February 11, 2010


I'm currently reading devouring this book: "The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be." And holy cow...if you are interested in being successful at anything from running a sub-20 minute 5k to becoming the first person to walk a dog on a tight rope to being a cajillionaire before you die...well, this is the book for you.

It certainly is for me. It has helped put so much of the last 7 or 8 months into perspective.

Since I left my cushy, do-what-I-want-to-when-I-want-to government job, I've been sort of lost. I can't seem to get into a routine...pre-quitting-of-the-job, routine was my way of life. The job never called for more than I could accomplish in 4 or 5 hours in a day so I'd spend the rest of the day working on volunteer projects, catching up on blog posting, or running - I was able to spend at least 30 minutes of my work day, on the clock, running! Sometimes I'd even take the afternoon off work, come home to clean the house, and then even take a nap for good measure. Then you throw in all of those government holidays and my AWS (alternate work schedule, which meant I was able to take every other Friday off), and no wonder I felt like Super Woman. I could do ANYTHING because my job didn't require the majority of my time.

Fast forward to the life of being self-employed...and wow....are things different. Not different - BAD - just different. I have not been able to get into a routine to save my life...whether it's a routine of getting daily tasks completed or a routine of getting in those miles pounding the pavement....I just haven't been able to do it....haven't been able to accomplish it all...haven't found that super-hero feeling.

Now, don't get me wrong. I wouldn't leave my current job for all the money in the world. I love it. I finally feel like I'm making a difference. When I see that bottom line every month, I get to smile knowing that I had a hand in making that happen. When our employees get to take a vacation with their kids, I get to smile knowing that we were able to help them get to a point where taking a vacation was an option. When a customer calls to tell me how pleased she is with the repair one of our guys did, I get to smile knowing that we have the best employees in the world. I love it, and nothing can take away the daily pride I have in knowing that with what we are currently doing, we are successful beyond measure.

And that's where my warped sense of working-as-a-government-employee perception causes me problems. I'm used to the routines. The schedules. The days that aren't ever overbooked. I'm used to sitting in the warmth of security...the lap of knowing that for all intents and purposes I'd never get fired. And it's that security that causes me to take less risks, reach out to potential opportunities, or go out on a limb for what might just be a failure. It's like a baby sitting in poop. It's warm and it's mine. Right?

We are about to embark on a risk. To Troy, the consummate entrepreneur, it's just another exciting adventure in life. To me, well, it's got me paralyzed. I've had such a hard time being on board. I want to jump off of that diving board...I really do. But what if I do jump and I find out I can't swim? What if I jump only to find out that the pool's only 3 feet deep? What if I jump and there is no one there to save me? So, instead of finding out if I can swim, I just choose to stand at the end of the diving board...shivering...scared...humiliated...waiting for everyone to stop staring so I can climb back down the stairs to the warmth and security of having my feet firmly planted on the ground.

Until yesterday. And the book. And specifically Principles 13 (Take Action), 14 (Just Lean Into It), and 15 (Experience Your Fear and Take Action Anyway).

Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step. -Martin Luther King Jr.

I couldn't believe what I was reading. It was like my entire life flashing before my eyes...right here in this book. I don't "take action." I wait for action to happen to me. I don't "just lean into it". I wait for it to fall on me. I do "experience my fear" on a daily basis, but I have never been one to "take action anyway." It was everything that has made me what I am today. Conservative, reserved, fearful, riskless. And while yes, I've had an amazingly wonderful life being on the straight and narrow path, what would my life be like if I took a leap of faith? Jumped off that diving board? Faced my fears head on, and moved past them? And more importantly, what about the future? Can I continue to be successful without taking risks? Should I break away from that mold I've made for myself and do things I only see other people do? Can I do it? Will I become a failure? Is now that time?

Yes. I do believe it is.

We come this way but once. We can either tiptoe through life and hope that we get to death without being too badly bruised or we can live a full, complete life achieving our goals and realizing our wildest dreams. - Bob Proctor

So, this morning I told Troy I was 100% on board. I am ready to jump of that diving board and for once, I remembered that I can swim....that it's 11 feet deep under that board...and that I'm not doing this all alone, but as part of a very large and encouraging team.

It feels very empowering, very exciting, and ironically not as nerve wracking as I thought it was going to be.

Do you want to be safe and good, or do you want to take a chance and be great? - Jimmy Johnson

So, for now we are pressing forward with vengeance. We don't borrow money (for anything!) so it will be a few months of watching dollar movies, volunteering at races rather than running in them, and saving money to make things happen. I'm excited. I'm optimistic. And strangely enough, I feel like I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing.

Tomorrow, I'll post about how "The Success Principles" have helped me in the area of running!

Have a great Thursday!


Laura Lohr : My Beautiful Life said...

That sounds like a great book! I find myself looking for my commitment to a schedule and haven't had the superhero feeling in a while.

BTW, I have a little something for you on my blog for you. :D

Char said...

Good luck with your venture. Look forward to hearing about its success.

Anne said...

I'm glad the book is having such a positive impact, already. I also hope you can soak up the success of that plunge. (And now I understand why very few people leave their jobs at the federal government!)

Inspector Clouseau said...

Nice work. I came across your blog while “blog surfing” using the “Next Blog” button in the Nav Bar at the top of my blogspot blog. I occasionally just check out other blogs to see what others are doing.