If Only – Part 1 (three- part series)

I spent a fair amount of my time playing the “If Only” game or some variation of it.  If only I lived in Boise, my life would be easier.  If only I had a degree in media technology, I could get a better job.  If only I moved back to Seattle, I would have a better quality of life.  If Only…..

Few of the “If Only” games worked out as expected.  Mostly because they were pipe dreams.  I was wishing and hoping things would change without looking closely at the real problem – my own fears, anxieties and frustrations.

When I moved to a new city, I had a six-month honeymoon before all my psychological luggage caught up to me.  After another year I started playing the “If Only” game again.

It’s taken a long time, but I have finally decided to accept who and what I am.  I still don’t love myself completely, but at least me, myself and I are starting to get along.

It also took a long time to accept that, where ever I go, there I am.  Moving to a new city or getting a new job doesn’t change who I am unless I make a conscious effort.

Becoming self-employed, which is the plan, is not going to change me.  I need to take stock of who I am and design a business model that fits who and what I am to the best of my ability.  Whatever I create is not going to be perfect because building a business and lifestyle are self-correcting processes.

Copyright 2019 © Moody Publishing Co., LLC

Catch Your Own Damned Mice – Part 5

I have a friend who is chasing a mouse and not sure he can catch it.  He has a degree in hospitality, training as a chef, has designed a new concept for a restaurant and created something like a dozen spreadsheets to decide how to run it.

I think he’s done everything except market research because he has six different locations in mind including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Hawaii and his current hometown.  In other words, he doesn’t know if those markets will support his vision.  The population, and the potential exists in all those markets but, once he opens the doors, will people flock to his restaurant?

He doesn’t know.

He says he has friends and family with money, but hasn’t approached them yet precisely because of his insecurity.  He isn’t ready to jump in the deep end of the pool, just yet.

What does that have to do with me?  I’m planning to creep up on the solution by starting small and working my way up to a significant momentum.  It will take time, but, once I have a sustainable business model, I will also have some degree of work/life balance.

That’s also the advice I gave my friend.  At the moment, he is still looking over the edge of the diving board.  Behind him are those damned mice.

Copyright 2019 © Moody Publishing Co., LLC

Catch Your Own Damned Mouse – Part 4

I don’t know all the statistics, but I’m guessing that the majority of people who work nine-to-five (or shift work of any kind) are not happy with their jobs.  I can say from personal experience that I have never been completely thrilled about being an employee.

In fact, I got into a little trouble when I was working for a major electronics firm when my supervisor asked me if I loved my job and I said no, because it wasn’t going to love me back.  I guess I was supposed to be thrilled out of my mind to be answering over one-hundred in-bound phone calls a day to fix cell phones.

Not a chance!

At one of my jobs I could walk to work.  There were days when I would get a block from the building and get the most horrendous headache.  I called in sick and walked back home.  When the headaches started happening almost every day, I knew it was time to do something different.

I ended up retiring, moving back to the Puget Sound area and getting into the hotel business.  I was still dealing with people, but I had a bit more control.  In fact, I actually started to, if not love, at least like my job a lot more.

Along the way, I learned a lot about stress and burnout.  As I start moving toward some kind of self-employment project, I am going to find a way to balance work and lifestyle because I no longer want to chase mice.

Copyright 2019 © Moody Publishing Co., LLC

Catch Your Own Damned Mouse – Part 3

Creating a work-life balance is a challenge.  First of all, its because I have no clue what that means.  Every project has demands and, sometimes, those demands get in the way of living a quality lifestyle.  Over the course of my professional life I’ve spent a lot of time driving back to the office to put out a fire I didn’t start but, somehow, became my problem.  Parties and vacations got delayed, followed by very stern looks in my direction.

Becoming self-employed can be even more of a challenge, since everything that happens belongs to ME and only ME.  This is especially the case, since my goal is a one-person shop.  I don’t want employees and I am not all that sure of hiring subcontractors.  Ideally, I create a product or service that I own, control, manage and, with any luck, enjoy.

With all that in mind, I was talking with a friend of mine about truly successful people and their favorite word – NO.  Apparently truly successful people say NO more often than they say yes.  That’s because their time is valuable and when it gets taken up by every little thing they lose sight of the really important stuff – the stuff that actually gets things done.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking about different things I can do that will provide a work/life balance.  I’ve been taking stock of my talents, skills and, most important, my temperament.  What can I develop that fits who and what I am (or think I am) that others will pay me for?

Good question.  Answers are in the wind and I’m hoping for a soft breeze.

Copyright 2019 © Moody Publishing Co., LLC

Catch Your Own Damned Mouse – Part Two

The headline for this column comes from watching a cat who had been over moused.  He just wasn’t motivated to do any more chasing and became lethargic and uncooperative.  At one point he even started catering lunches for the mice, which caused him to be fired.

I felt the same way around the time I left my previous hotel project.  The bloom was off the Rose.  To be clear, I was not unhappy with the policies sent down by the owners, just burned out from my commute.  I no longer felt I could continue to contribute effectively.

Was the decision mine entirely?  No.  I was encouraged to leave, but the contributing factor was burnout which lead to more and more mistakes.

Do I enjoy what I’m doing now?  Yes.  A new hotel, an owner who is directly involved on a daily basis and a much shorter commute (thirty-mile round trip instead of eighty). 

My next goal:  Self-employment.

Copyright 2019 © Moody Publishing Co., LLC