Stephen Feswick - Identifying and Living My Life's Mission
I’ve been on a search for meaning most of my life.
It’s not that I don’t understand my life’s purpose or what the future holds in store for humankind. It's just that for me, finding my place in this world has always been a challenge.
I quit school when I was 16, got married at 19 and opened a t-shirt and sportswear printing business with my father and brother. Since that time I’ve been a bindery worker, grocery clerk, salesman, interactive marketing specialist, product manager, channel distribution manager, professional speaker, writer, teacher, consultant and speaker’s agent.
In almost every endeavor I’ve found a way to get involved in sales and marketing. I’ve sold and marketed groceries, life and health insurance, custom printed sportswear and gift items, live musical entertainment, graphic design, corporate advertising, photography, radio airtime on a retail, regional and national basis, interactive telephone promotions, prepaid phone cards, internet access, website design and development, high speed digital printing systems, professional speakers and magazine advertising.
I’ve had more jobs and careers than my father and grandfather combined!
Did I mention I moved my family for work-related reasons 24 times in 32 years?
But, one simple event changed my life.
My son and his wife had two daughters and we became grand parents. Those two children “own” my wife and I and we just had to live as close to them as possible. That’s why we now live in a small town.
Two activities have fascinated me my whole life. One is public speaking, an activity still considered by most people as their greatest fear. The other is marketing, a skill I find lacking in the vast majority of businesses I work with today.
A Love for Marketing
Marketing fascinates me. It is a topic both wide and deep. I suppose you might never know it all, but then again as a small town, small business marketer, you don’t need to. I chose to focus on small town, small business owners because I've experienced first hand, through my day-to-day dealings with many business owners, the frustration of trying to operate a successful small business without a practical knowledge of marketing. In my mind mind, it is the one critical piece of the business puzzle missing for most small town, small business owners.
In its most basic form marketing is gaining attention from potential customers, separating them from the herd, satisfying their specific needs and wants then caring for them forever. Treated with care and love, they will richly reward you for the rest of your business life.
My Love for Public Speaking
For most of the boys in my 6th grade woodworking class, the outcome of their efforts was a gift for their mothers. Not so for me. While others used the lathe to turn out a lamp, my efforts resulted in a speaker’s lectern. I’d stand before the roughly handcrafted piece and imagine myself speaking to audiences hanging on my every word.
Nowadays I get to stand behind many a lectern speaking, not to imaginary audiences, but to real people who have come to be taught, inspired, motivated and entertained. I believe that every human being has a purpose they are meant to discover and fulfill. All too often people are driven, not by their discovered purpose, but by the imposed purpose of others, leading to lives of disappointment and dissatisfaction.
As a speaker,
I deliver an encouraging message that rings true for all that hear it. It is a timely reminder that we are great just as we are. The profound but simple truth is - at this particular moment in time, by virtue of the fact that we draw breath and possess a beating heart - we have inestimable personal value. However, molded in part by a society constantly searching outward for validation and acceptance, we neglect to look inside ourselves to recognize what constitutes true value.
Recognizing Life's Purpose
Identifying our purpose is only an initial step on the path to self-discovery. Next, we need to realize how we can maximize our personal value by doing what we are. This is an essential growth process, which I refer to as “Missioneering”.
Many of us have participated in developing mission statements for our employers without taking the time or effort to write our own personal mission statements. This is an essential exercise in order for us to proceed to the next logical step – moving continuously forward through our lifetime on the path revealed to us through the discovery of our personal mission statement – Missioneering.
By means of personal stories gathered throughout my life, experiences shared by others, targeted research, and interactive audience participation delivered with a great sense of humour, I convey a refreshing life-affirming message that audiences thirst to hear and apply in their personal and corporate lives.
Hearing the "C" Word
One thing I’ve learned is that you can NEVER take tomorrow for granted.
In April of 2009, my wife and I were summoned to our family doctors’ office for a brief but life changing meeting. “Mr. Feswick, I have good news and bad news. The good news is you don’t have a kidney stone. The bad news unfortunately is that you have cancer.”
Talk about rocking my world. We stood there stunned, trying desperately to comprehend his words. Cancer? I’d never been sick a day in my life. Oh sure I’d had colds and flus, but cancer? How was that possible?
Months later, after my second round of chemo therapy, I was again rocked by an allergic reaction to one of the chemo components. At first I was unable to catch my breath but as time went on I quickly went into respiratory failure. So severe was my breathing distress that the doctors in Intensive Care suggested my wife gather the family around for one last “goodbye”.
My positive attitude, my faith in my God and my love for my family kept me focused on getting better. Every single day my wife worked with me to increase my lung capacity and restore my breathing. Slowly and painfully I began to notice improvement and after 10 days my breathing mask was finally removed so that I could once again breathe on my own.
It’s hard to remember those days. Perhaps it’s my body’s mechanism for coping with such a distressing time. I do however remember having to use a wheelchair to get around. I had to have strangers take care of my most basic needs, a truly humbling experience indeed. On several occasions my legs gave out on me and I went down like a stone – once at a shopping centre another time in my own home.
From the very first day of my diagnosis I chose to believe that my cancer was a “teaching” cancer and not a “killing” cancer. I asked myself “what am I supposed to learn from this experience?” What I learned was what I have long suspected and that is that there is a hierarchy of love to be respected.
First, I need to love my God and creator, then my wife and family. Everyone else falls below those two. I’ve lost all interest in chasing empty corporate titles and honours. The thought of ever returning to “cubicle-land” and submitting to the mindless drones that manage the herds of unhappy employees absolutely appals me.
Working for Myself
I now seek to help others learn what I have come to know about business, particularly as it relates to advertising, sales and marketing.
My most valuable tool in that teaching process is my website.
With a website I can reach out to help small business owners around the globe, regardless of their physical location. Despite the geographical differences, many face similar challenges when they start a business of their own. Marketing is an absolute necessity in one form or another to generate interest and sustain ongoing growth and profitability.
And the Internet is a powerful marketing tool for small town, small business owners.
My site is built using a suite of tools from
Site Build It!
I know a lot about advertising, sales and marketing and virtually nothing about HTML, cascading style sheets, domain registration, servers, etc. I’m a little interested, but with my limited time and physical strength I have neither the time nor the energy to spend learning yet another skill. If I had to focus on learning everything needed to start my own site from scratch I’m afraid I’d never get around to it.
But I recognize the absolute need for businesses, especially those focusing on local markets for their customer base, to have a presence on the Internet. More importantly I wanted a site that could generate income, yes profits, not a site that looked pretty and did nothing to grow my business.
I chose SBI!
Is it for you?
Only you can decide that for yourself. Take a look at the
It’s worked for lots and lots of small business owners all over the world. Then, take a look at some of
these interesting web sites
created by ordinary men, women and yes, even children who have learned how to harness the incredible power of the Internet themselves!
Like me, they have learned that success does NOT necessarily mean climbing the corporate ladder, dodging ego-driven managers intent on destroying your self-worth and esteem, heart attacks due to stress and yes, even cancer from choosing a life course picked by someone else other than yourself to enjoy.
Success can mean working at something you love to do, surrounded by people you love to do it for!
Note:Recently, there have been a lot of Solo Build It scam articles floating around the Internet. These are false claims put on by competitors.
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