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

Archive for the ‘Work’ Category

Losing Sight of Shore

Losing Sight of Shore is an amazing documentary currently on Netflix. It is the story of the Coxless Crew – 4 women who ROWED across the Pacific from San Francisco to Cairns, Australia. They started with the quote “You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” Of course that quote was Christopher Columbus, but I had never heard it before this documentary. Grab a bottle of wine and watch it – it’s amazing. These are among the bravest women I have ever seen.

final_ocean_quote_pictureIn any case, that quote has been rattling around my brain this week. It’s been a week of highs and lows. Let’s start with the lows and get them out of the way:
• I have been rejected for new business (OK, shit happens),
• Today marks the last day with a lovely client (I will miss them and the $$)
• A frenemy is riding that high of launching his own company and he’s on that early wave of beginner’s luck that I had. (My green-eyed monster reared its head.)
• I asked a long-ago boss for some business and he soundly rejected me, but I have to say the conversation was really constructive and he was kind enough to walk me through why he was saying no and he was right. (Life lesson, sigh).
• I can’t seem to get myself up on a consistent schedule/routine. I’m really frustrated about this.

Now let’s talk about the high’s for the week:
• I’m winning a new piece of business that isn’t easy, but it could be very cool with a nice payday.
• I have a new project that launched this week – also not easy but cool.
• The Hunter gave an amazing presentation to a small group of his ideal type of client and hit it out of the park.
• My son is hanging with us and it’s been lovely to see him
• I just had a lovely chat with a great friend and we made plans to see each other next week. She’s always a great inspiration and mentor to me.

I didn’t have a lot of wins, but these were good. It wasn’t a particularly busy week (another problem). I spent time on some things that I shouldn’t (correcting that course!). I didn’t spend time on things that do matter (like my cold calling course and other business development).

I am now headed out to sea without the shoreline in sight. I have very little to nothing in my pipeline. Yes, my bank account is now safely in the black with about 6 months of reserve, but I feel anxious and the pressure of an empty pipeline. I have to remind myself that Robin needs to pull her weight with the business development and she can’t be included on every $$ that I bring in unless she has actually worked on it. I’ve been down that road before and I ended up broke & resentful.

I talked to my BFF because I feel the stress. I wake up (unless I exercise and take a melatonin) in the middle of the night thinking about work. I’m having a few anxiety dreams (a man stalking me down a street with the intent of killing me – that was a lovely one). She sadly told me that this is all perfectly normal and probably won’t go away anytime soon. WTF? My other great friend just told me that I just need to give it another 6 months and then I’ll be more stabilized. She should know – she has been an independent business owner for many years.

The Hunter took me to the beach this week with the Kracken. I had an active, not even resting, bitch face on which scares him. LOL. The walk was fabulous. He dealt with the dog and I strolled up and down the beautiful, windswept beach watching the waves, the light dim – it nourished my soul. I have started listening to my daily affirmations and it calms my negative self-talk.  Today we are knocking off early to celebrate his great day and I hope we do a replay. This man truly gets me.

 

We are Off to the Races

Lots of good things are happening in my work world and thankfully it is translating into cold, hard cash. I just sent out three invoices last week and have several more teed up in the next two weeks. Cash flow has finally started and none-too-soon. OK, it isn’t a river of dollars, but it’s a steady stream that will keep us going as things continue to build.

My bestest, favorite client is in town next week and asked me to lunch. It’s been 6 months since I left the old firm, so I am wondering what they have on their mind. I had started pinging them gently about once a month or so with info on this and that. I invited them to an industry event and since they weren’t in town that resulted in the lunch invitation. I keep telling myself not to get my hopes up, but since I am ever the optimist, I can’t help but hope. They have some future staffing changes and my former firm hasn’t made any headway, so perhaps they are ready to jump ship. This would be a great account for Robin and she is willing to give it a shot.

My client who followed me to Maggie & Co is about to wrap things up, so by June I’ll be done with them. It’s bittersweet, but it has also lead to the possibility of something bigger with a related frenemy of theirs. Right now the frenemy handles things in-house, so we will have to see if they are willing to out-source. The timing is right and they have asked Maggie & Co to pitch along with only one other competitor. I have a chance, so I look at the elephants on my Vision Board and tell myself I can win this business.

I did something very bold and completely outside my comfort zone this week for work. It didn’t pan out, but I was proud of myself for really putting myself out there. It’s a long game, so I just have to go back to basics and keep on trying.

Right now I have four elephants in my sights. They are all different sizes, but that’s fine. I just need one of them to give me the cushion of more time. I feel good. I am taking a course over the summer to address my greatest business development fear – cold calling. I find myself so busy that I hardly have time in front of the computer or in the office. That’s both good and bad. I need to make sure I’m getting the basics covered.

The Hunter and I are headed off on a road trip next week. We are headed to a remote place we have never visited. Rest, relaxation and exploration – I can’t wait. It should be lovely.

Crazy Week

crazy meme

The past week was crazy.  Crazy people, crazy events, crazy busy — just crazy.  I kept asking the Hunter if it was a full moon because it sure felt like one.  The great news is that many of the things I was bitching about two weeks ago are being resolved.

The car situation has been successfully resolved.  I got the leased car inspected and it will be turned in momentarily.  A new car has been purchased and I really like it.  I am still working on quashing my snobby “is-it-good-enough” inner voice, but it drives great and I have always wanted a compact SUV, so I am just telling that voice to shut up.  It has all the bells and whistles I like (rear camera, blind spot, bluetooth, etc.) so who cares who the manufacturer is?  I paid exactly within my budget and my payments are exactly what I wanted.  I got my preferred color and it feels great to drive.  As I rack up the miles on it, I won’t worry so much about the cost of the car. Whew!  Problem resolved.

I had a couple of projects right at the finish line (a.k.a ready for a paycheck) and they took a quick unexpected detour.  Sigh.  We have gotten them back on track, but that set us back a week or so.  Robin and I just sigh and talk about drinking….

The Kracken has been neutered (thank you, sweet Jesus) and we are already seeing a calmer dog.  Now that he is neutered, he can go to doggie day care which is fabulous.  He had is his first visit and came home happy and (more importantly) exhausted.  The Hunter was ready to get rid of him, but I asked that he be given more time.  I know, I know — I blew that golden opportunity, but I knew that the Hunter was acting in haste. The Kracken has good potential — we just need to be patient (never a strong trait of mine).

My son is home for the summer.  He came home in the midst of drama (Wildflower passing, car buying, etc.)  My Ex persuaded him to give up a low-paying job up at school to come back home to work for him and me (wish he had talked to me about that). I think my son also returned home because his girlfriend was going to be home for the summer also.  My son hated working for my Ex, so Taz and I think he just didn’t have the guts to stand up to my Ex.

My son is staying with me right now and just got the possibility of an unpaid internship with a nearby non-profit that fits in perfectly with his major.  I told him that if he wasn’t going to be paid by any of these jobs, then take the one with the non-profit.  He has an interview next week and the Ex set him up with another non-profit so hopefully he gets one of those.  He needs something on his resume that doesn’t have one of  his parents as his supervisor….

I successfully tackled and won the lease renewal on our home.  My landlord is a bitch, so I told the Hunter that we won’t win next year, so we better be ready to move.  She came by to “inspect the house”, but had no idea what she really wanted to see.  When we got into a mildly heated discussion, I asked her what outcome she wanted from it all because she was dropping into a “you said, I said” argument.  The outcome she wanted:  “I don’t know”.  Geez, you like arguing just so you can be right?  Stupid.  I finally said, “OK, it sounds like you want better communication from us.  Would you agree?”  She did, so now I send her follow up emails on work that is being done on the house.

My favorite client that kicked me to the curb when I founded Maggie & Co is back sniffing around.  I have kept the lines of communication open, sent them some information and now they want to have lunch on their next visit to town.  That’s great.  I have a new project idea to put in front of them, so I have to focus on getting an introduction to someone who won’t take my phone call, I can’t find her email and she hasn’t responded to numerous messages, voice mails and letters.  I have 10 days to reach this hussy.  She works two hours from me.  I have blocked out a day and plan to drive to her office to stage a sit-in until she or her boss sees me.  #Old School Sales.  My BFF is egging me on to do this to see if it will work.  I’ve done it in the past once and it worked.  Will I be 2-for-2?

I feel good things happening and good things in my future.  If that fave client thing would take off, it would be like winning the lottery.  I feel lucky, so wish me luck!

Can Somebody Loan me some Patience?

OK, Gentle Readers, this is one long bitch fest, so if you aren’t in the mood of hearing bitch, bitch, bitch, skip this and drink a glass of wine instead.  I have to vent and this is the safest place. 

I just need to be more patient.  I just need to hang on a little bit longer as Maggie & Co climbs up the steep hill of success.  I feel the momentum building.  Some weeks are better than others, but I do know that I am taking consistent action and more action than many of my colleagues.  It’s just that I have a short runway of time.  My money is running out.  Do I tap my retirement fund…again?  I don’t think I’m going to have much of a choice. Sigh.

I am a bit calmer.  I went to celebrate my dad’s 80th birthday.  My son joined me but the Hunter opted to go hunting instead.  The weekend was a lovely respite, even though the flights were hell.  We made an unscheduled landing for a medical emergency.  That was a first for me and we landed 2 hours late.  The return was delayed 2 hours as well. Thank goodness I wasn’t on United!  Anyway, the Hunter and I were apart for about four days.  Four days to think and boy, he did a lot of thinking.  He’s made changes to the Kracken so that nutty dog now stays outside most of the time.  He will give up the dog if he needs to, but I have told him that I want the dog to stay.  I see daily improvement with the dog, so once again, I just need to have patience.

My dad’s birthday weekend was great.  It is really nice to be in your early 50’s and be one of the youngest people at a party.  I felt young again – LOL.  It was a wake-up call to see all of my family with secure, well-provided retirements as I am scrambling for everything at the moment.  Sigh. But it was great to reconnect with family.  It felt good.

I came home with a huge, nasty cold.  I am the crankiest, bitchiest sick person on the planet.  I don’t want people to even think about me much less talk to me.  I huddled up on the coach as the Hunter drove 10 hours to get home from his hunting trip.  He brought me soup and avoided me for fear of me snapping at him.  I held my tongue, watched TV and vegged until the cold subsided.

I am in the middle of renewing the lease on this crappy house.  I’m not happy about it, but I don’t have the Fuck You money to move somewhere else, so I am forced to negotiate with a landlady, who for whatever reasons, has been under my skin from Day One.  I have a residential realtor friend coaching me through this and even she commented that she has never seen me dislike someone as much as my landlord.  I am usually cool and calm through negotiations and I find myself writing vicious emails, holding them for a day until the anger subsides and then editing them into something businesslike.

I have to buy a car this month and I really am not looking forward to it.  My lease is expiring and I’m over on miles.  I know the overage will continue, so I’m forced to buy something.  Yep, right when money is tight I have to come up with money for the mileage overage and a down payment.  Joy.  Add to the fact that there are too many choices of cars and I have been stuck, weighed down by indecision.  The Hunter is helping and we have finally identified the likeliest candidate — a 1-2 year old compact SUV.  Now I have to drive one and negotiate terms in the next two weeks.

With all my bitching and moaning, I have to say that I feel good things coming.  I feel momentum from all my marketing efforts.  I feel like I can do this.  I know I can do this.  I went back through records of when I switched firms and had to start again.  I looked at the income stream and where it came from.  The scary thing is to see how many clients bit the dust for various reasons, but it also shows me how many fish are out in the great blue sea. The Hunter’s business is picking up momentum also and he is slightly ahead of me, which is great.  My earning potential far exceeds his — fact, not boasting — so I need my ship to catch the winds of success also.

I feel like Robin is discouraged.  I know she is because I have my discouraged days as well.  When I have them, I call someone because when I don’t have courage, I ask other people to share theirs.  It has worked for me in the past and it works for me now.  I try to be her courage.  Even with the projects we are currently working on, the money won’t be enough to hold us for 6 months.  It will hold us for 2-3 months at most.  Hopefully that buys me enough time to create new opportunities.  Every day I look at my Vision Board which is full of Patience, Underdog, Pushing Through, Stay Focused — you get the idea.  Every day I work on business development more than anything else.  That’s what will generate results.

Now I am going to the gym.  I joined a cheap one because I realized that if I am going to sleep and stay sane, then I need to exercise.  I’ll write something zippy and happy in a day or two.  I am an Amazon.  I can do this.  I can do hard things.  I am an amazing woman who will be successful.  Yep, I need to get back to my daily affirmations.

patience belief

Fear – Can I Control It?

Last night was rough.  I woke up at 3 AM and was sucked into a vortex of fear.  The spiral started a few days ago, but last night it sucked me down in earnest.  New business is slow to develop and, of course, I am inpatient.  I sat down to re-group, pulled out some books to refresh my approach and figured out where I am lacking.  Basically I want to castigate myself and saying that I’m sucking at all levels of business development, but that would be melodramatic.  It boils down to two simple problems:  1) not enough time spent on it 2) not enough focus on the right actions.

Back to 3 AM.  I woke up, laid in bed for about 45 minutes, got up.  Worried.  Worried some more, totaled up the money I have spent out of my savings over the past year and gulped at the amount.  Panicked a bit.  Went back to bed.  Had a really good idea for a marketing piece and finally fell asleep.  When I got up this morning, the Hunter realized I was freaked out (which actually presents as angry and grouchy) and that I have been freaked out (i.e. angry and grouchy) for a couple of days.

I told him I was afraid.  I told him that I was afraid of peeking into my bank account.  I’m afraid to tap into yet more of my retirement fund (yes, I tapped my retirement fund for some of this $$) and I’m afraid because failure is simply not an option.  I told him that I need to work more, much more.  I told him that I needed to work smarter and so on and so forth.

He hugged me.  He told me how much he loved me.  He told me that we have been through a lot in our two years and we will get past this as well.  He then spent the morning hustling so he can come up with some $$ over the next couple of months.  It was great.  I had felt alone and isolated before talking to him.  I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders because I felt like I have to produce business for him, me and Robin.  But he made me remember that we are all adults and we can all shoulder some of that burden.

The remainder of the day was good.  I felt more positive.  I feel strong.  The Amazon is strapping on her sword and tomorrow she will be back out there slaying dragons. But first, it’s off to meet my book club for pizza, wine and chat.  My soul is looking forward to it. And who knows, I  could get lucky later on……

To Those who lost their Mojo

I have discovered several women (and guys) in a career funk. Obviously they are good friends or they never would have confided such a weakness to me.  They have all lost their mojo and are stuck in the mud, but they are all at different points of this cycle.  I find that Lost Mojo has a distinct cycle/path that has to be traveled.

I thought I was the only one to lose my mojo when I ground to a halt back in 2015.  Looking back, I see how depressed I was.  It stemmed from a bad job situation that I failed to fully recognize.

In my profession, the key phrase is “fake it until you make it”.  You never tell the truth to anyone except your absolute closest confidantes and even then you don’t tell it all because you can’t be sure even they can be trusted 100%. You tell your frenemies that you are busy, life is good, your partnership is great, you are happy, etc.  I did that, but my problem was I believed my own lies.  Once I woke up and looked around, I realized: 1) my partnership wasn’t real, I was only an income stream; 2) my boss was not who I thought he was; and 3) the only person who cared and could make things right for me was ME.

The next step was planning.  I had nothing to offer to another firm.  No book of business that would earn me a signing bonus, plus I was sick and tired of the corporate BS at the firms.  I couldn’t see the benefits of these corporate giants.  I had been with one for a decade.  It had been great on the resume, but so much of my earnings went into the black corporate hole that it made no economic sense to me.  These corporate giants don’t value me.  They consider my clients theirs and expect to keep them if I leave.  They can even take them away from me if they decide someone else is better suited.

But going back to funks/loss of mojo.  My dearest BFF is going thru the deepest slog of the muddy pit of despair.  Her ray of hope has been watching me plow through and come out the other side seemingly sanity intact and happy. $$ are still my concern, but I refuse to be afraid or anxious about $$.  Although my banker just called me and I trembled about taking that call….all was fine.  She needed a referral!

Anyway, I’ve been in this crazy profession for 20+ years and I have spent 15 of those years eating only what I kill.  I know that I’m a badass Amazon and I’ll be fine.  It may only be rabbits right now, but my vision board is full of elephants because I know that I can land something that will feed me for a long, long time.

BFF has experienced far greater success than me.  So perhaps her funk was a greater fall for her.  To win her freedom, she made a not-so-great deal with an OK devil.  She too wants to believe her boss is a good guy — not a self-centered prick who was sleeping with a bitch in her very small office.  A bitch that methodically uses every tool at her disposal to sabotage BFF.

BFF wished for a man who would take care of  her.  She found him —  he has volunteered to support her while she reinvents herself.  He believes and supports her wholeheartedly because he’s an entrepreneur and understands the great risk/great reward gamble she needs to undertake.

I have suggested a plan that keeps her in the game while she waits out a new non-compete.  She needs to make bold moves this year.  She needs to open her eyes again and tell corporate America to go fuck itself.  I know she can do it.  She’s brilliant, likable, driven.  The question is — can she let those of us who love her, help her?  I’ll let you know….

My other GF is also in my profession. We bonded over trying to raise kids in our crazy careers.  Her story is one of amazing heartache and I think she is one of the strongest, most resilient women I know.  I’ll have to write her story one day.

This GF has just recovered her mojo.  She is emerging from the mud pit of despair to once again kick butt and take names.  She hasn’t changed jobs — she tried but couldn’t find a new spot that was an improvement over her current one.  Last week over dinner, she told me that she admires my bravery in setting up Maggie & Co.  Her niche does need a big corporate profile, but her competition is brutal.  I have no desire for it.

She told me that I was invaluable to her breakthrough.  I was so flattered!  I think it was because I’m not afraid to speak the truth to her.  She has told me her deep secrets and I have shared mine.  We see each other for a monthly 3-hour gab fest and we always have each other’s back. Her outlook is bright once more and I am absolutely thrilled for her.

The guy who is in a funk was once at the top of his game.  His fall from grace was stunning.  He has an older half brother in the game and I’m convinced their father has some sort of crazy gene he passed on to these guys.  Both had a fall from grace, both are a bit crazy but everyone loves them.  I have heard the rumors of his depressive tendencies, some anger towards his partners, but I’ve never seen it.

This guy jumped out of corporate America when I did.  He immediately started his own firm while I stopped at my previous job.  He was doing OK but he has struggled with a sense of purpose.  He’s tried different things, gotten divorced, found new love, just had a baby, but he hasn’t gotten back to his previous earning power.  He was once part of a powerful team that was making tons of $$.  The team is no more, but their friendship remains which says a lot about all of them.

This guy wants to be affiliated with Maggie & Co — maybe.  He wants his independence and to keep his own firm, but he finds the daily solo slog difficult.  He doesn’t want a boss, but I have never agreed to be a boss — only a facilitator.  My brilliant idea is to match him with my BFF — they would both be formidable once again….That meeting will be soon. Very soon.

So if you have lost your mojo, it’s OK.  It happens to us all.  You just need to realize that the answers are within you.  You and you alone are the only person who can fix your funk. Don’t look to others, don’t blame others — take a deep breath and look inside. And talk to people that you trust because they will tell you the truth.  I’ll write some more about this on my journey out of the mud pit of despair….

 

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