Dream Big

by | Apr 6, 2009 | Book Marketing Basics

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Some years ago I met a man named George. I was a lost 20 year old who had just moved to San Diego, George had a vacant room in a big rambling house he owned and I needed a place to start my new life. Soon after I moved in a friendship that would span over 20 years was born.

I wasn’t doing what I loved at the time, nor was I living any kind of a dream. I was young and like most of the world, just trying to get by. George didn’t have any kind of a formal education, he followed in his father’s footsteps working nights as a machinist for a local manufacturing plant. But what George had was a keen insight and an excellent sense of human nature, he was also one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. One night about a month after I moved in, I got home from a particularly long day. George was getting ready to go to work and I dropped myself on the couch for a brief chat before he left. He paused for a moment, smiled and said “You know, kid, you’re destined to do great things with your life. In fact you can do anything at all you want, you just have to believe.” I remember smiling to him, frankly at the time I thought his comment was a little odd. How could a virtual stranger know anything at all about my future? I thanked him for his insight, then retreated to my room to dream of a better life. But George kept at me, as our friendship grew he helped me see what I could not. He helped me see that the impossible is only impossible until you give it a try. He helped me see that there was a world out there outside of the small, dank office I found myself in everyday. But most important, he helped me believe in myself. George shaped my life in a way that I could have never imagined. He was a great friend, and a shining supporter. After I moved out of his house and into my own apartment, our friendship continued to thrive. I would share my deepest wishes, my secret dreams and my hopes for my future. “You can do it all, kid” he would smile knowingly.

Over ten years ago now, right after I lost my job, George took me to lunch and said “This is the best news ever, now you can finally do what you’ve always wanted to.” I was hoping for sympathy, instead (and in true George fashion) I got a cheering section. And so Author Marketing Experts was born. He checked in every week to show his support, each day I woke up terrified but elated. I was finally living my dream. Thanks to a little determination and one person who believed in me.

Two weeks ago I got a call from George’s daughter telling me her father had died in his sleep. George was 56.

Occasionally we’re blessed with angels, those special people who come into our life some for a day, and others for a lifetime. We can never know the things that change the course of our future, or help us along when we need a nudge to get a step closer to our dream. We’re all in the business of dreaming. Some of us dream big, some of us dream small. But to have someone on our side through it, helping us believe in ourselves well, that is perhaps the greatest gift of all. I dreamed so big that I remember a time when I would laugh, wondering if any of it could actually come true. It did. All of it. And even more I could have ever imagined.

Life, however long it is, is meant to be lived in such a way that we leave some indelible impression on those we love and, if we’re lucky, the world. I guess we could ruminate on how short life is, or how unfair that someone so dear had to leave us so soon. But the truth is, the length of our life isn’t as important as what we do with the time we are here. And most importantly, to remember and thank those special people along the way. They are the ones who believe in us when no one else does or when our own faith in what we’re doing doesn’t suffice to get us through. While I doubt any of you reading this have ever met George, his affect on my life has touched so many. The authors we support and the work we do, all of it set in motion before any of this was even a blip on my radar.

Today, thank someone who’s helped you or believed in you. Without them, God knows where we’d be.

Thank you George, you were right. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVG80vqVfSA


  1. Elise

    Thank you Penny………..I haven’t been this happy doing what I want to do, since I started CMC! Please come let me buy you lunch!!!

  2. Linda

    Penny, you touched a spot in my heart that hasn’t been touched in a long time. Everyone needs a George in their life.

  3. Anne Lindsay

    Ah, Penny. Thank you for that story. It’s those cheer leaders and supporters who make our lives rich. When we get older we get to be cheer leaders and supporters of the next generation.

    I love your twittering and follow you and your great advice. Thank you and George was right!

  4. Melissa

    Hey Pen, What a beautiful post. And what a lovely reminder on how important it is to show our appreciation to those we value most – while we’re here. With blessings, Melissa http://www.theirwayhome.com

  5. Penny

    Hey everyone, thanks for your kind words. George was so special and how lucky was I to have him in my life? Everyone needs a “George”….

  6. Ronald Earl Wilsher

    Beautiful story, Miss Penny S.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Keep the faith and keep being YOU!


    TrueBeliever & HopeDealer

  7. Emma Newman

    Wow, a true light bringer. This is beautiful, thank you.

  8. Malcolm Campbell

    Sometimes when stumbling blocks appear, their real intent is to trip us so we finally start walking in the direction we always intended to go.

    I really like stories like this one.


    • Penny


      Great point – one positive aspect to this situation has been the discussion it generated, a good discussion about blogger-PR relations. Thanks for stopping by!


  9. Pamela MIles

    What a wonderful story Penny. Thanks for sharing. Makes great sense… sort of like “And now you know the rest of the story”… as I am in awe of how generous you are with your knowledge and talent.

    Everyone deserves a George. Who’s George can I be today?!

    All the very best, your Twitter friend,


  10. Penny

    Hey Pamela,

    Yes we should all be a “George” —-

    Thanks for reading and spreading the good!


  11. Phyllis K Twombly

    Thanks for this reminder that the ‘George’ factor in life can be bigger than the setbacks.

  12. Kate McLaughlin

    A beautiful tribute, Penny. I’m sure George is smiling at you now.


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