There are moments in any self-employed person's life when it's tempting to share lessons being learned, and at the same time, there aren't enough verbal twists and turns in the universe to avoid implicating the lesson sources.
I'm at the point of collision of multiple different endeavors (related both to work and personal pursuits), all of which are teaching me much while simultaneously raising my stress level to DEFCON Kilauea. Remember, kids: Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy time and shore up security.
Suffice it to say that a 24-hour clock is insufficient to support everything I'm trying to do ... and likely will remain insufficient for the next seven to 10 years, because most of what I'm trying to do is of the marathon variety.
In any case, some lessons are self-inflicted and some come courtesy of the outside world. Here are a few I'm facing at this halfway mark this year:
- When you live and work in the same physical space, do not think that a couple of small air conditioners can replace central air. They cannot. You may become angry on principle.
- "Words" and "publication-quality writing" are not the same thing, but many people will never understand the implications of that difference, no matter how many times you explain.
- You will never relax unless you are with other people, because your brain will not shut off without an external distraction. Schedule external distractions. Extra credit if they don't focus on food (or for those who drink, on drinks).
- It is impossible to drive a project successfully from the back seat. You will frequently find yourself in the back seat.
- There is a good chance that you will always want to be doing something, professionally, other than what you are doing, professionally. For me, "something" includes search and rescue, paramedic/EMT, archaeologist, park ranger, immigrant assistant, puppy minder, and part-time cowgirl, part-time dolphin trainer. I should have started earlier for most of those.
- Urgency is relative. It is often inversely proportional to the objective importance of the task at hand and your ability to make an impact.
- As an M&Ms ad once said (and I paraphrase), if the recipe says to bake the cookies for 20 minutes at 250 degrees, don't try 10 minutes at 500 degrees ... and definitely don't try 5 minutes at 1,000 degrees. The same applies to time and energy spent on anything worth doing.
And on that note ... it's time to pull on my big-girl boots and cowgirl up.