Thursday, October 6, 2016

Meandering through

I'm still trying to find a thread for this blog. I'm not big on random confessional... That's better fodder for drinking stories anyway. At some point this will morph into a blog about my adventures as an aspiring prosthetist, but the biggest adventures right now involve taking pre-requisites, using exercise to stay awake while I do homework at night, and forgetting my book in class. Not exactly a thrilling read. I have two more prerequisite classes, and applications for school are due in December.

The best advice I was given on blog or article writing was to offer a solution to a problem, regardless of whether it's a physical quandary, or a philosophical hiccup. Learning about a particular solution, or just a general approach, is a better use of anyone's time than reading more garbage about heedless dithering or Internet Outrage. 

To date, the biggest problems I've been working through are just about survival. Stay at home dad for one, and then two kids, plus no job, plus homework, and trying to find a star to steer by... It's a desert out there. As of this week, it's been two years of it. Exercise has been helpful, if for no other reason than that it's one area in my life where I can set concrete goals, and measure progress. So, for the sake of the blog, I don't mind talking some about my process there. (The problems I'm attacking here are starting over, and maintaining sanity during the process.) Finding a focus other than daily panic is a good solution to the problems inherent in un-mooring, or being cut loose.


This week, I solved the job issue, too... For the moment. This week, I've become an independent agent for Aflac. The last thing I ever thought I'd find myself doing is selling insurance. But Aflac's been very good to me and mine for a few years now: We're policy holders, and Aflac helped a lot when each of the boys arrived. And I know or knew too many woodworkers who went by the wayside, in part because they weren't covered. One guy messed up his knee during an install, and figured it would be easier to live with the annoyance of a bum knee, than to get it looked at properly. Eight years later, the knee developed gangrene, and they had to take the leg off . All because he couldn't afford to get it taken care of properly. So it's a job that gives me the opportunity to help people, which is important to me.

For myself, I got into self-employment because I loved woodworking, not because I wanted to learn about navigating insurance issues. Viewed through that lens, I'm hoping I can save other business owners from some benefits-related headaches, and help make their lives easier, so they can focus on what they really want to do... And what brings in the money.

Another thing on my mind, to be candid, is that I avoided learning about real prospecting and learning to properly close a deal, the entire time I was in business. I just buried my nose in the woodwork end of what I was doing. Ultimately, that was a contributing factor to many of my difficulties in business. So, I'm also seeing this as a mentored, paid opportunity to learn something that will be useful if I decide to put my shingle up again. (I still see furniture building as a really cool potential part-time, and ultimately, retirement gig.)

So... this is more of an update on current events for me. The process is slowly grinding forward, with a pretty big goal (Applications) on the horizon. And, a promising new job in the meantime.

New Beginnings

About two years ago my career fell apart. After 10 years of hard work, it was time to start over.

The inventory at the time was pretty straightforward, once I got clear of what had come before. I had me, my wife, (who, thankfully, was working) and my (then) 1 year old. The rest was up in the air. We couldn't afford care for the munchkin, so I became the stay at home parent. But honestly, as much as it was my job to take care of the little guy, it was also my job to take care of me. I hadn't been doing a great job of that in recent years, and so the down time, much as it felt like being adrift, was welcome.

The first thing I that needed attention was the general state of my physical fitness. For years I'd been spending all of my time working, and not much time working out. That had changed some in the months leading up to the shop closing, and I decided to make nap time into workout time. 

Every time I set out to work on a big goal, or a big change, working out has always been the thing that helped me move forward. And looking back, I think it's because it helps reinforce my sense of self-efficacy. A little work in the gym, or a little bit of time spent on diet, provides feedback. Being able to get results for my effort in a quantifiable way always helps to remind me that yes, I'm able to accomplish things when I try. And this time around, learning more about getting in shape was the thing that helped the habit stick.