My mother says I popped out of her womb with a sunny disposition.
And an insatiable appetite to never be left behind.
Or left out.
Or hemmed in.
And although seriously premature for my era – I’m a Baby Boomer and there were no incubators in the New York City hospital I was born in – I was determined to win the fight to stay in the land of the living.
And grabbed every brass ring on the merry-go-round of survival.
And won first prize.
The gift of life.
The hills as the sun rises over my rural property in the beautiful Central Tablelands of NSW.
The doctors and nurses were initially sceptical about my chance of survival. To put it bluntly, they were full of doom and gloom. And prepared my mother and father for the worst.
They had no explanation for my unexpected survival other than ‘my attitude’.
My mother was fond of telling me the story of how the nurses wrapped me in blankets every morning to present me to her.
Because that’s how it was done in those days. We newborns slept in the nursery at night and were given to our mothers at appointed hours each day, tightly swaddled, as if ready for the stork.
By the time the nurses got me to my mother’s room, they were full of apologies for the state of my ‘baby bunting’.
Which was in complete disarray.
A Eucalyptus Stringybark in the early morning sunshine.
Because during the trip down the hospital corridors, I managed to fight my way out of the bunting which restricted me. I was all arms and legs swirling about. With a set of lungs to match.
And defied any attempt to neaten me up.
Secretly, my mother was quite proud of her little bundle of chaos!
As I was growing up, I was a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde personality.
Quite shy on one hand.
Yet always prepared to ‘give something a go’ on the other.
A paddock ‘sculpture’, Dinosaurus Alamosaurus, under the darkening sky this morning.
When I was ten years old, my father was given a toy violin as a Christmas present by his staff. Because every time one of them told him a sob story about why they couldn’t do ‘x’, ‘y’, or ‘z’, my dad played the figurative violin to them.
Intrigued by this violin, I played with it. And although lost in the memory of time as to why, I developed a comedy skit around it. A one woman show. And presented it to my class on our weekly ‘Friday Afternoon Talent Time’.
I know. I’m a shy child. But I always lost my shyness in front of an audience.
My teacher loved it. And invited me to present it to the next Board Of Directors gathering for my school district.
I said . . . YES!
And went on to perform this sketch numerous times in front of adult audiences at a variety of school functions.
Instead of my father driving me to tap dance lessons, he was driving me to perform my one woman show all over my county.
The Hanging Tree, named after the ubiquitous dead trees in every Clint Eastwood spaghetti western, with the sun rising behind it.
This was the beginning of my love affair with the word ‘YES’!
A YES lead me into high school public speaking. And then debating. And then to a stint after school at a local radio station. And a position on my high school newspaper as a reporter.
To my first paid job working on Saturdays in a department store at the age of 13.
At university I said YES so many times to so many things, I had to reflect on my ability to study hard to ensure I kept my academic scholarships. Which paid my tuition.
This is the point in my life where I also learn to say NO.
But YES was, and is, my dominant leaning.
The pear tree in blossom in a corner of my vegetable garden. The curved tin roof covers my fireplace, which is a 44 gallon drum sunk into the ground. It provides much needed and lovely warmth in winter.
My journey along the Yellow Brick Road of life is no different to anyone else’s. The unexpected twists and turns and detours down dark alleys are part of life.
When the building industry was the first industry to implode and crash with devastating after shocks in Paul Keating’s ‘recession we had to have’ in 1992, and losing everything my partner Victor Pleshev and I ever worked for – his architectural practice, my marketing consultancy, 16 employees, our home, personal possessions, cars – and having to start over and reinvent ourselves at an age when others were planning for and looking forward to an early retirement – was a very dark alley to find ourselves in.
And believe me, it ranks up there towards the top, of some of the biggest ‘YES! I will do this and come out the other end’ events in my life.
The sky over my woolshed at 6AM this morning.
But my love of saying ‘YES’ and giving things a go has always been empowering.
YES! We will reinvent ourselves! was our reason to go forward.
It was the foundation for our future.
It was a better option than standing still.
Spinning our wheels.
Or worse, going backward.
Or even worse, licking our wounds and curling up in a foetal position to hide.
My YES! was much louder and stronger than Victor’s.
Kangaroos at the ready. To take off.
He was well and truly shell shocked.
He is, by his own admission, a glass half empty sort of guy.
And at times his glass can be – completely – empty.
It’s his wry sense of humour and witty cynicisms that endear him to me. To his friends. And his clients.
It was my YES! So strong and raucous. That carried him with me.
And he, too, started to believe YES! We can do this!
And we will succeed!!
It took us into a zone where we had to stretch ourselves.
To reinvent ourselves by trying something new.
To journey down roads without a map.
Sometimes it was like driving in the dark on a narrow, twisting country road without headlights.
A Kookaburra sits in a Stringybark, with the first rays of sun colouring him ever so slightly.
Precarious! And scary.
Failure is part of the learning curve and we had many.
It often meant we had to step back and reflect.
To change. Modify. Or tweak what we were doing.
And go off in yet another direction where we were leaving one zone of discomfort to enter yet another zone of greater discomfort.
A Diamond Firetail foraging in the early morning sunshine.
Always pushing the boundaries a little bit further.
Learning something new.
That enabled us to create the business we have today.
After designing our 5 products, Victor is blissfully back to being a rural architect.
And I’m the Ironing Diva who happily runs our world wide mail order business based on the 5 products Victor designed when we didn’t have two cents to rub together.
The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover now has 300,000 customers around the world.
The trunk of a majestic Eucalyptus Yellowbox coloured by the rising sunshine behind it.
It’s still hard for me to believe that we accomplished this from a starting position of being down and out.
Almost all the wonderful things that have happened in my life – and there have been so very many – are the result of me embracing the word ‘YES’!
Of being prepared to put myself forward to face new challenges.
YES! I will do that! is the mantra to a life of achievement.
Join me next time?
Tell me what you think.
Your comments are always welcome.
Your stories, thoughts, experiences add to the fabric of the conversation.
And I acknowledge your comment with a reply.
All the best,
Supporting links to websites.
Photos are courtesy of me, Carol Jones, Ironing Diva and taken on my rural property in the beautiful Central Tablelands of NSW this morning at sunrise, 13th September 2012.
Photo 1 is the sunrise this morning at 6am on my rural property.
You can read my story about How I Became The Ironing Board Cover Lady, click this link.
When I’m not out in the paddocks in the morning photographing my beautiful Wild Blue Yonder, I’m the purveyor of the one of the world’s finest ironing board covers, The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover. And 5 other beautifully designed items of excellence. You can read all about them at my website, InterfaceAustralia. The home of Simple Solutions For Difficult Problems!
And made with love and care in rural Australia by men and women who have a disability. They put their heart and soul into everything they do. And it shows.
Every product is a joy to use. I guarantee it.