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Archive for the ‘Personal Growth’ Category

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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What’s Up?

What’s Up?  Lots of things, not much — depends on who you ask about what.

Work:  OppA is in a ghost mode.  No surprise there.  I am actually feeling better about it than I thought I would.  I have enough work to keep me busy and my attitude is one of “when they are ready, they know my number.”  It’s like dating, if I’m too needy, I become unattractive to them.

I worked over half a day on Saturday to get caught up on a few things.  I could have worked longer, but I realized I need re-charging time, so I put a hard stop mid-afternoon on Saturday and ignored my email completely on Sunday.

This morning I began thinking about perhaps having someone join Maggie & Co.  Either as an equal or a junior.  I am sure there are colleagues who are sick of working for the Man and would prefer to be their own Master of the Universe.  I need to think about that some more.

The morning is kicking into high gear with a few “crap, that’s not going to work in my favor” to a few “hmm, this might work in my favor”.  Such is the life of my profession.  I have learned that you just have to roll with it.  As Heidi Klum says in Project Runway, “One day you are in, the next day you are out.”

Taz:  She passed by for a fleeting 24 hours on her way to a wedding.  Poor woman — here she is on vacation and she got sucked into writing a research paper.  She needs the research for her resume, but damn, what a bummer.  She spent much of her time with us writing, so we gave her space and quiet to do so.  We did have a glorious afternoon on the beach with a lovely dinner.  She left with both of us wanting more.

The Hunter:  He’s trying to figure out ways to make some $$.  From no fault of his own, his biggest account changed leadership and they don’t use his type of services.  He went through a holiday funk but is moving out of it now.  He’s got some ideas.  I’ve stepped back and am letting him figure it out on his own.

Me:  I have things I want to re-tool.  I need more exercise in my life.  I keep saying it, but not much doing.  Yesterday the Hunter went to the woods with the Kracken and I went to the beach.  It was really windy, so I walked a lot on the boardwalk rather than on the beach.  I got in more than 10K steps, so I was pleased.  I took my time, enjoyed the sights, read a smutty romance novel and the day was good.

I learned how to make Cosmos this weekend.  Oh dear.  I am not much of a drinker, but these could turn me into one.

I need to think about my 2019 word:  Enrichment.  As I walked, I saw community announcements for art exhibits and other events that I would enjoy.  I need to expand my circle of friends so I have people to join me.  The Hunter will do some, but one thing I know for sure:  nobody should be somebody’s end all, be all.  Meaning I need a healthy circle of friends that I can call upon for different activities.  I need to emerge from my shell and get out more.

Back to work.  I’ve got some irons in the fire and they need to be turned over.  This week is shaping up to be rather quiet, so I need to fill it up with business development activities.  All in all, I feel good.  That says a lot compared to this time last year….

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Photo by Zack Minor on Unsplash

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.”

Time to Move Ahead

It’s time to look ahead and think about what I need to get done and what I need to focus on this year.  Enrichment is my word for the year so it’s time to work on that.  I have been blessed this month with a lot of new activity on the business development side.  Now I have to convert it to actual clients and then to actual $$ in my bank account.

I feel good, busy and strangely at peace to continue working on my own while OppA chases after their first choice.  There are benefits to working solo.  I usually spend Mondays writing and planning out my week.  One thought is that I need to spend more time working, meaning upping my hours to more like 45 rather than 35-40 (another benefit of working solo is I work at my pace, not somebody else’s).  Since it’s just me, I have to be smart with my Golden Hours (9-5) because that’s when I can actually talk to folks and have meetings.  This means my paperwork stuff needs to pushed outside of those hours.  I haven’t been good about that.  I mean it’s 10:20 am and here I sit writing a blog post.

Oftentimes I use this blog writing as an exercise to limber up my brain to launch into the work of the day.  Sometimes it is a procrastination tool.  Sometimes it just releases the worry items out of my brain and onto the page where it can then be examined and re-examined more methodically instead of at 1:30 am.

The Hunter always chuckles at me because I am constantly reading and trying to figure out ways to improve, grow, etc., but putting action to my plan has always been one of the biggest stumbling blocks.  Right now exercise is on my mind.  I need a consistent program that will make me stronger.  A 1-mile walk in the morning with the Hunter and the Kracken is lovely for my mental state, but it’s not giving my muscles what they really need and deserve.  I’m trying to figure out how to have both and I have a couple of ideas to try out.

However, I need my main focus to be making $$ which means getting new clients while servicing the ones I have.  That constant dance of my profession.  OK, enough writing and stalling.  It’s time to dance….

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Photo by David Hofmann on Unsplash

Burnout

I saved this because it is really interesting.  Here are some links to interesting articles about Burnout from the Economist.  I now realize that I am/was a classic case and I am so very lucky that I have crawled back out of that abyss.

It all makes more sense to me now.  What a journey I have undergone.  I’m still on the journey but the horizon is more of a sunrise rather than a sunset.  I feel more hope than despair.

Take a look…..

Here’s the first article that got me going on this topic which lead to this article which lead to this podcast interview of Professor Josh Cohen (with his lovely British accent)

I hope this helps someone else.

 

Overthinking

Why do we do this to ourselves?  Is over-thinking a form of worry or over-preparation?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that when I have a big situation on the horizon, I over-think and over-prepare.  Case in point:  my meeting with the CEO.

I got all worked up about my outfit, interview questions, what to take — every aspect of the visit.  Guess what happened — none of it mattered.  Nope, not a single thing.  These folks are laid back.  They spent the entire day selling the company to me and asking what they need to do to convince me to come on board.  I was gobsmacked.

Now, it was disorganized.  I showed up and the CEO wasn’t even in town.  His assistant wasn’t in the office and there really wasn’t a formal agenda.  The COO spent quite a bit of time with me and this was good.  I got ask a bunch of technical questions about the logistics of shifting Maggie & Co. and learned more about how they handle these situations.  She’s been to the rodeo many, many times and easily explained how it would work.  It was an elegant solution that I really liked.

I got to chat with the head of a niche group about how her team works.  She is lovely, thrilled to have someone in my neck of the woods interested in partnering and gung-ho to teach me.  I also met with the leader of that location who had been the interim CEO. I liked every single person I met that day.  They all had great stories, years of tenure and the collaborative nature I crave.  I think I may have found my tribe.

They accept me as a seasoned professional and they feel fortunate to have me on their team.  Damn.  How great is that?  Now I just have to get the paperwork going, so Queen Bee and I are chatting this afternoon.  I have a lunch invite already to meet the CEO when he visits in early February, so I’ll meet the guy eventually.  Who knows, it could be the celebratory lunch welcoming me on board.  That would be cool.

But man, I am going to have to work and work hard.  These people are good.  Really good.  Actually best in class and I’m not just saying that to blow smoke up anyone’s butt.  That’s their reputation.  They suffer no fools, so I gotta put my big girl shoes on and be the person I have always visualized I could be.  Shit’s getting real and I’m excited about it!  Now, I’m off for a massage before my call with Queen Bee.  Then I’m going to have a celebratory dinner with the Hunter!

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Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

 

Vision Board

I mentioned to the Hunter about my 2019 goal-setting ideas and before I could dive headlong into the topic, he asked, “Are you having your Vision Board Party?”

I came to a full stop.  Hmm, that’s a great idea.  I hadn’t really thought about it.  My Vision Board parties were a blast.  I had three over the past four years.  I let it peter out when I moved farther away from my close girlfriends, but now I’m closer so maybe it would work.  I only need 3-4 GF’s to show up to make it fun, so it’s an easy get-together to host.

Plus having a Vision Board party fits into virtually every category of my Enrichment project for 2019.  How?

  • In the area of Home, I want to get my home more livable with a new sofa and whatnot.  This would push my nesting goals into high gear for the month of January with a series of mini-projects to get party-ready.
  • In the area of friendships/relationships, I can invite my old friends whether they want to schlep over here or not plus I can invite more geographically-desirable acquaintances to the party and see how that works out.
  • In the areas of Work, Money & Health — well, a Vision Board is all about putting it in front of mind, so I’ll make sure I cover all the areas of my Enrichment Project on my actual Vision Board.

So Vision Board Party, here I come!  I will cast aside all doubts of my place not being perfect and welcome love and friendship to fill that space.  Now, I need to check dates because I’m thinking the last Sunday of January unless that’s the Super Bowl….

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Photo by Andy Art on Unsplash

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