As 2019 begins to wind down, it’s time to reflect on the year – both the blessings and the challenges.
I came to Colorado in 2016, to visit my ailing mother for three weeks. I’m now coming up on three years here. I’ve lost my mother, my brother, a precious childhood friend, and four treasured family pets, since I’ve been here.
In spite of the loss though, I have accomplished some seriously extraordinary things in 2019. The thing I am most proud of accomplishing, is not allowing all of the death and grief to control my life, and determine who I am.
Grief is a beast, and taming it isn’t easy. The only way I made it through, was five seconds at a time.
I need to back up a little bit here – back to October of 2018. I had just got home from a late night of caring for Mom at the nursing home. I was exhausted, overwhelmed, and so depressed. I tossed and turned for awhile, and then finally gave up and turned on YouTube. I figured I’d find some boring video, that would make me fall asleep. I clicked on a random video, and ended up being up for hours that night. That random video changed my life – it was Mel Robbins’ famous Ted Talk, where I heard about the 5 Second Rule for the very first time.
For days, I watched every Mel Robbins video I could get my hands on, took a long, deep look into myself and my life, and started practicing retraining my brain.
Mel Robbins, talks about grief and loss, in one of her videos, and reminds us that just because we have gone through something bad, like the loss of a loved one, that doesn’t mean our entire year has to be bad.
This year was a rough one for me. My mother was in a nursing home dying of an extremely rare disease, I was still reeling from my younger brother’s death the year before, and I was living with my stepfather, whom I had a tumultuous relationship with growing up, and throughout my adult life. How could this year be anything but bad?
Every day, I would wake up and dread going to the scary, smelly nursing home, and then 5-4-3-2-1 — I would picture my mother holding me as a young child. I thought about how safe and secure I felt, and how much I wanted that for her. And then I’d proceed to the nursing home with a smile on my face, and love and compassion in my heart.
With all this grief and loss, and family gatherings and funeral planning, how would I ever be able to concentrate on building my business? Five seconds at a time, that’s how. 5-4-3-2-1 — I would picture myself presenting a large check to the chairman of the foundation I started for unsigned artists. I imagined the albums they released, the tours they went on, the amazing music videos they made, all because of my foundation. Then I would smile, take a deep breath, and just focus on work for one hour. Many times, that hour turned into several very productive hours, and now I look back in awe, at all of the progress I have made.
By the end of 2018, I had 5-4-3-2-1’d myself out of a relationship that had me hanging in limbo for over ten years, out of a job where my creativity felt stunted, and I had to deal with a coworker who made every single day miserable, and I began the process of forgiving my stepfather.
On New Year’s Eve 2018, I wrote my list of 2019 goals. Every year, for as long as I can remember, I had written out my goals for the new year, but this year was different. This year, Mel Robbins had given me the tools I needed, to bring my goals to fruition.
I took my love and passion for music, radio, art, local bands and singer/songwriters, and launched Virtuosity Worldwide LLC – a four-part promotional powerhouse, whose main mission is to support and promote independent artists.
I launched the Virtuosity Worldwide Arts & Entertainment Magazine on February 1, 2019. We now have four authors on staff, and have published features on musicians and artists of all mediums, from around the world. Click here: VirtuosityMagazine.com.
In March of 2019, I launched Virtuosity Worldwide Digital Promotions. We offer a 50% discount to qualified, unsigned artists.
Jimmy has also graciously agreed to be a part of our 2020 advertising campaign for VW Digital Promotions, which is exciting! Jimmy is sure to reach even more musicians who are in need of our services.
After obtaining my LLC, and putting Virtuosity Worldwide out into the world, a strange thing began to happen. I began receiving messages every day, from artists I was writing about and promoting, thanking me for what I was doing, and sometimes crediting me for certain successes they had achieved.
This was my motivation, and the anchor thought I needed to start reaching out to people that I, at the time, considered out of my league. 5-4-3-2-1 — I reached out to Dave Hillis, producer for Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, James Blunt, and a host of others. Dave saw my vision and wanted to be a part of it, and we immediately partnered together.
Throughout this past year, I have turned to Dave for information and guidance, and he’s been there for me. This past summer during my trip to New York to visit my three sons, I was fortunate enough to make an overnight trip to Pittsburgh to meet Dave, as well as his wife and daughter. What was supposed to be a business meeting, ended up feeling more like a family reunion. Not only did I find a partner and mentor, I found forever friends in Dave and his family.
I had written “Own my own radio station” under dreams on my 2019 Goal list initially, but then a musician friend of mine contacted me and said he knew of two DJs, that had a popular live show, and needed a station to broadcast from. I told him I had no concrete plans to launch a radio station anytime soon. My friend’s response was “What are you waiting for?” 5-4-3-2-1 — I now own and operate Virtuosity Worldwide Radio aka #VWRadio, a licensed, internet radio station, with a 24/7 stream. We have four DJs on staff, hosting live shows each week, as well as podcasts hosted by independent artists. Click here for our Programming Schedule.
The response, so far, has been phenomenal – over 3,000 total listeners in our first 60 days!
5-4-3-2-1 — I started attending local performances of artists I love, and writing features about them for my magazine. The response was amazing, and we now have several hundred subscribers.
I’ve also made many new friends, business connections, and reconnected with precious friends and family, I hadn’t seen in decades.
I feel more connected now, than I ever have. I am building a music and art community around me, and I look forward to all the amazing things we are going to accomplish together.
For the first time in my life, I will spend New Year’s Eve looking back on this year, with a smile on my face, and with a proud sense of accomplishment. And that is in spite of the fact, that 2019 is the year I lost my mother. Thank you for that, Mel Robbins.
Since I have learned to retrain my brain, I have accomplished things I would have never thought possible before. I have made monumental changes in every aspect of my life, using the 5 Second Rule, including managing my grief (more on that in a future article.)
My personal hashtag for this year was #Makin2019MyBitch, and I think I did a pretty good job of living up to that.
This coming year, I’m taking my personal life, and my business to brand new heights. I’m proclaiming 2020, my #StratosphereYear.
For all the latest, be sure to follow me via all my links below, and if you’re using the 5 Second Rule, I’d love to hear from you – please leave a comment.