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It’s Friday.

Good Things ComeNot that it makes a difference in my world, the day of the week.  It’s something I find both extraordinary and expected.

And it’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times, this working for yourself.  I’m the one who sets the rules, the expectations, the hours, the results.

But from the outside-in, the unnerving aspect of any self-declared venture is this: the isolation is warm, cozy, and self-affirming.  The longer I work in my tree-top office, crunching the investment and cash-flow numbers, crafting business summaries and plans, perfecting presentations, chatting with a number of targeted partners, something strange happens.  Shaky confidence turns to insecure arrogance.  Good judgment shifts under megalomaniacal pressure.  Cravings for feedback deepen, yet the conditions to share lessen and the rules to listen grow in number and rigidity.  Inspiring people morphs to pushing people, lest they forget.

And this is all explained in a singular delusional phrase: I know I’m right.

Not believe.  Not feel.  I know.  True, hard, indisputable fact tangled in my brain, incessantly driving me to the next sunrise.

Is this passion?  The depth of joy and pain, the moments of surprise and frustration, is all one-sided.  it may better be described as insanity.  Pygmalion scorned all other women, all those fallible corporate gigs that provide steady benefits, comforts, and security – and fell hopelessly in love with his own sculpted creation.  Isn’t this the story of every bootstrapping entrepreneur?

Pygmalion’s myth ends happily – Aphrodite grants the stony figure warm-blooded life more than a decade after it’s inception, affirming it’s beauty (and resemblance to herself).  Another parallel to the entrepreneur, though this one with the infusion of cold hard cash following affirmation of its potential.  We’ve happily celebrated this delusion for multiple millennia, and to date, it shows little sign of decline.

This only affirms my own arrogance, of course.  A dangerous thing, but an essential component to push this big idea of mine to its full potential.

Maybe it will make it. Maybe it won’t.  But somehow, some way, I’ll inspire someone to affirm it’s beauty, it’s intelligence, and it’s power – and grant it life.

Lessons in Multitasking

Busy, busy, busy winter.

  • 2013 is off to a fabulous start – I’ve transitioned into a consulting role with a super-neat startup in the Boston area to work on pushing the company to scale with an influx of multi-sided users.  It’s been a whirlwind and with quick, significant progress  – I’ve finally found the women’s restroom no less than eight weeks into the game.  There’s incredible potential for the technology they’ve developed, and we’re going to take this thing far & wide.  The visionary & strategic aspects of my role are incredible, and it’s caused a deep realization that hey maybe this is what I should have been doing — not the process-oriented roles I’ve filled in the past.
  • Timing is good too – a smart friend recently left his comfortable job for greener pastures in the world of marketing convergence.  What is this magical term I speak of?  It’s the first time anyone has linked together all marketing activities directly to business activities and directly to consumer activities. It’s a closed-loop system. Our tool is super easy to use and – best of all – doesn’t require the coffers of the Catholic Church to implement & maintain.  I’m proud of it, excited about it, and ready to introduce much much more in the coming weeks.
  • I’ve been writing, albeit slowly, working on an old/new project.  You remember Notes from the Field, right?  It’s undergoing a reboot and when I finish the intense outline, it’s hitting the publisher circuit.  (Another one you’ll be hearing much more about in the coming months.  I’ve dedicated nearly all my flying time to writing – except Superbowl Sunday and when I get jammed next to someone who insists on invading my space, brain, and consciousness with their nosy inquiries.)
  • Commercial and residential real estate is also on my radar, though I seem to spend more time kicking the tires than finding what I want. Essentially, I want to build out some decent commissary kitchens for up & coming chefs, home bakers, and those who want to break into the catering, food truck, and other food-types of business.  It needs to include a small cafe and a market (ideally), but finding the right-sized warehouse space that I can purchase & get up to code hasn’t been an easy task.  From the residential side – it’s time to put down some roots, if only so I have somewhere to come home to on the weekends.  I just don’t know where (yet).
  • And, of course, this past Saturday  marked the beginning of the soccer season!  Pictures & stories forthcoming — though I’m excited to coach another season with the girls. (They’re now 7 1/2 years old.  It’s our eighth season and going strong.)

Yep, this year is shaping up to be a game-changer.  Let’s make it happen together though — tell me what you’re up to!

Invocation for Beginnings

I’ll be honest:

I’m coming back.  Restarting with a new idea, an enhanced vision, and the same goal I’ve always had: to go out and do something great.

And it thrills, excites, and scares me sleepless.

Seems it does for many restarts though, including the all-wonderful Ze Frank:

Welcome back. Feeling pretty good about this so far.

Inspiration Friday: The Garden of Your Mind

Welcome to Inspiration Friday,

a motley collection of things that, even for a moment, held my gaze and inspiration this week.

This week:

(1) A Mr. Rogers mashup concocted and sanctioned by PBS Digital Studios and the Symphony of Science.

While Mr. Rogers may have been a bit too mild-tempered for me, even as a child, I did enjoy imagination time.  Check out your other favorite childhood icons at the PBS YouTube channel — and be sure to take a moment to see everything else PBS is up to these days.  New, updated programming designed to quietly educate & inspire.

(2) 2012 Best Commencement Speeches

Yep, straight from The Daily Beast, you too can share in the glory of Steve Carrell, Andy Samberg, and even Smith College commencement speaker Jane Lynch (and her excellent “yes, and” philosophy — and pretend you’re in your mid-twenties, everything still very much in front of you yet pushed from the nest.

(3) Business Lessons from the Drug Cartel(s)

You read that correctly: a staggeringly complex international network that makes billions of dollars each year, run by incredible businessmen.  Goes to show, if nothing else, that sometimes a fancy education doesn’t mean a damn in the business world, however unconventional — and gutsy survival does.

The Turning Point

Every innovator can identify the turning point in life — that storybook moment where suddenly an epiphany linking inspiration, purpose, passion, dedication, and the yellow brick road finally (and brilliantly) converge.  That gauzy fog lifting to bright sunshine, asking only ‘why have I attempted anything else in life?’

I’m sitting atop the brick wall, my feet dangling beneath my perennially skinned knees, admiring the sun-dappled clouds above and below these days, confident in how the future unfolds.

All my life, I’ve unabashedly confused two concepts: anything and everything.  More precisely, that the two are interchangable — that I can do anything and equally substitute that I can do everything.

And that’s not true nor realistic nor probable.  (I will leave just enough room for possible — a little suspension of reality is necessary to get any dream, hope, wish, or desire to its realistic ambitions.  Or being wrong and the proof smeared across my face.)  I can do anything, but cannot do everything I want.  I won’t do anything, but I will do everything I want.

There’s a peculiar relieving sadness in this new-found distinction; coming to grips not with the blacks and whites of strengths or weaknesses, but instead the finer greys between like and love, between interest and dedication, between goals and purpose, and between the multivariate choices along the way.

What is it I’m truly dedicated to?  That I love? That I can accomplish, given the skills and abilities I’ve cultivated over the past thirty years? That gives me (and others) purpose?  What do I choose to spend my time on, given magnanimous equality to all options?  And, most importantly: recognizing and accepting the inevitable sacrifice that must accompany such decisions.

Before today, I wallowed in the abstract — big ideas, creativity, solving problems, reading, writing, thinking.  I could tell anyone exactly what displeased my disposition in all the past choices made, and where my regrets and inabilities betray my confidence, yet it lead me no closer to a destination.  I knew enough (sensed, maybe, or judged rather than knowledge) not to set my sails for tradewinds, but instead embark to the vast unknown, be there dragons, doldrums, or worse.

And much better.  I’ve found my purpose, my passion, my dedication, my inspiration, and just enough direction to know where I’m heading these days.  I arrive with a compelling story of adventure and boredom, of love and heartache, and luck both happy and unfortunate, and the experience (and perhaps comfort) to close a novella of indecision and inner turmoil for a epic tale of unbridled innovative work in the field of higher education.