Hide and Seek

I’m in gathering mode. I’m learning. What a challenge it is to reinvent yourself! I have a stack of books by my bed, I have more downloaded on my Kindle, and I’m finding new resources online through blogs and websites. Information overload! All this reading makes it hard to produce. One of the cardinal rules of writing is to write. Stay with it. Once again, I find that my blog has been on the back burner.

I like to think I’m a multi-tasker extraordinaire, but maybe I’m not…I tend to get a bit sidetracked by what I’m reading, get lost in the maze of discovery. I’m researching the process of writing a book here and here; reading about life mapping here and creating passion in life here; learning more about blogging and the digital world, here; and looking for mentors and events to broaden my horizon here. I’ve also picked up a couple of books that are (deceptively) simple “how tos” for increasing happiness here and getting along with others, here. More about these later.

I’m learning new programs, taking my conversion to Apple to the next level by working through the Pages and Numbers programs.

And I’m working relief for PeaceHealth clinics and taking on some project work on a contract basis for another organization. I feel a bit like I’m back in college, having a day job, and coming home to start a mental second shift. I’ve been ramping up to this for a while, but transitioning away from a full-time position in January has upped the stakes. I have a bit more freedom to concentrate on my own projects, but also more risk. I have to admit, I miss the regular check already, although I love not having to think about my leave balance when I make plans to travel.

All this makes me wonder…what’s really next? I committed to this path last summer…well, at least I committed to leaving full-time work at the new year. Hard to know where all of this will lead. I get conflicting messages. There’s the belief that if you don’t script out your life (life mapping) you’re in danger of wandering aimlessly without focus or clearly defined purpose. Some believe that your passion and your career work should be intertwined. Some believe that your passion does not necessarily reflect your skills…that your skills and your gift are not the same. I read something a few days ago that said that we don’t have to search for our passions, they find us. Just like we don’t have to work to know if we like a certain color or taste or music. We just know. That seems right, and yet, I don’t know. What I’ve learned is that the thing I’ve had the most passion for in my life, mothering, is now largely completed, at least in a day-to-day, hands on way. So while I’ll always be a mom, and I’ll continue to find joy and fulfillment in my evolving role as a mother, that is not going to be my life’s work at this stage.

Then the questions begin. I’ve always loved to bake. Maybe I have the seeds of a restaurateur in me. Or maybe I’m destined to help others find their own path, as soon as I’ve figured out the formula for myself. Or maybe I’ll find a way to become a writer and get paid for it. That’s the really sticky part. I’m looking for something I love, something I feel passion to do. And I need it to feed me…emotionally, professionally, economically. Sounds like a tall order. And yet, these stories are everywhere: people magically falling into something they love to do every day, and getting paid to do it.

Well, I’m sure this will continue to be a theme for a while. So far I have more questions than answers, and the gathering phase is only beginning. I think of all the clichés: if it’s worth having, it’s worth waiting for; it’s not going to be easy, it’s going to be worth it; never, never, never, never, never give up.

So off to work, then home to do some more work. Reading. Searching. Reinventing. Really, how can we expect kids just out of high school to know what they want to be? It’s a challenge at any age, unless you happen to be one of those blessed (or cursed, depending on your point of view) individuals who are so defined by their particular talent that they are compelled to be a painter, musician, author. I need a new category. Guess I’ll have to invent it myself, I’m not finding my particular passion in the standard line up.

News this week

I’m a reader, and I often stumble across references to things I never heard of before. These are some things I’ve recently learned about:
Square – a new company that allows merchants to accept credit card payments using their iPhone or iPad, or Android phone. The service is free to initiate, the company provides free apps and card readers. I purchased something from a merchant using Square last weekend. He swiped my credit card through the card reader attached to his iPhone. The signature field came up on his iPhone screen, and he offered to send a receipt to my phone. I had seen Square mentioned recently in a newspaper article, and had downloaded the app, and received the free card reader. It was fun to see it used in person. Now I just have to find a willing participant to let me swipe a credit card! The fee to merchants is 2.75% per swipe transaction.
Microloan – This type of investing was pioneered in third world countries to finance small businesses, often operated by women, with loans in the range of a few hundred dollars. Now microloans have come to the West, only the loans are slightly larger, typically in the range of a few thousand dollars. This article in USA Today explains. I was familiar with this concept used in developing countries, but did not know this is available closer to home.

Angel Investing –  I read about “angels among us” in a recent issue of Entrepreneur, and not being a business school graduate, was not familiar with this term. Turns out there are three kinds of investors for start-up companies. The first is “FFF,” also known as family, friends, and fools. The second category is angel investors, individuals who typically invest a few hundred thousand in exchange for partial ownership. The third type of investor is the well-known class of venture capitalists, who typically finance to the tune of millions of dollars.
Threading – This is a hair removal process, (see this explanation) originally practiced in India and other Eastern cultures. I was strolling through a mall in Seattle a couple of weeks ago and saw a threading kiosk. The staff…not sure if you would call them “threaders”…were practicing this art for removal of facial hair, eyebrow grooming, etc. I got my eyebrows done. I can report it tickled a little bit, made the tip of my nose twitchy, but didn’t really hurt. It ran about the same price as waxing, and seems to last as long. The woman who took my payment said there are threading kiosks in malls throughout Seattle. I believe she said they have eleven locations. What a great reminder that there is always something new (or new to me) on the horizon ready to establish itself in the marketplace!
Life mapping – I mentioned this in my last post. I’m just beginning to do a little reading on this topic, but basically, this is a systematic approach to help you determine what you want out of life…what your goals are, what you would like to change, and how to get from where you are to where you want to be. Using similar tools to those used to facilitate corporate strategizing and planning of mission and vision statements, the corporate speak is brought down to a personal level. I found some books on this subject through Amazon, but life coaches would definitely be another great resource to tap into if you’re curious.

Flipboard – Flipboard is an app that turns various internet sites like Facebook and Twitter into a magazine format presentation. On an iPad, you literally swipe to turn the “page” and move from one screen to another. It’s a fun way to view social media sites, and there are a variety of other services offered too…recipes, news…you can build your own Flipboard based on the accounts you add and, best of all, the app is free.

I have to say, given my choice of entertainment options, reading wins every time. You always learn something new, and the variety is endless. I never know where I’ll end up when I read. Something catches my eye, stirs my curiosity. One sentence leads to another, and suddenly I’ve discovered a whole new world. Or some obscure tidbit of knowledge. Either way, the fun is in the hunt, and in the range of discovery. And the vehicle for reading doesn’t matter…books, magazines, digital, paper…I can get lost in a Williams-Sonoma catalog, or immerse myself in theology; spend a few minutes reading about the latest technology, or become absorbed in ancient wisdom of philosophers. Reading is a gift of my childhood. Growing up in Asia in the 60s and early 70s, tv was not an option. Reading was the default pass time, and that has served me well. So glad I didn’t have a tv as a young kid. I might have really missed out!

January ReVision

So, two weeks since my last post. Seems longer than that! How quickly my rhythm is derailed by work, travel, and life pressing in!

The first week of January was a mix of work, two days in Ketchikan, two days at the clinic in Metlakatla. I’m doing some project work there, and I try to coordinate with Rob’s schedule when he is there. We came back to Ketchikan on the 7th and traveled to California last week, to give a helping hand with a family need that is brewing. Got home last night to begin another week.

While I’ve been distracted, I’ve been out of touch with my fellow bloggers, reading many posts, but commenting on none, and I haven’t made so much as a keystroke on my WordPress site. I’ve missed it, the little community of bloggers. (My community is small; of course the overall blogging community is enormous.) This happens to me on a fairly regular basis. When I travel, I’m an infrequent writer.

But not an infrequent reader. I’m researching my next phase in life, and here’s the plan: I’m going to test my services on myself. That’s right, I’m going to be my own first client. I want to create a business that works with people and organizations to reinvent themselves. Call it a mid-course correction. Just like I need. My term for this is ReVision. That works nicely with the writing concept, which always requires revision. There are so many lovely “re” words…renew, restore, repurpose, refocus, revive, redesign…all referring to some sort of do-over. Just like I need. The other piece that works nicely is the concept of vision. I need a new vision for my life. Rob and I want to make changes in how we work, how we live. He’s fueling us while I come up with a plan.

So I’ve been mulling over how to make this happen. How do I take the life experience and the education I have and translate it to a service that helps people reinvent…ReVision….themselves? I have hazy ideas. I see potential. I need to synthesize a lot that I’ve read, a lot that I’ve experienced, and a lot of possibility. I began to think if I could do it for myself, really make the changes I need, I could do it for others.

We’re beginning a process of life mapping and I’m reading a lot, everything from Entrepreneur magazine to recent books on happiness and fulfillment.

In the meantime, I’m working on a logo, business cards, putting together content for a website. I’ve created lists and lists and more lists. I’m energized and motivated. And I’m hopeful.

And wouldn’t it be nice if I’m successful? Oh, I’d like to be financially successful. That’s part of it. But more than that, I’d like the concept to be successful. Of course, there are consulting firms and life coaches already doing this. But this particular venture would be my own, would have my unique stamp. My unique vision. I’m curious to see how it turns out. I’m curious to know how the story will unfold. I need a new vision. I need a ReVision.