Failure or Fantastic Voyage?

I’ve written only 4 blog posts this year, logged 28,000 miles on my car, spent over $3000 in gas and gained 20lbs.  And tomorrow I’ll drive 3 hours one way for my last appointment in Medicare supplement sales.  The last year-plus can be described by the 3 C’s.  Cold Calling, Commission-Only Sales and Cancellations.  I’m throwing in the towel, Giving up the Ghost, Deep Sixing my insurance business cards, and whatever other little catchy phrases you can think of for quitting something. 

A little over a year ago I was full of enthusiasm, I had my new business attire in one hand and my newly minted insurance license in the other.  I felt I had a “big girl” job.  I was ready to conquer the world of Medicare supplement sales.  And some months I did.  And some months I didn’t.  I earned a trip to Dallas as one of the “bright and shining stars” of rookie agents.  I earned tech bonuses and incentives.  And then people cancelled.  And then I couldn’t get appointments and worse yet, when I did, I couldn’t close the deal.

After 14 months I was wreck.  The movies, Glengarry Glen Ross and Death of a Salesman were playing in my head. The ups, the downs, the highs the lows, the gas bills, the fast food and the charge-backs.  Oh my. 

I felt like a failure. 

Then I found this quote.

So my “Anything” is going to be “Something”.  I’m going to take all that this year has thrown at me, stir it up and plant a beautiful garden.  The “ingredients” in my compost (I thought that was a better word than Sh*t) that were formed this last year are Patience, Compassion, Tenacity and Accountability. 

I’ve hugged hundreds of seniors, educated them, held their hand, helped them with subsidy and listened to their stories.  I was a good agent.  No, I was a great agent.  I just wasn’t a very good salesman.  And that’s okay. 

My compost is now rich with valuable tools and unforgettable memories.  It’s perfect for planting seeds for my next adventure. 

Sharon Ogle, LMT is now open for business full time.

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Sprezzatura….or what I learned from reality TV

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Don’t try this at home…

We all have those moments where we think, “Gee that was a bonehead move.”  Okay, well I have those moments where I think, “gee, that was a bonehead move.”  Over the years, I’ve learned to laugh at myself, and to not be offended when others are laughing at myself too.  To try to believe what my mother would always tell me, “Sherry, (yes she named me after liquor which might explain a few things) we are not laughing at you, we are laughing with you.”  Liar.  They were all laughing at me. Which is okay.  I’ve come to accept this and it’s made me who I am today.

The reason I’m revisiting these old memories is because it happened again just yesterday.  That little brainstorm of an idea that I fleetingly think, “THIS is brilliant!”  “Yes, this WILL work, problem solved.”

Last night I was moonlighting at my second of three jobs, giving a well-deserving client a wonderful relaxing massage.  While they were face-down in dream land, I’m busying myself with important things like reading the quotes hanging on my office walls, thinking about what I want for dinner, checking my breath.  Checking my breath you say?  Why yes, who wants a massage therapist breathing down on their face with nasty halitosis.  Usually I always pop an altoid in my mouth before I breathe on anyone.  Last night I was out of altoids.  No breath savers, no gum, only a small table full of essential oils. 

I started to get obsessed with my carbon dioxide output.  I mentally went over what I had to eat that day.  Coffee, garlic caesar salad, chocolate, more coffee.  That was it.  Oh geez.  I very stealthily cupped my hand over my mouth and tried to test my breath.  Try doing this while giving a massage without them noticing.  Yea, well I’m good at it.  And yes, my breath could’ve knocked over a lineman for the Oregon Ducks (had to mention them with the BCS championship coming up)

So, here comes my first bonehead move of 2011.  I preface this by saying I’ve been watching way too much reality TV, the show of the moment is, “My Strange Addiction.” Every night I stare glassy-eyed at the television while young girls eat strange items like laundry detergent and chalk.  And nothing detrimental seems to happen to them!  So, then I glanced over at my essential oils, the peppermint one in particular and thought, “What the heck, we have peppermint lifesavers, peppermint tea, peppermint gum…”  Before I knew it, I was downing drops of peppermint essential oil in the hopes of freshening my putrid breath so as not to offend my comatose client. 

Did you read the title of this post?  DO NOT TRY THIS PEOPLE.  My mouth started to burn, my eyes started to water, my lips went numb.  My essential oil essentially made me really pissed off.  There are people out there drinking laundry soap for Pete’s sake and living to tell about it on national television and I’m going to die a slow death in my office because of a few measly drops of essential oil.

Well, I didn’t die and I lived to tell the tale.  First lesson learned of the new year.  Only put store-bought, ready to grab items at the check-out counter like gum, colorful mints and teeny-weeny bottles of Scope into my mouth when trying not to repulse the masses.

I can now rest easy knowing that 2011 has been christened with my first official bonehead move and I can erase from my memory 2010’s version when I tried to iron out the packaging bumps in my brand new nylon area rug.  Yep, I now own a not-so-brand new area rug with a classic iron print in the middle of it.  Nylon will melt my friends, do not try this at home  🙂

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Visualize Success

Happy New Year Everyone.  This is the time of year to turn over a new leaf, start that fad diet or tackle a rigid exercise routine.  A time for resolutions that will mostly be forgotten before all the seasonal bowl games are finished.   

I like to make resolutions. I’m very competitive and I look at it as a game I play against myself.  I usually only make one every year and I think long and hard about it before I commit.  Because I honestly don’t want to fail, we all want to be winners.   I usually tell anyone that will listen what my new goal is so it’s publicly out there and I’m accountable for it.  In 2009 I vowed to always take the stairs.  My massage office is on the 4th floor of my building and I usually park even higher still in the parking garage but nonetheless, up and down I trudged with gallons of lotion, 20 pound sheet bags, my purse that always includes at least one book and a wallet that could be used for a barbell. To make it worse when I would arrive in the foyer of my building the elevator doors would automatically open for me, sayin’ “Come on, ride me, you know you want to.” And I did want to, but I stayed the course.  I won in 2009.  No elevators only stairs.

2010 brought another lofty challenge.  One that perhaps some of you helped me work towards.  I pledged to try to write a postcard a day to someone.  I had tons of postcards and lots of old stamps and I thought how fun it would be to send postcards to random recipients.  We all enjoy getting mail, especially if it isn’t junk or bill related. 

Half the fun was choosing the right post card for the right person.  The responses I received were awesome.  People told me it made their day, children especially enjoyed a little surprise just for them in their mailbox.  One time I sent one to a random gift shop owner on the coast.  As we were chatting I casually picked up her business card and later mailed her a cute postcard.  When I returned several months later, there was the postcard tacked up behind her cash register.  That time it made my day.  I wish I could say I won in 2010 but my random posts ended in mid May.  Mundane life got the better of me.  I still have lots of colorful cards so if you are someone I know keep an eye out for a little missive in your mailbox and if you are someone I don’t know and would like a little randome missive, post your name and address or shoot me an email and I’ll make your day with a little love sent from Oregon.

So, here it is 2011.  My resolution this year is somewhat less concrete.  Actually, it’s not concrete at all.  It has to do with creating the life you want through visualization.  I’m a big day dreamer and I pretty much believe you can create the life you want by visualizing every detail of it in your mind’s eye.  Okay, don’t commit me to the loony farm yet.  There have been lots of studies, especially in sports, where one can increase their effectiveness by seeing a positive outcome in their mind.  I’ve seen it work for me often on the tennis court.  I visualize an ace and voila! there it is.  It’s almost scary to me to see how positive imaging affects my life.  So I decided this was the year I put it to the test and really dedicated time for it.  I perused my 400+ books, picked out the ones that would help me achieve my goal and am now publicly declaring that I will try to set aside 15 minutes a day to positive visualization.  I’m going to incorporate it into every aspect of my life and we’ll see what happens.  I want to win my little challenge in 2011.  Wish me luck.  Right now I’m going to go visualize a big piece of chocolate cake 🙂

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Dear Blog

Dear Blog,

I haven’t shown you any love for 46 days.  No new posts, no new comments and no checking my stats page every other minute.  I’ve been kinda busy.  I know that’s an old, worn out excuse but it’s the best one I have at the moment.  And it’s true.  Completely 1000 percent true.  But now I find myself on a rainy Saturday night trying not to corrupt my morals with warped reality television and not being fully engaged with my Pulitzer prize-winning book group selection, I have a moment to revisit my old friend.

When last we talked, I was going through a multitude of changes.  New glasses, new contacts, new job, new home, new attitude.  Since it’s been 46 days, let’s update, shall we?

In regards to my “To see or not to see” post, my little miss four-eyes moniker is no more.  Pretty much as soon as I hit the “Publish” button on that post, I fell in love with my bifocal contacts.  I now slip them in and out of my eyes in seconds, they work well enough that I don’t need to reach for reading glasses to read my phone, or a label or just about anything with super duper, itsy bitsy, teeny weeny lettering.  And I’ve only lost 2.  But I found them.  One in a different contact case and one I found all dried up in my bed.  Don’t ask.  Don’t tell.

Regarding the new home.  Love it.  Perfect size.  Perfect yard.  Unpacked enough to feel moved in but not so much that I still don’t search for my sewing kit in the myriad of boxes still packed in the garage.  With Thanksgiving looming, the days of a beautiful bountiful table with lots of family gathered round will be different.  But I have confidence that we will park our beautiful butts on benches, couches and pillows and have plenty of turkey with holiday side dishes, football, cross-words and I think this year we will start a new tradition with a rousing game of Texas Hold ’em. 

Unfortunately, there’s a sad note to the home update.  My cat of 11 years, Chipper, ran away.  I’d prefer to think he went out for a night on the town and forgot his way home.  His collar was found in the back yard of a million dollar home, I think he was just looking for a bit of the good life before his nine lives were up.

I guess the biggest update would be on the job front.  The little engine that could turned into the little engine that did.  I successfully passed my Oregon State Insurance Exam.  Not without hours of online studying, more hours of cursing wrong answers to sample exams, and through it all, drinking one too many glasses of wine while wallowing in self-doubt. But I huffed and I puffed and made it up the hill to do a little dance and roll into the valley of 40 hour work weeks, weekly staff meetings, excel spread sheets and morning Starbucks coffee.  I can’t say I’ve exactly arrived, but I’m knockin’ on the door.  I’m educating and helping seniors with their Medicare supplement coverage and receiving thank-you’s and hugs in return.  It’s rewarding and intimiating and tiring all at the same time.  But I seem to be good at it and my wallet is fatter to prove it.

So, that’s why I have neglected you my old friend.  Can you forgive me?  I promise when I’m not here, I’m out gathering ideas and stories to share with you.  Ones that will make us both richer in memories and content. 

So long for now, but remember, I will be back.

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To see or not to see…

 

That truly is the question. 

The aging process has bombarded my body with achy joints, gray hair, ugly brown spots on my skin and the most painful of all….bad eyesight.  I have methodically combated all the other age indicators with handfuls of glucosomine, bottles of hair dye, dollar store make-up (ok, I’m cheap) and now, glasses, or contacts, or maybe glasses and contacts.  Ahhh.  That is the other question.

I’ve known my eyesight was slipping for nearly ten years.  The defining moment is embedded in my memory.  I was enjoying my nightly ritual of cozy pajama pants, hot tea or Grand Marnier, how crazy my day was decided which, and a good book.  I realized I couldn’t read the print.  It was fuzzy.  Was it a Grand Marnier night?  Nooo.  Then why couldn’t I read the words?  They were fading in and out of focus.  Well, after several nights of the same experience, I drove myself to the local drugstore, pajama pants and all, and bought my first pair of reading glasses.  1.0 on the magnifying Richter scale.  Problem solved.

Well, the problem was solved temporarily.  As all of you know, aging waits for no one.  As the years progressed, my vision worsened to the point of where my dollar store glasses (yes, they have glasses too!  Great store.) are now a 2.0.  I need them for everything. 

Well, not everything.  Apparently, my distance vision is nearly perfect.  I learned this fact when I broke down and went to the eye doctor.  With all the studying I’ve been doing for my new insurance gig, it was time I got a regular eye exam.  My goal was to alleviate the constant put ’em on, take ’em off, put ’em on, take ’em off, rollercoaster ride of cheap reading glasses.  So, to solve the problem, I could either get, fancy no-line, progressive glasses with smart frames to make me look über intelligent, or cool contacts. 

I opted for the latter.  Now I know there are people out there that have worn contact lenses for almost their entire lives.  They got their first pair in the womb.  They flip them in and out of their eyes with a deftness that would rival a surgeon.  I, on the other hand, have hands like a monkey, ok scratch that, monkeys look like they are good at small motor skills.  I have hands that are good for large motor skills, ones that wring, squeeze and manipulate muscles for a living.

Learning to handle contacts is a skill I can now say I have. Sort of.  I’ve learned how to pull my eyelid back, make sure my contact’s not inside out, (it has to make a bowl, not flatten out) grab it like a taco if it is, turn it around, balance it on the tip of my finger but make sure my finger is not too wet…open wide… hold my breath… zero in on my baby blues and pray it sucks onto my eyeball.  It now takes me an average of 3 attempts instead of the previous 20 to accomplish this.

So, after all this, the cleaning and the dropping and the cleaning again and the losing (yes I lost one for a day) and the burning and blurred vision and the three trips back to the eye doctor to try different lenses…. I’ve decided I don’t like them.  Wah.  I really wanted contacts to be the answer to my reading vision woes.  I wanted to be that chic, middle-aged woman who looked like she had perfect eyesight.  The one that didn’t have to struggle to find her glasses when reading menus, labels and her cell phone.

My nearly perfect distance vision kept me from being that lady.  I learned that bifocal contacts are a blended balance between a correction with your near and far-sighted vision. In striving to get my perfect reading vision, my distance vision became slightly blurry.  My daily life right now is a constant struggle to attain clarity and find a clear direction.  The last thing I need to do is cloud it up with blurry vision.

So with somewhat a defeated attitude, I hope “Guys still make passes at girls who wear glasses.”  In the meantime,  just sign me,

Little Miss Four Eyes.

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The little engine that could…

In my last blog post, “Working Girl”, I was lamenting how I was looking for a “real job,” one that provided health benefits, 401k’s, one that didn’t include icing my hands down at night.  My resume just didn’t cut the mustard when trying to attain an interview in a corporate setting.

Then stuff happened.  In another blog post, “Do you believe in Angels?,” I wrote how I look for the signs that point the way for me.  Through a massage client I hadn’t seen in 6 months, I received a direction.  One I couldn’t let go of.  A sign?  I don’t know, but it was an opportunity I decided to follow. 

An opportunity in sales.  Ugh.  That’s a bad 5-letter word for me.  Me, sell stuff?  Something I’ve mightily fought against during my kid’s school days.  No, I don’t want to sell raffle tickets.  No, I don’t want to sell wrapping paper.  No, I don’t want to put myself out there and take a chance on rejection.

That’s what it really comes down to, is rejection.  My already fragile ego didn’t need anymore knocks against it.  So, why did this time, I decide to pursue this career direction in sales?  Because they wanted me.  They looked past my lack of sales experience and looked at me.  The girl who graduated with a Speech Communications degree, the one who passed the financial Series 7 exam on the first attempt, the one that could talk to just about anyone about just about anything.  Isn’t that what selling is all about?  Talking with people and convincing them that your product will change their lives for the better in some way. 

It’s an exciting, scary, nerve-wracking time for me.  What about if I’m not good at it?  What about if I can’t pass the Oregon state insurance exam?  Yes, it’s selling insurance.  Health insurance to senior citizens.  Supplements to Medicare.  I haven’t quite wrapped my head around it yet, but I will.

This is a time to practice what I hear others preach.  “Happiness is a Choice,” “Opportunities Are What You Make of Them,” and “Whether You Believe You Can or You Can’t, You are Probably Going to be Right.”

This is my test.  Can I keep a positive attitude?  Can I believe in myself?  And finally, at 52, can I learn something new and work harder than I’ve ever had to before?”

Yes, I can.  Just watch me.

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