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A little about me: How an aircraft maintainer turned writer and website designer!

I bet you didn't know that, did you? It's kind of hard for me to believe too, but that's what I find myself doing a lot of these days.

Building websites and writing.

I'm also an editor. No, seriously! I help people tell their stories and they pay me for it.

Real talk.

Who would have thought that this woman (me), who spent 25 years in aircraft maintenance, would retire and become an editor who builds websites?

Trust me. I'm just as surprised as you are. You know what's even more surprising?

I'm good at it!

So, how exactly did this happen? Well, I'll share my journey with you. (Read to the bottom to see my seven-step journey)

A couple of years ago I started my business. I was preparing for my second career and knew I needed a website. It was hard for me to articulate my vision, so I created it myself.

After all, I had zero IT, graphic design, or web design experience, so, if it didn't turn out well, I had no one to blame but myself. The only investment I made was time and creativity. If it didn't work out, at least I could say I tried.

But guess what? It worked out!

For starters, I leveraged my experience in the military.

Where does aircraft maintenance and website building intersect, you may ask. They don't, but the lessons do.

I was trained to read a technical manual step-by-step EVERY time I did a job, and this was no different.

I also learned how to troubleshoot issues seen and unseen by using my training, technical expertise, understanding of the systems, and intuition. If I got stuck, I called the experts (engineers).

This was much of the same, and the process worked out well for me.

Here is where things differed: it was my project so I was not afraid to fail. If it didn't work out, I didn't publish it. If it did, hooray for me!

Basically, I gave myself permission to fail.

Failing is something that is frowned upon in the military, but necessary in order to reach success. In other words, failure is a part of the success journey (I wish someone would tell "them" that).

Anyway, writing ...

I was asked to ghostwrite a story (that's another story). After a conversation with God, I, of course, agreed. I became the developmental editor for this book and the rest of the writing story is history.

Well, something in me told me that the book would be a game-changer (the author is ah-mazing!), and I knew people would want to look her up once her book was launched.

Boy was I right! Her website lit up like the Fourth of July! She had more site visits in a week than I had in a year! Of course we promoted her, but the compliments on her site were overwhelming.

How is that for a confidence booster?

Then I built another, and another, then a landing page, and another. Then an online course, and well, you get the point!

And that is how I learned how to build websites. In short, it was out of curiosity and necessity. Now I can offer my clients a package that includes book writing and web design!

So here are few things that allowed me to do what I do:

1. I challenged myself to leave my comfort zone. What is something that I can learn today that will prepare me for tomorrow?

2. I gave myself permission to try and fail. If you aren't failing, are you, or how much are you truly learning?

3. I leveraged my previous experience by extracting the necessary training, skills, and expertise needed to navigate this new area of my life.

4. I persisted through the failures and I didn't give up! I kept going even when faced with major challenges. In other words, I troubleshot my way to success.

5. I was patient with the process and gave myself grace. This was the first time I was doing this, why was I pressuring myself to "nail it" on the first try? That type of unrealistic expectation sets us up for a life of depression and fear. I won't do that to myself again. I left that part of me in the military.

6. I created a new belief in myself. I had never done it before and honestly, never thought it was something I would be capable of doing. I thought, if others can do it, why can't I? It doesn't matter that I've never done it, if I don't try I'll never do it! So I did.

7. I elicited honest feedback. I didn't get upset when someone wanted a change, or pointed out a mistake I made. I didn't say I couldn't do it when someone asked me if I could add, change, remove, or troubleshoot something. Nope, I figured it out and asked for suggestions to make it better. I challenged myself to get better!

So, challenge yourself to do something you've never done. I'm not saying it has to be something big, and you don't have to build websites or write book. I am saying that by trusting yourself, you may uncover a hidden gift or talent lurking beneath the surface. Who knows, it may even unveil your purpose like it did mine!

Now, there you have it! That's how I became a writer, editor, and website designer!

~ Kamille Stephanson Thomas


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