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News from the disabled list

I was really glad this week that I put the blog on auto by scheduling posts ahead of time.

As I type, about a week ago what we’re calling “The Incident” happened.  I was carrying my cat in my arms when I tripped over the garbage can.  It happened so fast, I don’t know for sure what happened.  But I think I braced the cat, which caused him to freak out and bite/ scratch me.

So I got Cat Scratch Disease, which really should be called Cat Bite Disease since it’s caused by a bacteria that lives in the cat’s mouth.

My left wrist has been swollen since last Wednesday night, and I’ve put off typing until the doctor gave me the “all clear” yesterday.

So now I can go back to blogging about transitions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When things are up in the air

 

Image courtesy of Morgue File

Right smack in the middle of the Neutral Zone, you start to get the feeling that you’re floating helplessly.  Things are up in the air and you have no idea where they’re doing.  It’s the most distressing part of the Neutral Zone because you have nothing solid to hold onto or check in with.

Everything is in flux.  And not just the things that you just worked so hard to change.  Each area of your life is rippling with the change that you’ve made.  You start avoiding some people because they keep asking you about work.  Since you haven’t heard back from that client in over a week, the last thing you want to talk about is work.  You break down and cry when you look at your bank account.

Handling change like an adult

Image courtesy of Morgue File

Oh, adulthood- with its own collection of myths, old wives tales and fictions.  It’s a wonder any of us make it through adulthood in the first place.  We come into it with so many over the top expectations for how it will be and how it should be.  But being an adult, just like being a kid, means that everything is constantly in flux.  You may not be losing any milk teeth, but even if you come into adulthood with things going the way you expected them to, look out.

You’re headed for transition after transition.  And they’re all normal.

I think we’re all locked more rigidly into what we think we should be doing by age X as adults than we ever are as kids.  If a kid is a late bloomer and learns to read a little later than her peers, that’s cool.  She’s still a genius.  But God forbid someone do something that they’re “supposed to do” by age 30.  It’s as if we’re all offended at their inability to handle being a human.  No slack in that case.

Lesson #1: adulthood is full of contraction, expansion, change and just downright weirdness

And all of those stages happen differently for each of us.  They don’t follow in a nice linear pattern.  And for the majority of the time, angelic choirs don’t sing when a change happens.  Most of our changes happen in stages and baby steps.  So if you’re trying to do it all in one afternoon, knock it off.

Lesson #2: not everyone hits a life changing or downhill slide at forty.  Or fifty.  Or sixty.

There is no magical expiration date for going after something that’s meaningful for you.  Given, it’s hard to do things like pro basketball or gymnastics that depend on physical skills after a certain age, but that only applies to physical skills.  Mental ones don’t age.   So don’t waste good business planning time worrying that you’re too old to do something that’s personally fulfilling for you.  Pardon my candor,  but thinking you have to be a spring chicken to be an entrepreneur is a load of horse shit.

That’s all for today.  If you’ll excuse me, I have a pack of teenagers to run out of Barnes and Noble.

Look out below!

Photo via Stock.xchng

 

I want to give a warning to my regular readers out there (Hi, Mom!  Hi, Dad!) that I’ll be posting more frequently in May.

The reason is that I decided to join the 2012 WordCount Blogathon, created by Michelle V. Rafter.  While Michelle’s been putting this on for since 2008, this is the first time that I’ve decided to take the plunge and join in.

In order to participate, each blog must post (or at least try very very hard to post) one post a day for each day in May.  Mind you, no one is being forced to compose a 5,000 word opus, the idea is to get onto a regular posting schedule.

And while I’m incredibly lucky these days to be working full time as a freelance writer and blogger, the truth is that I never would’ve gotten to where I am without my blog.  Boatjumpers has given me the opportunity to network with other creative types and get my professional writing career going into light speed.

But that means that Boatjumpers has gotten ignored or pushed down the priorities lately in favor of paying gigs.  I’ve only been able to give it a weekly post, which frankly much less than this blog deserves.

So starting May 1st, I’ll work to post each day, with most of the posts being about 200-400 words.  And I don’t plan to post more than one post a day.  But for those of you who are used to just one post a week, it might get a little jarring.

I ask that you stick with me, I promise to give you guys some helpful, insightful content that’s designed to encourage you as you build your own creative careers.  I’m really excited about seeing some new faces around here as the Blogathon gets started.

Stick around-  it may get a little busy in here, but I promise that you’ll be glad that you did!

Laura

How to tell good from great…or better

Last time, I touched on how not every opportunity that comes along is one that you should jump at.  If you’re anything like me, you wasted years just jumping at anything that came along, not bothering to be choosy.  A paycheck was better than living on the street, am I right?

The problem is that people like us are making the mistake of not giving up the “good” in favor of holding out for the “great.”  Constantly chasing after mediocre jobs or projects wears us out, and leaves us frustrated and angry at some point.

But how do you know how to give up the good for the great?

List out your opportunities—one side for good and the other for great

Seeing them in writing will help crystallize your thinking, and help you formulate your plan of attack or learn what to let go of.  Dry erase boards were created for this very thing.  It will also help you figure out if a particular opportunity will fit with your purpose and you goals.

Or it will help you realize early on if a particular opportunity will distract you by leading you down a side road.

Talk to advisors about the opportunity

People who have been where you are thinking of going have hard won experience.  And they know the questions to ask, and things to consider that you might be ignoring if you’re looking at the opportunity from an overly idealistic standpoint.

Test the waters

If you’re in a situation where you can do a small experiment with the opportunity before fully committing, take the chance.  You’ve probably already done this before, working part time in your new career while still working full time at your day job.

Look at where you spend your time

Does this potential opportunity really serve your goals?  Or would saying no to it free up your schedule for more productive pursuits?

Opportunity

 

In order to get going or keep going, we all rely on opportunities.  Opportunities abound in places to go, people to work with, or projects to be hired to work on. But not every single opportunity that comes by is one that you should act on.

It’s frustrating for the self employed to pass up an opportunity, especially after you’ve spent so much time and energy prospecting one in the first place.  And heaven knows it hurts to pass up money when you’re in need of some.

In life, there are more opportunities than any of us could possibly take advantage of.  And one of the reasons why many of us meander around and never find our calling in life is because we don’t measure an individual opportunity against purpose.

If you are doing things without a good reason or purpose, then you won’t have the emotional energy or passion to sustain the work.  Remember:  nothing worthwhile in life was ever achieved without a compelling reason to achieve it.

Thoreau on Work

For those of you new to the blog, before I go any further let me admit that I’m a Thoreau fan.  You have to love someone who over one hundred years ago blazed the trail of nonconformity.

And lord knows nonconformity is what this blog is all about.

Here’s a collection of Thoreau’s writings on work.

“It is not enough to be industrious;  so are the ants.  What are you industrious about?

“Nothing remarkable was ever accomplished in a prosaic mood.

“Work your vein till it is exhausted, or conducts you to a broader one.

“If it were not that I desire to do something here—accomplish some work—I should certainly prefer to suffer and die rather than be at the pains to get a living by the modes men propose.”

“The ways in which most men get their living, that is live, are mere makeshifts, and a shirking of the real business of life—chiefly because they do not know, but partly because they do not mean, any better.”

“Many of our days should be spent, not in vain expectations and lying on our oars, but in carrying out deliberately and faithfully the hundred little purposes which every man’s genius must have suggested to him.  Let not your life be wholly without an object, though it be only to ascertain the flavor of a cranberry, for it will not be only the quality of an insignificant berry that you will have tasted, but the flavor of your life to that extent, and it will be such a sauce a no wealth can buy.”

Problem solving strategies

 

 

 

 

Many people find other problem-solving strategies useful. For some,

concrete, sequential, decision-making activities fit their personal style.

DECIDES, the easily remembered acronym for the step-by-step approach

developed by Krumboltz and Hamel in 1977, has become a classic. They

suggest that clients

1. Define the problem: What is the decision to be made?

2. Establish an action plan: How will I make this decision?

3. Clarify values: What is most important to me?

4. Identify alternatives: What are my choices?

5. Discover probable outcomes: What is likely to be the result of

following each alternative?

6. Eliminate alternatives systematically: Which alternatives won’t fit

my values and situation? Which have the least probability of

success?

7. Start action: What do I need to do to make my plans a reality?

 

Working hard just to stay busy

 

Beware the barrenness of a busy life. -Socrates

I really wanted to participate in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo as we unwashed writers love to call it.

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