Category Archives: The Business of Life

The Unthinkable Connects Us: @chrisbrogan & September 11th

Arizona Daily Star
Image via Wikipedia

Chris Brogan posted a blog about his reflections on September 11th and how it affected him. His readers had a lot of comments on his personal opinion. Some folks did not smile upon his personal opinion and made it out like he was being selfish for sharing his personal experience.

September 11, 2001 changed my life forever. I was not “there.” I did not loose any close family members as a result of the day. However, I lost faith in many things and changed my life perspective entirely!

I was in Berea, Kentucky where I was then attending college on a $75,000 scholarship. I was in a Social Economics course (I was a sociology major) and we were focusing on consumerism. The television was playing in the next room and we HEARD the airplane hit the world trade center. Everyone in my class got up and ran to the television in shock. Our instructor had the nerve to say that there was nothing we could do about it, so we should return to our studies. We tried, but it was ineffective at best.

After classes were out for the day, I had to go to work in Richmond, Kentucky at the local Applebee’s as the fry cook. I remember walking into work and Bin Laden‘s picture was on every television screen, even though they were on different channels.

The following day on Berea College campus I remember sitting under a century-old-tree and writing in my journal about how everyone at school was going through the motions, but no one was present.

I was 715 miles away from home, without money or transportation and only wanted to be at home with those I loved. Uncertainly and lack of any security resonated through every fiber of my being and my life and I was not the only one, but we were all alone. Everyone to some degree felt as I did, but no one panicked. We were awakened nightly in our residential halls to fellow student’s having nightmares. The news was always on and everyone seemed to be waiting for salvation, yet it didn’t come.

My mother begged me to drop out of school and return home. But the sense of urgency that I felt and feeling that the life and place I was in, was a once in a lifetime opportunity and the need to stay and honor my commitments ruled.

Systematically I began to fall apart. It only took from September 11th until February 1st for everything I lived, believed and thought to completely fall apart and fall away. During that time I took a stress test and the results were over 700! Needless to say by the end of winter term, I withdrew and returned to Arkansas to lick my wounds and put myself back together. When I tried to return to school, they would not consider me for re-admittance.

I moved back home and stayed with my mother for about 6 weeks and then moved to Fort Smith, AR, rented my own place and proceeded to start over from scratch. It took me three years to pay off Berea College to get my transcripts released so that I could go back to school. By then I was married, a wife and a mother.

It took 8 years, but I did what it took to finish both an associates and bachelors degree. Do I sometimes still wish that I had been able to stay at Berea College and graduated in 4 years with a bachelors degree? Yes.

But 9/11 showed me in a very real way that my wish was not what was important. Being the creme-de-la-creme of Berea College in Berea, KY was nothing compared to living an authentic life and surrounding myself with my friends, family and the people I love.

There is always more than one way to shoot for the stars and to achieve success. My life-long I have believed that success is the fulfillment of God-given potential. 9/11 taught me that only God knew how I would be successful.


Annie Sells

** Please note that this article in no way reflects my personal opinions on the cause of September 11th, only that such an incident forever changed life in my country forever.

Get Motivated and Paint

Colouring pencils
Image via Wikipedia

While checking up on my favorite blogs, I ran across an opinion that stuck with me, but the author’s name escapes me. What didn’t fade in the one million +1 details of my day is this: our perspective is what shapes our attitude and ultimately our lives.

Our circumstances change, this we all know. However, our perception of our circumstance changes even more readily . My Facebook friend Jennifer Clement sent out a link for everyone to test their perception of color. I took the quiz and scored a 36 and was disappointed, but just as small changes in color can be indiscernible to the eye, so goes our slight and constant change in perception. That being said those slight changes are what color our attitude and therefore our lives.

Have you ever noticed that when you get motivated things get done, whether they be for the better or the worse?

This week I, Annie Sells, became motivate to make some changes in my life and as a result I took it upon myself to change the color of my home office. Previously it was the same color as my dinning room – terracotta. Today it is a blank slate thanks to two coats of primer (purchased at my local Yeager’s Ace Hardware store.) Before weeks-end my office will be a very pale shade of lavender. Of course that change: terracotta-to-white-to-lavender is far from indiscernible.

Yet remember this: when you get bogged down or tied up by your circumstances, remember that you have the power to change your attitude. If that means motivating yourself to white out your perception and start again, then do it. Look around you. Do you like what you see? If not then get motivated and paint!

4X4 Madness in May

an old-style steel toy dump truck by Tonka
Image via Wikipedia

Driving big trucks, 4 wheeling and 4X4s are all things Annie Sells viewed as extreme, frivolous and radical. However, my husband now drives a big truck with 35 inch tires, he loves to go 4 wheeling and is prone to disappearing into the Arkansas River bottoms on a whim and I doubt he will ever own anything again that isn’t a 4X4.  So these extreme and radical things have become a part of my daily life.  Don’t get me wrong I love to drive and I love to get muddy.   I just haven’t ever been able to get past the expense of it all!  I have had several vehicles that cost lest to purchase than a set of 5 tires for my husband’s truck!!

It is true the Sells Family went to Cass, AR for Madness in May.  It was quite funny, when we pulled up they didn’t believe that my husband had brought his big truck, which we affectionately call a Tonka Truck “just to watch.”  Chris Sells was willing to just watch, but when I saw how excited he was to be there and how silly it seems not to take advantage of the opportunity for him to play where others were fully capable and prepared to pull us out, I agreed we could pay the entry fee for him to play.

So in we went, with one of the biggest of the dozens and dozens of trucks and proceeded to play!  We also watched as others competed to see who was the best and fastest.   When we drove up to the various events, I was glad we had one of the biggest trucks, because I sat on the roof racks for a better view.  I guess needing a ladder to get in has its advantages. 🙂  Besides the big boys and girls driving in the mud, everywhere you looked there were little children rolling in the mud, people of all ages laughing as they breathed in truck exhaust and got splashed in the face with mud and Lord knows what else.  The best part was that there were people from all walks of life, driving all types of vehicles, young and old, rich and poor hanging out together  setting aside the daily grind and having a good time together, in the beautiful May sunshine.

I guess we will have to make it an annual event.  I can think of worse ways to spend a beautiful May day.  Besides every time I bring up that one day my son smiles and laughs and my husband grins from ear-to-ear and says that he had a blast!  Hey, even I know the joys of playing with Tonka trucks in the mud.

Rock Star – Am I Complaining? No Way.

May 9 – 16, 2010 was a whirlwind. No sooner than I take an awesome day-time job, things in my personal career and life take off! Go figure. Take the leap of faith to do what is best for my family and my career takes off. Am I complaining? No way.

This week I have finished off a contract with one clients and launched another contract, which looks to be promising. I was interviewed by Aric Mitchell a freelancer who also writes for The City Wire about River Valley Business Networkers, fondly called Team RVBN, which I have been managing the social media extensions and public relations for.

Those alone made for a great week, but add in the fact that my Twitter account has gone nuts, Michelle Stockman recommended me calling me a Social Media Guru on LinkedIn and Susan Davis asked me to contribute to her newest mission and invited me on as a contributing writer to, only to turn around and call me a social media rock star that she knew she could count on!

What makes me happiest is knowing that I am helping a least a handful of small business owners in my community.

Adding another hat: Secretary at AATYC

Michelle, my friend and asset to Fort Smith, AR, recommended me to a friend of hers who interviewed me today. As of tomorrow morning I will be the newest addition to the Arkansas Association of Two Year Colleges (AATYC), as the satellite location’s secretary. I am excited about the change and to be going to work in the important industries of education and workforce training.

I have no doubt that the new “hat” will have its share of challenges and that there will be a learning curve of some measure. However, I will be working with professionals who have gone above and beyond to contribute to my community, to my state and to the lives of oh so many people seeking to improve their quality of life.

This position should be a great opportunity to put all of the skills that I have been working to gain and utilize to work for one of the most important causes, as far as I am concerned, out there. Working for AATYC should also be a great fit, as it is a part time position and I will be free to continue to pursue my other dreams.

I will continue to help with the Marketing of Tidbits, the Social Media management of TeamRVBN, writing as the Fort Smith Social Media Examiner and doing Social Media Coaching. It should be fun and if I feared lack of challenge and direction, then those fears are now assuaged.

Hipp Says Real People Being Real

April 15, 2010, I began writing articles for  I toyed with the idea for a while and talked to many of my friends, family members and neighbor about the idea.  One of my least likely supporters was the most excited.  I sat with Mr. Hipp, as my son calls him, on my front porch in my rocker telling him about my other new job.

Hipp was excited to hear that someone he considers “real” will be presenting news to the world that can be accepted as real instead of some Hollywood version of reality.  He said I should take it one step further and stop trying to help small businesses and fooling around with the internet and just write a book about real people in the neighborhoods of America.

Hipp loves me, is a good man and I have no doubt would kill for me.  He doesn’t understand most of what I do, but he understands me and why I do them.  His vote of confidence means a lot to me.

Thank you Mr. Hipp for your support and for believing I am a Real Person Being Real.