Category Archives: Passion In Action

I Want to, But…

Hello All,

I was talking to a friend yesterday about how I have been feeling STUCK.  I am a B personality with A tendencies.  I can’t stand to be bored in my job or in life in general.  That is why I have so many hobbies and creative things I do.  I rotate them so I don’t get bored.

I work with some great people and that is the biggest part of what makes a happy work environment.   I usually get bored with a position within a year of starting it.  My current position has kept me VERY busy and challenged for 6 years.  That is a record for me, but I am facing some realities at this point.  Due to the size and leadership structure, there is no place for me to advance, or transfer to in this company.  I am very good at what I do, but in many ways it doesn’t satisfy me.  I have always known this, but it pays the bills.

Should the choice be employed or happy?  No!!  If you aren’t happy doing what your are doing then figure out what would make you happy.   Yes, there are many people, including myself, who have financial restrictions of varying types.  When you choose to  make the leap and you really are willing to put in the work then you can make anything happen.  I have heard this from many people, “Success looks a lot like work.”  This is so true!

I am not saying quit your job, then figure it out.  This is where you do the preparations while you are working until it’s time to take the leap.

NOONE has the perfect life!  There is always a price that has to be paid at some point.   When I say nothing is free, I mean NOTHING!  You have to give something up to have something else.  YOU get to choose!  There is always a price, trade off and you decide if it is worth the price.

I spent many years trying to figure out what I thought would make me happy.  I know today what that is…wait for it.   Back to my conversation, my friend agreed that she was feeling the same way, but it’s too late to make a change in career now.   There was a time I would have agreed with her.   Today…not so much.

I know what I want to do!  My life up has been preparing me for this line of work since I was born.  For me the experiences I have had are the price I had to pay to be able to do my dream job.  Perspective is everything!

My passion is helping others through the transitions we have to make in life.  Finding that place where your soul and the world meet. In this place you know it will all work out the way it should.  I enjoy a hybrid of Eastern and Western medicine.  I lean East though.

I have been hesitant to put my idea or plan in writing on my blog, but seriously if someone wants to do this in their area then DO IT!  It is a fabulous plan, but a TON of work, training, and finding capital, doing a business plan and getting all the RIGHT people together.

All this to say, I am older than my boss and for me it’s not too late! For me…the time is EXACTLY RIGHT!

IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO TRY!!

My next blog entry will be all able my vision…

The Shift – Being an Ombudsman

Hey!

I admit it…I have been, sort of, off the grid for a few months.  Philanthropy is a passion of mine and I found a niche that has changed my life.  I have been getting certified to be an Ombudsman for Long-Term Care in Tarrant County.

Federal law requires that each state have an ombudsman program to advocate for the residents of long-term care facilities.  These include licensed nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and assisted living communities.  This program is designed to ensure that the residents rights are honored and they are treated with dignity and respect.

I had this image of what nursing homes were and what it would be like to serve the residents.  Anyone who has someone they love living in a nursing home due to some medical condition knows that this is something people in general don’t consider until they have no other option.

These communities have people of all ages.  An accident can happen to anyone at anytime.  Lives are changed in a second.  When it does happen it is very difficult to manage your feelings, that of the injured and the family, and sort through everything that is suddenly now on your plate.  Insurance, finances,  doctors, time….the list goes on and on.  As the resident or patient, you can feel like you have lost all control and all your rights as a person.  Overwhelmed is the only word I can come up with when I imagine how it would feel to be in their shoes.

During the process of training, and shadowing my supervising ombudsman there has been a shift in my mindset…my soul.  I have to stay objective, which is very hard since I am a nurturing person.  I have come to understand the importance of objectivity, while caring for each of these people.  It is a fine line I must walk, but it is so worth it.

When I am there and talking to these people, helping them or just chatting, they know that their lives matter.  Someone is watching and they are important.

All the day-to-day BS that was irritating me even a couple of weeks ago, now doesn’t phase me.  In the scheme of things it really is unimportant.  I was not excepting this kind of shift to happen.  There is a calmness that has taken over that allows me the objectivity to not only help others, but help myself.

It is a divine gift I have been given.

UNCONDITIONAL: The Week of a Lifetime

Hey there,

I have been back from my retreat for a week now.  I have been physically laid up so my mind has been working overtime. Transitioning back into reality has been bumpy, but so much easier with all the ladies who are now part of my life.

Putting words to my feelings and the internal shift that has happened for me has been a challenge, but today it came to me…

UNCONDITIONAL

I can put that word in front of every feeling I have about the retreat and it fits!!

LOVE – JOY – FRIENDSHIP – HAPPINESS – FUN – FUTURE – ASPIRATIONS – INSPIRATION – FORGIVENESS – ACCEPTANCE

I didn’t feel there were any conditions to be met while I was there!

I am not holding myself back with conditions now!  I have always had conditions that I had to meet before everything…EVERYTHING!!

For my future, life, happiness, self-love, fun, aspirations and joy now to be unconditional is the most freeing feeling I have ever felt.  My feelings are unconditional.  What I mean by that is I can allow myself to let my feelings wash over me and let them go without being carried away and lost in some past event or future fear.  I have experienced what it feels like to just notice how I am feeling, feel it and then move on.  I have heard about this, read about this and dreamed about this, but after this retreat I am free to experience it!!

MY LIFE IS UNCONDITIONAL!

MY FUTURE IS UNCONDITIONAL!

THIS IS MY REALITY  TODAY AND I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR IT!!

Love you all

Brenda the Brave

Before The show To The Afterglow…

I just spent the last 7 days in Fort Lauderdale at the Matthew Hussey Retreat and they OVER DELIVERED!!  These last 7 days have been the 7 best days of my life!  HANDS DOWN!  I am struggling with the words to adequately describe my experience.

I guess I will start by explaining a few things about myself, so you can understand how just doing the event is outside of my comfort zone.

  1. I have never indulged myself with a vacation on this scale ever!  My trips are either for work, family, or on the cheap.  This was very selfish and indulgent and you know what….I FUCKING DESERVE IT!!
  2. Since I have been working in accounting I have NEVER taken a vacation in the middle of month-end close.  I only did things that fell in the middle two weeks of the month.  This retreat was all during that time.  When I asked for the time off I went in armed with how I was going to get my month-end duties done and noone would be effected.  I have the best boss…she said YES!!
  3. I have spent most of my life avoiding still pictures never mind video taping.  They asked for volunteers to be video interviewed throughout the retreat to tell about their experiences.  I volunteered and followed through with it.  I am so grateful that I did!
  4. I have not had to share my sleeping space for more than a night here or there.  I am not great with this, but I asked to have a roommate for the retreat.  My roommate was amazing and I have a new forever friend.
  5. I am an extroverted-Introvert, which means that I enjoy being around people and being social, but I have to be alone to energize before and after.  When I have had enough socialization I need to go be alone for a while.  This is a full immersion program and there are about 200 people that are around each other a majority of the time, while being vulnerable.  It was totally worth it!

Here is the link about the retreat I just finished:  Matthew Hussey Retreat

Let me just say one thing here.  I shared this link with my Sister-In-Law and she was put off by the fact that the website is through “Get The Guy”  This is NOT a retreat on how to date or find a guy!!  Matthew just happens to be able to help women understand men on a different level.  This retreat is about YOU, ONLY YOU!!  Whatever it is you are struggling with in life the process used for this retreat will give you the tools to blast through anything that is holding you back.   For me it was ME holding me back!

Does it work?! HELL YES!!

I came on this retreat fully open to taking risks and ready to accept change on an internal and fundamental level.  I learned a great deal about the roles I play, when I  worked the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.  This process was a great break through in seeing how I  behave, better than any therapy session I have every had.   I was gifted with an amazing AA group where feeling safe was paramount.  I had to get used to having female friends and being hugged against my will.  🙂  I have many posts on here that talk about various stages in my growth since 2009.

My personal cast of characters: victim, viking, martyr, judge and jury. I have gotten used to recognizing when these characters pop up, pausing and asking why?  I have a great boss who can help me change my perspective if one of my negative buttons has been pushed.  My viking is always ready to go.

One thing that I have never been able to do is forgive myself and see myself through loving and accepting eyes.  I am always judging the outside and comparing it to others.  I always come up short.  I look back at pictures of when I was 18 – 24 and I really should have had nothing to be unhappy about, but I hated myself and thought I was fat.

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My running partner growing up
My running partner growing up

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This is how I picture myself in my head so when I look in the mirror now it is a struggle between history and reality.  Opening my heart to love myself has been impossible, until now.

The team on this retreat and the women at the retreat are absolutely amazing.  The environment is a safe environment.  I chipped my front tooth on day 0.  Any other time it would have ruined my experience, but somehow I was able to forget about it and get the most out of the retreat.  I just followed through on the video interviews regardless.  I took pictures with various girls on the retreat and with Matthew, way outside my comfort zone.  I am trying very hard not to judge or compare myself.  It is all easier today to do this for myself.

Each day builds on the one before and by the end you have all the tools you need to set goals and create a strategy, as well as instill behaviors to attain those goals.  We identify our obstacles, mine being ME, and address how to overcome those obstacles.  I am being very careful here in describing the process because it is truly unique and extremely effective.  If you want to experience a life changing adventure you have to go on the retreat…Matthew Hussey Retreat.

My experience on this retreat was that I got exactly what a came for and more!!  I finally made that journey from knowing what a unique and amazing woman I am to feeling it.  There are a few processes that we go through that breakdown the walls I put up to protect myself.  I was not only keeping you from hurting me but I was not allowing myself in to love or potentially hurt myself.  I am very practiced at verbally and physically abusing myself.   (i.E.:  harsh words, but all so through anorexia,  bulimia, bingeing or physically hitting myself) I recognized recently that I actually gave up completely on my physical appearance.   We went through 3 processes in the 5 days that blasted down these walls.  These behaviors will NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN!!  When the urge comes to self judge these images come up:

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I AM FUCKING ADORABLE!!  I still am and I just have not allowed myself to feel that way  or see myself that way.  It is going to take work to keep this mindset, but I will, I WILL AT ALL COST!!

I have a huge resource with the other women from the retreat for accountability.  I was called up on stage the first day of the retreat and overcame my fear of speaking in front of strangers.  When that barrier was broken the rest was all down hill.  It took a bit to get used to everyone knowing me and I didn’t know all of them.  I have never felt so much love at one time as when these women cheered for me while I was on stage.

By the end of day 2 I felt like, if you don’t like me I don’t care!  I was now on my side!  I now felt the love for myself that I never allowed before.  Little did I know that it was only going to be come more powerful by the end of day 5.

There aren’t enough words to describe how grateful I am to everyone on the team!  The men on the team have demonstrated the standard for any man that I will allow in my life.  I would rather be amazing and single (I am not alone!) than in a relationship with a man who does not meet MY standards.

There was a wall around my heart, now there is a door, but you have to have the key gentlemen, and I do mean gentleman.

I have only one last thing to share:  In my experience we all have different problems, events that cause us pain.  We are all at different stages, have different experiences that we are trying to over come.  It’s not for us to compare or judge another’s pain or experience it is for us to look inside ourselves and find a place of peace.  This retreat works because no matter where you are in this process, if you are open to it, the process will change your life for the better.

Thank you Matthew for being the “Man in the Arena” and pulling this team of amazing people together to change my life!!  I won’t let you down.

LOOK OUT WORLD HERE I COME!!

Love you all!

Brenda the Brave

 

 

 

 

SPARK JOY: BEFORE & AFTER

I finally made it and this journey was life changing as promised.  Many of my friends laugh when I talked about the process.  Others said that they want to do this but with a family and house it is a huge undertaking.  I will say it is a lot of work.  You really have to be committed to the process and willing to invest in YOURSELF.

I started this because when I listened to Marie Kondo’s book on Audible she spoke about the emotional and behavior changes that happen as a result of going through this process.  Honestly, I wasn’t sure that anything would change behaviorally for me.  My habits are deeply ingrained in my life.

I always hated folding clothes and rarely put them away partly due to being lazy, but I found partly due to the fact that the way I stored them I could not see what I had.  Not only do I like the folding process that Marie Kondo teaches, but I love the fact that I can see what I have at a glance and my drawers and closet are beautiful too!  Also, during this process I found myself caring more about how a care for my clothes and how I look in them.  I started to love myself more!

folded clothes

Books and papers really do hold the energy of the words in them.  I only have uplifting books in my home now.  I had all my paperwork except for current bills.  I did not realize the weighed down I was having all of it taking up space.  I also burned all of my old journals and items that carried negative energy related to past events and relationships.  I can’t describe what a relief that was to have that energy out of my life.  It was all holding me back.

Here are some before and after pictures:

closet left before after closet right before after Pantry Before-After

kitchen before 2kitchen before

Kitchen after 1 kitchen after 2 kitchen after 3

Bath before after bath before after2 laundry before after

Here is a picture of my donations:

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The feeling I get when I walk into my home now is calm & happiness.

I actually want to keep it clean and have been putting things away on a daily basis.  Honestly, it felt a little weird because I have never lived in a space that truly made me happy.  There was always that…I need to, or I have to…I don’t have that voice nagging me today.  My self-esteem got a boost too!

Honestly, if I can do this I can do anything!!

This is one of the best things I have ever done for myself!!

Spark Joy: My Emotional Experience

This experience of clearing my home of anything that does not spark joy has been surprising.  I knew that I would feel better have a more clutter free home, who wouldn’t.  The surprise was the emotional journey I went on through this process.  Konmari speaks of this in her book, but I really didn’t believe it until I went through the process.

This was an emotional cleansing and yet another angle to look at my life as it is.  What is holding me back? Am I happy? What will do I want my life to be?  I must create the life I want!!

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In October 2015 I felt like I was at a crossroads.  I have walked through my past, allowed myself to feel everything I had stuffed away and I found the other side.  It’s a strange feeling when all that stuff has been a part me for all these years, it was like losing an old friend.  There is a grieving process.  When I was through and back in the light I knew I had to move forward into unfamiliar territory.  I knew I was going to need help with this process.

I found Matthew Hussey through an interview he did on the radio one morning.  I got his book “Get The Guy” on audible and listened to him and watched his videos.  I was moved to find out more about his organization.  I found his 5.5 day retreat.  THAT’S IT!! I knew I wanted to do his retreat.  I set up an interview and I was one of the lucky 100 women approved to attend his retreat in May 2016.  They have a team that has been working with me up to the time of the retreat and they will continue after the retreat as well.  I leave for the retreat on May 29th – IN 8 DAYS!!

I decided in the months prior to the retreat to get things in my home in order before I leave so there are no excuses when I get back.   I was looking for books with ideas on how to boost morale at work when I found Marie Kondo’s book “Spark Joy”.  I thought, hell ya this is perfect!!  I ordered it on Audible and listened to it while I worked.  This has been a 2-3 month process to get through this decluttering.  I only have the kitchen left and it will be done today.  I want to tell you about everything up to now and the emotional decluttering I did during this process.

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Over my life I have managed to accumulate tons of baggage that has taken up space in my head and heart.  When I first started loading it I could pull without much effort and it grew gradually but so did my strength or tolerance.  I continued down paths where i just added to this cart and it just became normal.  In the past 5 years I have opened and gone through all the baggage on my cart and my tolerance for carrying it today is nil.  I realized during this Spark Joy process that this baggage is now pulling me backward.  I decided as part of my emotional decluttering to thank all these things for teaching me the lessons I needed to learn and serving their purpose, but now I am saying good-bye forever.

goodbye burning cleansing

This process really did set me free, but my friend who allowed me to use her fireplace paid a price for this.  During the process of burning the journals, letters, pictures, from years of therapy, relationships that just sucked the life out of me, the energy in those things were released and there was palpable tension in the house afterwards.  My friend sent me the last picture.  Her husband cleaned out the fireplace and they saged the house to remove any lingering negative energy.  I will say once the kitchen is done and the donations have been picked up by Salvation Army I am saging my apartment for good measure.

Also, my creativity level has increased and I have redone a number of pieces of furniture to tie my mismatched pieces together.

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My book folding projects completed:

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Those are just a few that I did during this time.  I have moved things around and I have organized making my apartment feel more like MY HOME than just a place to live.

I do feel so much happiness when I walk in and see only things I love and that give me joy around me.  I will say it is not helping get out more, I love being at home so much now.

May 25th, I will be posting the before and after transformation post.  All the stuff that is going will be gone and it will be easier to see the ultimate final outcome of this Konmari marathon.

Please tell me your thoughts on this process or ask any questions you might have about the Konmari process or the retreat or just my story in general.  Tell me your transformation story.

Love you all and I’ll talk to you soon!

 

My Dream House – Oh how it stirred my soul!!

Hey,

I love the spring, except for the hail storms we are getting here in Texas.  I posted about my Spark Joy-My Dream House.  Ever since I wrote this down I really want it!!  My desire to live in a space that gives me that feel of unity, color, creativity and comfort that feels like you just got a BIG HUG, has movitated me to finish my Spark Joy Marathon Tidying this weekend.  I purchased chaulk based paint and shelf liner paper to unify and spice up my current living space.

I have all my before pictures so as I complete each step, I will take after pictures and post them for all to see the transformation.

I want to hear from YOU!  What is you dream living space/life style?  Do you already have it? If not, sky’s the limit what would your space and place look like? where would you live?

You’d be amazed how much it stirs your soul to write about something that gives you joy!!

Tell me your story..

Brenda the Brave

Spark Joy – My Dream House

I spent last night trying to find pictures of what I want my house to look like and where it would be located.  Nothing totally fit, it was either too big, too small, too bland, too out there, so this morning my journaling session was describing my perfect home.writing-prompts7

It is located in the mountains, overlooking a pristine, crystal clear lake, with a huge deck that spans the width of the house  and expands in like a T in the center of the house.  The are bi fold french doors that open up to the living room and french doors to the art room on one side and the master bedroom on the other

The deck and floors are all dark wood, except the bathrooms and the art room.  The  middle of the house is all open concept with the state of the art kitchen near the entrance and a large island facing the view, the dinning table which is a handmade wood and mosaic with colorful fabric chairs, then the living space that is set up in a giant square so no matter what you want to do you are comfortable and have the view you want.  All the rooms have sliding barn style doors with a saying written on them, except the guest bathroom.

On the east side of the house is the master bedroom, bath, closet and laundry (connected to the closet), the walls in the open living space on this side has built-in storage and shelving. The door to the master is red and says “This room is filled with peace and love”, the door between the master and the bathroom closet area is a rich blue barn door, which says “There is beauty in all we see” the master bed and bath are a gentle sky blue on the walls with white trim and molding.  The blue has a gray hue so it serves as a neutral.  The artwork and accents in my bedroom are all colors and varieties, everything makes be smile.  I have a huge bed and a comfy sitting area that opens to the deck, art pieces and sculptures throughout the room.  The dresser stores fresh linens and blankets.  The bath has pops of color with the towels and flowers and art.  The closet is huge and painted a rich purple with a large multicolored ottoman and a slouchy chair in the center.   Two walls are all built-ins for clothes, shoes and anything else clothes related.  A pocket door opens to the laundry so there is no transporting of clothes around the house, only towels and sheets as needed.  Then there is a wall of shelves that contain memory boxes, journals, books, gifts, only the happy memories are kept and cherished in this special place. and in the dead center of the room is a chandelier, and covering the floor is a big fluffy white rug.  My own little power spot and a place to escape to when I need alone time.

On the west side of the house from entrance to deck is the guest room, bathroom, which connects to the guest room and the art room, and at the back the art room, which opens up to the deck and also has a comfy sitting area with a table for having coffee and looking out at the view.  The art room door is purple and says “Creativity makes my soul sing!!” and the guest room door is peacock blue and says “All who stay here are loved and bless this house.”  The art room has built-in for tons of storage, a giant wood work table and an easel, comfy stools.  The storage contains every conceivable supply you would need to make your hearts desire.  The guest room is a pale yellow with art work and plenty of storage in the closet and a basket of candles, towels, toiletries and a little note to greet them.

The deck has lantern lighting and metal fire pit, lots of seating and a table and chairs where the center has candles inset and surrounded by sea glass.  Outside the master on the deck is a water fountain and more seating. and my pets have free reign over the home, so dog or cat, expect some kind of fur ball to give you love while you are here.

Come in, sit down, what can I get you?

Time for a New Approach…Spark Joy

Okay,  it is confession time…I know I am not alone here…I always have clutter around me.  I reach a point where I clean and organize and declutter, but it is just a matter of time before the art projects take over my living room, the books I am reading pile up, the clothes are on the floor or in the drier and the dishes are in the sink.  The amount of “stuff” I have is not over whelming, because I used to move every year, which took  care of some of the excess.  I did some major decluttering, donating and trashing in December.  I have been working on my focus and direction in life, as well as, keeping the positive energy flowing in my life.

My progress this year has been slow forward movement, which is good, but I have been feeling a bit stuck.  So just like when a truck gets stuck in the mud or sand you need to either back up and add something to get traction.  For my work life I have been reading books on improving morale and positive leadership, which lead me to finding the book “Spark Joy, an illustrated master class on the art of organizing and tidying up” by Marie Kondo.  This sparked my interest because it hit all happy buttons:  joy, organizing, art, beauty and learning a new way of looking at something.

Marie teaches in a very specific way of decluttering based on keeping ONLY the things that spark joy when you see or touch them.  She also teaches how to store the things you keep in a way where it shows them respect, and energizes the space.  She discusses that a result of her teachings, based on feedback and experience, you will never not be a tidy person again.  Also, she has seen peoples lives change: after the class they enjoyed cooking, or their relationships improved, they made major decisions that they where not previously ready to make.

I look at it as when your home is cluttered your mind is cluttered.  The idea of being surrounded only by things that spark joy, everything having a place and showing your things respect you end up respecting yourself and any problems are easier to address.

I am embarking on this journey of “Spark Joy” today.  The first things she wants is for me to describe my dream living space and take pictures of my home as it is now so I can see the difference.  I know that I will be getting rid of many more things, but I thought this time I would try something that Adam Crockett in Passion In Action: Pure Steam RPG mentioned during his interview.  I am going to take the things I am getting rid of and going to post them on Craigslist for trade.  I want to see if I can trade them for things that do bring me joy.

I will follow up with the Before and after photo’s, pictures of the stuff I am trading and of what I get in return.  I think it will be interesting to see if I will be forever tidy and have some new joyful items in my home.

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PASSION IN ACTION: PURE STEAM RPG

It always amazes me how many people I know who make full use of their time doing projects or businesses for which they have a passion.   Some do projects or are creative just for the pleasure it brings them.  We all need to do things that give us joy, whatever that may be.  Others have carved out time and money to create their own businesses.  I hear all the time from people I have talked to or listen to people complain that they don’t have time or money to so something that makes them happy.  I am stuck in this job or I have a family to take care of…I have found people who knew that you can make time for everything that is important.  You would be amazed at how much time is wasted in an average day.

Adam Crockett works in the purchasing department where I work.  He has a demanding job, a wife and 3 daughters.  Even with all these demands on his time he managed to create a business creating supplements for role playing games without negatively impacting his work or family relationships.  I interviewed Adam recently and this is what I learned from him.

Brenda:   Tell me about your company and its products?  Do you have a website?

Adam:   Yes, we have a website it’s www.PuresteamRPG.com.  We are licensed to create supplements for Steampunk, Americana role playing games (RPG).   Here is the description from their Facebook page: “Pure Steam is a Pathfinder RPG compatible Steampunk setting. In the age of steam, coal is king. Play a moonshinin’ halfling alchemist in the Blue Ridge, a dwarven mechanical prodigy able to jury rig vehicles on the fly, and many more!”

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Brenda: I am really only familiar with online role playing games and honestly It’s not my thing, but I hang out with lots of people who love RPG’s.  What inspired you to do this?

Adam:  I have always been into RPG’s and have played for 20 years. I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit.  My dad owned his own business.  So, as I was working through my MBA, we had a lot of projects and papers to write and I always did them on RPG’s.  Through that process I found a niche that I wanted to fill.  I meet a guy through mutual friends who went to school for game design.  He had the desire to go into business, but he lacked the business side. We figured we would team up.

Brenda: I know you have a very demanding job, and your family is very important to you.  How did you carve out time to start this business and keep it going?

Adam: My philosophy is that everyone has free time.  I found out how much free time I had when we adopted our daughter.  It is a very expensive process and I took on a second job to pay for it. I was working 40 hours a week at my regular job and 30 hours a week at my second job and I still ate, slept, watched TV and still saw my family.   How I don’t let this interfere with my family is I wait until the girls go to bed at night, and spend time 2 or 3 days a week working on this.  I have been married long enough where my wife gets sick of me sometimes, so it all works out.  I do take a vacation day here or there.

Brenda:  How do you distribute your products?

Adam:  It’s an open game license through Pathfinder.  You have to apply for a license, but that is the biggest selling point for this game is that there is so much modularity to it, because it is an open license.  Other games are locked down so you can only buy them through the producer; this one allows us to sell our products separately.  They even sell our products on their own website.  It’s a very symbiotic relationship.

Brenda:  Do you craft pieces yourself?  How did you find someone to publish your books?

Adam:  The main deliverable for us is a rule book.  I have worked in purchasing for my entire adult career, so I just shopped publishers in the area.  I found a local one in Dallas Balfour, who does small runs.  They do year books for high schools.  They are used to working with armatures and are very forgiving.  They really helped us through this process. We also have the adobe electronic version which we sell also.   We sub out the artwork to artists we have met at conventions.  We have a couple of miniatures we created.  One of the top miniature producers in the world is in Denton, Texas, Reaper Miniatures.  I asked them who designs their sculptures and got a few names and decided on a couple  people who 3-D design the sculptures, 3-D print and then cast the miniatures.  We also produce props; my cousin is a prop designer.  It is common for people who attend the conventions to dress up.  He designs props for use to cross play or to sell to people.  We found the path of least resistance.

The smallest run we could do was 1,000 copies, which we printed 2 years ago.  I would just take a few books with me on trips and rather than doing dinner I would go out and hit gaming stores all over the country.  I cross pollinated the northern United States.  I was taking a trip to London and I contacted a store in London before I went and they said they would be happy to buy some books when they came out.  We have been shipping to them.  The first 500 took a year to year and half to sell; the second 500 only took about 6 months through distribution.  We just sold out.  We are talking about reprinting the first book.  We are just finishing up our second book, which is a Wild, Wild West expansion to the first one.  This will be available this summer.

Brenda:  So you have used Kick starter to get funding for these projects as you come up with them?

Adam: Yes, so far we have been, but we are hoping to develop enough of a steady cash flow so we can get away from it.  Kick starter is a really amazing tool for a little Indy company like us.  It helps you gage market interest, get followers, generate buzz and funds it.  Those who back it usually get something extra for their support.

Here’s a cool story, before we did the kick starter we wanted to have some of the artwork done, so to raise the funds for someone to create the artwork to show people.  I had this funky idea I had this box of just random stuff that I went on Craigslist and traded up for other stuff until I have enough stuff to sell to fund the art work.  I raise $600 for the artwork.  I got the idea from this story about this guy called “The Red Paperclip” from a few years ago.  This guy started with a red paperclip and in something ridiculous like 15 trades he had a house.  So I thought I would see what I could do with this box of stuff.

Brenda: What’s your favorite thing about this business?

Adam: The coolest thing about it is that we go to conventions and complete strangers come up to us and know the games, have played them and love them.  It is so amazing.  We have customers from all over the world who buy our products.  To have retold my family stories from Appalachia in a steam punk setting and people love it!

I want to thank Adam for sharing his story and experience with us. I am so inspired by what we are all capable of if we have the desire and are willing to work for what we love.  Let’s all “Dare Greatly.”

This is one of my favorite quotes:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

 ― Theodore Roosevelt