Tag Archives: Work from home

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Average

First off, I have to apologize for having gone rogue and left you hanging here. I hope you found the Oreos and the remote.

Evidently our brief tent camping adventure actually tried to kill me, which might make me the biggest wuss in the history of tent camping.

In reality that’s probably not what did it, but the timing is definitely hard to ignore. I’ve been sick for the last eleven days with pleurisy. Which I now know is a Latin word with the literal translation “Horrible stabby pains throughout the torso accompanied by sudden onset asthma”. I think the Greeks referred to it as “Oh my God why does THAT hurt now?!” and it’s marked on the Mayan calendar as a series of flying monkey carvings and comic book swear words.

Needless to say I’ve had trouble focusing on writing anything of any significant purpose. But as of yesterday I’m feeling much better. I believe it’s due to threatening myself with a return trip to the doctor… cleared it right up. Others might attribute it to the round of steroids, but I’m sure it was just my super strong self control.

I haven’t just been lying around groaning though. I mean, I have been lying around groaning, but I’ve done plenty of other stuff as well. Remember that secret society I joined a couple of weeks ago? The one that you probably thought was a cult when I disappeared? Well you can quit tracking down their bearded leader, it’s turning out to be one of the best things I’ve done in quite some time.

Last week we were placed in groups of 24 and given a partner. We introduced ourselves, started private Facebook groups, shared a cup of Kool Aid, and waited for the actual experiment to start on Monday.

The experiment itself is nothing overly magical. Right now it consists of a short email every morning asking us to do something very simple, to take one small step down the path towards our goal. Pretty basic stuff.

If I’m being totally honest with myself I was actually pretty skeptical when I joined this group. As excited as I was about the mysterious aspect of the project and the possibilities that came along with it I really didn’t know how it was going to help any of us face our fears, much less achieve our goals. I’m not sure Jon Acuff even knew what he hoped to accomplish, which is probably why he called it the Start Experiment and not the Definitive Start Project.

I’m no stranger to goal achieving attempts either, I’ve done plenty in the past in an attempt to try and move myself along. I’ve read books and bought courses, I’ve joined small groups of other entrepreneurs. I’m a pretty smart girl and when I set my mind to something I can be very motivated. But despite all that I’m still basically in the same place I was 5 years ago career-wise. Nothing significant has changed. I’ve learned things, improved things, gained business and lost business, worked and not worked. But the net result of it all is that I’m still not where I want to be, nor am I much further down the path. Things were getting stagnant in the life’s work department.

Then a funny thing happened. I joined a group of 2,547 other people who also wanted to push through and do something more with their lives. People who had lofty dreams and challenges and fears just like I do.

At first it was disorganized, no one really knew what to do or expect from the project, or what was expected of us. But in the last few days things have started to happen in big ways for people. Something has shifted in the wind. People are coming out of their shells, they’re making moves previously considered unfathomable, they’re doing things that were totally unconsidered, although entirely possible, before.

I personally have stepped way outside my self induced shell, and I have to say the air is pretty invigorating out here. I’ve put myself out there and asked for help on my own website (do you have any idea how humbling that is for a designer?), I’ve confessed my fears and faced them in front of hundreds of people, I’ve made great contacts with people doing exactly the thing I want to do, I’ve found people willing to mentor me and others willing to be clients, my website looks better than it ever has, my teeth are whiter, and my laundry smells like fresh cut daisies. No kidding.

I know It might sound crazy or even cult like, and it might be very hard to understand how a simple little experiment could have such an effect on so many people, but in reality it’s not just the experiment. It’s the other people going through it with you. It’s the accountability, the community, the fact that no matter what you’re afraid of there is definitely someone else afraid of the same thing and another 20 people ready to tell you that your fear is completely unfounded*.

It’s also the tasks we’ve been given. We weren’t told on the first day to write a business plan or hand out 5 business cards. Instead we were told on the third day to identify our superheroes, those people who have come before us and done exactly what we want to do. That in itself was a humbling experience, reaching out to someone and saying “Hey, I’m not sure I know what I’m doing, but you seem to… can I ask you some questions?”. That’s not something I would have willingly done before, and it’s pretty damn hard to do if you’re older than 12. But I’m learning now that it’s oh so important.

I’m also learning to ask for help, I’m learning to not stop learning, and that no one operates in a bubble. All from letting down my guard and admitting that I can’t do it all myself. Which ironically is something I actually didn’t need a group of 2600 people to learn, but I’m glad I found them anyway.

It’s been a pretty intense four days to have only received four short paragraphs by email. I feel really good things coming out of this, and I can’t wait to share them. Especially now that the flying monkeys are gone.

For now the moral of this story is this little quote, which is one of my favorites. I’m starting to think it’s the key to a lot more than I thought.

I hope you can find something scary to do today.

 

Everything you want is on the other side of fear.

– George Addair

 *Unless it’s a fear of garden gnomes, the conclusion was reached that the fear of garden gnomes is well founded.

Our First Week At The Campground

Wide Open Spaces

I’ve been busy this week, working on building up a few streams of income that will hopefully help nudge Phase 2 of this journey along a bit. For those just tuning in, Phase 2 involves me being able to bring in a decent income while working from home again doing what I love (graphic design). I’m looking at a few other streams too, buying vintage items at yard sales/estate sales and reselling them, possibly selling some handmade items online, and hopefully in the future turning blogging and article writing into a side income. Speaking of which, my new Etsy shop ‘Snazzy Turtle Designs’ is now open if you want to check it out! There isn’t much there yet, but I’ve made it my goal to list at least a couple of items every week. Future stuff will definitely include some printable invitation kits and less geeky greeting cards… if you have any ideas or any custom graphics please drop me a line!

But I digress… the point is I’ve been busy this week!

We seem to all be acclimating quite nicely to life at the campground though, even the cat. He’s escaped twice, only to realize he was too scared to go anywhere. He has quit screaming for the most part, unless I leave the room at night. Or he sees birds out the window. He’s much quieter still, and we all appreciate it.

The dogs absolutely love the field behind our Turtle, Maggie is the type of dog that listens well, so she can be let off her leash to run over there, which is like being back at the house for her. Giblet is a stubborn old man who won’t give you the time of day if he chooses to leave, so he has to stay on the leash, which is fine with him. He just loves that there are so many people to randomly stop by and rub his head.

Warm Dogs

This is how we stay warm

Marty and I have decided that we definitely made the right decision (Thank God!) and we love it. I honestly feel like our lives are better already… just because of the little things. For example, we go out every morning and walk the dogs while we drink a second half cup of coffee. Our other full timing neighbors usually walk their dogs around the same time, so there’s a little community chatting and butt sniffing before everybody goes their separate ways. I won’t say who does which. Then every evening when I come in from work, as long as Marty doesn’t have to be at ball practice with Boy #2, we take them back out for a walk around the whole campground. This is something we never did or would have done at the house, it’s just… different here. It’s a little slower, it seems like we have a little more time to relax.

Yesterday Marty was at ball practice, and the dogs had already been out half the day in our neighbor Don’s fenced in front yard playing with other neighbor dogs (I know right?). So I took the opportunity to come straight in, change into some workout clothes, and go for a walk.

Texas T Cabins

Cabins at Texas T

I didn’t even take my phone… just myself and a bottle of water. It’s been so long since I’ve done that, or even had a nice flat place to go walk. I plan on doing it a whole lot more now. I walked to the other side of the campground and out onto the road through a hole in the grown up fence, where I walked and ran what felt like a mile before I turned around. That road is a back road, flat and empty, mostly surrounded by fields and trees. There are 4 or 5 houses along the way, but I didn’t see any cars. Only one person, two horses, two turkeys, a furry thing in the ditch, and one dog that I think might have bitten me had it been able to get out of it’s yard.

It was quiet and peaceful, flat and open and I didn’t care how long I walked. I knew I had work to do but I knew it was more important to walk at that moment. So I did, and I kept going until I got to the big hill, and then even a little further. When I finally turned around to come back it felt so good just to run for a bit, so I did. I spent the time thinking about income streams and websites and coming up with ideas I wouldn’t have had if my brain had been full of other noises. I could feel my whole body relax the farther I went. It was wonderful.

To continue the wonderful I came home and changed into a pair of shorts because my walk and the weather had made it a bit hot in the Turtle. I opened the door and the window over my desk, put Bob Seger on the overhead speakers, and worked on some designs for my Etsy shop with a cool breeze blowing across my desk. It was so nice that it made my internal urgency to build up my business even stronger. I could get so much done if I could do that more often.

ray

Surprise visit from SD and the baby, she’s waiting on Poppa to get home

The rest of the evening was spent grilling burgers and hanging out with SD and the baby who surprised us with a visit. All in all a pretty great night, and I can’t wait to see what this weekend holds. We’ve had a lot of firsts this week too… first time cooking on the stove and in the oven, first showers in the new shower – which is awesome by the way, first windstorm – not so awesome. None of those were eventful, except perhaps learning that if you want to boil a big pot of water you have to put it on the front burner that says ‘High Output’, otherwise you’re just going to be staring at a big pot of water forever… and ya know that’s not gonna boil.

In other news, I have my Project 333 list almost finalized! I’m going to pull out all my clothes tomorrow and take some pictures before making my final decisions, then I’ll post here early next week. I did take a rough count and it looks like I have just over 100 items of clothing right now, which I don’t think is terrible. I thought it would be tough getting down to 33, but after making my list I’m not sure anymore.

How was your week? Is anybody joining me in Project 333? Any firsts this week?