Laying the Foundation

I’m diving head first into an undefined career. I have no plan to speak of, which I like, but I’m starting to feel like I could use some direction. I’m going to attempt to establish this on my own by getting my bearings. After all, I can’t very well decide where to go if I don’t know where I stand. Let’s see what I’m working with.

Challenges

  • I have the attention span of a goldfish in fish bowl of coffee. If I don’t have several different but related projects to fall back on when my focus lapses, I run the risk of abandoning everything.
  • I have decided to be my own boss, but I have very little experience in the fields of self-employment that I’m committing to. This has led me to jump ship on several of my previous business plans.
  • The list of things I would like to accomplish in my lifetime is growing faster than the list of my accomplishments. Again, this has led me abandon projects in the past.
  • I am something of a social butterfly, but my success is going to rely enormously on my ability to set time apart for myself.
  • Time, money, and life as I knew it.  Making drastic changes to attitude demands a notable adjustment to lifestyle. To really change speed, you’ve gotta shift gears. However, as I’m making this transition I still have to support myself which requires, at least temporarily, that I maintain some old practices like my current serving job. So the real challenges here are balance and time management because I have to give my new projects the attention they need while riding out my old lifestyle to get by.

Life Clouds

Alright, I’m ready to tackle all of that. Almost. There are a few more things I need to consider. I have some basic needs that, if not met, will hinder my ability to manage the challenges. If I can’t satisfy these, forget the sunshine, it’s the lightning bolt for me.

Needs

  • Mental stimulation – I need to expose myself to the types of challenges and environments that demand my focus and spark my creativity. This includes spending time outside!
  • Diversity – On par with my first challenge, I need several varied projects that each have the potential to blossom into opportunity. On top of keeping me engaged, this will serve as job security.
  • Expertise – I need credibility, and for that I need to be an expert in something. This takes time, so my projects need to maintain a common thread despite their differences in nature.
  • Health and fitness – I do my best work when I feel good. I feel good when I’m in shape and eating right. This is so easy to ignore, but it’s as important to my success as the actual work I do.
  • Mobility – I enjoy having the freedom to travel, so every opportunity I take advantage of needs to allow room for that eventually.

Now my plate is filling up, but there’s still something missing. What is the ultimate goal? It turns out, that’s a tough question. The life I think I want is constantly evolving, as is my understanding of the life I have. This is part of the reason I am not devising a set plan of action. Instead, I’m relying heavily on the short-term goals because those will always be more relevant to me at any given point, and will allow me more flexibility.

Goals

  • Set goals often. By habitually setting short-term goals with strict deadlines, I’ll be forced to stay focused and “git ‘er done,” so to speak. In addition, I will be rewarded with a recurring sense of accomplishment.
  • Get organized. If I’m going to be busy, I have to be organized to maximize my efficiency.
  • Ask for help when I need it! (Help!)
  • Sign up and get familiar with more social media and networking sites. As much as I dread this, I know it’s the best way for me to get exposure.
  • Have this blog up and running by the end of May, 2013.
  • Have fun! If I can’t enjoy it, I’ve chosen the wrong path.

Now, to prove that unconditional commitment I was talking about…

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Declaration In Dependence

This is my success story. I am going to make it up as I go. I decided to stop thinking and start doing, and this is what I have to show for it. Exactly what “this” is, is still somewhat of a mystery to me but I’m not going to waste any time worrying about that.

I always believed that I would get some great idea one day that would land me a “career” doing something I love. It made sense to want to be my own boss. That would be much more rewarding than working for someone else. I could be independent, and make on my own schedule, and everything would work itself out. Right?

Not exactly. Ironically, independence, as it applies to careers, implies a very strong dependence on others. Unless you’re forging money, you are not making a truly independent living. If you work alone and for yourself, then your customers are your business partners. You depend on them. If you gamble for a living, you depend on someone else losing money. No matter how you look at it, you are dependent upon others. What’s more? In most cases, the more people you depend on, the better your chance of success.

I have been in denial of my dependencies for most of my life. Since I graduated college six years ago, I have yet to do anything that I am proud of. I was so sure that success would smack me in the face, I gave up all efforts to gain work experience of any kind. I was too proud to even consider career placement. I preoccupied myself with all sorts of “great” business ideas while staying afloat through dead-end jobs in the service industry. The growing frustration of my under achievement was suppressed all along by the comfort of old habit as I waited for the one moment that would change it all.

And then it came. Only it wasn’t a moment, and it felt a hell of a lot more like backtracking than progress. It was a chain reaction built up by years of accrued disinterest, tipped off by heartache, that led me to flee the comforts of home to examine my life from a different angle. Total elapsed time: 13+ months and counting. Accounts of this are a closely guarded secret.

What have I learned from it all? It’s never too late to turn things around to start living the life you want. All it takes is one decision and unconditional commitment. Life is short, and it only gets shorter as you grow up. So here I am nurturing my interests into passion, because passion makes way for purpose. And like anything worth while, it takes time and attention to develop.

This is my success story. Consider it begun.