Good morning, this morning! :)
This past Sunday, August 14, 2022, celebrated seven years of one of the most vulnerable decisions I have ever made; I quit my W2 job. I did so with less than three months of savings in the bank, respectfully little experience and no safety net other than to go back. It was a terrifying and liberating time!
When I stepped into the workforce fresh out of college, self employment was an entrepreneurial idea that I had, but lacked the life experience to execute. Ironically, and fuck this is weird, it was seven years before that faithful date, August 14, 2015, when I stopped taking myself so seriously and loosened up.
Truly. I gave myself a personal reboot.
During my earlier years as a design tech, I could be found tucked away behind multiple computer monitors doing CAD work. While left on my own to pound out production drawings I would plug into audio books... I would visit the library and check out audio-cd's, take them to the office, rip the audio-cd to an MP3, to be saved forever, then return and repeat the cycle.
In addition to this collection, I also have approximately another 85 books within my Audible library. Funny as I recall this time in my life, Audible had just barely been acquired by Amazon in 2008...
and yes, I just googled this shit haha! :)
I took the plugged in time seriously and fully engrossed myself in the quest of self development. I did not want to just read this information, it was very important to me that I practiced what I was mentally consuming. When something intriguing spoke to me, I would write it down to revisit in the future.
It's crazy for me right now to read what I wrote. Not that it's bad, it's just how practical it is to me today.
But then I ask myself, is it "duh" because I've spent the last 14 years practicing what I've been teaching myself? Or does this come with age and life experience? I'm not sure, but it is refreshing to put myself back in my head those some odd 14 years ago.
The paper is soft and the use of these books gives the feel of a well loved and weathered journal. I forgot that I even had these until one night Tristan decided to just wander through every nook and cranny of my office asking me questions about this and that.
Where I am at this moment in time, I'm happy he did that. :)
Fast forward to today, I have the ability to call my own shots, well... kinda-sorta-ish... that's one of the false preconceived notions of what it means to be self employed. I'm now too ADHD to listen to audiobooks on the regular. It might be due to age, or that if I'm distracted in what I am doing I will either physically hurt myself or potentially cause lots of damage.
Instead, I try to detach from the world and give myself quiet time to digest the actual written words. Rather than write notes, I will highlight passages.
I laugh at this picture. Back when I was younger I vividly recall my Dad saying, "I wish you kids would have read more" Here I am today digesting two or three books at the same time.
Man, I have turned into a nerd! :)
When I look back over these past 14 years, it took me to suddenly not take myself so seriously that gave me the clarity I needed, mixed with life experience to feel the invisible path of this unknown journey. Reflecting back in August of 2015, those earlier seven years gave me the confidence and mindset to take that vulnerable leap of faith.
Leaving my day job took months of strategy, patience, and a dick ton of courage. I was deep into preliminary design work that established the electrical infrastructure to a big time "Presidential" hospital in downtown Phoenix. The dance of doing a reverse-superman was exhausting but it developed tremendous conditioning.
Reverse-Superman: You are Superman. No one knows it, but you. You go out in the world and perform amazing acts of service that all know this person to be. But the timing isn't right to let the world know you are in fact Superman.
So, exercising courage and patience, you fly below radar back to the office. In the office bathroom, (for me it was the handicap stall), you do a reverse Superman and change back into Clark Kent.
This is the individual self brand you've created that everyone you socialize with knows you to be. Even some of your closest colleagues see you as Clark; but inside, you're Superman.
Day after day, month after month, you blend in with the normalcy of what's expected of you. Meanwhile, your spidey senses are tingling, your brain is on another planet, and your heart is on fire - yet, regardless of the difficulty, you still manage to conform.
I find it compelling how the universe can speak to you at the right time. In one of the daily subscriptions I follow, my famous mentor, Seth Godin, gave me words that spoke to the moment I was preparing for.
It was time to let the world know who Clark Kent was.
Seth's words gave me the foundation for my two weeks notice. I was able to present this gracefully loaded resignation letter to my supervisor.
The right moment:
You might be waiting for things to settle down. For the kids to be old enough, for work to calm down, for the economy to recover, for the weather to cooperate, for your bad back to let up just a little...
The thing is, people who want to make a difference never wait for just the right time. They know that it will never arrive.
Instead, they make their ruckus when they are short of sleep, out of money, hungry, in the middle of a domestic mess, a project, or during a blizzard. Whenever. As long as whenever is now.
Almost a year ago I made a commitment to myself for the Banner University Project. As we approach our final weeks for permit submission, to the best of my ability, I know in my heart that I have fulfilled my commitment. This being the catalyst, my whenever starts now.
Effective today, my final day at C&W will be Friday August 28, 2015.
Five exact years later, on Friday August 28, 2020, I would reflect on the significance of that date; 8/28 on 8/28 | RIP Grampa. That grateful message happens to be one of my favorite tributes to my Grampa as he passed away on 8/28, and the last day of my W2 job was planned for 8/28. All the while, my first day of self employment, my birthday, would be on Monday August, 31, 2015.
This month, on the last day of August I will be turning 41. I'm short on sleep, only have so much cash on hand, and I'm exhausted. I find myself uncharacteristically overwhelmed at times and happen to be in the middle of 27 different projects... yet, all I can think about is to remember August... and that makes me smile :) Fast forward another seven years to this very week, the universe delivers yet another dose of unprovoked Seth Godin wisdom. I cannot help but close with this.
“So far” / “Not yet”
What to do in the face of failure? What happens when you’ve done your best and it still doesn’t get the review, close the sale or win the race?
One approach is to embrace the easy path of “did my best” = “failure” therefore, I should give up or simply accept mediocrity.
The other, the growth mindset, is to realize that while you did your best, it’s not your best forever, it’s just what you’ve done so far. And that while you haven’t created what you set out to create, the key word, the one you have to remind yourself of daily, is yet.
That growth mindset demands advice and collisions with the marketplace. That mindset means that you need to see what those you seek to serve have to say because without that insight, your ‘yet’ might not arrive.
By all means, ignore those that aren’t in on the joke, that haven’t signed up for the journey, that don’t want to go where you want to go.
For everyone else, though, the answer is, “thanks, wait until you see what’s next.”
Have a grateful weekend, friend :)