I felt sometimes I was drowning being back in the system and allowing myself to get frustrated about details, I understood what she was saying. I do the same in my marriage with my husband. Sometimes I hold the dream and push for the dream.

I realize that this is what is important in working with partnerships whether it is with my sister or with my husband, at some point in time one person of the partnership has to hold the dream.

We all go through those moments where we feel like giving up. I have been in that mode and today's experience reminded me of that. What I thought and saw as the DEAD END was really the final destination that I was looking for. We all somehow tend to give up right before we get to our final destination. It's that last mile that makes or breaks us. It's not being able to see the forest for the trees that we lose our vision.

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