As some of you know and have been amazingly supportive about, I’m self-employed again. I was self-employed for 8 years before, then took a staff job for 2 years, and am now back at it. I’m in week one of my corporate-life retirement, self-employment-life-re-journey. There’s a lot to say and share, and I’m sure within 6-months I’ll look back at this and think how naive I was and how much more there is to say. Let’s face it, Lessons Never Stop.
So here’s the truth about self-employment from my own personal perspective (to date):
Whereas I was once exhausted every morning, even though I could sleep until 8:15 before getting up for my job, I now have endless energy. I can sleep with a generous dose of interruption and wake up excited to start the day. I’ve been going to bed past my usual bedtime and waking up around 7:30 without an alarm clock. I love being out and about all day.
Before I could barely muster the energy to make dinner. Life feels full of endless possibility again, whereas just a few weeks ago it felt decidedly beige. I’m writing from the divinely gorgeous NYC Public Library and noticing the raptured awe of the tourists popping in as a reprieve to the cold. I look at them and feel like one of them, knowing I can do anything I want tomorrow.
In my continuing discussion of success in work from home careers today I want to cover the power of reflection. The Slight Edge philosophy focuses on ‘the now’, about realizing there is only ever really now. The choices we make in each moment are what lead to the path of success.
How to reflect on your business
Reflection is about using the results you have been getting, taking time out to look at them on a daily basis, and then seeing if your home Internet business is heading towards success.
The key is to remember to avoid dwelling on the past. Take my cousin Miriam, she has no high school diploma and instead of taking the GED test she still complains about low income. There are many really good websites that offer GED practice tests and online classes free of charge so there are no excuses for complaints.
If you use reflection that fact you did something wrong several times means you can learn. In fact, you have learned, you have learned several things to change. You then have the power to choose to change the actions you take and reflect again. This is a continuous improvement process, ‘plan, do. review’.
This morning, I told a woman I’ve met a few times in the park that I’m having a midlife crisis.
I didn’t mean an actual midlife crisis, whatever that is, I meant something more like, there are all these crazy things happening in my life and I’m making big changes. It was my lame attempt t0 be funny and maybe a little outrageous (I like to be outrageous sometimes as my friends will attest).
The look on her face was something I was not expecting or prepared for. She looked at me with such pity and sadness. She just looked at me for a few seconds and then said: “Oh, I’m SO sorry.”
Wow, what if I was really having a crisis, would her reaction have been appropriate? I’m not sure. I immediately told her that I was kidding and that I was just being dramatic. That in fact, things were fine and I had just decided to make some big fun changes in my life.
I’m a little fat. There it is! I said it again for the umptieth time. Being overweight for so many years and struggling to come to terms with it has set me up for failure time and again. I’ve said over and over on this blog and in real life that I don’t feel off-balanced most of the time.
It’s not until I see a photo of myself that I realize something is somewhat wrong. Frankly, most of the time I have to take a double-take to make sure that’s me whom I’m looking at in the questionable photos.
Now picture me at my weigh-in after a month of heavy duty weight training… My muscles reacted positively right from the start. After a couple of weeks, Carina noticed that I was getting stronger which lead to her giving me new challenges to continue to build muscle.
How do you balance the constant need for improvement with the concept of self-acceptance? You may think that you need to carefully balance the two as you may get complacent by accepting everything about yourself and doing nothing, or you may be too self-critical and always strive for bigger and better; independent of what you actually achieve. See also this Anna Anake video:
The two concepts don’t have to be on separate sides of the same coin. You can learn to accept yourself without becoming complacent, while you continue to work toward your self-improvement goals.
Improving yourself and accepting yourself do not have to be dueling forces and actually work better when they are married together. Knowing that you accept everything about yourself and truly believing this to be the case can help you to make any self-improvements more about the process or testing capabilities versus needing to get above the benchmark for approval.
The original intent when introducing low-calorie artificial sweeteners to the marketplace was to assist those suffering from diabetes and those wanting to lose weight. However, these days you can find them in a wide variety of processed foods and snacks not specifically targeted to that demographic.
So, do these zero or low-calorie additives truly help someone both lose the weight and then keep it off? The answer may well surprise you!
A growing body of research suggests that the exact opposite may be true despite all the nice thing marketers want us to believe. It is beginning to appear that the addition of artificial sweeteners to food and snacks is actually resulting in weight gain! In fact, sweeteners such as sucralose and aspartame that purport to aid the diabetic and dieter alike in reducing caloric intake often found in natural sweeteners are causing a chemical reaction in the body that accomplishes just the opposite.
My feet thrust in the air, I stared at the needle sticking out of my foot framed against the backdrop of the Gowanus Canal while a woman in the next room loudly whispered about her venereal disease. I tried to shut it out by thinking about my creative projects. Any of them. Obscure ones. About a public domain comic book idea. About the newest iPhone app I’m working on with my publisher. About my blog.
My thoughts invariably shifted to thinking about my last few weeks at work, how long it would take to pull off these projects, and if I’d sustain a living from them afterward. Sustain. Hmmm… Reminds me of that episode of The Judge Hatchett Show I worked on as a video editor where she sustained a motion…
I snap to and remember what my acupuncturist said. “Quiet down your mind, Carlen.” And backed that sentiment up by sticking another needle between my eyes. I looked up at the needle, of what I could see of it, and sighed. Quiet. My. Mind. It was my very first foray into acupuncture, and despite my foot needle hurting more than I anticipated when she stuck it in (and hearing someone whispering about venereal diseases), I felt calm. Centered. And the restlessness I tend to feel was slipping away. It was powerful.
The first lesson relates to how you manage your own finances. This lesson is the basis of all the other actions. Bringing in extra money alone is no cure for financial difficulties. It is really just a sticking plaster.
You have to deal with the root cause. For example for Joan the root course is lack of proper education, she left a high school when she was 16, she is 23 now and still doesn’t have a high school diploma.
It limits her earning potential tremendously. Luckily for Joan there are opportunities to correct this mistake, she can take the GED test and if she passes, she will receive a GED certificate. Getting GED is not a lengthy process, it might take Joan 2-4 months to get ready if she will follow, for example, Best GED Classes intensive online prep for the GED that is offered for free.
This certificate is the equivalent of a high school diploma. This is a first step she needs to fix it in order to have a better future, with the GED she will make at least $9,000 more per year.
It was an exhilarating rush. But it also felt so expected and firm. Like it was already written and I was simply moving into action to the plot of my own story. This whole post might seem very anti-climatic if you are expecting an epic blow-out of Independent Creative vs. Corporation. So first let me tell you why I didn’t do it.
I didn’t do it to start a movement. Or a revolution. I didn’t do it to lead you anywhere except to a new point-of-view. I didn’t quit to convince everyone else to quit their jobs too. Or to proclaim that jobs are utterly useless by nature. I think jobs have the potential to be incredibly valuable. Just like I think your own small business and diversification of income is valuable.
I think we should embrace all options, instead of it being an either-or situation. I made the decision to quit from a steam room last weekend when my husband took me to get a massage for my birthday. I had just dumped so much water over the rocks, I couldn’t see a foot in front of me.
As I settled into the hot fog, I found myself relaxed and calm, ready and sure, and completely delirious with core-rocking warmth against the 9-degree weather outside. The idea to Quit(!) suddenly and swiftly rooted firmly in my mind. And unlike all the other times it presented itself, it wasn’t in the middle of a warpath of uncertainty or doubt. It was surrounded only by the future.
Before the advent of online news and entertainment, advertising and its cousin, public relations, were like pornography: You generally knew it when you saw it.
But with the ever-increasing torrent of Internet “content” splashed across the Web, much of it not only corporate-sponsored but corporate-created, sussing the actual message from this medium gets pretty tricky.
Check out also this John Oliver video:
This trend toward dressing (some would say disguising) advertising and public relations as news is driven by economics. A standard press release costs only a few hundred dollars to compose and distribute electronically, making the Net a low-cost distribution channel.