“They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty.”

– William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation

The other day, I came across my Social Security statement from last year. It reminded me that I started working in 1988, with my first summer job.

That year, I felt profoundly thankful because I managed to gross $1,142 in three months of work. For a 15-year-old boy, that seemed like all the money in the world.

Obviously my finances went up and down, through high school, college, and graduate school, as some years I had part-time jobs during school, and other years I didn’t. I was certainly never wealthy during that time, but I certainly, like William Bradford, had all things in good plenty.

That changed after I left graduate school. In 1998, I was hired to kick off an entrepreneurial venture, running a division of a small company.

I kept at it for three years, until my employer laid me off because my division wasn’t a going concern. To give you an idea of how badly it went, rather than taking a salary, I took a cut of net margin, and, according to my Social Security statement, in 1999, I had a gross income of $13,000.

As I recall, my rent was $750/month and my car payment was $323/month. You can do the math.

I remember that as a miserable time. I didn’t know how to sell, market, keep books, or do much of anything. I stayed at the office until 10 or 11 at night, every night, working my butt off, trying my darnedest to keep the business alive. Even the little things in life, like a flat tire, were catastrophes because I didn’t have any ability to cope.

I felt mired in trials, completely cut off from abundance, and had very little hope. As you can imagine, I had a hard time feeling thankful about anything.

As my readers know, this is Thanksgiving week in the United States. Stemming from one of the earliest events in our culture, Thanksgiving is supposed to give us a chance to reflect, to think back on the trials of our past, the gifts of our present, and our hopes for the future.

The Separatists of Plymouth endured loss, disease, starvation, and harsh weather. They struggled in misery for many months, until they managed, through effort, experience, and hard challenges, to find abundance in their lives again.

With a meal, they celebrated the abundance they made in their lives, even though the future was uncertain.

And that simple meal became a foundation for how Americans see themselves.

I don’t know about you, but despite a job change, new business tribulations, illness, and future uncertainty, I have a plentiful life. I am far away from the bad old days of ramen and Spam daily rations, trying desperately to sell something others didn’t want.

That’s in part because I’ve learned, over the years, how to bring in the harvest. When I was a failing entrepreneur, I didn’t know how to sell or market myself. Now I do. I didn’t know how to communicate with businesspeople. Now I do.

And the fruits of my labor are all around me. I have health, a family, sturdy house, and good food. And I have many new friends thanks to AWAI, including readers like you. And because of AWAI, I can see great potential in what I do. Wherever you are in your move toward being a B2B copywriter, you have massive opportunity in front of you, to learn and grow, to become more valuable to your clients, and to have all things in good plenty, now and forever.

I hope you can see the great potential that’s ahead of you.

So I’ll wrap up with a metaphorical toast, “To Plenty!” … and I’ll wish y’all a very Happy Thanksgiving, whether it’s at work for my overseas friends, or at the table for my American friends.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »

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Published: November 20, 2012

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