Of Rocking Chairs and Dance Lessons

This week we are going to talk about next year, 2013. YOUR 2013. I have a Thanksgiving Day article (American holiday on the November 22 this year) about a man and his partners, a team we can all be thankful for; then on to sailing ships and airships. But, this week we will talk about 2013 and how exciting a year it is going to be for you. Some of you may not think so now, but by this time next year, you will be thankful for 2013.

Next year the economy is going to change, and with it, you will be closer to where you should be in life, where you were born to be. As you know, I believe everyone is an expert at something, a genius who stands head-and-shoulders above the rest of us. You are so good at one thing, which would seem like drudgery to the rest of us, that it is fun for you. It energizes you, puts a smile on your face, and turns the hours into mere minutes. This is where you are going next year.

Next year the economy will get better, or it will get worse. My crystal ball is in the shop for repair right now, so I cannot tell which; but it does not matter which (and you will see why). With this change will come your opportunity, but you need to do a few things first so you may take advantage of the opportunity when it comes. If the economy does get worse, do not worry about it. Your opportunity will still come to you and you will shine. Worry and fear are like a rocking chair, they keep you busy but they do not get you anywhere.

You know that one thing which is your heart’s desire? “One of these days I will have my own auto shop.” or “One of these days I will be an artist.” … or a writer, teacher, designer or maybe a promotion at work; whatever it is, it is the one thing you shine at, for you it is not work. Next year is the year you begin to work towards that goal. Do not give up your “day job” just yet. You still need to pay the rent. But, next year, is the year you begin to change your profession.

First. Stop saying, “I am going to be a _____.” As long as you always say, “I am going to be a ____.” Then you will never be that, you will always be “… going to be …” YOU ARE! If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got.

Sound silly? As I was writing an article for you this summer at my favorite coffee shop, I got up for a refill and a man stopped me. “Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?” Sure, go ahead. “Do you come in here often? What are you doing? Why do you come here? Do you drink coffee? Did you see the new scientific study on coffee?”

The important point here is that when he asked what I was doing I told him I was writing my weekly article and that I like to write at that coffee shop, I like the atmosphere. That night on the local evening news, I saw a teaser for the story (on the new coffee study) following the break. The teaser was my face. When they came back from the break, there was my face again and the announcer started with “We are here at a local coffee shop talking with local writer Joe Combs …” Is it my only job, my “day job?” No, but I pay my water bill with my royalties; and full time writing is where I am going. I am a writer. I also build cars for a major car company to pay my mortgage. But, I began by paying my water bill with writing. I have a plan to be a full time writer and as of today, I am ahead of schedule. Let’s get back to what is important though, YOU.

Write on a piece of paper what you are (your new profession), the job that is going to replace your current “day job.” Keep that with you, always, look at it every day, and read it aloud to yourself every day. “I am a ____.” When someone asks what you do, THAT is what you tell them, not your “day job.”

Look at what you do every day now. Then look at what you will be doing every day then, at your next profession. Write these down on a piece of paper in two columns. Choose one thing from the column on your new career, and begin doing that. In my case, a writer writes. When I am working on a book, it is easy to put the manuscript aside for weeks at a time. But, a writer writes and that is not writing. Now I write weekly articles for you. Now I write on a regular basis. Every week I write an article for you, just as I will do when I write full time.

Pick one item on your list and begin doing that one thing on a regular basis. Then add another, then another; keep doing this.

Next, get business cards. There are several companies offering 250 business cards free, you just pay about $8 for shipping (Google “free business cards” and take your pick). Use that company’s online software to design a professional card. Include your professional e-mail address, if you do not have one get one; and use it only for your new profession … no personal stuff. Do not put a phone number on the card, unless you plan on answering the phone as your new profession (“Bill’s Flower Shop, how may I help you?”)

Surround yourself with at least two other people who believe in you as the new professional that you are now. People who are active and encouraging. I joined a writers group, but soon discovered most of those people were always talking about writing, but did very little writing. I quit that group and met other people who were active, believed in me, and were supportive. We support and encourage each other. After my readers, they are the most important people in my writing career.

Next, get a free website and use their software to design your website. It is easy; you do not need to know any codes or software programming languages.

Sometime next year the opportunity will come for you to spend more time at your new profession. Maybe someone will come to you with an offer of work for you; whatever that opportunity is, it will come next year. Remember, no fear, no worry; just do it! You did the things now to position yourself to take advantage of that opportunity next year … so … JUST DO IT!

As you change your attitude and become this professional that you were meant to be, you will attract people to you who will help you, and that you can help. Likes attract … always. Positive attracts positive, negative attracts negative. Positive people do not like to be around people who constantly complain. You are evolving and as you become the person you were meant to be, you will become more positive and more successful. It is a never ending circle (both the positive and the negative, so use the positive). As you become more successful you will become more positive, as you become more positive you will become more successful.

Those people who criticize and say negative things to you (“… you can’t do that …” or “… you’ll never be …”  or “… who would listen to you?”, and etc.), cut them loose. Remember this phrase “If your presence cannot add value to my life, your absence will make no difference.” You do not have to be mean about it, but if you do not avoid the negativity of those people, you will let them drag you back down into the pit.

Up to now you have thought of your passion as only having meaning for yourself; you could not possibly be more wrong. There are enough people, your future customers, who need your expertise, that over time they replace your “day job” with more money than you make currently at your “day job.”

Still do not believe me? Let me give you an example.

Several years ago I walked into a men’s shop, looking for a new shirt. The young man at the shirt counter greeted me with, “Yes?”. I told him I wanted a new shirt. He showed me a vertically striped shirt with colors I did not like, and a gaudy, diagonally striped tie. I was wearing a solid color, dark suit, with a solid color, light shirt, and my diagonally striped, conservative, “power” tie. What this young man showed me I would not be buried in.

The next store I walked into the man behind the shirt counter asked, “Are you looking for a shirt for a special occasion or every day?” He selected five shirts for me to look at, and placed them on the counter. He then picked up a light blue shirt with white collar and cuffs, paused, then returned it to the shelf. I hate that style of shirts; he just gained points with me. I looked over the one shirt with a button down collar (I rarely wear those), picked up the striped shirt (which I liked a better than the other striped shirt at the other store), then examined the remaining three shirts. Three shirts with no button down collar, light in color, solid in color. Three shirts that would look good in a dark suit, any dark suit. He then picked three ties (two solid, one with diagonal stripes), holding each tie wrapped around his fingers and against each shirt; so I could see how each tie would look when tied, and so I could see how each tie matched each shirt. I came in for one shirt; I bought three shirts and three ties. This man did not just make a sale; he had a regular customer in me, right up until the day he retired.

The first salesman had a job. The second salesman was doing something he loved. The second salesman observed my personality and the clothes I was wearing when I came in, and selected three shirts that he knew I would like, and two shirts to learn more about my preferences. Then he used all that information (and he did this without asking me anything except that one question) and selected three ties that would go with any of the three shirts, and matched my taste. Over time, he even got me to add a few light colored suits to my closet.

This man enjoyed his work, he was good at it, it was what he was meant to be, and he knew it. He knew good quality mens clothes, he knew how to size up a customer and show him styles he would like, he even knew how and when to get a customer to expand his tastes. He knew what clothes would make each of his customers look their best, and he enjoyed doing just that. He was very fussy during a fitting  to insure that the suit was tailored just right to make a customer look his best. He always made me put in my pockets the things I normally carried in my pockets, before marking the suit for adjustments, to ensure the cut would be just right when I wore the suit. I trusted and relied on this man’s judgment. If he had taken employment at a different store, I would have become a regular customer at that store. I sometimes wonder how many faithful customers he had.

You have that within you. There are people who will line up for what you have to offer. That first salesman will never be as good as the second salesman. The first man is working a job, a job he probably does not like. The second salesman was doing a job that for him was not a job, it was something he always wanted to do.

So, get yourself ready now to take that opportunity next year; and when “… you get a chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance …”

So, what is stopping you.

P.S. If men’s clothing is your interest, and you just happen to move to Columbus, Ohio let me know. Like I said, my guy retired, and I still have not found anyone I would return too.



Filed under Cup-O-Joe, family

3 responses to “Of Rocking Chairs and Dance Lessons

  1. Thank you a lot for sharing this with all folks you actually understand what you’re speaking about! Bookmarked. Kindly also discuss with my website =). We may have a hyperlink change contract among us!


  2. Extremely good advice; it took a stroke for me to become that second salesman at something. Writing is my thing.


  3. This was perfectly timed for me to read. Thank you! I’ll let you know when I get off my lazy butt and actually do something other than thinking about it and playing with seashells! I’m newly inspired!