My hands are icicles. A few days ago I discovered that my TRANE XL80 furnace requires an upgrade kit. In car terms, isn’t that equivalent to a recall, that is typically covered by the manufacturer? I am annoyed at the unplanned expense, but gratitude skills are to be employed. I have a blanket, a roof, food, my health (oh, my health), and savings for the $855 repair bill, which is scheduled for this afternoon.

My house in the winter months has always been cold. I chalked it up to just being a drafty house. I had scheduled several NW Natural Gas visits to assess the heat efficiency, but work always seemed more important. March brought warmer temps, so I bagged the NW Natural Gas appointment altogether. Now that I think about it, they might have bagged me, due to all my canceled appointments. Sorry, NW Natural Gas. It was me, not you.

Ugh, is all I can say. This afternoon I’ll know the answer to the question that plagues me: Is it a drafty house? Or, has my furnace been broken for several years?!

Moving from fall into the holidays, I’ve had a lot to contemplate, both personally and professionally. Thanksgiving was emotionally difficult, but it forced me to be intentional in managing the holiday season. December has been a good segue regarding my new business. Here are some things I’ve learned as I engage in self employment.

REASONS WE REMAIN IN ONE PLACE

  1. Comfort
  2. Exhaustion
  3. Fear of the unknown
  4. Lack of focus

MY COMFORT

The side vinyl business has been great during the holiday season. Orders trickle in, but reluctantly, I’ve stopped promoting my items on social media. As my vinyl learning curve has slowed and I’ve become more proficient, I’ve discovered comfort in production that isn’t present in the drudgery of details that accompany creating a business. I’m reminded of my waitress days (yes, I want to use that old term!). I’d request closing down the restaurant, to be the last server on the floor. I knew the job like the back of my hand. Why not do that forever? Well, because it would limit my potential (in my case: make more money).

Creating a business from scratch is fraught with discomfort. Someone stole my intended domain name. See that saga here. Last week I spent hours on an Amazon issue. Well, I think I’ll do something more comfortable, like solicit more orders for pretty towels! Giving up entices my senses when success seems so distant. 

No words can describe how unprepared or the amount of effort that was required when I started my job as Principal’s Secretary. While I flailed to survive, not a speck of land was in sight. However, when I finally found land, I felt I could teach a course on how to get there.

MY EXHAUSTION

As I inch closer to starting my new business, I realize that I’m starting again. One of my hashtags is #constant renewal. I think I was born with a growth mindset, long before it was taught in schools. I am grateful for my teeth, my hair, and my growth mindset. On the other hand, constant renewal can be exhausting. This last month has been a relief from exhausting. If I were three I might stomp up and down and refuse to hand it over.

We all want more time. Even when I’m overwhelmed with the tasks of work and home, the flexibility I’ve had has made life more manageable. 6:30 am finds me in my PJs working from home, or driving to deliver a Christmas surprise to my son’s doorstep. None of my early mornings have me pulling into the parking lot at 6:25am and facing the demands that began as soon as I opened the door.

On Sunday morning I stood in front of CBS Sunday Morning (my favorite) with my hands wrapped around a hot mug of coffee (with chattering teeth). I picked up a friend for church and returned her home. I then ran errands for a friend, and in the evening I worked. I thanked God for a day that I could fully embrace without a battle against resentment or frustration. I didn’t have to wrap up the day by 9pm (of which I was rarely successful) in preparation for a 5am wake up that would have me out the door by 6:15.

MY FEAR

Fear has also justified the focus on my vinyl business. What does a day in the life of the new business look like? Will my idea convert to a practical reality? Am I capable to produce and deliver the very thing I am selling? Is my hard work, belief in my idea, and faith enough? Are financial security and personal well being possible with this endeavor?

MY FOCUS

I have to remind myself daily to zero in. I’d rather socialize, decorate, cook, write, read, discuss, enhance, engage with my kids, and understand today’s politics than hunker down on a work project. There. I said it. This person you think I am is a facade, masquerading as an ambitious person. I am ambitious, in that I want to do everything. But I am challenged to focus on the most essential objective: Will this task move me toward financial well being? God gifted me with a curious mind and a generous heart. I produce a lot, but I’m not always producing what pays the mortgage.

There is a current trend that encourages us to work doing what we love. I believe God desires that every single one of us live vibrant, balanced lives. That no person, regardless of the wealth or social status they were born into deserves anything but the best. An oppressive work situation is not ideal. If possible, we should find employment that allows us to receive, as well as give. We should manage a life that provides us with the best case scenario, within our circumstances. We should take care of self. However, that means sacrifice of self. It means saying NO to the things we enjoy, which requires more discipline from some of us than others.

I’m not a 100% certain, where is “there.” But when I walk with my creator, any direction is the right direction, and ultimately, that’s where I’m headed.

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