Tag Archives: work from home

New Year. New Perspective. Galloping Forward.

So it’s been well over 6 months since I posted last to my blog. My best laid plans would have me posting at least weekly and I even wrote ahead at first to get that going but alas….life got in the way. What in life got away exactly? Well, that’s what this blog is for…to discuss just that.

 I’m officially 18 months into entrepreneur existence. No more corporate role, no more daily commute, no more wardrobe rotation of J.Crew, Club Monaco, Banana Republic business Barbie outfits, no more 9 to 5/Monday to Friday life. Does that mean I’m completely zen in my yoga teaching/work from my kitchen island wearing leggings new lifestyle? (Retirement as my old colleagues like to say) Again..it’s not that simplistic. It has been a ride to say the least! Terrifying (often). Amazing (often). Deflating (sometimes). Testing (always). Challenging (always). Satisfying (often…and must remind myself of that more often). Most of all: I’m learning all the time and I have to repeat what I said as I entered university back in 1992..I still have a lot to learn.

 I come back to posting now for many reasons but mostly because along with the challenges of my business journey in the last 18 months there have been personal challenges and most recently some issues with my family and health. I made the decision that (despite limited funding) I’d spend most of July of 2013 in the UK visiting family driven by the fact that my uncle was very ill. I have a large family on both sides and I’m quite close with many of my extended relatives so spending time there is very enjoyable, in fact my pipe dream is to own property over there in the future to spend even more time there. Again I can write later at length about the experience as quite a bit happened but I will forever cherish the weekend I spent with my uncle because it was precious time getting to him 1:1 and sadly by Nov 2103 we would lose him. Come Jan 2014, we’re now dealing with a health scare with my father….a health issue causing us more anxiety then it should simply because the uncle who died is my father’s brother. Fingers crossed we find out in a few weeks that my golf loving/gym rat/life of the party father is just fine. Fingers crossed he’s truly as healthy as he feels. In the mean time….all we can do is wait.

Here’s the thing, as I wait (impatiently) for those test results I realize that going through something like this as an entrepreneur has it’s pros and cons.

Big Pro: I was able to take all day today ‘off’ to take my dad to the hospital, walk arm and arm with him to his test, chatter away about random stories to help keep him calm before his procedure, and then hit the local Ikea for lunch with half the seniors of this city.

Big Con: I’ve been a bit of a hot mess since Dad was rushed to the hospital at the beginning of the month. When you work for a big corporation you can take sick or personal days to deal with this. Or you can go in every day and just ‘get by’. When you work for yourself you don’t get sick days and there is no ‘getting by’. Especially when you’re so new to it and you have a giant mortgage (and you’re a household of one)

So what do you do? You put one foot in front of the other, you really dig deep into all the self improvement work/research you’ve done to get some positive thinking/vibes going on and you move forward. You have to. It was Martin Luther King Day recently so I think a quote from him sums it up best as inspiration for any journey (be it business, health, life) since his was extraordinary.

If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

 We’re a week away from the year of the Horse. The year of the Snake was certainly challenging, but rewarding at the same time. I don’t begrudge the low points because I learned so much…it’s a year I won’t soon forget. That said, I’m ready for the year of the Horse to come galloping in. My skin is currently shedding like crazy thanks to a week in the tropics at the beginning of the year. I’m molting like a snake. It’s almost symbolic as I shed off the last year and move into the new one. I don’t know what’s coming: to me, my business, my dad, my family. I do know this….I still feel in my gut that I’m on the right path. So onwards and upwards…..bring on the horses, saddle up and ride forward. 

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What’s in it for me?

What’s in this job for me?  How will these roles round out my resume? Who can I align myself with to move ahead in this organization? How can hiring this person make me/my team look good? Ever thought like this? I have.

As I’ve mentioned before, I didn’t love my job, it wasn’t my ‘life’s work’ if you will. That said, I stayed with one organization for 12 years because the great people I worked with at times made it not only bearable but fun (I would add that it was the other folk I couldn’t stand that drove me out….but in that sense I owe them some gratitude for that) A one time colleague and now good friend called this week in mid revelation: She may not be able to stay in the corporate world either. She is about to start a new role in an area of interest to her so initially this job was an occasion to get excited and celebrate. However the start date is upon us and already she is a pawn between two senior leaders in a pissing contest over ‘turf’. A war of words over who had the authority to choose my friend and a rather unprofessional grilling via telephone to see if she can really do this job…is she really smart enough? (READ: As smart as these two ‘geniuses’ is what they really mean) Did I mention my friend already has the job? Has already signed paperwork with HR and a start date has been agreed upon? This sort of egomaniacal posturing in my old corporate world drove me crazy! This notion of “I’m the savior of this department and I will decide if you’re smart enough to work in my empire’. Did I mention this empire is often simple a product category, or a line of business and not the whole company? No matter.  It’s all about the positioning in the end. Hey, I’m all for leadership at any level, taking pride in your chunk of the business no matter how small because it does matter to the overall good. However there is a big difference in pride of work, raising a team’s spirits up to deliver their personal best/team best VS thinking you are solving world hunger by brow beating your team into double-digit returns at the expense of moral, increasing stress levels and in general just acting like an asshole. The posturing, snarky comments and raging egos: all behavior that is encouraged to get those double-digit returns (They make movies about it: see Wall Street, Boiler Room etc.). I was often met with a smirk or scowl when I made the comment that at the end of the day if you worked in the business of merchandising/marketing for retail (which I was in): You’re in the business of getting people to spend money they don’t have on stuff they don’t need. Period. No world hunger solution, no cure for the common cold and no lives were saved in the making of this week’s retail flyer. Trust. Now you can pretty this scenario up with speeches about building trustworthy brands, understanding your customer, serving your customer, blah, blah, blah. Hey I’m a happy retail customer spending money I don’t have on crap I don’t need but I recognize that and here’s the truth: if you don’t get them to buy your commodity them you’re out of business!!

 

So where does that leave you and your career? I don’t’ know. I can only tell you where it led me: A totally different approach, change in my mindset.

I love what I do now. My whole business (all three streams of income) is about how I can serve you, help you, what can I do for others. I don’t scrutinize based on your bullshit interview skills (no disrespect-I was extraordinarily good at bullshit interviewing) , or your fancy degree (I have a one of those too). Multiple degrees don’t always equal ‘super smarts’ either: some of the smartest business people I know don’t have a higher education and I’ve met a whole lot of average folks with MBA’s who think they walk on water but couldn’t come up with an original thought to save their life! I love that in my daily interaction now I come across all walks of life from all levels of education, class, and background. I love that I’m either helping people work from home & build a million dollar business or find some calm for an hour in my yoga classes or helping an old friend build a start-up company into a force to be reckoned with. I basically live to help others now. I’ve met more bright, positive people with creative ideas and had more support in this last year from so many amazing people then I had in my 15 years of corporate life. The best part…the opportunities keep rolling in and my businesses keep growing.

A shift in mindset is a powerful thing. During my whole corporate career it was a focus on ‘how can I get ahead’, ‘what’s in it for me with this role’, ‘how can this person help me’? By shifting gears to supporting others, helping them succeed-you will be amazed at what happens.

The American (Canadian) Dream?

Been travelling and teaching a ton so I’m delinquent on my posting—good thing I always write so I have a couple posts to go up (already written) and more to come.

I just came back from the global training conference for the health and wellness company I am a consultant for (I am building my own business selling their amazing products). It was my first time at their global conference (in sunny Las Vegas) and I learned a ton, had an amazing time but most importantly I noticed a very big difference in the overall vibe/message/people at this conference vs the conferences in my old life working in a traditional corporate setting. What an amazing weekend, what an amazing company, and I’m so sure now that this is where I’m meant to be.

 

The term “The American Dream” (insert Canadian dream for me and other Canuck readers….it’s basically the same thing): What does that mean to you? It might vary a bit from person to person but what I think of is: 9-5 steady/stable job that pays for the house in the ‘burbs, car (maybe 2), 2.5 kids, maybe a dog or cat where you work hard all week, dream of the weekends and your 2 to 3 weeks of year of vacation time.  In those hours from Sunday night to Friday check out time you’re usually running around like a chicken with no head: packing lunches, running for subways, dropping off kids, picking up kids, figuring out what to make for dinner, grocery shopping, trying to squeeze in gym time, usually collapsing in front of the TV or into bed each night trying to figure out how you’ll get through another day/week/month/year.  You’re probably in a half dream state (and not the good kind) most of the time where thinking about the dreams you may have had as a child are long gone from memory. Is this supposed to be ‘the dream’? Is this supposed to be what the years in post secondary school prepared me for? Stressed out, trying to figure out how to pay your next bill? Is this ‘success’? Here is a definition of success from the mighty oracle Google:

 

Success (Noun)

1.The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.

2.The attainment of popularity or profit.

 

 

Does this sound the same as the scenario described above or what you’re living? It wasn’t my life that’s for sure. I hadn’t found my purpose, or did I even know what my ‘aim’ was other than to get through another week.

 

Do you know what was so amazing about this past weekend? The folks who are building their own health and wellness businesses alongside me have a very different version of success. Obviously the Mercedes-Benz car program our company generously rewards us with is a goal, and the ability to work from home and still pay the bills are big reasons to do it. Here’s the thing….the theme of this past weekend’s conference? Giving back. Finding a purpose so that when you reach that level of success where you are making more money then you dreamed of or at the very least have money in the bank after all your bills are paid…go back into your community and volunteer or donate time/money to a cause that means something to you.  I hadn’t thought much about this until this past weekend, but I made some decisions as I listened to various inspirational speakers from my company speak: a) I am going to hit the highest level of the company b) I need to set my bar even higher c) once I hit these levels I’m going to focus on giving back. I’m not sure to what cause yet but I’m pretty sure it will have to do with either folks struggling with addiction or something related to inner city kids since both area relate back to my own childhood experience.

 

In the mean time…the American Dream? I was supposedly living that last year, well my version of it. I made quite a bit of money in my corp gig, had a wardrobe to rival that of Carrie Bradshaw’s, just myself bought a cute little house in my dream neighbourhood. I was also completely stressed out, getting sick all the time and losing a bit of myself bit by bit every year in my career that I didn’t love, it was my passion. My life looks very different now: I don’t work 9 to 5, I can’t buy $800 shoes on a whim and paying a mortgage while still building your business/no big salary for the first year is a bit scary. But….yesterday when the sun finally came out after a long winter I went for a quick run on the beach at 2pm. I taught my yoga class in the AM and hung around after chatting with my new students who I’m getting to know more and more each week. Yes there are times I’m met with nay sayers (dream stealers we’ll call them) but I remind myself that the life I’m living is not the status quo. Challenging the status quo can be scary for some people, that’s not my issue to figure out, I let share their thoughts but then remind them it’s my life, not theirs. They are free to their version of a dream: what ever that is. I’m following my passion…I’d say the life I have now IS the Canadian dream and it’s nice to know that the 15, 000 people who spent the weekend at the conference with me not only agree, but will cheer for me all the way. That’s a dream I can believe in.