create

The First Seven

In practice nobody cares whether work is useful or useless, productive or parasitic: the sole thing demanded is that it shall be profitable. In all the modern talk about energy, efficicency, social service and the rest of it, what meaning is there except, ‘Get money, get it legally, and get a lot of it?’ Money has become the grand test of virtue.
— George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London

There was a subtle, and internet-era brief, trend on Twitter to list your first seven jobs. It struck me as odd to list the beginning of a work life. Babysitting, yard work, pizza delivery, death by coffee shop seemed to be the most mentioned.

It struck me a little later, maybe even now, that the beginning - even with comparable jobs - sets people up on different trajectories. As someone recently told me, "Out in the work field there are pure breeds and pound puppies." 

I gladly recognize myself with the latter. People such as myself scramble around looking for interests to balance and carving our own way. It is exhausting. It takes time that we constantly contemplate if it's worth it. Sometimes there is no end in sight, only a vague sense of direction that we know is right. 

Kids basketball coach

Push in a way that doesn’t piss people off.
— Patrick Lencioni, 5 Dsyfunctions of a Team

Babysitter

Great jobs are rare and valuable therefore your skills need to be rare and valuable.
— Recap of So Good They Can't Ignore You by Cal Newport

Zookeeper

No water, no life. No blue, no green.
— Sylvia Earle

Waitress/Counter Service Girl

I calculated that one had to walk and run about 15 miles during the day, and yet the strain of the work was more mental than physical. Nothing could be easier, on the face of it, than this stupid scullion work, but it is astonishingly hard when one is in a hurry.
— George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London

Outdoor Recreation desk jockey

I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.
— John Muir

Baker/Cook/Chef

The number of flavors is infinite, for every soluble body has a peculiar flavor, like none other.
— Jean Antheime Brillat-Savarin

Writer

Had I been blessed with even limited access to my own mind there would have been no reason to write. I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.
— Joan Dideon, "Why I Write"

 

This is my (work) beginning. The initiatives I started long ago are weaving and working throughout my current work life. It may seem scattered now, but to me it feels right. For now, I claim: writer, Krav Maga instructor, business anthropologist/marketer, volunteer scuba diver at the Aquarium, and explorer. See?

Goodbye Old Friend

 

Hello Old Friend,

I know I will never see or hear from you again and it made me think of all the sweet and savory times we had together. Do you remember the truffle popcorn as we reclined to watch movies in the theater? Or my boxing fights you always attended and stood firm against my rivals with me? Perhaps last winter as I visited Chicago to try the menus there?

You can't imagine the despair I felt in the abrupt moment of your departure. Gone, with the crunch of a cracklin', as quickly as I was aware of your existence. 

I am sorry it took losing you to see the impact you had on my life this far. Due to one slip of the teeth my 29th molar will have to fight on through my omnivorous habits without its finest piece of enamel. 

RIP and goodbye chip of my tooth. May you enjoy the sights and sounds of Paris!

 

Search Vs. Seek

Search

To look for the physical.  Tangible evidence that we can procure and either produce ourselves or reproduce under our own name.

Many past companies and people have searched for long times to establish themselves with some physical object. Whether you can touch it or not many productions of yesterday and today are able to be seen, touched, and changed. Software systems can have new code written into a computer and social programs can be written upon. These are the products of people using their minds and time to search for something to create and thrust their name upon.

Seek

To actively search for the non-physical. More of a hope and wish that by looking into the future or in the environment around us we may find who we really are.

Everyone has sought a placating, excitable, or encouraging feeling before. These are the emotions and ideas that keep us chugging along with our dreams. It is a harder concept to grasp as our minds are built to wander and bounce around from scrap of idea to scrap of idea.

The end product can lead to many searches, however. One spark of an initiative or idea can give rise to a multitude of others searching for a way to embrace what has already been defined through seeking.

 

Search and seek are used almost interchangeably today. They may be able to handle both definitions, but I see it as a physical vs. philosophical pursuit.

In your quest to make an impact on the world are you utilizing "search" or "seek"?

Where to Start?

Knowing where to start may be the hardest idea to think about.  Many times we can see where we want to be, but do not know where the ignition switch is. Usually it is hidden right underneath our anxiety or inside the vault of a peer's mind, but to find it we must relax. 

On so many occasions I can see myself a year or two from now and what I want to be doing. My past times typically turn into my career and new past times arise. I have never had a set hobby list except for exercise and books. If I could eat, run, and read all day every day I believe I would. And yet, it is obvious to say, but this is not a way to make a living. 

So, I typically find myself laying around-burnt out-wondering how to get to where I see myself, and I see that a lot of people feel the same. 

 

First, relax. It has taken me years to learn that slowing down and even stepping away is a good thing. I have tons of energy and usually exert myself like a hummingbird. Always in motion, inertia carrying me around, and if I stop, I die. Many people today work like this. Trying to see where to fit in and find the next project, the next idea, or the next business. What we fail to see while moving so quickly is that everything else is moving around us all the same.

Whizzing and spinning almost on the brink of implosion and all dedicated to the same train of thought. Stopping and noticing the craziness is the best way to really see what you want and where to start.  A majority of us see what others are doing and wish to mimic that pattern. We may believe that we are pioneering a new way, but it is only when we take our unique position on that pattern does it become a new invention. To find out what your position is on whatever you wish to do you must slow down.

 

Second, set dates. I have had LOTS of projects on the back burner. Always telling myself that I need one more thing before I could work on the big stuff. That is me lying to myself. And when I see those big projects now (5 months into 2014) I feel terrible. I have not treated those projects with the attention and care that they deserves because they ARE my starting pieces. They ARE my ignition switches. 

I have now set dates for each project: my new website and my video series. These two projects will be my babies for the next month. I will work an hour in the morning and two at night on them plus all my note jotting. I want to create things and these projects will be  my great place to start.

Creating is the most effective way to truly find what you want and to get there. I can dream all day long about traveling and meeting new people, but if I stay in my house contemplating various ways to travel then I am missing the point. 

 

Put down your mind maps. Put down your "brainstorming" hours. Create. Build. Destroy. Rebuild.