Monthly Archives: April 2013

My Story – Chapter 6

 

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…continued….Over the years, we added two bedrooms upstairs, a full bath, and a gameroom in the basement. We basically remodeled the whole house over 10 years. It was a great house on 3 acres on the edge of the woods and several large fields. Wildlife was abundant. We saw many deer, turkey and bear – baby bears too.

Then I had a chance to move onto a totally different career. I got a job as an intelligence analyst. I felt like Jack Ryan from Tom Clancy’s series. I started working for the U.S. Department of Justice and I liked it. I traveled to DEA, FBI, the DIA, the DOD, and even the CIA. I covered interesting subjects related to drug trafficking such as Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs and Money Laundering. We worked on a strategic, national level. I learned so much and enjoyed much of it. I traveled to some great cities.

Then we got a new director. He made some changes that were good and others that were not, in my opinion. There was so much bureaucracy. I really enjoyed working with many of the people there and I did well. However, I did become to not enjoy the Federal system. I found that there were few incentives to work harder and when you did there was a limit to how far and how fast that you could go. Still, I enjoyed the intelligence gathering, writing, and research.

Then management decided to make other changes. Many employees didn’t like it and morale fell. I was placed in a unit on policy and procedure and I did not like it. There were many hard working people there from the local area and from out of town. But, there were a few people who had learned how to “work” the Federal system and really didn’t seem to care about their performance or contribution. They were there because of a certain number of years employment and/or their level of seniority. There were close-minded people, in my opinion. Again, I’m not saying most or even many – only a few. I let it get to me and I became restless. I worked at surrounding myself with the open-minded, goal-oriented people there.

Often I could do my work, go trade stocks a few times a day, and even play around with an outside business and still keep up with some of my colleagues. Note that I was not smarter or better, but the expectations were low and the guidelines given by management were such that they really didn’t know how long things would take.

I recall one time almost all of the intelligence analysts (like me) in the Center had to complete their reports by June of one year. We all worked hard at reviews, edits, and revisions to that deadline. The deadline came and we all ‘turned in the reports’. In typical Federal government efficiency, they had 2 or 3 people to review over 100 reports. We had no other projects to work on. For months we didn’t have feedback if the style, content, length was acceptable. For months we didn’t know if we should do anything else – we were just told to keep the data updated. It turns out that many of those reports never were sent out to other agencies (their original purpose). Years later I used to ask colleagues if some were ever sent out. They were not. To my knowledge, 10 years later, half of those reports, perhaps more, were never sent to the cooperating agencies. Things like that got to me.

Over time I began to long for a world where my rewards and compensation were at least in some way based upon my performance and hard work, not my seniority or level. I was frustrated and wanted to do more but the serious and extensive rules, regulations and bureaucracy just got to me. I began to search for a job back in the private world. I came up with an opportunity to work independently back in the world of sales.

After research, networking, and reaching out to contacts, I found two good options. One was going to be key. It wasn’t a sexy position but I was going to partner up with two other independent agencies and help market and sell their products over parts of 4 states. I was going to be my own boss and yet partner with them. The pay was less certain and there were chances for fluctuation but the long term opportunity was much better, and if I worked harder and smarter I’d be able to earn more, too.

So, it was the last week of August 2001 and I gave them about a 3-4 week notice. I was working hard at tying up loose ends. Then, as we all know, September 11, 2001 happened. The world stood still and things changed forever that day. I was grateful that all of my friends and family were safe.

The economy took a hit. There was a lot of uncertainty. Many of my friends tried to get me to stay, considering 9/11 and the economy. They were concerned about me and I appreciated that. But I could not let their fears into my mind and I could no go back. I left the Federal government in late September.

The economy was a challenge. Right away it was clear that, since much of my income was based on commission, I was going to earn a little less for some time. Sales were down. Then one of the partnering firms changed their tune. One day I was sending out a newsletter to my clients. Some of my clients were also his clients. Even though we had talked numerous times that we were to remain independent, and I could do my own thing, he blew up at my simple newsletter. He suddenly said that I was a ‘loose cannon’. I remember laughing at that. He criticized the fact that I said “Folks” in a letter and stated that it was unprofessional. This discussion went on for a few weeks.

Then, I still remember it clearly,….I was in Florida visiting my parents at their winter home (- basically a very nice mobile home in Sarasota). My daughters were still very young and I decided to go take one for a walk in a stroller and call my partner back and resolve it once and for all. So there I was walking down the street pushing my daughter’s stroller, talking on the cell phone. He again said that I was a loose cannon. I asked him to explain how he thought that. It became pretty clear that he just wanted to break away and that was fine. So we hung up that we were splitting up.

I had a bad feeling in my gut because I knew that I had just lost a chunk of income. I still had a good relationship and partial income with another partner but here I was fresh out of the “safe Federal government job” and I lost about half of my income already. What had I done? Was this the right decision? What was I thinking – I was endangering my young family…..many thoughts went through my brain in a flash and I felt sick.

But, our trip to visit my parents was just starting. I could not let it ruin out trip. So I forced myself to get over it and deal with it. Looking back, I really did act well, considering. I tried to enjoy the time there, I tried to enjoy the moment and be “there”. We made some good memories with my young daughters and my loving parents. I am grateful for that week and those memories even today. ….and yes, I did overcome that loss of income soon.

…..changes sometime look very bad while you’re in the picture and unable to gain perspective, yet later on when you’re able to look back or look with some perspective, you realize that it wasn’t bad at all- and sometimes how it was necessary to get to the next level…..my business breakup seemed very bad at that moment, but I soon found that better opportunities awaited……

Spring is here!

dogdaisys

Remember be grateful for the things in Spring coming your way.

Emotional Equations: Simple Truths for Creating Happiness

I often write that your self-talk, the questions that you ask yourself, and the emotions/thoughts you allow to circulate within yourself each and every day are the most important things in your life.

You can control all of them. You can make them good/bad/otherwise.

These daily things create habits, beliefs, lifestyles and that creates your life.

I always look for things that can help support or correct my own thoughts and emotions.

Here is a great book that does it a little differently, and effectively.

Emotional Equations: Simple Truths for Creating Happiness +
Success 

Chip Conley

Using brilliantly simple math that illuminates universal emotional truths,
Emotional Equations crystallizes some of life’s toughest challenges into
manageable facets that readers can see clearly—and bits they can control.
Popular motivational speaker and bestselling author Chip Conley has created an
exciting, new, immediately accessible visual lexicon for mastering the age of
uncertainty.

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Making mathematics out of emotions may seem a counterintuitive
idea, but it’s an inspiring and incredibly effective one in Chip Conley’s hands.
When Conley, dynamic author of the bestselling Peak, suffered a series of
tragedies, he began using what he came to call “Emotional Equations” (like Joy =
Love – Fear) to help him focus on the variables in life that he could deal with,
rather than ruminating on the unchangeable constants he couldn’t, like the bad
economy, death, and taxes. Now this award-winning entrepreneur shares his
amazing new self-help paradigm with the rest of us. Emotional Equations offers
an immediately understandable means of identifying the elements in our lives
that we can change, those we can’t, and how they interact to create the emotions
that define us and can help or hurt our progress through life.

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Equations like “Despair = Suffering – Meaning” and “Happiness = Wanting What You Have/Having
What You Want” (Which Chip presented at the prestigious TED conference) have
been reviewed for mathematical and psychological accuracy by experts. Conley
shows how to solve them through life examples and stories of inspiring people
and role models who have worked them through in their own lives. In these
turbulent times, when so many are trying to become “superhuman” to deal with our
own and the world’s problems, Emotional Equations arms readers with effective
formulas for becoming super human beings.

There are many other self-evident and universally true equations Chip showcases in this book. Here are a few poignant ones:

  • Anxiety = Uncertainty x Powerlessness
  • Happiness = Wanting What you Have / Having What You Want
  • Joy = Love – Fear
  • Flow = Skill / Challenge

Simple Stuff

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(Simple Stuff are a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff….)

It is understandably human nature, Jim, to see yourself as small.  Until you stop seeing yourself as just human.

Should be easy for you, Mike Dooley, tut.com,  The Universe

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Here’s a simple truth. You can take control and create the story of the rest of your life. It really depends on what you’re willing to do, how far you’re willing to go.  Craig Ballantyne
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“Do not think that what is hard for you to master is humanly impossible; and if it is humanly possible, consider it to be within your reach.” – Marcus Aurelius
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Keep reminding yourself: I get what I think about, whether I want it or not. – Wayne Dyer
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‘You will never change your life until you change something you do daily.’ – Mike Murdock
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Tip of the Day: Remember that we get whatever we focus on. Rather than dwelling on what you don’t want, clearly articulate what you do want. Tony Robbins
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My  grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She’s  ninety-seven now, and we don’t know where the hell she is. – Ellen  DeGeneres
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😉

When Your Life Suddenly Takes a Turn for the Worse

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“If I fail, I try again, and again, and again. If YOU fail, are you going to try again? The human spirit can handle much worse than we realize. It matters HOW you are going to FINISH. Are you going to finish strong?” – Nick Vujicic


When Your Life Suddenly Takes a Turn for the Worse

By Mark Ford

A new client who agreed to sign up with you suddenly cancels. A promised promotion evaporates.
The deadline your plumber swore to passes without anything having been done.
The trick to dealing with disappointments like these is to have a “What if it doesn’t happen?” plan in place almost from the start.
The idea is to create a Plan B every time you create a Plan A. And if you create a good Plan B and spend some time visualizing it (after you have visualized Plan A), you won’t feel disappointed if Plan A falls through.
If, for example, you are hoping to be in London for Christmas this year, go ahead and book the arrangements – but spend a few minutes thinking about what you could do instead if, for whatever reason, the trip falls through. (A special Christmas at home – celebrated in some new and interesting way – may turn out to be even better.)
A fallback plan also works in the event of an unforeseen interruption in your routine. Always being prepared with a list of tasks you have wanted to accomplish for a long time is a good way to turn unexpected down time into a rich, rewarding experience.
A few years ago, for example, I tore up my knee and had to have surgery that put me on my back for two weeks and off the Jiu Jitsu mats for six months. For someone with my schedule (and addictive mentality), this could have been very bad. But since I’d had prior knee injuries and, therefore, knew that I was likely to undergo this operation some day, I had developed a fallback plan that made the recovery time bearable.
My fallback plan for the two weeks in bed (and on painkillers – which meant I couldn’t do any meaningful work) was to catch up on all the great movies I had never seen or seen only once. My fallback plan for the six months of Jiu Jitsu inactivity was to use the time to rest and restore my shoulders and back, which were seriously ailing.
The movie-watching plan went very well. I saw two or three great movies a day – more than 30 in all. I also managed, during the second week, to read a half-dozen business publications that had accumulated on the corner of my desk. Far from feeling blue and abused, I was in a very good mood during that early period of convalescence – and that was entirely due to the fact that I felt like I was finally getting to things I had long wanted to do.
My fallback plan for the six months of inactivity was more challenging. I still went into the Jiu Jitsu academy every free moment (and I occasionally helped out with a lesson), but, mostly, I was frustrated by not being able to train again – a feeling that intensified as my knee got better.
But because I used that time to have my shoulders and back worked on, after putting it off for more than three years, I felt that I was accomplishing something. And because of all the care I took in healing my body, when I finally began training again, I was able to compete for the first time in years with an injury-free (though age-addled) body. That felt good.
Spend five minutes today asking yourself:

  • “What positive development in my career am I counting on right now?”
  • “What will I do if it doesn’t happen?”

Then ask yourself the same questions about your personal life. If you don’t have a fallback plan, develop one. When you do, make sure it’s something you can be happy with. If it isn’t, work on it some more. You’ll find that the more time you spend refining it, the more attractive it will become.
And in case you unexpectedly end up with time on your hands, prepare now by making a list of projects and/or tasks that you have always wanted to do. (Have you been thinking about writing a novel? Researching your family tree? Have you long been frustrated because you can’t speak a foreign language? Can’t dance the salsa?)
Spend some casual time thinking about your “dream” projects, refining them, and imagining how you can make them happen. The more time you spend doing this, the more excited you’ll be about it. And then, when the time comes (and it almost certainly will), you will move from disappointment to anticipation in no time flat.

[Ed. Note.  Mark Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.] FROM www.earlytorise.com

My Story, Chapter 5

Continued….

…Fast forward a few years…..After our firm lost 90% of our income from the one factory going direct nationwide, I struggled a few years finding what the next step was and despite the fact that I was working full time I didn’t take any salary the first year after we lost the big chunk of income. I was working and acting on faith. I had saved and invested for the past few years and I’m glad that I did because I was able to live off that while I rebuilt the business. My father had retired and I was running the business full time.

I had to search and find companies and products that I could represent and sell that would start to replace that income. It was a scary and exciting time. It was easier perhaps, because I had few responsibilities. There were some ups and downs in the business and in the economy but life was good for a single guy.

I had a great group of friends from college with which I still hung out. We called ourselves the Dudes. Now, after college, life and work sometimes got in the way. However, we still found time for roadtrips, parties, and other fun things. I have lots of good memories of laughs, practical jokes, talking, hanging out, traveling.

So one summer, our next fun thing was the Jimmy Buffett concert. I didn’t even like Jimmy Buffett but it was a chance to hang out with my friends and to have some fun in the sun……in a parking lot somewhere outside of Pittsburgh. So we packed into my white mini-van and drove. We sat in the parking lot and tail-gated. Frankly I don’t think that I even went in to watch the concert……

So we were partying, having fun…. Just as you do when you tailgate, we were walking around, mingling, and others were coming around to our spot. There I saw Jill again. (Jill was a friend from college who was always nice to talk with … I knew some of the people she dated and she knew some of the people I dated during college)..For the past 2 years, Jill was away at graduate school in North Carolina. Now back in town, she was with her sisters at the concert.

The concert came and went. A few weeks later my buddy from Maryland asked the Dudes to a hotel in Pennsylvania while they were in town for a wedding. For whatever reason, I faxed Jill to let her know we were going there and she was welcome to meet us. (before texting and email, faxing was an easy way to communicate-AOL was still in the early stages) At that point I still thought of Jill as a friend and I wanted to include her with my other close friends.

Jill came and we all had a good time. The next day everyone went their separate ways. Jill and I decided to go have lunch at Wendy’s. I don’t know what was in the Frosty that day but we laughed and had a good time. I made dumb jokes and she laughed. Something had clicked from the evening before. Somewhere in there we decided that we were fond of each and we began to date.

It was a different feeling, it was an attraction, sure, but it was also a head and heart sort of thing. I recall saying to myself, “She’s pretty, smart, funny. We’re good friends, I respect her, I have a great time with her, we can talk about things, we have great families.” I hadn’t seen it before that moment but we were a great fit. We liked spending time with each other and trusted one another. We could talk about anything. There were feelings there. From what started as an immature relationship as friends in college grew to that of young adults taking on life together.

I never looked back after that point. In my younger years I had been fickle and immature with some relationships. But when I thought about dating Jill, I thought, “Yes, this works, this makes sense, this feels right.” The relationship hit all cylinders; my mind, heart and body. I no longer considered dating others and no longer became distracted.

I continued to work in the business and tried to find the right fit for a company to represent. I found another company with a great product but it turned out the owner was taking all the profits and buying boats, etc. and didn’t bother to pay the bills. It’s tough for a manufacturing company to run when you don’t pay for the machinery. That company closed and I again had to start over. I found another company with really good people but their product line was limited and they started having quality issues. Soon because of customer feedback and quality issues, I split with them. It all started to work away at my credibility, since I was switching product lines.

I learned a lot about people, perserverance and life during that time. Many people stuck with me because of my dad, some because of me, some because of the product and / or service. Others took off in a heartbeat after years of working together and after giving them lots of free consulting and help.

I confess that I took some of these things personally, and my ego was bigger then, so it was tough. Plus I suddenly was earning much less despite working long hours, traveling many miles, and driving a white minivan. (A mini-van wasn’t great for a single guy in his mid-twenties!)

Cool, neat, little things happened to us when we were together….for instance one time we got bumped from a flight while we were flying to Florida. We got free first class tickets to anywhere in the continental U.S. So we picked the farthest point that sounded great – San Diego. We traveled to San Diego and experienced lots of great things – with trips to L.A. and Mexico. We again had cool experiences together there. San Diego grew on us.

Jill and I dated for a while but we didn’t want to wait too long to be married. We also didn’t really want all the big ‘fuss’ for our wedding. You see, the year we decided to get married, there were 15 other weddings…..we were invited to all 15. Jill and I were in about 7 of them, including her two sisters. It was crazy! Just think, we spent at least $50 (usually more) for a wedding, plus hotel and travel. That was an expensive year! Most of those weddings were crammed into September-December.

At first we were going to elope to the Outer Banks and come home married. But we decided not to do so, our families might have had hurt feelings, etc. So we decided to have a much smaller and elegant wedding. We wanted to pay for it all ourselves. I got a second job selling alarm systems. One large project paid for some of the reception, another paid for most of the honeymoon. Jill worked a second job and saved money for the wedding and other things. Our parents still wanted to help, so my parents helped by adding and upgrading the food. Jill’s parents helped with the wedding dress and photography.

Still, it felt good to pay for most of it ourselves. I was self-employed and I had decided to start attending the evening MBA program at Pitt. I enjoyed it but the classes after work were a bit tough, as were the payments. I did take out a loan for some of it and I tried to pay for some as I went.

After about a year, my new wife and I saved some money, used a small gift from my parents, and built a small Cape Cod. It was nice and simple. The upstairs and basement were left unfinished to save on dough. We were happy.

The thing about all of it was this- we were tight financially for some time. I actually had to ‘lean’ on my wife for 1-2 years as I rebuild the business, she often made more during the volatile time for me. Then I kept growing it.. She believed in me and I in her. Jill and her sisters were running a large child care center that eventually would have 80+kids.

(At this point I began to think about something that I’d see observe and feel for the rest of my life – it seemed that I was reaching out for a job, an opportunity, something that I was definitely capable of doing well – but I was pushed back. I think in some way I was being pushed or pulled back to where I was supposed to go. Maybe something inside of me or part of me was guiding me. Maybe it was God or something else. But so many times we all experience it – ‘that job would be great and I can do it ‘ then you apply and get smacked back royally. Maybe there’s a reason….almost like we’re being guided back onto the right path….)

I found some stability with my own business and really started to enjoy the MBA program. Many cool things were happening in our lives. Small things like the fact we got upgraded to a Penthouse suite with 3 bathrooms, a dining room with 10 chairs, full kitchen, den, living room, and skyline veranda in Toronto…..Big things like getting pregnant – we were expecting our first child!

Then I had a chance to move onto a totally different career. I got a job as an intelligence analyst. I felt like Jack Ryan from Tom Clancy’s series. I started working for the U.S. Department of Justice and I liked it for a while.

Leaving a cushy job – a good idea or bad idea?……..

the best career mistake Deepak Chopra and others have made

This is from LinkedIn.

A great list of now successful people who made mistakes in their careers.

At the bottom I cut and pasted the whole article from Deepak Chopra

I dumped a pile of papers on my boss and quit on       the spot.

Read       more

My ugly cat awkwardly upstaged Bank of America’s       CEO.

Read       more

I waited far too long to tell my boss he stank —       literally.

Read       more

I managed to work at 60 Minutes for less than 60       minutes.

Read       more

I tried to be a team player, until the day I lost       my patience.

Read       more

I didn’t argue to halt growth before the housing       bubble burst.

Read       more

See   more posts in the series

As a young doctor in my 20s, I landed with one of the country’s leading endocrinologists on a fellowship. My passion for study hadn’t abated. I had already finished one two-year residency and passed the boards in internal medicine. At that time, in the early ’70s, a resident needed a good fellowship just to make ends meet, and I had a young family to support. But I wasn’t happy in my work. My supervisor was overbearing, and all my time was spent in his laboratory, either injecting rats with iodine or dissecting them to see how the iodine had affected them.

Endocrinology, the study of the hormones secreted by the endocrine system, is a precise, technical specialty. I was more enthusiastic about seeing patients than toiling in the lab, but I was still fascinated by the detective work. Forty years later, the investigation of the three hormones secreted by the thyroid gland seems very basic, but at the time the fact that my supervisor was one of the pioneers in studying the Reverse T3 hormone was big news. We worked in an atmosphere of tense one-upmanship, competing with other research teams in the field — the thyroid was supposed to be our whole world.

My discontent came to a head during a routine staff meeting. My supervisor quizzed me on a technical detail in front of the group: “How many milligrams of iodine did Milne and Greer inject into the rats in their 1959 paper?” This referred to some seminal experimental work, but I answered offhandedly, because he didn’t really want the information, only to put me on the spot.

“Maybe two-point-one milligrams. I’ll look it up.”

“This is something you should have in your head,” he barked, irritated. Everyone in the room grew quiet.

I got up, walked over to him, and dumped a bulky file of papers on him.

“Now you have it in your head,” I said, and walked out.

I was agitated. I walked out to the parking lots and fumbling to start my beat-up Volkswagen Beetle, the signature vehicle of struggling young professionals. My supervisor followed me fuming, screaming at me, “your career is ruined”.

He leaned in, speaking with studied control to disguise his anger.

“Don’t,” he warned. “You’re throwing away your whole career. I can make that happen.”

Which was quite true. The word would go out, and with his disapproval I had no future in endocrinology. But in my mind I wasn’t walking away from a career. I was standing up to someone who had tried to humiliate me in front of the group. My impulsive rebellion was instinctive and yet very unlike me.

I managed to start my Beetle Volkswagon and left him standing there in the hospital.

Word did go out, and I faced the prospect of having no job except for any moonlighting work that might come my way, the lowest paying drudgery in Boston medicine. Pain would follow. I knew this less than five minutes down the road. It made me stop off at a bar before going home to break the devastating news to my wife Rita.

In religion there’s an old saw: No one is more dangerous to the faith than an apostate. Boston medicine was the true faith. I had no intention of renouncing it. If you had questioned me the day before I dumped a file on an eminent doctor’s head, I would have sworn allegiance. Frankly I had no reason to change sides, not rationally. You don’t walk away from a church when there is no other church to go to. But the only way to see if there are demons lurking outside the circle is to crawl over the boundary that protects you. This was the real start of a revelatory life. I can’t take credit for any of the revelations, but a hidden force inside me was invisibly preparing the way.

Yet, I did change sides and soon started “moonlighting” in an emergency room where I started to observe not only the physical trauma of my patients, but their mental anguish. I started to write about their experiences and that started my career in integrative medicine and also as a writer.

Bottom line – follow your bliss.

Posted by:Deepak Chopra MD (official)

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