Saturday, November 30, 2013

Measuring Value

Last weekend, I was a vendor at the Victory of Light Expo in Cincinnati, Ohio. I've been a vendor at that expo (which happens twice a year) seven times now. I enjoy it. I have a booth in a high traffic, centrally located corner, and I teach a workshop. About 5,000 people come through during the weekend. I offer Reiki sessions, show and sell my books, cards, pendulums, give stone readings, and generally work my little energized butt off for two very full days. 

But, this year was different. I wasn't making the four hour drive from Cleveland, Ohio. I was coming from my new home in Gaithersburg, Maryland. It's a much longer and complicated trip.

We (my friend and booth buddy, Ernie and I) were already signed up to attend when I found out we'd be moving. So, I decided to make the trip and see how it went. 

I found plane tickets that were reasonably priced, which took off from BWI and landed me in Columbus, Ohio. Ernie picked me up at the airport, had a quick lunch with Connie, my business partner with RAA, and we drove down, set up, worked the expo, and came back Sunday night to Columbus, stayed overnight at Connie's, and then Ernie took me back to the airport to fly to BWI. Then I drove the hour's drive back to Gaithersburg. And that's how things worked, travel-wise.

The expo was huge and busy. I barely had a voice left by Sunday evening. We met lots of people, shared lots of energy, and sold a fair amount of stuff. We came out ahead. 

But I was left thinking about trying to decide if it was "worth it" to go this time. Here's what I was weighing:

  • Money-wise, I could have made about three times as much if I'd stayed here and taught a class to five students. It wouldn't have required travel, or the amount of "on time" that the expo demands. It would've been quieter, more intimate, and overall much easier than making the trip to the expo.
  • Marketing-wise, at the expo, I'm talking to a huge number of people, some of whom may end up being my student sometime this year. I'm directly giving Reiki to about 25 people, maybe more. I'm giving readings to somewhere around 40. And hundreds of people are taking my business cards and materials, with a possibility of following up. Those who buy my books may write a review, contact me, or recommend them to others. The impact has a high potential for residual value.
  • Then there are the intangibles. I gave Reiki to a lot of people. I talked about Reiki to even more people. I gave readings all weekend. Any of these people could get a favorable impression about Reiki (I hope so!) or hear the message that anyone can learn Reiki. Healing effects really can't be measured, nor can I track what will happen after the person experiences Reiki for the first time and then goes on with his life. Maybe he will go in a new direction. One pain-ridden, hunched-over person that I gave her first Reiki session to a few years ago at this exact expo went and found herself a Reiki practitioner, and started having weekly Reiki sessions. She became cancer-free in six months. She comes back every time to give me a hug. That's priceless.
So how can I measure the value of the money, time, energy, and impact? I can't. And there's the lesson. 

Just like in the movie "It's a Wonderful Life," when the guy has no idea of the impact his life had on others until he is able to invisibly follow them after he had touched their lives in some way, we don't really know the impact that an act of kindness, a moment of listening closely, or a hug at the right time can create for someone. For us, it might be just a fleeting thing, easily forgotten. But for someone else, it can be the start of a turning point in their lives.

So, I've reminded myself that I'm always in the right place at the right time. If I just do my best in each situation, I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to do. 

I am grateful for that reminder. 
Happy Thanksgiving.   

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

New Beginnings

We've now lived in Gaithersburg, MD for six weeks. Partly, I've been feeling like I'm on an extended vacation from my home in Ohio. Part of me has been wondering when we're going home. But not in a sad way. I love this house. There's plenty of room for our family. It's very nice to have enough bathrooms, too! I love the new neighborhood, all of the amazing variety of cultures here. I'm even starting to get around - a little - without the GPS app on my phone. People I've met have been nice and welcoming. The kids are all adjusting really well to their new schools, and made the Honor Roll their first quarter.

My husband has gotten off to a great start in his new position. It's clearly the right decision for him, and for our family, to be here.

Although our house in University Heights hasn't sold yet, it's certainly ready for a family to move in and make it their new home.

Good things are happening with me, too. I've made a wonderful connection with Beatrice Ollier of The Center for Qi Gong, Meditation, Healing and Beyond, which it turns out, is about a mile from my house in a very thriving shopping district called The Kentlands. Being as open minded as she is, Beatrice has allowed me to teach Practical Reiki at her lovely studio, and even brought me two students. We've got a great symbiotic relationship - I'm helping her with her social media presence and marketing. She's recommending  me and letting me teach there. I've already taught a class there, and will teach another in January. We like each other a lot, too. 

And the biggest news so far is that, finally, my new website has launched. is completely redesigned from the bottom up, and looks totally new, modern, and different! We're having a free online launch party tomorrow (Thursday) night at 9 pm EST. It's a free class in Laughter Yoga, as well as festive giveaways and a party atmosphere. We figured, why not do something really fun, that includes learning, and celebrates the new site? I'd love to have a great big crowd, so please join us if you can make it! It's online, so wherever you are, you can be there from any computer or digital device that goes online. Please come!

I'm going to Ohio on Friday, to teach and share a booth with my expo buddy, Ernie Betz, at The Victory of Light Expo in Cincinnati. I'm looking forward to being back there (it's my seventh time). Though, in a way, it feels a little confusing to go from here (my home?) to there (my familiar Ohio territory), and then back here (home, Alice, home) again on Monday.

So, yeah, things are good, and I'm trying to get rooted in this new place, so that I can say or think "home" and my mind goes here, instead of Cleveland, Ohio. I know it takes time. But, I'm ready for that slightly confused part of me to officially move here too.