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

Archive for February, 2019

Self Evaluation

I must have a lot to do today because here I sit in front of the computer writing this post.  I tell myself that it’s me limbering/warming up my brain before I launch full tilt into this.  It’s probably just procrastination plain and simple.  Oh, I have fired off half a dozen emails/texts this morning, so it’s not like I’m ignoring everything.  I just have some heavy lifting that needs to be done today, so I’ll have to buckle down and crank out the work today.

I wrote about figuring out a viable career Plan B yesterday.   It still holds true.  Then part of me thinks that pivoting my career means admitting that I have failed.  That stings a bit.  I have been 20+ years in my profession and never achieved a high level of success that many of my peers enjoy.  Then again, I am more recognized than many.  I would say that I’m solidly in the middle of the pack, average.   I had a boss once say that one of his mentor said that showing up and surviving was success in our profession.  If that’s the case, than I guess I am successful.

I am liked, but not popular.  Nobody picks me to be on their team.  Is that because somewhere along the line I botched it and made some social miscues?  Maybe.  I can think of a couple of instances where perhaps I made mistakes.  In addition, I have always been labeled a “mom”.  That doesn’t help you in a ruthless, shark environment.  Plus in another article, there is a bias towards women that they are under-estimated in their knowledge and negotiating skills.  I see that all the time.

I have been reading some forums of my profession and the young sharks out there are truly ruthless.  Numbers are king and they are forgetting the people part of the business.  I have always focused on the people part and the communications because I like those aspects far more than the numbers.  I let smarter people worry about the numbers.  Everybody likes to run them their own way, so who am I to push mine?  Besides I am a communications major, so my math tends to be fuzzy coupled with modest Excel skills.

I have leadership skills, but I’m much better as a wingman.  I am a strategic thinker, but need help weeding out the many ideas I have.  I am personable, but don’t develop deep ties with clients.  I am smart, but as I grow older, I don’t want to dive deep into an analysis. I do great in a sales pitch, but I hate the cold calling and initial business development stuff that leads to a pitch.  I am a whole package of pluses and minuses, but then again, aren’t we all?

Today I will be a shark.  Swimming around and biting stuff.  Let me focus on achieving results.  I promised some great things to my business coach.  A few have fallen off the radar due to no fault of mine, but I should push to replace them.  Until I have Plan B underway, my Maggie & Co is the boat I am sailing, so she needs a captain at the helm and a firm compass heading.

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Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

I’m Sick of the Stress

Last night I got 9 hours of sleep and it was divine!!  I still have some catching up to do with a bunch of folks, but I’ll tackle all of that tomorrow, to paraphrase Scarlett O’Hara.  Today’s agenda includes another 8-9 hours of delicious sleep.

One thing that has been an interesting revelation — I’m sick and tired of the stress associated with my chosen profession.  When I chatted with my BFF about this, we agreed that part of the problem is that my pipeline of work is such a trickle, that anything that falls out hurts.  OK, not like traumatically hurt, but it causes a twinge nonetheless which leads to stress.  Plus since I can’t delegate anything, I am constantly spinning plates to keep projects moving forward.   This means two things have to happen:  1) I need to put more in the pipeline or 2) figure out a Plan B.

I am thinking that Plan B is probably the better answer.  As I think about it, a lot of my job involves sales and the stress is never going away.  Plus as I grow older (and hopefully wiser), the odds stack against me in a sales environment.  Yes, it’s scientifically proven and not a limiting belief that there is a bias towards older women in the work place particularly in a sales environment.  Plus if I can get a viable Plan B going, then at least I can create a more stable income stream.

Then I got to thinking about how I can combine the stuff I like to do in my profession  with another profession so I can segue way into a more stable income situation.  The problem is when I come prancing in saying, “Hey, I can do that job over there — I’ve worked very closely with folks that have that job, piece of cake”, the hiring person says, “Um, no.  We want that person; your crazy profession is not what we want plus you don’t have hands on experience.”

I wandered through some job ads and realized there might be a way for me to get the experience through some part-time work in a closely related field — not my endgame, but it puts me closer.  I have to get an accreditation, but it’s less than $300 and I can do it online.  That should be relatively straightforward.  There is another accreditation that is more directly related to what I want to do and it’s less than $1,000, but I don’t see a part-time gig there.  It would result in a full-time gig.

My next thought process is I need to test this idea.  Perhaps I should get the cheaper one and see if I can get a part-time job and if I even like that world.  I would lose some of my flexibility, but gain some steady income.  Plus if I can make the transition, then my choice of jobs can open geographically which is also exciting.

I have to also be realistic that the other profession comes with its own unique stresses, so I have to think about am I trading one type of stress for another.  Possibly.  But every job has its own unique stress, the question becomes is it easier to handle?  With a stable income, possibly.

That’s my big idea for the day.  Something to chew on.  It could work.  I just need to take  the steps to making it a reality.

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Time to take some steps…..   Photo by Doran Erickson on Unsplash

 

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I’ve Got Cooties & Insomnia

Ever since my fiasco of an interview with the OppA CEO, I haven’t been feeling good.  That eye infection moved on, but then I got some other crud.  I think it came from this hussy who SHOOK MY HAND and then told me she had a throat infection.  Guess what I have had for the past week — a throat infection.

I don’t know if it combined with the eye infection, but man, I have been under the weather for the past 10 days.  Operating at 75%, not sleeping worth a damn (more on that) and just not feeling good in general. Last weekend I spent a day with my BFF and while I had fun, I felt off (sore throat) and was wiped out the next day.

With a modest amount of congestion plus my sore throat, I am apparently adding quite a bit of volume to my snoring.  The Hunter has been complaining more than usual and this has lead to me having horrible sleeping habits this week.

I have bursts of bad sleeping habits.  I am a recovering Sunday Night Insomniac.  During my 40’s I would have Sunday nights where I just didn’t want to go to bed and would stay up late.  Then when I crawled to bed at 1 or 2 am, I would wake my Ex who would get all bitchy, so then I would just stay up virtually all night to avoid that drama.

I have lapsed back into that when the Hunter complained about my snoring.  He’s a light sleeper, so it doesn’t take much to wake him up.  I have been hanging out downstairs with the ipad and TV — horrible, horrible companions when it comes to sleep.  Once again, I justify it by not wanting to wake him.

Then I don’t get enough sleep which leads to a migraine (my Friday treat), not giving myself enough rest to fight my cold and generally contributing to my resting bitch face.

I know what I need to do, but I need to do it.  Let me break this down and see how I can fix this:

  • Issue #1:  the Hunter’s sleeping patterns.  This man is an Early Bird/Long Sleeper.  He loves about 9 hours and heads to bed around 9:00 – 9:30.  He takes a shower around 8:30 and he’s out by 9:00.  Sometimes he falls asleep in front of the TV around 8:00.  It doesn’t take much for me to wake him up if I come into bed later, then he may gently grumble a bit that I wake him up.  I will say that the Kracken gets him up once or twice to go outside, so I’m not the only one waking him up.
  • Issue #2:  I’m a Pleaser.  I try to be considerate and avoid disturbing him. This involves both my snoring and my Bedtime routines I want to do before bed, but can’t if he’s already asleep.
  • Issue #3:  Stress management.  When I am nodding off, I have to stop my brain from racing to my To Do List or my Stress List (things that are concerning me).  If I’m alone, I listen to music or a podcast — some voice to focus on other than the one in my head.  I will fall asleep in about 15 minutes this way.  Listening to my inner voice can keep me up all night.  Sigh.

What are my solutions to this:  I have thought of a couple of things.

  1. Do my sleep prep early (wash my face/take a shower or whatever) by 7:30 or so.  This will allow me to slip into bed quietly if the Hunter has already gone to sleep, so I’ll be ready and not have that as an avoidance excuse.
  2. I need to climb into bed at 9:30 and have NO screen time for that 1/2 hour of relaxation before lights out by 10:00.  If the Hunter is already asleep, I need to figure out a reading light (perhaps a camping headlamp).
  3. Maybe I can use the wireless earbuds my son gave me for Xmas so I can listen to something as I go to sleep.  The Hunter likes quiet.
  4. Make sure I’m taking a decongestant, some Vicks and use the snoring nose strips to help minimize my snoring.  Losing weight will help this also, but for the short term, I think it’s more of an airflow situation.

Most importantly, I need to use my words and have a chat with the Hunter.  We need to figure out a compromise of some form here.  I need to stabilize my nighttime routine because it truly impacts my day.  In a perfect world, I want to be asleep by 10:00 (yep, I’m an old fart) and up by 6:00 so I have time to exercise and journal in the morning.

He’s heading back from the woods later today, so I MUST chat with him about it today.  It’s Sunday and I can’t continue to lose so much sleep.  I need to take care of myself first and foremost.  (Yes, I have to remind myself that what I need is incredibly important and essential for my happiness — I’m a work in progress).

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Boom & He’s Gone

The Hunter lost a childhood friend this week.  This guy was a high school buddy, hunting partner and more.  They were close.  The Hunter got him his last job which fortunately had fantastic health benefits.  The benefits came in handy when he was diagnosed with cancer.

The Hunter had visited his friend several times and brought him joints to ease his pain.  They talked about old times.  His friend did not want to suffer.  The pain was intense. The pot helped.

Then he couldn’t take it any longer.  The pain intensified.  The hospice doctor stopped by to give him morphine.  He didn’t want the morphine.  Instead he refused it, sent everyone packing out of his room.  Then, with the doctor in the living room, he shot himself.  He knew how and effectively ended his pain with a bullet.

The Hunter and I talked about how his friend must have planned this.  He waited until he had a medical professional in the house.  He refused the morphine so he was lucid. The Hunter thinks he must have coaxed his adult son into giving him the loaded weapon days before.  We both think it took courage to do what he did.

Me, I would have hoarded pills.  I couldn’t shoot myself.  Taz tells me of the botched suicides she sees in the ER.  I would botch it for sure.

The wife called The Hunter.  “You are in almost every picture of his teenage years. I never realized how really close the two of you were.”  She was never much of a fan of the Hunters, but now he is the voice of calm gentleness that she needs.  The Hunter will be taking all the guns out of  their house soon so they will be secure.  It’s been a sad week for the family and the Hunter.  My heart goes out to them all. R.I.P. dear friend.  You will be missed.

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Photo by Sebastian Pociecha on Unsplash

Karma — She’s Back….

Karma is an interesting thing.  Karma, the Law of Attraction, a higher being — whatever you want to call it.  I call HER Karma — that higher something that seems to unite us all.  Sometimes she is working with me and sometimes I think she is punishing me for wrongs I have done.

Lately, she has been with me and I feel quite blessed.  Random things are happening that make me think the universe is on my side.  Case in point:  I was on public transportation heading down to meet a friend for fun in the sun.  I met a guy who may end up being a potential client.  Just the night before he was thinking that he needed help with exactly what I do.  Similar thing happened a couple of months ago — met a guy while waiting for someone else on a street corner (and NO, I am not a prostitute).  He hired me.  Project has been completed.  How freaky coincidental is that?

A great client sent me an email asking for advice.  It’s something I am very familiar with.  If he decides to move forward, Maggie & Co. will have a fabulous 6-figure year on his project alone.  Someone I was nice to even though she completely wasted hours upon hours of my time has now pulled through and I might, just might (with fingers and toes crossed) work with her company for real. Someone who has been getting my weekly newsletter for years just called for help.  People are sending me new clients left and right.  The list goes on and on.

I feel like the tide has shifted and instead of trying to suck me down into an abyss, it is floating me gently towards shore.  Yes, some of these will be time wasters, but that’s the nature of my world.  Yes, I have to make sure that I am working on business development ALL the time. Yes, I am not on stable ground yet, but I have hope.  Lots and lots of hope.  And that, my friends, is a blessing in and of itself.

My business coach was telling me today that she thinks the reason I am  having this tremendous turnaround is that my energy has changed.  She’s not a “woo woo” kind of woman, so for her to say that gave me pause.  She’s right.  My energy has changed for the better and these positive happenings only increase my positive vibes.  Oh and did I mention that I won a laptop.  Yep, I won a friggin’ computer in a contest.

Everyone says I need to go buy lottery tickets.  My initial thought is that if I have to buy the ticket it lessens my Karma.  Limiting belief.  Crap, I need to go buy some tickets.  I don’t need to win much.  $1 million, $10 million.  I would be a very, very happy woman.

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Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

I’m Antsy

I am antsy.  Not sleeping too well.  I can’t put my finger on what’s bugging me.  Perhaps that’s not the truth.  I do know.  It’s the Hunter.

I’m busy getting my shit together and I feel like he’s adrift.  He heads out most days to do some work, but some of it is commission-based and some of it won’t yield $$ for a little while.  His income has dropped since he lost the big client.

He has abandoned the business model that was the basis for forming his company.  He says it doesn’t work and that his target client doesn’t understand his services.  I think he needed to spend more time on business development, but I also understand that not everybody can do that.  He is trying different things and I appreciate the fact that he is hustling, but….

We don’t talk that much about anything other than work, the house logistics, the Kracken. We don’t do much together.  He heads out to the woods.  I head to the beach.  In the evenings, he chills outside smoking a cigar and then dozes off by 8:30 or so.  Sometimes we eat together, oftentimes we don’t.

For Christmas, he gave me $$ for my sofa fund, but then had to take the money back to pay for some of his expenses.  I want a cat, he hates cats.  He wants another dog, but realizes our place is too small for another one.  I just don’t feel like we are on the same page.

I feel like I have a roommate with benefits. We aren’t having the shared experiences that bond a couple.  He’s not a big fan of concerts.  When we go, he sits while I’m up and swaying to the music (this white girl doesn’t have much rhythm).  Dining out hasn’t been much of an option due to $$.  We haven’t done much camping, but that’s a solitary pursuit anyway.  We don’t have mutual friends to invite over to dinner.  Maybe what I’m feeling is boredom in addition to not being on the same page.

Anyway, I’m procrastinating and need to get back to work.  Hunter, if you are reading this (and I know you take a peek every now and then), don’t get mad.  Let’s talk.  We’ve talked about more dates, but neither of us has been good about initiating them.  This post isn’t an attack or criticism about you, it’s a look at our relationship and where we are.  Complacent is not good for anyone.  We need to shake things up.  If the Hunter isn’t reading this, then I must seize the bull by the horns and shake things up myself.  Time to figure out a fun date for us…..

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

There is a Reason

Karma, God, the Universe — whatever you want to call that higher being.  She is sending me someone to teach or remind me of a life lesson.  I have to keep this in mind as I deal with this person for the next year.

I am sitting on a committee this  year for a professional organization.  I refused to be the chair because I can’t be working that hard for free these days.  But it’s a committee that I enjoy, so I said I would sit on it.

I’m new to this group, so I am reminding myself to hang back, BUT… it’s really HARD!!  Why, you ask?  Why thank you for asking, I’ll tell you why:

We just had an event.  The food took AN HOUR to come out.  The whole luncheon was basically over and the entrees were coming out.  They had to hand out containers so folks could take it with them.  The room was too small and claustrophobic.  In other words, it was a disaster.  Would you go back to an organization with such a chaotic event?

On the committee phone call, I asked about changing the venue.  I suggested that we take a look at the member’s zip codes to confirm that our meetings are held in the most convenient location for the majority of the members.  Crickets.

They said the president doesn’t want to change the venue.  Well, upgrading the venue is  how we are going to grow the organization.  If we have outgrown the venue, then we gotta go.  The chair needs to take the president aside and have that conversation.  Nope, not doing it.  OK, OK I didn’t say this, but it was on my mind….

Then I asked if anyone called the event manager. They had spoken to the event planner who promised us a free happy hour.  Nope, that needs to go further up the food chain.  Besides this was the SECOND time it had happened.  Others on the committee agreed with me.

Plus we did this committee meeting on a conference call.  I had to dial in due to a scheduling conflict and then some of them were assembled at someone’s office.  I was basically a fly on the wall.  My input was futile, so I ended up just listening and when I got home, I hung up.  I had done some leg work on one of the events and had to bellow to get their attention.  Note to self:  either attend in person or don’t participate at all.

She wants top-notch speakers, but is constantly re-arranging the calendar so I don’t want to extend an ask unless the date is really locked in.  I observed an attorney ask a very high profile client, get a yes only to see that the date was pushed back a month.  Now he has to re-ask.  I don’t want to be THAT person.  Plus she forgets what the asks that people have already made and it makes us look sloppy for duplicating efforts.  This almost happened with one of my asks, but I nipped in the bud.  I have told her on four separate occasions and twice in writing that I had this person.  She still forgot.

The program announcements are sloppy.  The admin can only create so much.  For the program I put together for February, the announcement had a title — no substance.  I collaborated with the admin to update it and make it much more appealing.  Oh, and she didn’t price it right, so the organization is losing money instead of making money.  WTF?!

I have realized one of my unofficial duties will be to write the blurbs for the program.  I’m cool with that.  I wrote March’s because once again, it’s one of my peeps doing the program.  I wanted to make sure she got the exposure she is due because she is a bad-ass and the topic is very trendy.  It should have a high turnout — too many for our current cramped venue.

Sigh.  I emailed the president asking her out for a drink.  She’s game and will be sending me dates.  I want to talk to her about her strategic plan for the organization for this year and how programs make those goals a reality.  Then I am stepping back.  Really, I am!  I have already provided speakers for 25% of the year.  Isn’t that enough?  Shouldn’t I allow others to work their connections?

I can’t help it.  I see the potential of this organization (a local chapter of a national one).  The programs chair doesn’t think big.  She doesn’t get it.  She just wants to fill slots and that’s not how you use programs to grow the chapter.  I grew a chapter by 15% one year due to my programs.  Attendance increased by over 30% because my topics were so damn good.  I can rock this, but …..

This is why Karma has put me on this committee.  To learn to sit back.  I don’t need to be the driver.  I can be a passenger.

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Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

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Rowing Solo

I often think of the documentary “Losing Sight of Shore”. I see a correlation between their journey across the Pacific and my professional journey. OK, OK, their story is truly death-defying and amazing while mine is….well mine.

With OppA, I thought I would be able to jump ship to a larger one with a full crew and supplies. Now that boat isn’t stopping to pick me up, so the HMS Maggie needs to keep sailing. I am fortunate that in addition to my hard rowing, colleagues and clients throw me some supplies so I’m not starving or dehydrated.

It’s scary to be in the ocean rowing alone. Yes, I have friends and colleagues, but they aren’t in the boat with me. It’s not the same. My little boat, HMS Maggie – how seaworthy is she? Right now the economy is cruising along. If it hits a bump, I could suddenly be in high seas with no life raft.

I picked up some new accounts in January. Now I need to deliver so I can get paid. I have work to be finished with existing clients so once again I can get a payday. I have invoices out awaiting payment, but it’s minimal. I have some other birds in the bush I need to get turned into paying clients. It’s lots of activity for which I am grateful, but they aren’t churning out the big bucks.

A colleague many years ago talked about rabbits, antelopes and elephants. Rabbits feed you for one meal, antelopes feed you and your family for longer and elephants feed you and the village the longest. Right now I’m getting rabbits with few antelopes. I need more antelopes. I have one elephant client but it won’t hit for 2 years and so much can happen between now and then.

With OppA, I would have the resources for more elephant hunting. Plus they have more tools for antelope hunting. I can successfully hunt antelopes solo, it just requires more patience because a lot will get away from a solo hunter.

I’m at a crossroads where I have a lot of work, but I can’t afford to delegate. It’s frustrating at times, but I’m committed to simply putting in some extra hours for now. It’s not like I’ll be stuck in the office – it’s here at home, so I can more easily figure out my schedule.

My plan is to embrace my solopreneur venture. Revel in my daring, rebel nature. I have colleagues who admire my bravery. I knew it would take two years for Maggie & Co. to really take off. We have just begun Year 3. I feel the wind beginning to fill my sails and the current working with me. The salty air fills my lungs and my eyes eagerly look to the horizon. There is no land in sight, but I know it is there in the distance, so I grab my oar and continue rowing. It’s scary at times, but as Louisa May Alcott said, “I’m not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”

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