Thursday, October 27, 2005

Life begins today

Kurt Rosengren has a great post over at Occupational Adventure. He talks about change:
"To them I say, "Life begins today!" However much time you have left in your career, whether it's five years or fifty years, it's far too long to spend it unhappily. Forget the past. That - to use an economics term - is a sunk cost. It's gone and there's nothing you can do about it. Your past is relevant because it has brought you to where you are today, but don't use it to limit your future."
Very true. There are always reasons not to make changes in your life. But if you want to make a change in your life, do it.  Carpe Diem, as the story goes.
Thanks Kurt.
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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Comment policy

We all hope for comments and feedback, and a chance for new conversation, but wow, that last post wasn't up for more than a minute and there were 2 spam comments.

That's no good. This is not a place to just advertise.

Policy 1: a comment relates to the post or it's nixed.

Let's see how that goes.

Geting out of the dumps

I got a call from a business associate this morning. She and I are part of a larger group that meets regularly, in the aftermath of a several week workshop we attended.
She felt like she wasn't getting anywhere, and that was affecting her confidence. Sure, there were a number of projects underway, but she had to hire others to help with the technical aspects of a couple of them. Unfortunately, the 'others' had experienced unexpected delays, and all she could do was wait for them to finish. Her personal deadline had passed, and the frustration was dampening her previous enthusiasm. That was making her feel less confident about approaching new clients.
I think most of us go through periods like that.  I know I sure do. Things often take much longer than we expect, especially when working with other people. The question to me was, how to get out of it and back on track.
I'm no business guru, but here's some ideas that I passed along to my friend. Add to them if you want.
Pull out that business plan and revisit the mission you have for your business. This can remind you about your enthusiasm for what you're doing.
Read what you wrote about your past accomplishments and what you offer now. Reinforce the fact that you are skilled at what you do and that you provide value.
Realize that working with others takes time. Sometimes life gets in the way.
Realize that a self-imposed deadline for a new project is often really just a best estimate - things often take longer than we think. Set  a new deadline and get on with it.
Visualize what you expect to happen, after the step you are working on is done. What else do you need to get done? Can you refine your presentation? Are your processes all in place? Can you do something to make them better?
Pull yourself back and look at your business from the outside. What else is missing? What else can you do? What more can you learn about your clients?
Read a favorite, inpirational book, or visit an industry website that you find inspiring. I moved from full-time to freelance communication, so I find books like Dan Pink's  Free Agent Nation and A Whole New Mind good for that.
Thinking back on that list, I guess most of the options are a diversion, and perhaps that's what I was suggesting. If we only focus on problems, life does tend to become..well..problematical.
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Sunday, September 04, 2005

I'm at a loss

With all of the drama unfolding over the last week in the southern US, I'm at a loss for words.
Right now, nothing else seems like it's really worth blogging about. My attention and support is focused on the southern states and has been for the last week. Story, after story, after sad, sad, story.
Others are doing a much better job than I ever could about posting links to the information. Everyone I read has made the point about donating to worthy causes. Those closer to the events have vented my frustration over the lack of early response at the evacuation centers. And the ugly side of life has been documented by those involved and on  CNN.
About all I can stress again is personal preparedness. Do it. Maintain it. Your life may depend on it someday.
Everything else can wait.
Perhaps I'll feel more like blogging next week when the shock wears off. Right now I'm at a loss for words.
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Saturday, August 27, 2005

Man on a mission

For the last couple of weeks, I've been pondering the work of Brian Tracy through a workshop and a couple of his books. So far, much of the information is similar to that provided by Tony Robbins, and the early work of Wayne Dyer and Stephen Covey.  I found Robbins, Dyer, and Covey a great read during certain periods at work, so Tracy is a good review and reminder of some of the questions to ask about successful living.
The material I'm getting is quite timely. I've been in business for just over a year and I'm finding myself getting caught up in all the same little habits I had when employed full time. Taking a step back to stop and think is helping me recognize that while I have a business offering a service, I still haven't taken the time to establish where exactly where I want to go with it.
In the corporate world, the solution is obvious - you follow the mission of your employer, your duties are outlined in a job description, and your contacts are decided by those you need to interact with to do that. As a new small business owner, I'm realizing that it's up to me to choose what direction to go, how big to get, who I want to relate to, and all those other pertinent questions.
That's both invigorating and scary at the same time.  Luckily, it's more the former, so I'm having lots of fun defining 'what's next' as I move along in the process.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Titles fixed

Well, it didn't take those Qumana folks long. They've fixed the title bug for blogger posts.
Way to go folks!
Hmm...I see this new version has a frame down the side fo  the screen as well.  Off to the website to see what it can do....
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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Here it is Blogger for Word

Here it is Blogger for Word. It’s been blogged about elsewhere, and I’m just testing it now. Could be useful for longer stuff.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Suits or no?

I was in an enviable position for most of my previous careers where I didn't have to wear a suit. I was either working outdoors, or in a pleasant, casual office. If someone wore something that upped the 'dress code' too much, everyone asked -"are you going for an interview?", or "is the boss coming? why didn't I get the memo?"

We didn't wear rags. The clothes were always neat, but could include shorts, jeans, slacks, along with polo shirts, t-shirts, or regular shirts, depending on the weather and what was going on in the office that day.

There were events that were a bit more upscale though. A trip to HQ, a conference, or a workshop, for instance. They seldom required a suit, but certainly called for pressed dockers and a nice shirt, at least.

I'm comfortable with the latter, but feel confined with a suit. Perhaps it's what you get use to.

Now that I'm out on my own and networking at various events, I'm seeing a need for a sportcoat and slacks on a fairly regular basis. I might have to move up gradually. Perhaps I'll find a consultant and get draped. I have little sense of color or style, and I don't really want to just throw things together for a 'look'.

In a related story, I find an interesting post over at Get Real. The discussion is on wearing suits at work, and includes this interesting take on some history.

"The sheer dumbness of men's suits are a holdover from design elements that may have made sense then, before central heating and indoor plumbing: like the phony buttons on the cuffs that don't really work, or the button hole in the left collar for which there is no corresponding button on the right, and the tie, which is a remnant of a scarf used to keep the neck warm in drafty halls.
One of the direct consequences of the mindset advocated by Stein is to label those who do not wear such extravagant and expensive get-up as being childish, or boorish. $1000 suits that require expensive dry cleaning, $500 shoes that require regular polishing, $100 shirts that require ironing, and so on -- these are simple, everyday barriers that define a caste -- the managerial caste -- and exclude others who do not wish to or are unable to play."

That's got me thinking. How much upward mobility do I have? Not much, I'm afraid. I can see myself wearing a sport coat when appropriate, along with some nice pants and a shirt. But there is no way that I'm ironing my clothes every day, or taking the whole kitandkaboodle to the dry cleaners a couple of times a week!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Massive change

I got this article in a Fast Company email today. It's based on a 2001 article, and I think I've read it before. If you've read Good to Great, by Jim Collins, you've probably heard it too. The book is still waiting in my bookcase, but it's moved up a notch in my list of things todo.

How Change doesn't happen

"Picture an egg. Day after day, it sits there. No one pays attention to it. No one notices it. Certainly no one takes a picture of it or puts it on the cover of a celebrity-focused business magazine. Then one day, the shell cracks and out jumps a chicken.

All of a sudden, the major magazines and newspapers jump on the story: 'Stunning Turnaround at Egg!' and 'The Chick Who Led the Breakthrough at Egg!' From the outside, the story always reads like an overnight sensation -- as if the egg had suddenly and radically altered itself into a chicken."

In a sense, that's metamorphosis.

I chose the name of this blog because of my background with bugs (entomology). Metamorphosis is where an insect, for example a caterpillar, changes into a moth or butterfly. The metaphor seemed appropriate.

The chick in the egg scenario works for me too. Massive change into a different form.

That's what I feel I'm doing right now. I don't expect to be an overnight sensation, nor the subject of major magazines and newspapers, but the change in my life has been huge.

In the space of a year, I've gone from a full-time bureaucrat in the public service, managing staff, facilities, and programs, to a solopreneur offering freelance services out of my little office . I didn't realize how much of a change it would be.

Well trust me. Massive change.

But it's been good. I've had a chance to explore a lot of things that I just didn't have time for before, and I'm learning a lot. Perhaps I'll document some of those changes here as I go along.

Sooner or later we all face some kind of metamorphosis. With the right attitude it's a positive experience overall. It just takes time.

I wonder when I'll break out of the egg ;-)

Fast action

Well I have to say that those folks at Qumana are on the ball.

Not 24 hours after I had difficulty with some posts yesterday (see below), I got at comment from Tris letting me know they are working on the issues I mentioned.

Way to go.

Now, I wouldn't normally make such a big deal about this, but I didn't want to leave the impression that I was dissing the program. I use Qumana frequently on another blog, and I like it very much.

Other people might not see our discussion hidden in the comments, so I thought I'd put something up front. I like to highlight great customer care.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Edited post below

So, adding pics via the Blogger interface works fine. See the Auto doors post below.

Guess that's what I'll have to do for now. I've signed up with flickr, so I may try that out.
Hmmm. yet another glitch.
Now I notice that neither of the last two posts have titles. Sigh. Back to the drawing board on this one.
Posting pictures remotely
Hmmm. That last post on auto doors from Japan (via Gizmodo) did have a picture in it at one point. Appears that posting with pictures is going to be a little more difficult here than it is with my Typepad account.
I'm using Qumana to compose on my desktop first. Posting directly from there is convenient, but there is still lots to learn about that (obviously).
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New doors from Gizmodo. Well, ok, from Japan
The latest doors (from Gizmodo) have got to be cool. Simple, efficient, and they make you feel important ;-)
Auto doors

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Saturday, August 13, 2005

What's donsca

A few years ago, I was looking for a username to use in some forums. The service in question didn't like my real name because someone else had used it. Hurumph! The nerve.

I googled my name, I found that it was not all that unique. How depressing. I so envied those people who showed up as the same person in forums, on their website, and in email. As luck would have it, I could pretend to be a pastor, a realestate agent, an actor, or a politician, and none of those were what I wanted to be. In fact, some of them I really wouldn't want to be associated with at all ;-)

But heck, I wanted to be myself.

So I tried quite a few alternative names/identifiers and finally decided on donsca. What does it mean?
  • don = don
  • s = summers
  • ca = canada
Short, sweet and, it seems, a unique identifier. Ok, well, kinda simplistic, I know. Still, it serves for now.

I'll be interested to see if the name of this blog stays the same. When I was creating it, Blogger didn't want to let me use it. I was told Metamorphosis was already in use. I entered donsca as the name of the blog and when I got here it was called Metamorphosis. Hmm..go figure.

Anyway, more later.

Update - the url links to donsca, but the blog header remains metamorphosis.