Monday, August 25, 2014

Now or Never

"Most of our obstacles would melt away if instead of cowering before them, we make up our minds and walk boldly through them." - Orison Swett Marden

I have a confession to make...

I care what people think about me. 

I don't like admitting it. I prefer to think of myself as immune to peer pressure, but I am not, and I've had a strong reminder of this recently.

I've been out of the music scene for several years now. I needed to put the guitar away for a while and take care of some business, but now that I have, I'm ready to get back to playing. This is exciting, but also a little scary. I want to follow my dream of fronting a blues band, but I have my reservations.

I'm afraid people will think I'm not a good enough singer.
I'm afraid people will think I'm not a good enough guitar player.
I'm afraid people will think I'm not a good enough song writer.
I'm afraid people will think I'm not a good enough front man.
I'm afraid people will think I'm not good enough at jamming and improvisation.
I'm afraid people will think I'm irresponsible for starting a band in my thirties.
I'm afraid musicians will think I'm not good enough to start a band with.
I'm afraid the blues scene will think I'm a fake.

I had an elderly client end our phone call last week by saying "Have a good day and remember this isn't a trial run. You only get one try at life, so do it right." His words really impacted me. These fears have caused me to delay following this dream for several years, but I'm not going to let them any longer.

If you've got a similar set of fears floating through your head, causing you not to act on something you'd like to accomplish in life, I'd encourage you to put them aside and follow your dream. I believe that even if you fail, it will have been worth the effort. 

It really Really REALLY is now or never.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Two Cat Ladies

There once were two women who loved cats.

Mary worked very hard, and when she was paid at the end of the month, she bought a cat.

Martha also worked very hard and at the end of the month, she bought a cat too.

Mary loved her cat so much that when she was paid at the end of the next month, she bought another cat.

Martha love her cat very much but when she was paid at the end of the next month, she bought a chicken.

Each month for many months, Mary bought more cats until her house was filled with them.

Each month for many months Martha bought more chickens, and soon Martha and her cat had more eggs than they could eat.

Mary had so many cats, she spent her entire paycheck buying cat food. 

Since Martha had extra eggs, she let some hatch, and the rest she sold at the market.

As the years passed, Mary grew old and weary, but she could not stop working or her cats would starve.

As the years passed, Martha made enough money selling eggs that she was able to buy a goat to milk.

Since her chickens kept laying eggs, Mary kept selling them, and eventually, she earned enough money to buy more goats.

The goats had kids which produced more milk and soon the woman had more milk than she and her cat could drink.

With the money she made selling eggs and milk, Martha started buying cows.

The cows gave milk and had calves and soon Martha had plenty of each, so she started selling those as well.

As the years passed, Martha grew old, but with the money she earned from her farm, she stopped working and spent the rest of her years buying a house full of cats.

Since there were plenty of eggs and milk and cheese and meat to eat and sell, they all feasted happily for the rest of their lives.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The nicest thing anyone has ever done for me.

Back in the summer of 2001 I was working for a repair shop. I don't fully remember the circumstances surrounding my situation but I remember I didn't have any money. My bank account was empty and there was nothing in my wallet. I'd even searched the couch cushions and there was nothing there either. I was flat broke.

Part of my job consisted of driving around town and delivering repair work to different stores. I drove my own car, and was paid for mileage, but it was Wednesday and I didn't get paid until Friday. I had enough gas to make the deliveries that day, but I knew I wouldn't have enough gas to get to work and make my deliveries for the rest of the week. I really didn't know what I was going to do. It sounds silly but it was one of the more desperate experiences in my life.

I was fairly new to the job so I didn't want to mention it to my boss. I'm sure my parents would have helped, but this was before the time of easy money transfers, and I wasn't in the habit of asking them for money anyway. Thinking about it now, I'm sure there were plenty of solutions, but nineteen year old me was pretty stuck and more than a little worried.

The worry must have shown on my face because my coworker, Jenna, asked what was up. I was hesitant but eventually I told her I was broke and wasn't sure how I was going to make it to Friday. She said something to the affect of "I hear you, I've been there myself," and then grabbed her purse and handed me a ten dollar bill. We hadn't worked together all that long and I barely knew her, so the gesture was completely unexpected.

I've been given a lot of nice things over the years and owe a lot of appreciation to a lot of people in my life, but that ten dollar bill, as meager as it may have been, was probably the most significant gift I have ever been given. It's hard to describe how big of a relief it was. It was a life line. No amount of money, before or since, has ever been as valuable to me. I put ten dollars worth of gas in my Ford Tempo that night and had plenty to get me around town the rest of the week. That Friday I got paid, and I've never allowed myself to get that broke again.

I doubt Jenna even remembers giving me the money, and I'm sure she never expected me to write about it thirteen years later. I haven't even seen her for eight or nine years but I doubt I'll ever forget what she did for me. If I ever do see her again, I'll make sure to thank her again.

I think it goes to show that even the smallest of actions can have a huge impact.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Derek Sivers wrote the following blog post in 2009 on I can't remember when I first read it, but I can tell you it changed my life profoundly. I still re-read it from time to time when I need a pick me up or a slap in the face. Enjoy...

When you hear someone complaining, here's what it means:

1. They know what's wrong, but don't realize they can change it. (They think they're powerless.)

2. They know what's wrong, but are too lazy to change it. (They'd rather sit and complain.)

On the personal side, being a friend, I hate this. Because it's a lot of work to make complainers realize they can change things. They always push back with all the reasons they can't, which just reinforces the two points above.

On the business side, being an entrepreneur, I love this. Because I know I'm powerful and can change anything. Because every complaint is an opportunity. It's fun to invent solutions to problems, turn ideas to reality, and watch my creations make the world a little better.

Then afterwards, on a personal note, I can say, “There! See? Told you it could change.”

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Marcus Aurelias

as translated by Gregory Hays:

At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: "I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I'm going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?"
— But it's nicer in here...
So you were born to feel "nice"? Instead of doing things and experiencing them? Don't you see the plants, the birds, the ants and spiders and bees going about their individual tasks, putting the world in order, as best they can? And you're not willing to do your job as a human being? Why aren't you running to do what your nature demands?
— But we have to sleep sometime...
Agreed. But nature set a limit on that — as it did on eating and drinking. And you're over the limit. You've had more than enough of that. But not of working. There you're still below your quota.
You don't love yourself enough. Or you'd love your nature too, and what it demands of you. People who love what they do wear themselves down doing it, they even forget to wash or eat. Do you have less respect for your own nature than the engraver does for engraving, the dancer for the dance, the miser for money or the social climber for status? When they're really possessed by what they do, they'd rather stop eating and sleeping than give up practicing their arts.
Is helping others less valuable to you? Not worth your effort?