#104 Me Today versus Me Ten Years Ago

Finding Self, postaday2011

In a verbal debate between me ten years earlier and me today, I’d definitely have to say that the older version of me would win.  There is something to be said for experience in that it brings a wisdom that can’t often be gained other than by living those extra years.  I think the two versions of me would be about evenly matched in a game of chess or any other mental challenge.

Now if the competition is a physical one, the younger version of me would definitely have the advantage.  I’ve not kept up like I should as some people tend to do as they age.  So the 5K run competition would definitely go to the younger version of me. And the older version of me would most likely volunteer to stay at camp and get the food cooking while the younger version hit the trails or hiked the mountain.  Hey someone has got to cook!

I think another area where the older version of me would win out would have to be in business, especially when it comes to marketing and social media and the confidence level that it takes to be an entrepreneur.  I definitely have more of that ability than I had ten years ago.  And the thing I’ve learned or at least have been reminded of lately gives the older me a great advantage. Sometimes the only difference between those who are successful and those that want to be successful is having the confidence to take action and be persistent.

What about you?

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What Can’t I Say “No” To?

Finding Self, postaday2011

This will come as no big surprise to most people who know me but the one thing I can’t say “no” to is helping someone who needs help.  It really doesn’t matter what kind of help is needed.  If it’s something that I feel I can do or at least help with, it takes all my effort to say “no” to someone.

This has gotten me into many a predicament over the years and has resulted in my being overbooked in multiple areas.  Early in my career it meant that I was often helping other people or coming up with ideas to better help other people after work hours had ended.

When I first became a mom this tendency got me involved in various activities involving other single moms.  Not because I thought I was doing such a great job myself, but just because it seemed that someone needed to bring single moms together so they could help one another to cope.

Later in my career it meant I worked long hours often without being paid just to make sure that everyone had what they needed when they needed it.  And in that phase of my career it resulted in burn out and a need to change industries for a job that was strictly 9-5 pm for a while.

Now later in life, I still have that tendency to say yes when someone asks for my help but I try to restrict it to family and close friends.  I have found that recently I’ve been saying yes to too many clients in the same week and it results in my schedule being overloaded so I’m working on being able to say “I can schedule that for next week” instead of “sure I can do it by tomorrow”.

Now if I can just figure out how to say “no” more often to my 2 1/2-year-old when she gives me her little sad face, I’ll be good to go.

Last Random Act of Kindness

Finding Self, postaday2011

Not sure if this is the last random act of kindness I did but it’s the most memorable one.

I had gone into one of the discount grocery stores to do some shopping for the household.  And as I came up the first aisle there were two kids, teenagers, standing by the dairy section.  One of them held a jar of peanut butter and the other one had a package of american cheese.  There were at least two other kids with them, both younger.  The two appeared to be brother and sister and the kids with them younger siblings.

The older two were arguing and  I heard the older girl say “but it’s on the list” to which the boy responded “but we don’t have enough money for both.”

My first assessment was that these kids had been sent to the store with limited money and obviously didn’t have enough for everything on the list.  Since I myself have been in that situation so many times in my life, I had to help.  I reached into my wallet and pulled out a ten-dollar bill.  As I went past them, I pressed the money into the older girl’s hand.

“Now you can buy both.” I said to her and I kept on walking.  After a few whispers about whether or not they should keep the money, the oldest boy came running after me.

“thank you so much.” he said and smiled.

“I’ve been there.” I said and smiled back.  He smiled at me again and turned and headed back to the older girl and the two younger kids who were all beaming smiles in my direction.

All those smiles were more than a fair trade for that ten dollars in my opinion.

 

One Thing I’ve Learned

Finding Self, postaday2011

First let me start by saying that I’ve not done very well with my quest for a post a day in 2011.  The good news is that my reason for not posting has been that my freelance work has been overflowing my editorial calendar lately.  Good news for me since I’ve only been at this full tilt since November 2010.  So let’s transition into the one thing I’ve learned recently.

Fear.  You know what I’m talking about.  It’s that feeling that your heart is in your throat or worse in your stomach.  It’s those niggling questions in the back of your mind or that plague your sleep.  What if I fail?  What if I screw up something for a client?  What if they think I don’t know enough?  And sometimes the fear is centered around “what if I succeed?”  Fear can definitely stand in the way of success.

I think that everyone must learn to overcome this obstacle to be successful not just as a freelancer but in life.  I’ve known that I wanted to have my own business for about ten years now.  I even named the business and launched a website over eight years ago.  As a technology coach, I had a couple of  individual clients who needed my help once or twice a year.  I also had one client who kept me on a monthly retainer so I would be available for any spontaneous questions or troubleshooting.  I was asked to teach a workshop and created the curriculum around that topic.

Every client I had raved about how much I was able to help them.  But I realize now that I never really fully believed that I could have my own business.  I never committed to buckling down and doing everything that comes with having your own business.  Especially the marketing.  I was afraid of not doing it right.  Afraid of looking amateur.  Afraid of failing.

What I’ve learned just in the last month or so is that the only thing that has been stopping me is my own fear of what might happen or what the results might be.  And sometimes those fears were so totally unfounded!  So I’ve a new commitment now.

Banish the fear.  And just do it!

What is fear stopping you from accomplishing?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Please leave me a comment below.

Charge Ahead in 2011!  –Megan