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Horribly Optimistic: Continuing the Story to Help You Develop a Positive Mindset

Updated: Mar 4

I got so much feedback from others on how much they appreciated hearing my example of how I became Horribly Optimistic. I wanted to continue the experiences that led to proving my theorem that positive life experiences can come out of some of the most horrible life experiences.

The past article showed how I got a career change that has led me to being able to collect full pay on short-term disability instead of being laid off with the rest of my team, all because I was diagnosed with cervical cancer.

This article will be on another huge experience. In 2003, my ex-husband and I owned several businesses together. They took a vast amount of my time, between 3 kids, a salvage yard, a car dealership, new parts store, detail shop, mechanical shop, and graphic/web design, I was swamped... Much less keeping a house and marriage. All that changed one night in December 2003. I had just had a baby, Christmas was just two days away, and we had cars to deliver.

That fateful night, we got the call. A historic building on the property of the business (one that we wanted to bed allowed to tear down but weren't allowed to because it was historic - but also couldn't be insured because it was falling down) was on fire. In the end, it was a 5 alarm fire. That means, it took 5 fire stations from the area to put it out. The building that didn't have insurance was on fire.

That very night, we went from having money in the bank, a thriving business, and hope to... Two days before Christmas... Owing the fire departments for their bill, major repairs to five properties surrounding the building paid out of pocket, the vehicle loading equipment (think forklift that was strong enough to pick up a fully loaded minivan) melted to twisted metal, had to replace several customers' cars that were sitting outside to be repaired, returned deposits for cars that were waiting for delivery, damage to vehicles we were planning to sell, and a demolished building that the town wanted cleaned up as soon as possible.

This one action set in motion so many events, some that I can look back and say are positive, others that changed life forever - good or bad. We, as a family of 5 mouths to feed, needed an income. We were blessed to have so many wonderful people around us at the time. When you are in the middle of postpartum depression, all the good intentions couldn't help me out. At the time, I couldn't fully appreciate that although we had hidden the kids Christmas presents in the van that had been melted in the fire and now has no presents for under the tree.... We were given forward by a local church and some donations by kind friends, neighbors, and family. No one was hurt in the huge blaze. The fire departments did a miraculous job of containing the flames of burning barrels of oil, chemicals, and tires, which were stuffed into the building by prior owners. We had been blessed by the choice a few months before to clear out some valuable items and move them to another building. Although I did come to the realization and appreciation of all of these things, in the deep of it... I fell into a major depression and could not fully appreciate.

As you can imagine, my already rocky marriage didn't hold well through this. We both tried, but exhaustion from both sides in dealing with all the chaos left it's permanent mark. This wasn't the final reason for the divorce, but I look back and know that this led to the string of other factors that contributed to the end.

In February, I got a call from a small government contracting company whom had gotten a hold of my resume. They wanted to hire me to develop a brochure for there customer, which turned out to be the government. After two interviews with the company, I was asked to meet with their customer. That was when my life changed.

I walked into the interview. It was on the exact same floor that my ex-husband's mother had worked and in the same corner of that building. She worked that job until just a few weeks before she died, when my ex-husband was only a child. She loved that job, I was told. At the interview, the customer asked me so many questions that were not about a brochure. I was confused, but answered honestly. I was offered a full-time position on the spot. I had walked in to build a brochure and branding. I walked out with a... Can you start working tomorrow?

I would never have taken this position. Running businesses took all of my time. I didn't have the businesses. Not only that, I needed the work. The pay was reasonable. Six months into it, they doubled my salary. This set me into a course of training, education, skills development, and success. The fire had provided me an opportunity that I never thought possible. There were negative things that came from the fire. I'm not denying those. At the time, all I could see were the negatives. It is only by taking the time to look back that I can now see it. It is because I have seen those times in so many off my negative events that I can now assume that there will be something positive that will come out of this. It is that knowledge that helps me hold onto the positive.

For all of those going through your own struggles, I hope you read this and it gives you hope as well. Going through hard things is never fun and I hope that they are short lived, but maybe they are being put in your path because someone (either you or someone close to you) needed a little push in another direction. Know that it will bring something positive in the long run... From somewhere. I  firmly believe that there is always a silver lining, even in the most difficult situations. For those going through hardships, I hope this message provides hope and reassurance that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Remember that tough times are temporary and may lead you to unexpected opportunities and positive outcomes.

I would really appreciate it, if you could add in the comments an example of how you might be able to trace something positive from something negative. I hope you can find your events and join me on my journey on being Horribly Optimistic.

Can you be horribly optimistic in the face of a building on fire?
A building in flames


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