What Are You Built For?

I started this blog more than 3 years ago with the intent of diving deeply into the topic of joy, starting a reverse bucket list movement, and documenting my own reverse bucket list experiences. Then, work, life, passions, projects, travel, illnesses, parenting, and all the things got in the way. So, after publishing only a few posts, this site has sat relatively empty until this week when I got the brilliant idea to bring it back to life, not for its original purpose (not yet anyway), but to document my adventures in the Philippines. (Yes! You heard me right. I’ve moved to the Philippines!)

About this blog’s new purpose (even if just temporary) … I’m not vying for traffic, followers, or paid opportunities. In a nutshell, this blog is not about work. What a relief! Instead, my posts will chronicle my journey. They’ll include stories of the Filipino people, food, and culture; my travels, work, and wellness path; and they’ll share topics on spirituality and personal growth. I hope you’ll follow along.

Filipino Boat

Knowing What We’re Built For

Can you even handle that picture? Filipino beaches really look like that. Come visit me! But I digress.

A quote I heard this week by John A. Shedd really struck me:

A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.

After hearing it, I asked myself (referring to this moment/stage in my life): “What am I built for? Am I staying safe in the harbor? Am I sailing to sea? If the latter, what’s my purpose and what path do I need to take to achieve it?”

You see, I’d been asking God for answers to very specific questions for 3 years to no avail. So, I started to dive deeper into what I was built for and what path I should take. I wondered if maybe I was already out to sea, achieving precisely what I was built for. Or, maybe I wasn’t meant to sail at all. Maybe I was supposed to play it safe—stay where I was, do the same things, live my life “as is.”

Then (finally), I started getting some answers. And wow! Talk about a jolt!

Dinner Parties Can Determine Destiny

Planning my trip to the Philippines began 5 years ago when I hired my first Filipina freelance contractor for Forward Influence (my influencer marketing agency). Aside from touristy pursuits, I didn’t have a real reason for visiting this amazing archipelago, so until recently, I filed my Filipino vacation plans under “places to visit someday.” Then earlier this year (in late February to be precise) I went to my friend’s house for a dinner party and I found my reason.

During the party, the topic surfaced about working with overseas contractors. I mentioned the awesomeness of those I contract with who live in the Philippines. My friend’s ears perked up when I mentioned the Philippines. You see, she is a doTERRA Wellness Advocate (doTERRA is a business that sells essential oils and essential oil-based products) and doTERRA was just about to open a new market in the Philippines and she wanted to expand her international team there. Since it’d be tough to make headway without connections, I told her I’d introduce her to my team of nine Filipino contractors and perhaps, she could get into the market through them or some of their connections.

I went home and didn’t think another thing about it.

How the Philippines Went From a “Someday” to a “Now” Trip

Back to my unanswered prayers.

The day after the dinner party, I got an answer as clear as day … finally! I woke up—sleep in my eyes, in my pjs, groggy, and ahhhh! {insert angels singing here … kidding!}—and I suddenly knew exactly what I had to do. And wow! I was mad!

Note! When I say an answer to a prayer, I’m talking about inspiration. Some call it a gut feeling, a bright idea, a spiritual prompting, or a lightning flash or a lightbulb moment. Think of it as the moment when you KNOW you have to take action.

My gut reminded me of the conversation from the night before and I knew that I needed to open a doTERRA business in the Philippines (Sorry, Young Living friends! I still love you!). I laughed, told God he was funny to play such a sick joke on me, and started my workday.

Several things to know about me: 1) I hated MLMs. 2) I had never used essential oils or even taken vitamins regularly. 3) I still barely use western medicine, 4) It’s like pulling teeth to get me to step foot in a doctor’s office. 5) I’m no health/wellness guru. So, yah! When I got this prompting, I really laughed! God had to have had his signals crossed.

But the promptings came stronger and stronger multiple times per day and by the end of the week, when God wouldn’t be ignored, I called my party hostess friend who was obviously responsible for this prompting and said: “Clearly, I’m supposed to call and ask you to give me the skinny on doTERRA.” She said, “Oh! I’ve been waiting for you to call.” I got sick to my stomach but listened, expecting to hear what I assumed would be an annoying pitch. What she shared instead were basic details and then asked me my goals and thoughts. What? She wasn’t going to pressure me into anything? (So sorry to all my MLM friends reading this! Just being honest about my misinformed perspective based on absolutely no personal experience.) Her straightforward, relationship-first, no-pressure approach made me curious. But still wanting to have triple confirmed the answer I already knew in my heart, I did what only a good partner does. I put it off on my husband, asking Troy to pray about it. LOL!

3 Weeks later after Troy (who was also anti-MLM) felt the same confirmation, we were on our way to Manila. In my mind, I was appeasing God by testing it out (I didn’t want want to believe this path was to be MY path). Really? I was trying to prove to Him that His prompting could never work (please reread all the reasons above why I would make the worst doTERRA Wellness Advocate in the entire universe and add to it that I was already running a demanding business full time and had no bandwidth for yet another endeavor).

God Had a Plan

So, here’s how I gave this test-run trip a chance.

First, I reached out to my nine freelancers to see if they’d be interested in joining doTERRA as Wellness Advocates (where you run your own business, enrolling and selling to others) and all nine emphatically said no! Furthermore, they said they did not have connections who would be interested. Perfect! I was going down the list to prove God wrong and checked off my first box. Score!

Second, knowing I couldn’t give up so easily and still say I tried, I called my FB marketing genius friend and planned a geo-targeted FB campaign to promote an essential oils class in Manila. The FB ad included an overwhelming 10-question survey to vet potential attendees. My FB ad guy said he doubted 1 person would fill out the survey. I agreed. I wouldn’t have even filled it out. I told him to run it anyway. Again, I was testing God (I should have been stricken down by that point). But, without a successful promotion to fill the class, a vetted list of pre-qualified leads, and actual attendees at the workshop, I wouldn’t be able to grow a team and that’d be the end of that. The odds were incredibly in my favor of finally having God tell me He was just kidding all along. I’d check off two boxes right out of the shoots. Double score! I could say I followed the prompting and it didn’t work.

The results were in:

  • 663 People filled out the survey completely (all 10 questions) in 5 days of running the ad (100 people completed it within 24 hours).
  • 30 Amazing pre-qualified leads attended my workshop.
  • 10 Remarkable leaders enrolled right off the bat.
  • 1 Very humbled me decided to try essential oils and get serious. God had a plan!

Moving Back in With Your Parents When You’re Nearly 50

Not knowing anything about running an MLM business or the products I was selling, I worked on getting up to speed quickly by leaning a lot on my friend, who is now my leader. Then, I went back to Manila in May and again in July to coach my growing team. Fortunately, running my own business for 10 years has put me well down the path to starting my own doTERRA business so kudos to God for putting me in all of the places I needed to be leading up to this point to help me learn the skills I’d need to have (and for putting up with my complaining).

As I traveled to the Philippines every couple of months, I noticed that going this often for 10-ish days at a time was helpful but was not giving me or my team members the traction we all needed to meet some serious goals. In my heart, I knew I needed to move to Manila but my family wasn’t in a position to go. Our oldest son was leaving on a mission at the end of the summer. We couldn’t abandon him at such a critical time. And, our youngest son was just getting out of a treatment center for serious depression and other issues after more than a year. We couldn’t uproot him with any hope of him continuing the forward progress we’ve invested in so seriously as a family. I prayed all summer, getting the consistent answer that I shouldn’t worry about making any decisions until Chase left on his mission. I was curious about this prompting because that was after Connor was supposed to start school and seemed very late to be getting answers to serious questions. But, the minute Chase left on his mission, my dad found out he’d be returning to Manila on a temporary work assignment and I got the impression I needed to go there on my own (without Troy and Connor) and live with my parents. I reached out to my parents, told them about my situation (they knew I had been considering moving to Manila), and they invited me to live with them.

I know! I just breezed over potentially one of the most incredible parts of this story. So let me break this down! My dad is retired. And, even when he did consult as an international attorney, taking on temporary assignments, he usually lived in South America due to his command of the Spanish language. But, last year, his company asked him to do a very short stint in Manila and due to his knowledge and the company having an urgent need this year, they asked if he’d fill in short-term on a moment’s notice—at precisely the time I needed to come and live here. Why I ever question or try to talk God out of His plans I’ll never know. They’re glorious!

Benefits of Sailing to Sea Rather Than Staying in the Harbor

I’ve seen such great benefits just in the past 6 months from sailing out of the harbor—saying yes to these promptings, not just for me but for all involved, including for my own family. Our team is growing quickly and our Wellness Advocates are experiencing success and contributing to their family’s income. Together, our team has been able to help educate children in some of the most impoverished areas in Manila. I am able to spend precious time with my parents.

Am I safe in the harbor? No! Is it always smooth sailing out at sea? No! I miss my family. I have no idea if this investment of time, effort, energy, money, and business risk will really pay off. I don’t know many people in the Philippines and not a soul in my city besides my own family. I have to figure out how to grow my network. Then, I have to put myself out there many times a day to meet total strangers. I have to do all of this while balancing my Forward Influence business and doTERRA.

All of that said, the sailing is the ride of a lifetime and I’m finding it’s what I’m built for. The choice to leave the harbor and to actually make the choice again and again day in and day out is confidence building. I’ve learned that I can do hard, hard things—things so foreign to me, like building a business in an unfamiliar industry in a different country when I don’t even speak the language (although most people do speak English in Manila so that’s been helpful).

I have no idea all that’s in store for me, the business, my team, or my family (including my parents), but after being here for just a week, I can see that the picture is much bigger and more colorful than I can even imagine right now. So, I’ve left the harbor. Every day, I’m forging my path out to sea. And, I’m relying on God, my intellect, my experiences, my education, and my talents and abilities to guide me to accomplish what I’m built for. I can’t wait to discover precisely what that is. doTERRA got me here (more stories about that in subsequent posts) but the full scope of why I’m here? Well, that’s TBD (to be discovered).

So, I’d ask you:

What are you built for? And, are you staying safe in the harbor or sailing out to sea?

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