The First Time I Abandoned My Family

That’s exactly how I felt when I boarded the plane to Poland on September 11, 2011.

How could I do this to my beautiful wife and 3 children? 

How selfish and irresponsible could I be?

Well, more about that in a minute…

First, as I’ve been preparing this series of emails, I’ve been wondering, why did these 18 emails work so well?

What was the real "secret sauce" that got such great results?

I’ve been trying to put my finger on it. Trying to understand what’s under the hood.

There’s a lot of self-discovery going on here.

In the past 9 emails, I’ve shown you some tactics and techniques.

But are they at the heart of “why” this campaign worked.

Maybe a little.

But the more I think about it, the more I think it was something else.

With the help of one of my mentors, I’m starting to see what’s at the heart of these emails.

I approached them the same way I approach writing a piece of music.

First, I think about the audience. Who are they? What is the context in which they are receiving these emails? Where are their emotional hot buttons and how can I play on them?

Not in any manipulative way. But with a desire to create an authentic emotional experience. Soul to soul.

Then, I decide on the long line, the story. Where am I starting and where’s the destination.

In this case, we started with our marriage and the fact that we didn’t get a honeymoon. The destination… Maui!!

Then, when I’m writing music, I work really, really hard to write the juicy kind of harmony, the internal chords, that bring the strongest emotions to the surface.

So with these stories, that juicy harmonies are the juicy, emotional parts of our story. I make sure to highlight, explain, and lean into those parts of our story.

Finally, when I’m composing, I have to find a way to keep the listener's attention, in addition to bringing their deep emotions to the surface. 

The same goes for these emails. By leaning into the emotion and then finding a way to “only" tell part of our story, leaving the next juicy bit for the “next” email, that keeps the attention over the long line, the 19 days, in this case.

So, as you have a look at Email #10 of 18, the one where I get into the weeds about “abandoning” my family for 9 months… see if you can put your finger on these emotional moments. 

I’d love to hear what you think.

Ok, here goes… Dad guilt galore!


Email #10 of 18

Subject: The first time my husband abandoned me

“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times…”

That’s usually how Doug describes the 9 months he lived in Poland.

Best? Because he received a prestigious Fulbright grant which paid for him to live in Warsaw, Poland and finish his doctorate at the Chopin University of Music with a famous teacher.

Worst? Because there wasn’t enough money for us to come with him.

And he didn’t really abandon us. I’m just being dramatic. It was one of the most difficult decisions we ever made. In the end, we felt that Doug should take advantage of this unique opportunity.

My in-laws generously offered to welcome me and our 3 kids into their home for the school year.

So we packed up our condo in Cincinnati. We put almost everything into a storage unit. We found renters to live in our condo (remember that condo, the one we should never have bought?

We couldn't sell it because now we were upside down in it due to the housing crisis).

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On August 11, 2011, our little Zach’s 4th birthday, we began the long 1,600-mile, 3-day drive from Cincinnati to Utah.

Our green Nissan Maxima was filled to the brim with suitcases and children. 6-year-old Aubrey. 4-year-old Zach. 10-month-old Corynne.

We got settled into my in-laws home in American Fork, Utah and Doug left for Poland on September 11, 2011.

It was a strange time. But we were taken care of. The kids really enjoyed being with their grandparents all the time, both my in-laws and my parents who lived close by.

And I had a quiet peaceful feeling that everything would be alright.

It took Doug quite a while to feel less guilty for having run off to Europe. He missed Corynne’s first birthday. He missed her taking her first steps.

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He took it really hard. He’s a good Daddy and never thought he’d be so far away for so long.

But he busied himself studying, composing, singing in the Cathedral choir, being their assistant conductor, and attending all types of awesome classical music concerts and festivals with his famous Polish teacher.

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We spoke on the phone or Skype every single day. And when December came, instead of making a “how-many-sleeps-until-Christmas” paper chain, we made a “how-many-sleeps-until-Daddy-comes-home-for-Christmas” paper chain.

We were so glad that he could come home for Christmas to break up the 9 months with a wonderful 2-week holiday visit.

But if we thought to let him go the first time was hard, it was nothing compared to sending him off again after Christmas.

Especially with what the doctors told me later that same day. It was NOT good.

How could I deal with being sick AND without a husband for another 5 months?

More tomorrow…

I’m sure you can imagine how much we missed each other. It’s been 6 and a half years, but that time apart compounded. And since then, we’ve been hoping for a special getaway together.

Hence my big push to get us to Maui.

Only 4 days until our BIG sale! Woohoo!

Click this link to make sure you’re on our special notification list so you don’t miss a thing on the 25th, the day of the big 35% off sale. It starts at 6 a.m. and ends at midnight.

Every $1,000 will include a giveaway and to make sure you’re included, you'll need to click and sign up.


Thanks so much!

Have a great germ-free day!


P.S. Help get this bunch of crazies to Maui by clicking here, [LINK].

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What are the emotionally charged parts of YOUR story?

I’d love to chat with you about it. 

This is the fun part of composing and copywriting. Finding the juicy bits. And then squeezing all the emotional juice we can out of them. 

Because buying is an emotional sport. 

Logic only comes into play “after" we buy, to rationalize the decision.

That’s my superpower. Finding those juicy emotional bits that resonate with your customer.

So, let’s talk. To set up a call with me, head on over to my site, at the link below, and let’s get into the emotional weeds of your story.

I can’t wait!

Have a great day! And may your copy every be melodic and emotionally harmonious!