Not Trusting Fortune

It is easy to wish our lot was better, easier, softer. An easy trap to fall into. Especially, if the roof over your head depends on it. Yet, we are all so fortunate in so many ways. Most of our days are good and pleasant ones. Our adversities are trivial and can be surmounted with patience, fortitude and a plan.

So Fortune… as in Good Luck or that Windfall or Lucky Break or Priviledge… do not count on that. Do not seek it out or wait for it to drop on you like a mantle from heaven.

Rather, gird yourself up. Face your life head on. Come up with a plan, and another plan and yet another. How can you solve this problem? How long will it reasonably and realistically take? What is the cost to you, both monetarily and mentally?

Move on.

Today, I made a decision to let go of a frivolity that has been obsessing me for several months. Ludicrous thoughts of “I deserve it” or “I can justify it” picked at my peace.

No.

I have a plan of action for getting myself not only completely out of debt, but also on a path of steady solvency. A path that will allow me a greater amount of long-term peace than I have had in many years. So I let it go. Not “gave it up”… but rather let go of my stranglehold of thought on it.

Thomas Edison nailed it when he said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overhauls and looks like work.”

I can work to take care of my clients and my family.

I can work to have a positive outlook on life, regardless of my circumstances.

I will do the work required.

You can too.

Temper Your Frustration

I see you over there, tempted to sulk. Stop it right there and let’s think through this frustration. I suggest grabbing a pen and a piece of paper, since there is something calming and mind challenging about actually writing it out. Spiral notebooks work well. Good for ripping out.

Point 1: what are your frustrations? Ok, I realize this might take you a few moments, so I’m going to wait. I know, I know, you enjoy the vent, but for now, please just physically write it out on paper. You are welcome to burn the paper later. Be honest. Get it out of your brain and where you can see it…them…the whole host of them.

Point 2: look at the list. What is the most grievous one to you? Circle it. Get a fresh page. Write it down on the top. Now write why it is frustrating to you.

Point 3: what was your part in the frustration? What was the part of others in the frustration? Is there anything on your part that you can do differently? Circle it. Anything you can do to make others do something differently? Nope. Go back to you. Anything you can kindly say or do differently to let the other person know that something has to change? Note, I said kindly.

Years ago, I made the parenting decision that if I hadn’t actually told my children they couldn’t do something or that something was wrong, I could neither blame nor punish them for doing certain behaviors. BUT after I had told them: that was a different story altogether.

Turns out most humans are the same way. Perhaps they honestly don’t know. Perhaps they do know, but since you didn’t say anything they are pushing it and seeing how far they can get away with something.

Point 4: many times, our frustration comes from not communicating in a manner where we are clearly heard and understood.

 

Making Lists, not Resolutions

It’s the end of the year and time for reflecting: what went right in 2017? What could have been done differently? Most importantly, what did you learn about yourself and your business in 2017?

Now looking ahead to 2018, based on the questions above: what are you setting down as your intentions? Not resolutions. Intentions. Resolutions tend to dissolve by the 10th day of January. Intentions can be repeatedly picked back up again and worked on.

Pull out that spiral notebook. Or get all fancy and get a Panda Planner or Simple Elephant Planner or whichever “this thing will change my life if I’ll actually use it” planner and start writing down lessons learned these past 360 odd days and what you plan to do with the next year’s worth.

Here’s my start:

  • craft sustainable business budget (and family budget)
  • Reach out to current client base and thanking them for the working relationship
  • Thank past clients for the good work they allowed me to help them with
  • order branded postcards from MOO or somesuch easy place
  • post daily on Robinson Studio website
  • post daily on social media
  • stay ahead of work flow (writing schedule and social media schedule for clients)
  • strengthen video skills to offer clients
  • continue ongoing research on upcoming work projects
  • read one new book a month (not all business, but also philosophy, psychology, history, social trends, etc)
  • attend a 3-day retreat away and actually disconnect (no phone, no internet, no outside contact)
  • daily morning and evening journaling/planning
  • work/life balance… reclaiming the weekends as personal time
  • scheduling “dates” with spouse and children on a monthly basis
  • scheduling / saving for a vacation that has the intention of vacation vs “I have to take this time off”
  • learning how to play Mahjong

Was that a “Fail”?

I didn’t make bad grades in school. In fact, if I made an “F” more than two or three times, I’d be suprised.

This doesn’t mean I’m a genius: not by any means. It means I went to a small school, was smart enough, and was often given the benefit of the doubt, due to my good nature and character.

This week, I wish I’d have gotten more F’s. More “Kid, you’ve got to get this right the first time and pay better attention.” I made a rather serious mistake on a bid proposal this week that might very well have cost me, and my business associate, the gig. And it was due to rushing, not triple checking my work, or writing out detailed notes to myself, so that when an item was called into question, I actually had a coherent answer instead of trying to rely on my memory, which is feeling a bit overstuffed with “important matters I must retain” mental clutter.

I’ve owned my part. Apologized. And made it as right as I could; however, I don’t know if I’ve retrieved a level of trustworthiness back, and I’m not ok with that. In a word, I failed. It’s awkward. Uncomfortable. And it would be damned easy to sit here and bewail my stupidity.

That’s not going to get me more work. Nor will it help you, should you find yourself in this humbling position. The ONLY thing you can do is move on and do the next right thing: LEARN FROM IT! What did I do wrong? How can I not repeat that error again? What do I need to do to avoid that same pitfall the next time a “shortcut” seems like the answer?

Today, I wrote a letter to a new contact to further strengthen that relationship. Hopefully, some good work will eventually come from there.

Tomorrow, I go and meet a potential client to discuss another proposal for something entirely different. I’m prepared, but I’ll be even more prepared by the time I’m sitting down. I’ve got a list and am taking extra care to listen closely.

Failure is not a fun place to live. I do not plan on building a house here and setting up permanent residence, but it happens. And it will happen again. We’ve just got to have the humility enough to admit our error, rectify it if possible, learn from it, and move on.

By doing those things, we are setting ourselves up for lasting, overall success. And modeling the right behavior for co-workers, friends, and family members as well.

Hello, Human here. I sometimes make mistakes. Try not too, but I do. When I do, I’d appreciate you letting me know, that way I can improve and be a better Human.

Beware of Dumbing Down

Avoid the race to the bottom.

You know that one where you can do it for cheaper, faster, every time.

That is a sure-fire way to burn yourself out in a simpering puddle of wax.

Not even a spectacular fireball, but rather someone who has a heart of gold, the best intentions, and a real earnestness to do the job well who is simply ground out of the picture.

I am speaking from personal experience and stepping back from the edge of a disaster of my own making. ” My clients are chosen with care for the mutual respect and benefit of us both. For the relationship to be an ongoing win-win for both parties. My craftsmanship makes your work shine. It amplifies your presence and gives you a leadership position. My job makes your job easier and gives you peace of mind. If you can not afford my rates, I completely understand, but I need to live for another sixty years, so you will respect that I have to maintain my work-life balance as well.”

This is a hard internal conversation to have. And you MUST have the internal conversation before you can have the one with a potential client or a client who has gone rogue.

You are worth the differences that you bring to the table. You are worth swimming upstream for.