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  • "Better Late than Never!"
    ~ Geoffery Chaucer in The Canterbury Tales

    Well, I'm late at making my post today :) And I say that with a smile, for the reason of my tardiness makes me quite happy ...

    I had a group of friends from New York City, all in their mid-20s, check-in to our villa yesterday. They are the second rental which has come through a new website, called AirBnB. What's different about these referrals, is that unlike the other booking engines which treat our home more like a hotel, AirBnB works to connect hosts with visitors. It's much more personal. And the guests arrive knowing that I'll be on property, and that I'm here to help, and to serve as a concierge to activities in my host city.

    It's why I started this villa business in the first place. Spencer and I envisioned a youth hostel of sorts. As I think about this, I'm sensing again an underlying desire to share my experience, to open other's eyes to different possibilities in life. I thought: How nice it would be to take this piece of paradise, which came into my possession through sheer luck and determination, and share it with adventurous youth, that don't have alot of money, and allow them to assume my life for a bit (or maybe a lifetime too!).

    I've been repeating this message over and over the past few days: Prosperity comes when we give from the heart.

    And oh how I remember the discouragement my father offered. What kind of people would this attract? All he saw was problems. All I saw was opportunity.

    And when we began renting in 2003, "villa rental by owner" was just emerging. We were one of the first 50 properties to be listed out in the search engines. Now there are some 1,500 properties renting, just in the Virgin Islands alone. It makes it exceptionally hard to differentiate oneself, or should I say, one's home.

    And last year was a reflection of this, and financially, we experienced the worst year ever. I almost gave up.

    How could I get back to my original intention of connecting with people, not just feeling like a prostitute with a home to offer?? I reworked our website, making it as personal as possible. I researched every single listing opportunity that I could think of.

    And just as Napoleon Hill promises: "Five hundred of the most successful people this country has ever known told me that their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them."

    I almost quit, 300 feet away from striking gold.

    Last fall, I took a 6 week's vacation which I could ill afford.

    As I sat at a micro-brewery - aptly called Neptune's, with decor of the sea - in the small town of Lewiston Montana, we got to chatting with the young brew master. It was 11:00 in the morning, and we were the only patrons in the bar. He mentioned that he also had a ski rental, and had begun using this new on-line listing service, called AirBnB. Had I heard of it?

    When opportunity comes, it often appears in a different form and a different direction than what one expects. This is one of the tricks of opportunity, claims Napoleon Hill.

    We MUST be open to opportunity when it comes knocking. And we have to use everything in our power to explore it, to find it.

    As I worked with Napoleon Hill's "Desire to Gold" statement in January, I wrote down a number which reflected the best year this villa ever had. At the time, it seemed completely unreasonable. I look at that number every day, and I created a little goal tracker, so that I could measure our current achievement, against the worst and the best.

    I'm happy to report that due to this new listing agent, we are back on track

    So why am I late today?? Well, only one gal was old enough, out of the group of 7 guests, to legally rent a car. The group arrived without any food, and proceeded to enjoy a liquid dinner of top shelf vodka. By 9PM, they were starving, and wanted to know where to order for take out. I ended up placing their order, and escorting the driver to the restaurant. They came to the Virgin Islands, to participate in our annual Carnival. And last night was Jouvert, an all night party, culminating in the battle of the bands in the street at dawn. We arranged a taxi to come and get them, and we were up at 4AM, to make sure they didn't miss it :)

    Connecting with people. It's what keeps us motivated in what we do. It's the key to our success. And I'm loving every minute of it .....

    I woke back up at 5:45 to see the sun crest over the horizon, but decided to go back to bed. This blog has taught me exceptional discipline.

    No matter what time of day, writing is the first thing I do when I wake up. I'm devoted to it. To quote Glen Long in "Write to Done" .... What separates a good writer from a tragic wannabee? Persistence and practice. You write and rewrite until your work is as good as your current skills allow. You create a writing habit and commit to a daily target. You write when you’re in the zone and you write when you’re not. (You write when you are tired, you write when you are hungover). You write when friends are out having fun because you said to them: “No, I have to write.”

    And so I did not join my new friends at Jouvert, even though I wanted to. I'd rather write and watch my sunrise. Better late than never .....
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