Monday, July 30, 2012

Winning a Free Year

In the early days of the internet my sister once clicked on one of those flashing banner ads that said “You’re a Winner!” She called the number, immediately, to claim her prize. The person who answered the phone couldn’t believe Kristen had received the message she described.

“Wow!” the operator said, perfectly rehearsed, “let me ask my manager about that one.”

It was one of the rare ads that would send Kristen on an all-expenses-paid trip around the world. They only had a few of them. How had she found it?

“You’re so lucky!” the operator gushed.
What's under the bridge?
Leigh Johnson Reed Photography, June 2012
After surrendering her personal information, enough to allow them to hack her identify and get to anything electronic they considered of value, they told her she would receive her voucher in the mail.

“Congratulations again,” the manager said before hanging up the phone.

It was the blinking banner that drew Kristen in. She couldn’t believe she’d actually won something. The fact that she hadn’t made a lot more sense. It was a scam. No vouchers ever arrived and she’s never been around the world on an all-expenses-paid anything.

Be Realistic

The joke was on them, really, Kristen was 19, broke, and had no accounts whatsoever. College student/bartender doesn’t exactly mean “gold mine” for internet fraud. She was pretty lucky after all.

Feeling like a winner is a great thing. It’s great when it’s totally random and has nothing to do with skill or hard work. Every year at the DTC annual party I win the table center piece giveaway. Every year. But feeling like a winner is even better when we’ve worked for that thing we win. When we’ve sweated and sacrificed, studied and practiced, perfected and performed.

Life is a series of contests. It starts when we’re the first baby in play group to smile for something other than gas and ends when we have the longest obituary and the most mourners at our funeral. Some of these contests are true measurements of achievement and hard work. Graduations and the Olympic Games are those types. Some contests like raffles and lotteries are just random acts of good luck. Or bad luck, depending upon the blink of the banner.

This blog post is an entry in a contest. It’s meant to win me a free year in The Freelance Writer’s Den, an online community lovingly tended by den mothers Carol Tice and Linda Formichelli. The assignment was to write a post explaining why I should win.

That’s easy. Because this contest is not about luck or strategy, or politics or money. It’s a contest about finding people who are the right fit. I’m the right fit.

Know Your Story

Since we learned in February that I would have to leave my full time job so Charlie could take the promotion at DTC, I have been in the perpetual state of contest entry known as “job seeking.” I applied for every job for which I considered myself the right fit. I’m a great trainer. I interviewed to be a training manager at a local financial institution. Not a fit. I applied for consulting jobs, teaching jobs, training jobs, all of the jobs I’ve done in the past and none of them fit.

As every job seeker knows, more time is spent feeling like a loser than a winner. So when you can’t find an employer who will take a chance on you, take a chance on yourself.

Make the Leap

My resume has been officially updated to Owner & Senior Consultant, Clemson Road Creative, LLC. That’s right. I started my own business. And like most new businesses, I have limited start-up capital.

What would I do with Writer’s Den resources? Grow my business, of course! I’m a continuous improvement junky. So “micro-business” in not the goal. It’s just the starting point.

Writing for me is not something to do until something better comes along. Writing is building the business, brick-by-brick as the DTC guys would say. Clemson Road is my way to serve others as a writer, speaker, coach, consultant, or provider of whatever other service my clients need to help them adapt to change. Clemson Road is a solutions provider and I am the solver.

Welcome Change

I built Clemson Road as a blog about life in transition. Life is always changing. Being prepared for change is one thing, but seeking it, reaching for it, pulling it toward me and wrapping myself in it has taken more courage than anything I’ve ever done.

The vision is my autonomy. Clemson Road is my company. Just saying that out loud makes me feel like a winner.

I am proud of what I do, excited about doing it. I have a very clear vision of what success looks like (thanks, Stephanie Pollack).

It is great to be a winner. I’ll be sure to thank the people who help me get there. The Freelance Writer’s Den can help. They just have to decide I’m the right fit.

What makes you feel like a winner? Share your ideas of “winning,” sans Charlie Sheen jokes, in the comments below.


  1. Excellent introduction to what you are building. As always I am extremely proud of you and all you have already accomplished. I look forward to watching the rest of your dreams come to fruition. You inspire me each and every day to move forward and work towards my dreams! Keep dreaming and moving forward!

  2. Hello Kasie!
    I do hope that you will find your fit with The Freelance Writer's Den. We recently started working together, & I am excited with your enthusiasm just being a member of our Goodreads book club. I look forward to see what else you've got, especially as you become co-moderator; (and as you share the news of your new growing business!)!

    What makes me a winner? I think you hit this idea on the head in your post: I am a winner when I feel like a winner - when I've worked hard at something and have achieved it. I felt like a winner, when I posted for the first time to my blog. I overcame a lot of barriers to create that website & blog. I worked hard to become integrated back into the community of my friends & family after feeling alone due to my illness. However, my MS charged back at me this summer & I could feel myself topple over. So, I took some time off & plan to return to my blog in the next day or so. I will feel like a winner again when I am able to blog once a week and to keep the relationships with my readers.

    Continue to shine, Kasie, and you will find your fit.

    1. Thanks, Monique. Your work inspires me and reminds me that I have a lot to be thankful for. Fear is an illusion when compared with the illness that's challenging you.

      Shine on, my friend! I am truly grateful for your continued friendship!

  3. Hi, Kasie!
    This is a great blog post, I really enjoyed reading it. Yeah, I remember being attracted by such banners or emails in the dawn of I-net, too. :-) I hope you win the cast and I really wish luck to your growing business. I myself walk the opposite road - I had a regular teaching job that didn't pay enough and is really the subject of great contempt here, in our country, mainly because of the low payment and the lack of material base to work with, so quit to start my own business with a view of making more money to be able to make ends meet, and now, as I never have the right connection, I am falling out of business, so I'm again looking for a new job - this time no teaching, of course. The feelings of the constant job seeker are sooooo familiar to me... I am not only looking for a new job, I am looking for the opportunity to relocate and leave this country, which makes it even harder and way more depressing. I really hope situation for small business is different where you are, as life in general is.
    As to what makes me feel like a winner... Well, nothing really. I have lived in this swamp of despondency for so long, and have seen so many proofs that the future holds nothing good for people without connections and the proper upbringing, that I don't really believe in future anymore. From time to time I have glimpses of light, find happiness in tiny things, but KNOW that there is no future, so those tiny nice things only make me feel a lot more sad...Even when I work hard for something and achieve it, I believe that I have achieved it because no one else wanted that thing :-) Uhm, this is getting very dark-toned, I didn't mean it to be like this. Life is good after all.

    Kasie, I hope you will find your fit with the Freelance Writer's Den, just as Monique points out. You deserve it and will make good use of it.
    Best, M.

    1. Mariya,

      I certainly feel a tremendous sense of gratitude to be in a country where there is a place for my talents and the resources to make my dreams come true. In my global business studies I have seen just how precarious an emerging economy can be for entrepreneurs.

      I hope you can find a team online or in your community to help rally your cause. Check out or Building Markets on Facebook; both organizations help entrepreneurs in struggling economies. When you decide to fight, let me know how I can help.

      All the best to you and thanks for reading!

  4. Really good post, Kasie! Good luck with the contest!

  5. Congrats on winning! As I just told one of your fellow winners, my vote of confidence came from secretly submitting a story to Chicken Soup, and having it, and several others, accepted (along with $200 checks!) As someone who built a quarter of a million dollar wedding business at the age of 25, then sold it to be a stay-at-home mother for 20+ years, and who is now striking out as a writer, I can tell you that your efforts will be worth it, and your journey will be exciting! Best wishes!

    1. Thanks, Jamie! This is definitely a very exciting time!

  6. Congratulations on winning! I am so very proud of you! You are an inspiration to not only me but your entire family! I look forward to reading everything you write! Keep up the great work!

  7. Congratulations, Kasie, on winning 1st runner-up in the contest. That is a fabulous achievement. I love the name of your company. Best wishes from a new member of the Freelance Writers Den!

    1. Thank you so much for coming over to check out the post. I hope we'll get to know one another better as "denmates"!

  8. Congratulations, Kasie! I'm a huge fan of both Tice and Formichelli. I know that you are going to come out of this year like a thoroughbred coming out of a Derby gate ready to lap your way around a triple crown. You are so ready to take full advantage, I can taste it. I can't wait to witness it up close and personal. Victory is sweeter with some sweat mixed in, isn't it?

    1. Thanks, Lara. It really does create some opportunity for me, which is what I need as I'm getting up-and-going. Thanks for coming by!

  9. Kasie,
    Great post! Congratulations, winner!
    I look forward to following your success in the Den!

    1. Thanks, Janey. Great to meet you! See you in the Den!


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