The Best Birthday Present I Got For Myself

May 22, 2008 by  

(Photo by CaptPiper)

Last year, I took a vacation day on my birthday – but not just to relax.

My birthday is coming up next week :) (Yep, I’m a brilliant Gemini. Two heads are better than one!) What do you do for your own birthday? Do you buy something you’ve wanted for a long time? Do you do something special?

I did something for my birthday last year, a seemingly small thing, which eventually led me to my current business. Back then, I was working the 8 – 5 corporate job, and I wanted to have my own business. I wasn’t sure where to start, but I wanted to start doing something. Maybe learning the general basic of small business is a good idea, I thought, and signed up for a seminar held by Small Business Administration. It was scheduled on Tuesday morning, so I had to use my vacation time to attend. Coincidentally, it was right on my birthday.

What do you really want for yourself going forward?

The idea of spending a vacation day sitting in a seminar may sound unromantic, but I’m glad I did. It set a tone for the year to come.

Not that I used the knowledge immediately. My business ideas have changed during the year. Initially, I was thinking of doing some real estate deals. I was learning how to make creative financing arrangements, and thought the timing was great to go ahead with the dooming market crash. Help those people who can’t pay their mortgage nor sell their house, put in good tenants, and I’d be a landlord! I still think this is a great idea and maybe I’ll do it – but I’ve found even more interesting thing to do as I progressed in the year.

I kept learning and working on some of the deals (potential deals, I should say. . .), and I ran out of vacation time. I figured that I needed at least one weekday to do this kind of real estate work. So I talked with my boss. I was very efficient and could fulfill all my responsibilities at the company in four days a week, and I was willing to do overtime on those four days if necessary, so may I free up one weekday? He told me no way. Everyone must work full-time or leave, no exceptions.

This made me think. This company relocated me from Ohio to Tennessee. If I weren’t working for this company, I didn’t have to be in Tennessee. What do I really want? Where do I want to be?

New possibilities emerge when we start moving to that direction.

I started meditating a lot last summer. I learned how to meditate more than 20 years ago, but I was only doing it on and off. Last summer, I decided to do it every day. And a strange thing happened. The idea of “Portland, Oregon” popped in my mind repeatedly in my meditation.

I moved myself to Oregon last October, still thinking I’d do real estate deals. But because I was new to the area, I had to learn the area first. While spending a lot of time driving up and down in this new city, and meditating and writing, I realized I’m very into personal development, especially in the spiritual area. So I started taking professional coach training courses. Now life coaching is my business, and real estate is put to back burner.

Looking back, I can hardly believe all the changes that have taken place in one year. And I think my birthday commitment to start a business of my own ignited these changes. It was my way to say “I’m in!”

Looking further back, I came to this country in 1995, two days before my birthday. I was to attend the summer courses at a college, and for the time being, that’s all I knew I was going to do. I didn’t know I’d get married, get a job, file divorce, change jobs, etc. at the time. I just put my first step forward in this new country.

You don’t need to know everything planned out to step forward.

If you want something more in your life, just start doing something for it. Then keep moving. It actually doesn’t matter if I’m using the tips I learned at the seminar for my business. I declared my intention to myself and to the Universe with that action, and that’s what matters.

For instance, if you are an aspiring entrepreneur, what is the one step you can take now that moves you closer to your dream business?

Give yourself the gift of commitment for your birthday. Oh, if your birthday is too far off, make another case to take that action. Every day can be your special birthday.

Thanks to Alex for including this post in Personal Development Carnival.

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Please check About page to learn more about this blog and the author, Akemi Gaines.


18 Responses to “The Best Birthday Present I Got For Myself”

  1. Chris Cade | Spiritual Stories & Parables on May 22nd, 2008 6:50 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story! It resonates deeply with me. I am now in both the corporate world during the day, and building my spiritual business at night. Not sure how long I have left before I make the full jump… probably when I have the confidence that my family will be supported.

    On the topic of birthdays, the biggest gift I ever gave myself was to no longer celebrate them. To me, every day is a day to celebrate life… for any reason or no reason. A little unconventional, but also quite delightful!

  2. akemi on May 22nd, 2008 7:11 pm

    Hi Chris,
    Welcome! You have an interesting website.
    I don’t really remember how old I will be next week . . . the number just doesn’t sound right. . . I may have skipped some years ^_^

  3. Kenneth King | Destiny Building on May 22nd, 2008 7:48 pm

    Well said. Once you take action the journey begins to unfold. It doesn’t always turn out how we expect it to, but with the proper focus and a willingness to change course, great things can and do happen, often better than what we had in mind. Yours is a great example. I’ve yet to make it to Portland, though I hear it’s a wonderful city.

    Kenneth King | Destiny Buildings last blog post..The Perils of Pretense

  4. Hunter Nuttall on May 23rd, 2008 11:03 am

    Wow Akemi, you certainly have a lot of courage for making change. I agree that we don’t need to have everything planned out in advance, and in fact it will probably paralyze you to try. Instead, all we have to do is think of one thing we can do right now. Actually doing one thing is better than just thinking about ten.

  5. akemi on May 23rd, 2008 12:16 pm

    “. . . often better than what we had in mind” Exactly. Life starts to take on a new look when we step up.
    Holler me when you come up this way. Portland is beautiful.

    Maybe, but I really think you and everyone else do have the courage, too. You will know when you take that one action.

  6. Andrea Hess | Empowered Soul Blog on May 23rd, 2008 5:33 pm

    I love this, Akemi! You’re right, it’ so important to just take one step … and then the next will be revealed. Too often, we get hung up on having it all planned out, and never even take that first step!


    Andrea Hess | Empowered Soul Blogs last blog post..Intuitive Guidance “On Hold”

  7. Stephen Hopson on May 23rd, 2008 6:16 pm


    The overriding theme I got from this article is the importance of taking inspired action and being okay with not knowing how things will pan out because you are trusting your instincts to move in the direction you wish to go.

    All it takes is one small step, a phone call, an email or something – anything – that will galvanize your inner spirit b/c you know it’s the right thing to do.

    Great article! You’ve done so much since coming to America. It’s a great story! Thanks for sharing.

    Stephen Hopsons last blog post..End of the Week Gratitude Theme #29

  8. Chris Cade | Spiritual Stories & Parables on May 23rd, 2008 10:01 pm

    Hi Akemi,

    I’m glad you enjoy my website :) Your comment about age reminds me how my grandmother was “29″ for about 15-20 years before she turned “39″ and so on and so forth. When people ask my age, nowadays I have to think. It seems strange to me.

    I think it will be interesting as my son grows up and sees his friends having birthday parties to then become very curious (and possibly upset or different) that he “doesn’t have one.” Ah, the joys of alternative parenting!

  9. akemi on May 24th, 2008 1:51 pm

    Thanks! We love jumping into the air, don’t we!

    Exactly. Me quitting the corporate job and moving inter-state may look like a gigantic step to some, but really, there were tiny steps preceding that apparently big step. Same with me coming to America.

    Picasso said he decided to stay at age 20 for good. He also said it takes time to grow younger. Great perspective, isn’t it!

  10. Flora Morris Brown, Ph.D. on May 26th, 2008 1:33 pm

    Thanks for sharing this movtivating account of the best birthday present you ever gave yourself.

    Congratulations on going within to seek answers, listening to your inner spirit and taking the risks that lead to your success.

    The thing that paralyzes so many from taking action is the belief that they have to plan every detail in advance. I once felt that way too.

    Years ago I wanted to buy a commercial building to relocate my home-based tutoring program. When I realized that I only needed to take one step at a time, I began to make progress.

    The thing that propels me forward when I start fearing the next step is to ask myself “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” In the example above I realized that the worse that could happen if I bought the building is that in a financial downturn I could lose it and have to relocate my business to my home again. When I realized that this turn of events would just put me back where I started, I had a big laugh. Then I proceeded with my plans.

  11. akemi on May 26th, 2008 1:47 pm

    Woohoo, good for you! And you mentioned something really powerful — laughter is healing. Actually, I’m writing a post about it (I want to make it two parts — one about the healing power of laughter, another about the cleansing power of tears). Stay tuned!

  12. Chris Cade | Spiritual Stories & Parables on June 1st, 2008 6:13 pm

    I agree – that is a great perspective from Picasso! That reminds me of a spiritual saying I heard that goes something like – as children we want to grow up so we can be adults, and as adults we want to grow up so we can be kids again. :)

  13. Personal Development Carnival: Issue 41 | The Next 45 Years on June 15th, 2008 4:11 am

    [...] The Best Birthday Present I Got for Myself by Akemi Gaines [...]

  14. Yes to Me Month Three & Four Review | Yes to Me on August 10th, 2008 11:03 am

    [...] The Best Birthday Present I Got For Myself I like sharing my life stories just as much I like learning people’s stories. I am no super woman – I’m just a petite lightly-accented woman putting one foot in front of another. And that is what it takes to live on purpose and start a business. I hope the story helps you find the courage within you. [...]

  15. Liara Covert on October 31st, 2008 8:10 pm

    This is an incredibly uplifting story. You chose to give yourself a new level of self-awareness and with that came a different degree of freedom. May your life choices continue to dazzle, amaze and transform you in ways that strengthen soul.

  16. Liara Covert on October 31st, 2008 8:11 pm

    I initiallu neglected to click on the ‘post to show’ option. This is a great function!

    Liara Coverts last blog post..The way will be made clear to you

  17. akemi on November 1st, 2008 4:03 am

    Thank you, and thank you for including me in your blogroll. This year, too, has been great for me!

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