Since April 1, my son and I have been working a personal development program with someone I consider a dear friend and mentor. We've been friends 40 years! How can that be? I'm only 39...
The first 4 weeks defined and explained Personal Development, and the next 4 we spent dreaming and writing goals. I decided my first goal would be to weigh 135 lbs. I weighed 242.4 December 22, 2009, when I joined Weight Watchers. It took me 7 months to lose 24.4 lbs. July 17, I decided to blog about my weight loss journey. I feel like I've gained momentum now that I started blogging and reflecting daily about my feelings, choices, and experiences.
Of course, my weight loss progress is important, and I plan to continue blogging daily about it, but there are times when I want to talk about something else that's going on in my life, and I don't feel that blog is the appropriate place to do it.
I mentioned that we spent 4 weeks dreaming and writing goals. This last week (and I use the term "week" loosely -- sometimes it takes 3 weeks to complete a week), the ninth week, was spent breaking each of my goals into action steps, and I am fired up and inspired!!!
Yesterday, I was practically vibrating with ideas and excitement. I have several goals, and they've been my goals for a while (I mean years), but until I actually wrote them down and decided on action steps, they were really just dreams. And, until I wrote them down according to one-year, three-year, five-year, and long-term goals, I really had no clue how they would fit together. Basically my main goal is to set myself up in entrepreneurial endeavors so when I retire, I can live the life I've always wanted. I say I don't want to have to work. But basically, I don't want to work for someone else. I want to be my own boss, work when I want, and play when I want. Once I set these goals according to chronological order, I realized 6 of them were business goals. Not just to have lots of money, but to begin different businesses: Wedding Coordinator, publish a magazine, become Feng Shui certified, Manage a Marketing department before I retire, be at President's Club level in Avon.
I'm an entrepreneur at heart. When I was 9, I signed up to sell greeting cards with the Cheerful Greeting Card Company. I sold cards to everyone who darkened our door. I sold all I could, and I think I sent in the money I owed them. I hope I did. Every once in a while, I run across some cards I got in that huge box of greeting cards that I couldn't sell. I didn't have too many left. Everyone was nice enough to buy something.
Then when I was about 21, I sold Avon. That was for a very short while. I couldn't make myself knock on doors. For another short while, I sold makeup for a multi-level sales company (with an exotic name) with my cousin. I sold Mary Kay for about 3 years. Amway for a year. Weekenders for a couple of years. Now I'm selling Avon again. I started selling Avon for retirement income. I figured I'd work on my customer base now, so by the time I retire, I'll be pretty established.
Don't get me wrong, sales isn't the only way I've tried to make extra money. I've been in the publishing industry since I was 18, and it has served me well. I'm good at what I do, and every company I've worked for asked me to stay on parttime after I moved on to another company. I've been at the same company now for 32-1/2 years (remarkable since I'm only 39 ;O)). When personal computers hit the market in 1988, I bought one and started publishing newsletters. Then, everyone had a personal computer, and I eventually lost those to someone who would do them for free.
I eventually moved from print to the web, including search engine optimization just about the time I graduated with a Marketing degree. Because working on the web is instant gratification, the high pressure and high stress of publishing has been alleviated. I've been doing what I'm doing now for 12 years, and I'm ready to move on.
As a free-lancer, I still publish a newsletter for a nonprofit organization bi-monthly, and I produce digital newsletters for a friend 3 times a month. I tried search engine optimization as free-lance, but I found it difficult to convince the customer that what I did was worth the money I requested. It's funny. I felt something was amiss for the past few months. But until I started working on my goals and dreams, I didn't realize what it was.
I have a BBA in Marketing, and I've been able to use it a little. Actually, I graduated in 2000, and I've practically forgotten more than I remember. My goal when I started back to school in 1990 was to be the Manager of the Marketing Department at my company. We don't have a Marketing Department, mind you, but I had high hopes. Here it is 10 years since I graduated, and the only marketing I do is editing some text in web pages to convert print to the web and include key terms in the subheads and body copy. I don't even get to do the marketing plan for my own department.
One thing I have done for the past couple of years is work to develop our staff by setting up training for everyone so we all start out with the same basic knowledge of publishing on the web. Then, I got a small team of people together to work on process knowledge, a little workplace attitude, team building, etc. Now we are all back together again to work on more advanced web skills. For these team meetings, I have developed the agendas and gathered the troops. Everyone seems to be learning something, and that makes me happy.
I'm about halfway through the Supervisory Management classes my company offers. And for the most part, they have been helpful. I'm preparing myself for the future. One thing I learned about 15 years ago is that to move to another position, you have to have someone groomed to take your current position. Otherwise, upper management hesitates to promote, fearing a hole will be left. When I've talked about eventually taking on some other project, the first question was "who'll do what you do?" And, I've had an answer for that every time.
Because of really thinking about my goals, I told my Manager that I was ready to try something else. I found out that a co-worker who was hired to work on my web marketing project with me was asked if she would be able to take the project on as her own. She said she would. That's good news for me. This means I'm going to be free to take on another project. I pray it's marketing.
I try not to make decisions based on the fear of lack. As a matter of fact, my co-worker told me she was unhappy with one of her projects because it's something an entry-level person can do, and she has a degree. I suggested she include in her short-term goal to pass the project on to someone else. Her first reaction was "what would she do instead?" That's based on fear of limited resources. We have to have faith that if we pass something on to someone else, something better will fill its place.
Another thing I learned is you don't get what you need, you get what you deserve. We have a new employee who doesn't follow through, and we've been disappointed several times. We have to keep reminding "them" to do their job. When a project was needing to be transferred to someone else, the first thing I heard was this person had time that needed to be filled. Is that any reason to pass work to them? Especially if we can't trust that what they already have is being done to the best of their ability? I have a problem with someone who has to clear their computer monitor every time someone approaches them. And I don't like having to remind them to do their job. So, with that in mind, I tend to skip over that person when a new project develops. What have they done to deserve it? Maybe one of the reasons they have extra time is no one trusts them with work.
Anyway, off the soap box.
Publish a Magazine
I started planning the magazine and even approached a couple of potential contributors. I thought of someone else who would be an awesome food contributor. I have to research the title I have in mind to see if it is available. At the moment, I have no clue how to do that. It makes sense for me to do something like this because I've been in the publishing industry. But not this part. This will be a stretch, and I know people who can advise me. I might even approach them to join me. Compensation may be a percentage of the annual revenue the first couple of years, and if that stays steady or grows, I can consider paying them monthly.