I’ve noticed an interesting trend. Around the anniversary of each decade, my life seems to take a major turn. At 11, my mom became sick, and our world flipped upside down. At 21, I was recently divorced and launched my first business. Just before my 30th birthday, I walked away from the position I’d dreamed about since I was a child and began to overhaul my health.
For the last two, the changes were the culmination of lots of risk analysis, research, and ultimately, a decision to be true to myself, no matter how scary the alternative seemed. During that process, many months (or even years) would elapse.
I’m learning to speed things up, and I think that’s a good thing. Oddly enough, that stems from a confident knowledge in my own preferences and strengths and a humble understanding that the world doesn’t revolve around me. Most times, the things I worried about just weren’t a big deal.
The Last Cycle
For the last two years, my life could best be described as a constant brainstorming session. I was always on the lookout for the next great idea.
That definitely had its benefits. I met lots of amazing people, and many of them are now my closest friends. I started several businesses. And I learned a lot, well more than I ever did from my formal schooling and earning those fancy letters behind my name.
But it’s not sustainable. First, it’s exhausting. The energy and attention needed for each of those projects created a life that was anything but balanced. Beyond that, it ultimately led to more reacting than planning, not a good business strategy.
Confidence and Humility
Once I acknowledged the obvious (on many occasions), the resolutions were amazingly simple.
“Reward excellent failures. Punish mediocre successes.” – Phil Daniels
I shut down Imagine More, and everything related to it. What I thought would be my legacy project had turned into a vortex that voraciously consumed time, money, and thought. But the lessons I learned will impact my life forever. Foremost: test everything, fail fast, and adapt. Forbid assumptions.
I also completely let go of any participation in our other family investment projects. My husband manages those, and my skills were mostly a duplication.
“The more I help others to succeed, the more I succeed.” – Ray Kroc
I’m exiting Neovia Solutions. Simply put, Holly doesn’t really need me anymore; she’s got the hang of running the business on her own. Plus, it’s not the best use of my gifts. I’m incredibly proud to have helped her get off the ground and of the business that we’ve created. And now, it’s time to move on.
“Success is achieved by developing our strengths, not by eliminating our weaknesses.” – Marilyn vos Savant
I’m re-commiting myself to using the strengths I’ve developed over 16+ years of helping businesses succeed, whether through a CPA firm, as an executive, or in my own businesses. Being a CPA isn’t sexy, but it’s what I’m good at. Instead of running away, I needed to embrace it.
To do that, I’m focusing on two projects. I’m helping Port Royal through a transition year as their Controller. I’m also the co-founder and Chief Financial Officer of 3eWerks. More than any of my other businesses, this project fits with my strengths and passions. We’re still developing our tools and supply chain, but watch for exciting things from us in the coming years.
“Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.” – Alan Keightley
Through 3E, our goal is to help people revolutionize the way they live, and to tranform the way their homes and buildings operate. I’m particularly passionate about the first part of that, and we’ve developed an exciting program called Live Your Peak to lead the way.
Focus + Excellence = Impact
I’ve always valued excellence. (Tom Peters’ books drilled that into me while I was a teenager.) Now, I understand the power of clarity and focus.
A recent post from Derek Sivers put it this way:
Buridan’s donkey is standing halfway between a pile of hay and a bucket of water. It keeps looking left and right, trying to decide between hay and water. Unable to decide, it eventually falls over and dies of hunger and thirst.
A donkey can’t think of the future. If he could, he’d clearly realize he could first drink the water, then go eat the hay.
Don’t be a donkey.
You can do everything you want to do. You just need foresight and patience.
Consider me a recovering donkey.