"Love My Way, It's a New Road"

Just Keep Swimming

This week is both great and not-so-great.  For the first time in perhaps a couple of months, my calendar is virtually empty.  I have one networking event that I am pairing with a drink with an old work buddy, but otherwise, zilch.

First thing I did was clean up my office.  Tidied up my desk so I can see its surface.  I am writing some stuff both here and for my work blog.  I feel relaxed and happy to have some time to think, but…..

My business coach last week told me the reason I was doing well was that I was taking lots of consistent action.  Those two words:  consistent and action have always been a struggle for me.  Now that I have a lull, I need to double-down on both of those words.

However, even though I need to create actions, it is also time for me to start working on my business plan for 2019.  Yes, I am one of those folks who comes up with goals, writes them down and tracks them (OK, the tracking part is a bit sporadic, but please refer to the consistency issue stated above).  As I prepare for this, I will undergo a review of what sources generate my best clients so I can intensify those efforts and dump the non-productive stuff.  It’s always an interesting exercise.  Random Fate plays a role and she’s always hard to quantify.

One recurring idea that has popped into my head over the past couple of weeks is that I want to launch another business development effort — public speaking.  It’s been on my list for years, but I haven’t tackled it (please refer to the consistency and action issues stated above).

Yes, I am one of those weird people that has little trepidation about standing in front of folks and talking.  I enjoy Toastmasters (and need to return).  My content and themes need some polishing, but I can whip out a perfectly fine 10-15 minute presentation for the masses with little anxiety.  I have come up with target audiences, people to partner with to create a mini-seminar, worked on general content ideas, etc.  The idea is taking shape nicely and will be able to launch easily in 2019 if not sooner.

However, this thought popped into my head.  Why public speaking?  I do great when I engage one-on-one with people, so why am I seemingly avoiding business development opportunities that create those one-on-one opportunities?  I have two in particular that I avoid like the plague because they are too “salesy” for me.  I have never done them enough to say if they work or not for me because they are confrontational and I have never felt comfortable with them.  The comfort situation is my fault because if I would just do them consistency I could at least get to a place of complacent indifference.  Since i don’t do these tasks, it’s hard to quantitatively determine if they work or not for me.  I need to mull that over.

The other thing my coach and I discussed is getting my fees increased.  I’m not making enough per client.  There has to be a decent minimum involved for me to roll out of bed.  This year I grabbed whatever came my way.  I think next year I can be a bit more discerning and that should give me more time to work on business development.  Of course, when you have fewer clients paying more $$, there is always a bit more concern when one goes to shit….

All right, enough procrastinating.  Let me get to work on my stuff that actually makes money and make a list of the crap I can get done this week administratively now that I have some free time.  Finding an accountant is at the top of that list of yucky stuff I need to do….

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Remember Dora in “Finding Nemo”?  Just keep swimming…Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

 

 

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I was driving back from a great meeting and the above song popped up on the radio.  My mind immediately flashed back to my neighbors from about 15 years ago.  They were the beautiful couple on my street.  Young, handsome DINKS in a neighborhood full of traditional families.  He was hot with a fantastic body-building body and she was a gorgeous, tastefully fake-boob hair stylist.  The perfect couple to envy in the middle of boring suburbia.

My Ex and I finally met them when we decided one night to crash one of their many weekend parties.  We came back from dinner, put the kids to bed and said, “What the hell, let’s go meet the neighbors.”  We did, had a blast and went to a bunch of their parties thereafter.

The husband, let’s call him Tony (I can’t remember his name for the life of me), was really cool.  One of his hobbies was playing the bass guitar.  He would open his garage, have a couple of friends over and they would jam.  Highly entertaining.  I would wander over regularly to watch/listen like the pathetic groupie that I am.  His favorite song was “She Hates Me” and it was prophetic.

After a couple of years, Tony moved out.  I got the dirt from another neighbor.  It appears that Tony was having an affair with another neighbor about 2 blocks away.  It was quite scandalous in our boring upper middle class neighborhood.  I forget how his wife found out.  I think the other woman’s husband told her.

By this time, I was the wife’s customer.  I mean why not?  She was great with hair.  I went in for a haircut and the whole story came tumbling out – probably because I didn’t pry.   Plus we enlightened one another on a couple of things.  For one thing, Tony always claimed they weren’t married.  She confirmed they were – she even had wedding photos.  He was always outside on the phone.  She said because the neighbor was apparently only one of many affairs….  she took him to the cleaners….

Happy ending?  For the now Ex-wife, yes.  She went on to meet a great guy and moved out of this crazy state.  As for Tony?  Well, he had some trouble with the IRS, lost his job and had some kind of car accident.  Karma’s a bitch, isn’t she?

She Hates Me

Met a girl, thought she was grand
Fell in love, found out first hand
Went well for a week or two
Then it all came unglued

In a trap trip I can’t grip
Never thought I’d be the one who’d slip
Then I started to realize
I was living one big lie

She fucking hates me
Trust she fucking hates me
La la la love
I tried too hard and she tore my feelings like I had none
And ripped them away

She was queen for about an hour
After that shit got sour
She took all I ever had
No sign of guilt
No feeling of bad, no

In a trapped trip I can’t grip
Never thought I’d be the one who’d slip
Then I started to realize
I was living one big lie

She fucking hates me
Trust she fucking hates me
La la la love
I tried too hard and she tore my feelings like I had none
And ripped them away

That’s my story, as you see
Learned my lesson and so did she
Now it’s over and I’m glad
’cause I’m a fool for all I’ve said

She fucking hates me
Trust she fucking hates me
La la la love
I tried too hard and she tore my feelings like I had none
And ripped them away

La la la la la la la la la love
Trust la la la la la la la la la love
Trust (la la la la la la la la la love) And she tore my feelings like I had none
(Trust la la la la la la la la la love ) She fucking hates me

Puddle of Mud

Who am I?

Today was funny, I had the accomplishment of pushing another woman into recognizing her own worth.  Even though I don’t know her well — she is a LinkedIn acquaintance who has been calling and texting me lately for some advice — I candidly told her that she needed to stand up and take control.  She was very grateful and I felt like I had my shit together.

Then I had an afternoon call with a frenemy.  I was checking in with him because it’s been awhile since I’ve seen him.  He was back from a very successful business trip.  My green-eyed monster lurked around a bit, but mostly I hung up the phone and thought, “Good for him, but WTF – what is wrong with me?”

My thought process was why wasn’t I doing something similar?  Why are my business development efforts not so bold?  I listened to a woman last week, who I like tremendously and see as a role model.  She’s not much older than me, but what a career!  She has done it all including having kids, taking time for them and still kicking ass and taking name, but on her own terms.  I listened to her story for the first time last week and realized how many similarities we have and  yet she has great success and I’m just showing up.

I’ve been thinking about why that is.  How did I miss the magic train to career stardom?  I know that it’s because of decisions I made early in life and heck, let’s be honest — decisions I have made throughout my life.  I decided that my kids would come first, always.  Couple that with a controlling husband who was always jealous of any success and that put a kaboosh on me doing anything rock star with my career.  Am I making excuses?  Are those my limiting beliefs?  Perhaps, but perhaps that is also my reality.

Am I OK with that?  No.  I want a replay.  Actually I was writing, “I guess” and I realized that fuck no, I want the replay.  I see young women coming up in my profession and I’m jealous of them.  They have their careers ahead of them and they are pushing up the corporate ladder.  I didn’t get that.  People talk about their mentors.  I didn’t have one that helped me.  Seriously — I haven’t had one that truly helped me.  What is wrong with me?  Am I just the norm and everybody else is lying through their teeth or am I the outcast?  Am I really unpopular for reasons unknown to me?  Am I too honest in the corporate world and I should keep my mouth shut more?  Naw, that wouldn’t be any fun.

Last week I spent a morning with a potential new client.  It was our first meeting. She’s in her 20’s.  It didn’t go off well.  She warmed up towards the end, but I knew that she wasn’t comfortable with me because I AM TOO OLD.  WTF — seriously?  You think I’m kidding?  Nope, I got the rejection email this morning.  It’s fine, I understand completely, but geez louise.

What’s funny is I’m OK.  I’m a little concerned about business which of course is why I’m ranting about this stuff, but it’s also Monday and I tend to rant on Mondays.  I’m in a great mood, life is good and I’m busy as can be.  I need to be grateful for what I have.  Yep, that’s my next move:  a nice hot soak in the tub while I think about all the things I’m grateful for.

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Photo by Karla Alexander on Unsplash

 

I’m Alive

I’m Alive
So damn easy to say that life’s so hard
Everybody’s got their share of battle scars
As for me, I’d like to thank my lucky stars
That I’m alive and well
It’d be easy to add up all the pain
And all the dreams you sat and watched go up in flames
Dwell on the wreckage as it smolders in the rain
But not me, I’m alive.
And today, you know, that’s good enough for me
Breathing in and out’s a blessing, can’t you see
Today’s the first day of the rest of my life
And I’m alive and well
Yeah, I’m alive and well.
Stars are dancin’ on the water here tonight
It’s good for the soul and there’s not a soul in sight
This boat…
It’s been awhile since I started with a song lyric.  I heard this today after a lovely lunch with Robin.  We got all caught up on how the other was doing.  We talked about how long it takes to finish grieving for a marriage that has ended, how to be kinder to ourselves as we sort out our money issues and a host of other things women of our age talk about.  It was good.
Then as I got in the car to head to an appointment, the above song came on.  I hit repeat and listened to it again.  I’m not a Whoo Whoo religious person, but I know that the Mother of our Universe sent that song to me.  Thank you.  I needed that today.
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Photo by resa cahya on Unsplash

Shadows

 

Although I was at a noisy conference yesterday, I kept my eye on the senate hearing of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh.  I was able to listen to most of her opening statement.  I believe her.

I believe her because I have been in similar situations during high school and college.  There but by the grace of God….in my case, I was surrounded by good, decent people who didn’t take advantage of the situation.  Well, except for one — my first college boyfriend, but I’ll get to him.

Drinking and hormones are not a great combination for the young.  They have the adult bodies ready for action but the minds aren’t ready.  In my case, I was looking for love in all the wrong places.  I had classic Daddy issues.

I listened to Dr. Ford, who is slightly younger than me, and thought back to those high school days.  She ran with an elite crowd — the country club/private school set.  That’s the set my kids grew up with even though they went to public schools.  In my youth, I also went to public high school, but I ran around with the smart kids — the kids of doctors and attorneys — in a small college town.  The kids who look perfect on the outside, but can definitely get into trouble.

I woke up from a dream this morning and in it were some folks from high school.  I realized that Dr. Ford is triggering me to remember parts of my young adulthood that I have buried.  I remembered several instances where I was drunk, but others kindly looked after me and got me safely home.  What if they hadn’t been there?

What about the frat party I went to when I was told I had a phone call?  I went into a bedroom to take a call and was locked in a room with two guys.  I grabbed the phone and there was nothing but a dial tone and when I spun around I realized my predicament.

Little did they know that the reason I actually thought I would have a phone call is that my mom was in a turbulent time with her 2nd husband who was an abusive alcoholic.  I thought she needed me to come rescue her.  Looking back, I wonder how they knew I would fall for the phone call trick — I guess naivety shows.

Anyway, here I am in a bedroom with two guys and a king size bed separating us.  They are between me and the door.  I was terrified.  I wasn’t drunk.  Thankfully, they only wanted my sorority pledge pin.  They grabbed me and fumbled for it.  You have to wear it over your left breast.  I submitted, they got it and I fled.

I went barreling out into the party, immediately went to senior sorority sisters and I don’t remember much else.  I just know I had people around me for safety.  To get that damn pledge pin back, we had to go sing at their house.  My sorority sisters were great — we moved all their furniture out onto the front lawn for our performance (so we would have room) and then left it there.  Months later, I exacted an even better revenge — we stole their antique firetruck.  But that’s a story for another day.

As Dr. Ford told her story, that bedroom incident kept popping into my mind.  Over and Over.  As I write this, I get teary.  I have no idea who those men were.  I don’t have names.  I was so, so lucky.

I was also lucky when later that same year when I was initiated into the sorority, I went out celebrating with friends.  I was somewhat seeing a much older man (32 to my 18).  We were at a big sorority/fraternity party and I downed 3 screwdrivers.  That landed me on the couch unable to move or speak because I was so drunk.  I was so lucky.

Nobody bothered me, nobody preyed upon my inebriated state and later a couple drove me home and made sure I got in safely.  OK, I opened the door and fell over the threshold much to my mom’s shock, but I was home safely.

That was all in my sophomore year.  In my freshman year, which was at another college, my predator became my boyfriend.

I was young when I got to college.  I was 17, having graduated from high school a year early.  A well-meaning high school friend told me to call this guy who was a year older.  She wanted me to have some friends or know somebody when I got there.  I met him, a ginger-haired, outgoing guy.  Now I know that he probably has ADHD.  Even then I knew he had a drinking problem.

We went to a frat party.  I got drunk, as frat boys preferred, and threw up.  That dude still kissed me with vomit-breath.  Ugh.  He got me back to my dorm room and tried to fuck me.  I pushed him away.  I don’t remember if we fucked or not.  I was too drunk.

Non-confrontational Maggie, who only wanted to be liked and loved, agreed to keep seeing this asshole.  This guy who was constantly pressuring me for sex, sex that really wasn’t very good at all.  I liked his friends.  I liked being a couple.  He was bad news. I managed to escape him by moving across the country to another college.  Yes, I moved away to escape him and for other reasons.

My childhood was complex.  I wasn’t abused.  I always had food and clothing.  My parents were smart and educated, but self-centered.  As soon as my parents separated when I was six, my mom moved around.

She first moved to get a different college degree in what she really wanted.  I have to give her props, she was the oldest student in the class and this was the profession she wanted, not the English degree her parents insisted on. That process necessitate two moves:  one to the College Town #1 (grades 2-3) and then to another city for the 6-month internship.

Then we moved back to the city where my dad lived.  That didn’t work out.  He didn’t want her in the town, her job sucked, so we moved about a  year later. That was 4th grade.  I hated 4th grade.  My school life was consumed by bullies and nobody was interceding on my behalf.

Now we were in in Town 3 for 5th grade, for those keeping track, and it was a charming college town.  I loved that town.  I could ride the bus around, great schools, good friends.  I had a paper route.  I won an election for a school office (7th grade) right before Christmas.

Then I learned we were moving back to College Town #1 in January, so I had to relinquish my office, my friends and my great school.  College Town #1 was building a new middle school, but the current one sucked.  Ancient, dilapidated.  The blessing was that many of the kids remembered me.  I didn’t really remember them, but that was OK.

We stayed in College Town #2 until 11th grade.  Then my mom met Ed.  That motherfucker.  She didn’t want to be lonely and found this guy.  He was a piece of lying, alcoholic shit.  I came home from school in the Fall of 11th grade and got a call from a hospital in Florida.  Congrats, my mom got the job in Florida and they needed her to call to wrap up some of the details.  She never told me that she was looking for a job.  She never told me that leaving before I would graduate high school was in the cards.  She was moving for Ed, who needed to skip the state to evade his crazy Ex wife.  We moved 10 DAYS later to a shithole town.  My only escape was to graduate a year early, so I did.

I left behind in College Town #2 a kind, gentle boyfriend, tons of friends — friends whose parents were calling my mom and begging her to let me stay with them for my final year and a half of school. But my mom wouldn’t hear of it — she didn’t want my dad to have a reason to gain custody of me.

With all this moving around, I learned that to make friends quickly I needed to be nice, funny and accommodating.  Add to that the lack of any male father figure and that’s a classic recipe for a woman to have Daddy issues.

So Dr. Ford, I believe you.  I know you are telling the truth and I know that Judge Kavanaugh is a lying sack of shit.  I know that he had some serious drinking issues in his youth because I dated his type.  I know that his white-privileged mind cannot wrap itself around that fact that karma is a bitch and she is here to claim her due.

Let’s hope the US Senate realizes this as well.

New Men in My Life

I am really focused on getting my shit together.  My new diet regime is going well.  I’ve stopped the strict Whole30ish thing I was going, but I’m still with little to no carbs, little to no refined sugar crap.  I fell off the exercise horse, but climbed back on this week.  I feel better and sleep better when I exercise, so I just need to do it.  My weight should continue to drop now that I have exercise back in the schedule. I am still losing inches which is awesome.

What really has me infatuated this week is the new man in my life.  I’m absolutely obsessed with him and think about him all the time right now.  “Who”, you ask?  Well, it isn’t Dave Ramsey, although I still think he’s a wise one.  Right now I am obsessing over Mike Michalowicz and his book, Profit First.

If only I had him by my side as I launched Maggie & Co.  Sigh.  But that’s OK, I have him now.  What has really been useful for me is that as I read him and Dave, I realize that I’m not alone.  I’m not the only spendthrift idiot trying to make a living.  I realize that I will be OK and I can get a handle on all these things.

This weekend I had a lovely lesson on QuickBooks.  Yes, I kinda knew how it worked, but now how to correctly enter everything.  My tutor came over and we blazed through 9 months of bank statements.  It felt good, but exhausting.  Now I just have some older credit card statements to input and I’ll have a good picture of Maggie & Co.  Of course, this picture could be atrocious, but whatever, I need to know.

I am feeling really good these days.  No funk, no depression.  I have a lot of work in front of me, but that’s OK.  I have some cash flow issues, but that’s OK.  The good news is that I have landed a great big elephant that will hopefully spin off a bunch of $$ for me in the latter part of 2019.  It makes me feel confident about the future.

Now, I have to slip away and spend some more time with Mike.  Once I finish this book, I want to cuddle up with his first book, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur .  He is a witty writer — flippant at times, but practical. His premises put me in the right frame of mind and his light-heartedness keeps me from freaking the fuck out.

Standing on the Edge

I spent Saturday working on my numbers.  I went through the past eight months of bank statements, credit card statements and logged in all of my expenses with categories so I can FINALLy figure out where the hell my $$ are going.

It was eye-opening.  I have spent Sunday and today thinking about what I have learned.  I still have more to figure out, but the Big Picture is not pretty.  It’s a combination of good news and bad news.

Bad News:

  • Maggie & Co has some serious overhead even though I have made cuts.  I spend a lot of money on health insurance (unavoidable) and on some business necessities that I simply can’t forego.  Between my car payment, gas, auto insurance, I am spending a lot of money on that category (over $800/month).  I don’t even drive a fancy car for crying out loud.
  • I am spending more than I am earning which explains that sucking noise I am continually hearing — it’s all my savings being sucked out of my account.
  • I’m balanced on the edge right now.  I have money coming in, but the question is how fast?  Will I fall off the edge before I receive it?  That could keep me awake at night!  It’s too soon to say, but I need to crunch the numbers a bit more.

That’s the doom and gloom I am digesting at the moment. One thing that Dave Ramsey says is sometimes the only solution is to generate more income.  I need to do that.  I need a side hustle to help take some pressure off  Maggie & Co.  The Hunter needs to join me in our search for the almighty dollar.  Having said all of that, there is some good news:

  • I didn’t have too much fluff in my numbers.  I have some subscriptions and frills that I can dump.  It won’t be a huge savings, but it will help.  This just shows me that all my cost-cutting measures were necessary.
  • I haven’t spent anything on credit cards in months.
  • I am ready to sell some old jewelry and the last time I got an estimate it was worth $5,000 and I didn’t trust the buyer.  Even if I just get the $5k, that will help get my emergency savings funded and start paying down my debt.
  • The Hunter is standing by ready to help.  He is ready to push this boulder up the hill with me.  I just need to sit down with him, walk through the numbers and create a budget we both agree with.

My low point was this morning.  I’m already a tad cranky as I am trying to create some space to think about my numbers while I still push through work.  Then I had a bleep with a major resource for Maggie & Co.  I couldn’t log on.  Do I owe them $$?  Yes, I was three months behind with Month 3 due tomorrow.  The number I owed made me burst into frustrated tears — over $2,000.  Yes, this shit is that expensive.  Fortunately I was able to pay two months of it and log on, but I need to get current with the balance.  Right after I dealt with that, the bank called about an automatic payment that didn’t go through.  Sigh.

I look ahead to the income that is coming in over the next couple of months, even the next 30 days, and I will be fine.  I’m just in a really tight spot right now.  The Hunter just landed a new client that will help and I think will be a great referral source in a couple of months.

Breathe, that’s all I can do.  Breathe and exercise and just keep working hard.  Now, anybody got any good side hustle ideas?  I’m open to ideas!

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Photo by Samuel Scrimshaw on Unsplash

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