Years ago, in my former life, I had the privilege of working for a great company. I should rather say a very small company with big dreams.
We were a bunch of people, eager to face challenge, undaunted by fierce competition, and determined to succeed, each in his, or her, own field.
My area was analytical chemistry and analysis of environmental samples and my initial goal was to set a laboratory and expand it. A big challenge for a chemist fresh out of graduate school who had no experience in management.
To succeed I needed tools. With a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry, I was strong technically, however my managerial skills grew slowly and surely through workshops, reading, and hands-on experience. I started the ECC lab with four chemists and two analytical instruments and steadily added to both. Ten years later, the lab counted fifty chemists and every state-of the art analytical instrument necessary to run environmental analysis.
Do you have a dream?
You should. Life is dull without a dream. Life is stagnant without a dream.
A dream is, by definition, an involuntary vision occurring to a person when awake.
Can you make your dream come true?
Can your vision become a reality? Of course it can.
It will, if you take the right decisions and actions to make it happen.
1-Keep your eyes on your vision.
2-Determine your goal. A tangible goal you can achieve.
3-Collect your tools. Do you need more knowledge, more experience, more equipment, more personnel?
4-Apply yourself at the task. Give it your 100%. Give it more than 100%.
• Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. You can do it if you really want to reach your goal, if you want to live your dream. • Have faith in yourself. If you don’t have faith in yourself, don’t expect others to have faith in you, or to follow your example.
• If you don’t plan to do an excellent job, then don’t do it at all. Because you are depriving others from doing it. Be sure there are others who are ready to do it and do it well.
People are different and have different ways of approaching their goals.
• Some do it in a flamboyant way that attracts all eyes.
• Others prefer a quiet steady pace.
Decide which is your style.
• Independent people like to work on their own.
• Social people like to be part of a team.
• Others have enough self-confidence to become team-leader.
In college, I was a shy student who dreamed to be a confident manager in a far-away future.
In 1994, I wrote a proposal to refurbish a military laboratory in Minsk while asking everyone where the hell was Minsk? In Belarus. And where was Belarus? Somewhere near Russia. Obviously.
We won the contract. And my heart filled with panic when Paul said: “Yeah, you are going to Belarus.”
“Me? No way. I don’t even know where it is.”
But we met the contract officer who had already been there and talked about it with warmth. Belarus became an accessible place with humans. Manjiv was with me in Washington when we signed the contract with J. B., a cheerful man who made the difficult challenge of going to Belarus an enjoyable mission.
To succeed you have to plan well. I organized the refurbishment tasks, ordered the equipment, scheduled the traveling of my chemists to Belarus,...
With every project and every task, there is always the unpredictable.
I never had a contract that came without problems. That would have been too easy. I don’t think the word easy should exist in the dictionary. But every problem, every conflict is part of the challenge and we can tackle it if we keep a cool head and think rationally.
The Belarus project was a big success and led to more contracts in the Russian countries. In addition, to performing a job, we built solid friendships with some of the officers who invited us to their homes. I met their wives and daughters. We were featured on their national TV.
Needleless to say, I enjoyed my trips to Belarus tremendously and kept pages of notes about this country and its culture.
New dreams sprouted in my mind. I wanted to share what I discovered with others. I was in a hotel room in a small town, Uman, in Ukraine, typing a report when I had an epiphany. Why not write a book about my adventures in Belarus? For two years, the idea brewed in my mind. But working 12 to 16 hours a day didn’t leave much time to write a book. After a year of deliberation with myself, I finally gathered the courage to ask my boss for an early retirement to pursue my new goal: write a successful novel.
Could I do it? Too many challenges here. English was my third language after French and Arabic. My background was scientific: a BS in Pharmacy and a Ph.D. in Analytical chemistry. I wrote hundreds of Standard Operating Procedures for ECC, but writing a novel was a completely different endeavor. Good God. I would be competing with writers whose major was English, journalism, law,…people who grew up with English.
So? Since when have I ever backed up from a challenge?
I needed to collect my tools. I bought grammar books, composition books. I read, studied and attended workshops. I joined the Romance Writers of America and two local chapters in Cincinnati and Fort Lauderdale. I joined two others on line, attended their meetings and learned everything I could about the craft. And I wrote the first draft of my book, TO LOVE A HERO, a love story set in Belarus in which I poured my impressions and adventures. My mother read it and loved it.
Now I have critique partners with whom I regularly exchange chapters. We help and support each other.
And all the time, I submitted my book to various publishers and accepted rejections with tears and new determination, until the blessed day I received an email offering me a contract for TO LOVE A HERO.
I was now a published author. FRENCH PERIL, a romantic suspense set in France was accepted right away by my publisher. Three more books followed. BABIES IN THE BARGAIN won Best Romance Novel of the Year 2009 and Rx FOR TRUST, Best Romance Novel for 2010. Rx In Russian will be released on April 11, 2011 by The Wild Rose Press.
- Remember to dream
- Set your goals
- Accept the challenge
- Collect your tools
- Give it your 100%
- Seek support
- Tackle the conflicts and problems
- Never, never give up
- Enjoy your well deserved success
- And now up your dreams and goals.
If you are about to retire, remember that you really never retire. You just fulfill new dreams, you set new goals and enjoy new successes.
It was wonderful seeing you all at the 25th anniversary of our company, applauding your achievements, and feeling I am still a member of ECC family.
If you like to travel and love to read, come and enjoy my international romances. I will take you around the world through stories that simmer with emotion and sizzle with heat.
BABIES IN THE BARGAIN winner of 2009 Best Romance Novel at Preditors & Editors and winner of 2009 Best Contemporary Romance at Readers Favorite.
Rx FOR TRUST, winner of 2010 Best Contemporary Romance at Readers Favorite and 2011 EPICON.
Rx IN RUSSIAN to be released on April 11, 2011