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Use What You Have

I was told long, long ago during the dark ages of the internet (circa 2003) that one way I could promote myself was to include a “signature” at the end of every email I sent out. This signature was to include the name of my book and any other pertinent information. Now this was before my book was published and prior to the web 2.0 explosion.

Since then I’ve acquired so many online affiliations and homes that the email platforms I use the most—Outlook and Yahoo—don’t offer enough space for a signature that would encompass everything, so I just list the top few. My website, my blog, this column and Twitter.

So imagine my delight and surprise when just the other day I was going through my more than 1800 emails on Outlook and came across an email I’d sent in 2004. At the bottom of the email there was a signature which included the title of my book (tho it was still not published at the time), an endorsement I’d received from best selling author Donna Hill and a link to one of the few online articles I’d written for AALBC.com.

Compared to now I had hardly anything to promote—an unpublished book and one article. But it didn’t matter how insignificant it seemed because it was something and all that I had at the time. I simply used what I had. Let me repeat that I used what I had and I built from there.

This reminds me of the NPR interview I listened to recently with Iyanla Vanzant. She’s one of the gurus that I’ve quoted quite a bit in this column. As of late she’s experienced a series of misfortunes namely the death of her daughter, a divorce and the loss of her home to foreclosure.

During the NPR interview Iyanla drove home the idea of being grateful for what you have and using what you’ve got. She said “if you only have one arm, write with the other one, if you only have one eye, look out of the other one. If you only have one leg, hop on the one you have…if you’re still here and if you have an opportunity and a chance to continue to do good and be good and to live more you want to do that.”

In other words there really are no excuses for not trying to pursue your dream. And there is nothing wrong with very humble beginnings. After all Oprah’s first broadcasting job paid only $100 a week. Just look at her now.

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