**For those NOT on Facebook, my original post is here. It starts: "One thing that I have learned the last year and a half is the power of.... (drum roll please)... SUPPORT! You see, we all have different backgrounds, interests, abilities, situations, etc. What we have in common is that we are all human-- we all make mistakes; we all experience failure. What stands us apart is how we react to the good/successes; AND the bad/failures/frustrations. Our response and reaction to the hard times can be greatly affected and impacted by the relationships we have built and the support we get from those we've built relationships with. Long story short, I haven't always created good, solid relationships that are of a win-win nature... (It usually ends up as either a "give, give, give" OR "take it, no matter the cost" relationship....
(1) I end up giving my all and then some, where I'm left burned out and ready to quit. OR (2) I end up walking all over people with the intention of getting something for nothing (yes, I admit this was horrible).) MORAL OF THIS STORY: I learned that success earned while screwing others or walking all over them or using them to get to the top is NO success I want to have-- It is not a space you can mentally reside in for long as there is no feeling of empowerment or (good) pride because it was never actually earned, just taken and forced.
The best way to find true joy, and accomplish a level of success you've only ever dreamed of, is to make every situation a win-win. (A win-win situation in my mind is one that I walk away from feeling like I was able to help, and was able to receive some assistance in the meantime, AND I know the other party feels the same.)
I married a man 1.5 years ago who from DAY 1 impressed me with his dreams and his goals, and his vision for a bigger/better/more influential life. It was clear to me even then that the relationships I had built up, had been set up to fail (...by myself)... I had become so good at using others or being used that I was creating self-destructive relationships which only ended up dragging me down.
He changed everything...
He showed me the beauty of having a dream. He showed me the power and impact of working hard. He showed me the light and joy that can result from building up others. He showed me this NEW life, one I had assumed was only visible in movies and fairy tales.
He is strong. He is smart. He is creative. He is impactful and inspirational. He is hardworking. He is brave. He is confident yet humble. He is constantly progressing, moving forward. He encourages and uplifts. He teaches and motivates. He strengthens and empowers.
The only thing I felt I could contribute was something I felt was so insignificant and wasn't sure it would even matter. I wasn't as capable. I wasn't as hardworking. I wasn't as brave or confident. I was definitely not humble :) I wasn't that great at motivating or empowering others either.
What I felt was insignificant has been HUGE this past year. My husband and I ended up starting a family company: Smith Family Investing. Our motto is simple... "Your dreams matter." And our mission states exactly what our goal is, which is to "create wealth for the benefit of mankind-- one family, one community at a time."
We united our passions and dreams and goals for the future and this company was the result. I felt like he had the majority of the good ideas (he still does...). I felt like he was the more passionate person. He had the background of sales, of business, and of working painstakingly hard (physically, mentally, etc.). I had a "fun" background where putting on events, and nonprofit work were all I really felt I was good at or even knew much about. I felt inadequate when we started, and to an extent, I was. But my husband never doubted me or my abilities or my passion or my dreams. My dreams mattered.
He encouraged me to do something slightly uncomfortable, out of my usual routine towards my dreams. We ended up (after deciding 2 weeks prior) to pack up and move across the country. We did it. We lived with my parents for a few months while we nailed down our goals and our "plan". A couple months later, we packed everything up again and moved to TN. We didn't have friends here, or jobs, or a good plan (or so we thought). What we did have was energy, love, passion, and excitement-- and we had each other. We had SUPPORT, even if that support was just us supporting each other. That support is what got us to where we are today, and has left us with one thing you just can't really buy... happiness.
My insignificant-feeling support of my husband and his desire to be financially free and pursue real estate investing never seemed far fetched to me. His dreams never seemed unreachable or impossible. He always had a plan. He had goals. He had past experiences and past failures that were fueling him to push harder, work harder, and be better than he was. People have made comments before about this lifestyle (being self-employed) being unstable, having no security, or being risky.
I smile when people say that.
I have never felt more joy and peace OR seen more potential for a better future paired with a possibility for reaching my "pipe dream" goals. What I once thought was impossible, now isn't just becoming possible, but it is becoming a reality. I have never felt more safe. I have never felt more stable. I have never felt more empowered or encouraged.
This man came out of nowhere. One swipe right on Tinder and my whole life shifted upside down. That shift somehow put everything in place. Before him, I had been confused, depressed, lonely, frustrated, unmotivated. With him, I saw clearly, and was excited for the future (no longer dreading waking up each morning).
He is rare. He is special. He is unique.
He is an unstoppable power house.
He is amazing. He is more than just capable-- he doesn't rely on others to get things done. If he wants it, he makes it happen.
He reads and listens to inspirational/self-help/empowering books. He listens to them again and again. He watches documentaries of people who went through hard times and he learns from them, applying different lessons to his own life.
He sees his faults, his failures, his mistakes. He admits they occurred. He doesn't let them hold him back. He lets them fuel him into working twice as hard. He doesn't back down. He fights for what he wants. He doesn't take no for an answer.
He believes he can, and he definitely can.
He believes I can, and he has helped me know that I can.
Because I chose to swipe right; because I took that initial risk, that leap of faith; because I fought for him; because I chose to support him from our very first date... everything changed.
Yeah, he changed-- and he is continually changing and developing and growing.
But in the end, the person who has done the most changing, is me.
I couldn't be more grateful for the man who posts sweet things about me on Facebook; who gives me back rubs even with a sprained wrist; who does what I "ask" even when my "ask" is more of a demand and less of a question/request; who respects me; who thinks I am beautiful; who tells me I am amazing; who would do anything and does everything to empower me; and who believes in me more than anyone ever has and more than I feel they probably should.
I love this man. The man who posted: "I am so grateful for my wife Jenna Baker Smith. There is nothing more wonderful than the unwavering support of a loving wife when you are working on creating your dreams. I am so grateful for her sacrifice, positivity and her faith in me even when my resolve waivers. We can do anything together and that makes me so excited about the future which is in the making."
He has NEVER, not once, asked me to do something he is not willing to do, or hasn't already done. And he never will. You see, this marriage to him is more than a marriage, more than just being best friends. It is a partnership. We are equals. He loves me not because he has to but for some odd reason :), he just does. He believes I can do anything I put my mind to.
This man is not perfect. But, he is perfect for me.
At the end of the day, I can't imagine my life without him. And I don't ever want to.
He is the best thing I've ever been blessed with, because he has given me something I didn't know was possible for me... When I was in high school, I wrote a list of 7 things I wanted to accomplish before I was 30... one of them (the most important one): to be happy. Back then it seemed impossible. Heck, even two years ago I was still convinced it was never ever ever gonna happen.
Then I met him.
And everything changed.
In September 2015, I wasn't in a good place. I had my heart broken. I was depressed beyond description. I had given up. I had no job. I had no support besides the family I felt "had to" support me. I was tempted to end my life. I spent a couple weeks in a mental health behavioral center (aka mental hospital). I was ready to quit right then and there.
For some reason, I didn't.
I didn't know why. God knew why.
3 months later I met him. 1 month after that, we were engaged. 2.5 months after that, we were married.
It's been 1 year and 4-ish months... as of today: we have lived in 2 apartments and 2 houses; we started with 2 cars, have bought 5 more, and have sold 4; we have lived in 3 states; been registered voters in 3 states; we have started a business; we are expecting a baby (7 weeks from Saturday) boy; and we have pushed ourselves past our breaking point multiple times.
I don't have a SINGLE regret. Not one. He is the best choice I've ever made. No need to regret the mistakes or failures I've experienced or any of the hard times, because those failures/mistakes/hard times lead to this--right here, right now. And I wouldn't change a thing about it.
I am lucky. I am blessed. I am grateful. Best of all, I am loved.