As I the years go by I find myself becoming more and more ambitious. I recently reflected that the more I drink, the thirstier I get. Leaving my first marriage, and betting everything that I could make my life mean something significant for myself and my kids gave me a sense of urgency that only seems to increase as I get older. I had no idea what I was doing, but I was starting to conceive my why. At that time, my early ideas of my purpose hinged on learning how to be free, and teaching my kids as I went. I needed to find how I could be liberated from constraints with my time, my money, my relationships, and my work. I was intent on learning how I could be my best self, no longer held back by the old working class identity that I had developed, but able to enjoy stretching into my wildest hopes and dreams. To this day I live to be a superhero to my kids, to show them how to be truly free in every way imaginable.
While freedom was the goal, they say that necessity is the mother of invention, and the need to support myself financially meant that working was essential. My little sister had recently started selling vacuum cleaners door to door, and it turned out that she was quite the superstar. The work was commission only which may not have suited some people. For me though, it fitted my freedom ideals perfectly. I got to be my own boss, owned by nobody, with my success riding only on me. With nothing more I could possibly lose, and only freedom to gain, I joined her thinking, “If she can do it, then so can I.”
I was right! I took to sales like a duck to water, and the extrovert in me thrived on cold-calling and socialising with customers and my sales crew all day long. I missed my kids like crazy, but the more that it hurt to be away from them, the more motivated I got to sell vacuum cleaners. At the end of my first few weeks I had earned my first sales award and it was to be presented at the monthly Award Night in Albury, where sales crews from all over the region joined to celebrate the month’s victories.
I met Alec at that event, and was immediately disgusted at first by his arrogant swagger, and then by the two lackeys he had in tow. They had bleached their hair blonde, seemingly to match his own ridiculous hair style. Despite his entourage being comically absurd, I must admit that I did raise an eyebrow several times through the night as it became evident that he was a gun, cleaning up the bulk of the region’s awards.
The next month saw me working in Alec’s sales crew in Dubbo, NSW, and his mastery of sales skills were like fine pearls that he passed on to me through his training. By the end of that first month I had earned more sales awards, and I felt like the Queen of the World. I also quickly realised that I had an entrepreneurial streak, and put it to good use by selling my skills to my team: ironing, cleaning, telemarketing, and door knocking were all services I offered to my colleagues, and they made me some nice pocket money while I was away. It was empowering for me at that time to see that other people found value in things that came naturally to me.
Alec and I spent lots of time together talking about all sorts of big, important things. I told Alec all about my starry eyed hopes for the future, and my desperation at making this sales gig work. After having left university against his parent’s wishes, and with his dad fighting cancer, he too was desperate for success. Our ambitious imaginations were like fuel to each other’s fire, and after a few weeks we had grand plans of running our own sales region and working a crew together. We had big dreams and every intention of getting there. Most importantly, in sharing our crazy ambitions, we had fallen in love.
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