If it were just that simple…

Most who have spent any time here know I am a volunteer Guardian ad Litem. The State of Florida Guardian ad Litem Program is a network of professional staff and community advocates, partnering to provide a strong voice in court and positive systemic change on behalf of Florida’s abused and neglected children. There are 21 local Guardian ad Litem programs in 20 judicial circuits in Florida.

Why would you want do do something like that? Have you seen some of those people?

People, just like you and me and for some, just because of the luck of the draw, they ended up with a shit sandwich instead of filet mignon.

Were you abused or neglected?

Both my parents loved me very much, but that doesn’t mean I had it easy. My parents divorced in my early teens, my mother was an alcoholic, and my dad and I moved away from the town I grew up in when I was 15. My dad was deeply enmeshed in his mid-life crisis and I was pretty much left to fend for myself during my formative teen years. I was so ill prepared for the next step after high school, I joined the Army; which ended up being a godsend, but I didn’t fully appreciate it at the time.

Somehow, someway I was able to use not only the bad experiences in my life, but the good ones as well to shape who I have ultimately become. I am nowhere near perfect, but do know I have been blessed in many ways to the point I feel an obligation to give back. Through the GAL program, I felt this was where I could really roll up my sleeves and hopefully make a difference on a one on one basis.

How is that working out?

Well, I was told whatever victories you have will be small ones at best. Without going into too much detail all I will say it is very sad to see how broken down some of these kids are and the realization in all likelihood, they can only survive within the system; our tax dollars at work.

It definitely gives me a reality check and makes me extra thankful for what I do have and not to be too judgmental unless you’ve had the opportunity to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.

How’s is working out? The jury is still out but I’d like to think I’m doing some good for somebody.

It can’t be that bad, can it?

Oh yeah, on so many levels.

Then just walk away

That would certainly be the easy thing to do, wouldn’t it?

I still have work to do

I have a current case where the children have been removed from the home and placed in foster care. The case is over one year old and I would like to say we are close to resolution, but I now have my doubts.

The parents say they want the children back and have somewhat complied with the case plan, but one of the spouses keeps going off the rails and it’s getting to the point where I am not sure if reunification will ever happen for them. And the state is not asking the parents to jump through hoops, all we want to see is the absolute bare minimum of compliance.

You make the call.

There are many people involved in this case including the case manager and therapist so I am not the hammer that goes in front of the judge with sole discretion on the outcome. But here are the choices we are faced with:

  • The kids (there are five of them) are reunified with their parents and it rapidly goes back to the same situation that got the kids removed from the house in the first place. Personally, I have serious doubts if these parents can afford to properly feed or clothe these children, but like I said just the absolute bare minimum of care will get these kids back home.

That sucks.

No kidding, and that is probably the best of the two other choices.

  • Choice two: foster care. Because of the behavioral issues these kids have I think it will be almost impossible to keep these kids together as a family unit. The low hanging fruit good kids will go first and the problem children are likely to get bounced from house to house.

Don’t let that happen.

I hear ya, I wish the parents would start parenting.

  • Good ol’ choice three: Group foster care. If any of the kids become too rowdy and can’t exist in the traditional foster home setting, they will be transferred to a group home, and to be institutionalized at such a young age is a recipe for disaster. You have other problem children in the home that have been cast out too and not enough supervision in the home so the chances of a good outcome are slim indeed.

Can’t you fix it?

Yeah, let me wave my magic wand and make everybody behave the way they are supposed to.

What I can do is keep trying. If I was able to even reach one kid so he could use this experience to better himself, I would certainly consider that a win.

Other than run for the hills, if you were faced with this dilemma, what would your choice be?

Advertisements

Yes, you Brian Meeks, time to give it up

Yes, that Brian Meeks; the one on the cusp of super stardom.

Give up what?

His damn @ExtremelyAverage moniker, that’s what. I have been hounding him for close to two years now because that moniker is a much better fit for me than him.

Sumbich won’t budge.

He was featured this week by Geoff Livingston no less; you know, the dude that wrote Marketing in the Round with Gini. In addition to Brian’s most recent self-published book Time and Again which you can snap up for free on Amazon if you hurry, he’s has a whole litany of other works ready to follow. Extremely Average my ass…

You think I’m kidding?

Just to show you the depth of my quest to wrest this moniker away from him, this is my post of January 30, 2012; verbatim. Do you think he budged? Hell no; that’s why I’m cutting lose a second salvo. Republished with Billy’s permission; this is what he had to say that day:

* – * – * – * – * – *

Time to move on Brian Meeks*

Ha ha funny, right? Except I’m not kidding; Mr Meeks of @ExtremelyAverage notoriety needs to give it up. Whenever I crack on him, all the women are quick to defend and quickly proclaim he is anything but ‘average’. Hmmmm…..all I know is that ‘extremely average’ is a much better fit for me, so this is my active campaign to make it happen. There is a shelf-life for these things Brian, and you have exceeded it my friend.

I mean really; the dude already has books published and 9 zillion blog posts. I barely have reply buttons at my place; c’mon man…….

You probably find this hard to believe after reading of all my exploits of heroism, how it was really me who invented the internet, and I’m really a double-naught spy; but in reality, at a party I am so extremely average I have to keep moving so as not to blend in with the wallpaper.

This past week was tough

My day job and meetings pulled me in many different directions; all of it good, but all of it primarily offline. No big deal, right? Except when you peek in and see all of your friends playing; kind of like staying home sick from school and you see all your friends outside afterwards. Makes you kind of antsy, huh?

I keep telling myself I am NOT going to jump back on the hamster wheel; but the pull is there.

So what’s the problem?

It was difficult to catch back up with all the posts I missed; I’m realistic in knowing the only way I drive traffic is through my engagement. I’m afraid without it, I could very well pull out the invisible moniker once again and just leave Brian alone.

So what do you want to do?

Part of me says quit looking out the window and just keep doing what you are doing. The other part says, quit being a doofus and if you are going to be in the game at least be the best you can be.

There is even another pull to put all this effort into our corporate blog at @LanierUpshaw which is probably what I should do because it is my company after all, right? That would probably be the smart thing, but don’t know it it will be the fun thing. Fun is my motivator BTW…..

And of course all of this takes time, so do I substitute my commenting for writing and guest posts? I can just show up and comment; writing takes thought and planning. And it’s a given I don’t have enough game to attract an audience on my writing alone.

Where did you come up with all this?

As I had small blocks of time during the week I could have very easily caught up with friends one blog at a time. However, when the time came I could not muster up the energy.

During my catch-up phase over the weekend, I did read posts and some gave me reason to think and once again ask myself ‘what are you really doing in here’?

Dino at DIYBlogger featured Francisco Rosales, the brains behind @Socialmouths and whereas our models are different, it made me think I should be more strategic and doing something like Francisco suggests.

The other was from my good buddy Jack Steiner (or whatever name the witness protection program will let him go by this week) @TheJackB. He’s calling out the guru’s and exhorting everyone to just be themselves and forget the noise.

And finally, my friend Margie Clayman at @MargieClayman.com who I respect and admire but seems to be feeling some angst on several fronts. She’s trying to wade through what is real and what isn’t (and this wasn’t a shameless link BTW…:).

Did I miss the boat?

One thing I can do, is be myself; and part of that is truly ‘just showing up’. I have tried to play the person who doesn’t care for about as long as I can carry this thing. Now the big question is, do I want to do anything about it; or just keep on ‘showing’ up and take what I can get?

It never ceases to amaze me how a couple of days offline can totally change your perspective and potentially your focus.

If anybody out there is reading their tea leaves or horoscope this week, will you let me know what direction it is taking me in? I’m a Leo…:)

*Brian had no prior knowledge of this….hopefully he is a good sport.

Whose team are you on anyway?

The good guys, the ‘A’ team, of course, right?

The tragedy in Boston is just another reminder how F’ed up some people can be. Unfortunately, things like this are starting to happen way too often; almost to the point we are becoming jaded.

I’m mad as hell and I won’t take it anymore.

I wish it were that easy. I’ve become a softy as I mature age and whereas I used to hunt, kill and eat animals at one time, I no longer do so (hunt & kill that is, I’m still a carnivore). Life is precious and I’m more apt to even relocate a snake in my yard than chop its head off, much to the chagrin of my wife.

However, I have zero tolerance for ass wipes like the ones in Boston who cowardly kill and maim innocent people. I would be perfectly ok with swift, brutal and public punishment for those found responsible, and if they were looking for volunteers to administer this justice, sign me up. Zero tolerance…

The reason I bring up the Boston incident is right after even the first bomb exploded and in the midst of the pandemonium and chaos there were people running toward the scene to help, not away from it. These people were on the good guys team and ran to offer assistance with little to no regard if the people they were helping were gay or straight; red, black or green; Jewish, Muslim or Christian; Republican or Democrat, Bostonian or New Yorker.

All they knew it was a fellow human being in time of need. The good guys…

Why can’t it always be like that?

I don’t know; you tell me. I try to be inclusive and less judgmental in my thinking, but I have my prejudices still. And it usually applies to groups and stereotypes; typically when you get it down to one on one interaction and you can see this is a person just like you, a lot of the prejudices will diminish.

But it can’t always be a kumbaya moment and at some time you will have to pick a side; you can’t always straddle the fence.

I’m old enough and deep south enough to remember white and colored drinking fountains. How messed up was that? That, is not something you should have to pick a side on however. And whereas it is significantly better, it hasn’t gone away by any means.

We will always have prejudices.

In the grand scheme of things, the Civil War in the US wasn’t that long ago and it didn’t take much for us to throw down and start killing each other. That was pretty messed up too.

And the beat goes on

Evil is out there, but is it any worse now than it has always been? It’s more publicized, that’s for sure and more conducive to be sensationalized. And now people can go online and find out how to assemble their own weapons of mass destruction, but does that make it worse than it was?

And we have a lot more people on this planet. In 1960 the world population was 3 billion people; today, it is 7 billion. Out of 4 billion more people to deal with since the good ol’ days, there’s bound to be a nut job in there somewhere, right?

But even with all the crap going on around the world and still dealing with religion vs religion, neighbor vs neighbor, and country vs country conflicts and wars; there are still some really good people and it is not all doom and gloom. And that’s a fact.

Is there hope for humanity?

Here are six reasons why Cracked.com thinks there is hope for humanity.

True stories indeed.

Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

3 reasons insurance is a brilliant career choice

Wha? You kidding me; insurance? Tell somebody you are in insurance and that will certainly clear a room; what’s that smell, did somebody just fart? Will you check your shoes please?

Trust me, I’m a doctor; I wouldn’t pull your leg…or your finger.

Just hear me out, and then decide if I’m full of it.

Top 3 reasons why insurance rocks as a career

  • Everybody, let me repeat that, everybody is going to buy insurance. You might not like it, and you aren’t going to be showing it off at the cocktail party, but you will buy it.

Most don’t actively think about the role of insurance in our society unless you are working in it every day. But life as we know it would come to a standstill without it. No money would be lent, no construction projects started, no workers employed, no homes, boats, cars or factories built or purchased. No development of new life saving drugs. Nothing. Zilch. Nil. Nada.

See, there is an economic benefit so you better be nice to it. Did I mention everybody will buy it?

I buy my insurance from the gecko, doesn’t Warren Buffet own that company…or was that Jimmy?

The gecko and it’s ilk is just the very tip of the iceberg, here is a sample list of insurances available that will be purchased by someone: life, health, auto, house, boat, aircraft, property, glass & sign, flood, EDP, accounts receivable, valuable papers, crime, equipment, cyber, workers compensation, excess liability, professional, accident, truckers, dealers, cargo, and garage just to name a few.

Regardless of what the economy is doing, people and businesses will still be buying insurance and that totals up to a lot of policies and a lot of service required. The industry is huge and somebody has to work in it, right?

Somebody is saying cha-ching.

  • Insurance companies and agencies are a business. And guess what, they need people to work in this industry just like Ford, Google and Exxon. And not just any people, but the sharpest and brightest. Between technology and ever changing exposures and appetites for risk, the industry needs the best of the best, the youngest and the brightest.

The industry has done a very poor job of attracting talent; the majority of people getting into insurance do it by happenstance rather than seeking it out. The industry does a very poor job on the agency side too of not only attracting talent, but having the proper platform in-place to train them once they walk through the doors.

But I hate insurance, and I don’t want people to hate me. Yeah, they hate it until they need it, and then they can’t have enough of it. Can you say tough-love?

My point is, the industry is wide-open and it’s huge. And even though everything revolves around the insurance product, there are many, many more career fields that are applicable in this industry as well. Did you know…in addition to sales, the other career fields you will find are HR, management, marketing, IT, service, PR, social media, risk management, claims, claims management, actuarial, legal, and accounting to just name a few.

Well, why didn’t you say so…

Did I mention everybody will buy insurance?

  • It’s so confusing, how could I even think about learning every product? Because the industry is regulated, most in the industry has to have some kind of license or another. And because of this, there is more than ample opportunities to continue your education in addition to the on the job training always available. Most settle into a certain specialty as opposed to being a generalist.

Because the general public is loath to actually read a policy, what a great opportunity for someone to take the time and become proficient in their niche and be able to provide credible, clear and concise advice. The person who can do that is worth their weight in gold.

And did I mention all the other career fields you will find in this industry. Become proficient in that and know insurance… priceless

I hear you, so now convince me

If you are an extrovert and like people, do we have a spot for you. If you are an introvert and prefer being behind the scenes, do we have a spot for you. Bottom line, there is a place and job for everybody and every personality type. If you like numbers, technology, creativity, networking, any and all and some of the above, sign on the dotted line.

What is the next step

Preach it, if you know people who are struggling in the current job market, seek out the insurance companies and agencies with your skill set and see what is available.

Have patience, but it’s an industry the cream will truly rise to the top faster than most industries. And if you can show how your skill set will help their bottom line, the sky is the limit.

Not only do I have a marketing degree, but also a degree in risk management-insurance. Did you know my school of risk management-insurance had a 98% placement rate when I graduated? Well, now you do…

Most young adults probably don’t think it’s a cool profession, but once you get in you will see how much technology is involved and I can personally attest it can be a fun profession too.

Do you believe?

If you don’t, you should, the door is wide open and the water feels just right.

Did I happen to mention, everybody will buy insurance.

Bow wow, you really can teach an old dog new tricks


Hey, who are you calling an old dog?

If the shoe fits….

I used to be the young guy around my office, what the heck happened; did somebody fast forward the clock?

With age comes wisdom

In exactly 61 days from this post, I will be celebrating 30 years of employment with the same firm. Is that old-school or what? It must run in the family; my dad was with Minute Maid/Coca Cola for 40 years.

Doesn’t sound like I took too many risks along the way, does it? I didn’t get married until I was 27 but started on a family shortly thereafter. I am somewhat conservative by nature but being responsible for others, my family specifically, probably made me even more so.

Would your outlook change about work if you didn’t have a guaranteed paycheck? Out of approximately 70 employees in our corporation, there are currently 7 of us who have no income other than what our book of business produces. No guarantees. That is called 100% commission and it means for the last 25 years I have never, ever had two paychecks that were the same.

That sounds pretty risky for a conservative guy, doesn’t it?

That is why I have to laugh at times when I see certain guru’s online, these young whippersnappers who are so-called experts, telling me how to do it. Their motto really should be do as I say, not as I do.

Oh, they might have had some limited success along the way, but was it sustainable? If they were so successful, then why aren’t they doing it anymore? Do as I say, not as I do…

30 years, same job, commission only; I must be doing something right, you suppose? Or just too dumb to know any better.

However….comma….that is not to say I am too old and set in my ways that I can not still learn. In fact, I like to think I am more of a sponge and can still learn from each and every person I encounter. Some good, some bad, but it all can be processed to make me smarter.

There is usually good information in there somewhere, but sometimes you just have to take it with a grain of salt…whatever that means…

Something else I know

Sales is all about production; what have you done for me lately? You might have had a walk-off home run along the way, but if it wasn’t enough to walk away, then you have to get right back in the grind. Ideally you can parlay that shot into other opportunities, but as soon as you start to coast you are losing ground.

That sounds like hard work, you would think after 30 years at least you could slow down.

No rest for the weary and there are young bucks coming in every day taking shots at my accounts.

But that is what keeps me in the game, eager and willing to learn and know if I don’t at least get up to bat, I will never get a hit.

Age is just a number…

That’s what all the old people say…

I can assure you, the texture might look a little weathered, but Billy the Kid is who you will find inside.

For what it’s worth, my 9-point guide to new tricks

  • Be all in; if you are going to commit to something, give it all you have. Do what you said you would do.
  • Be persistent; not annoying, but stick with it.
  • The grass is usually not greener on the other side.
  • Be marketable; always continue to grow and learn to increase your worth to the organization and to yourself.
  • Make the ask; otherwise, don’t complain if you don’t get what you want.
  • People really do remember how you made them feel; work on making it a positive experience.
  • Don’t assume I know what you do; own it and tell me who would benefit from it. How can I help you?
  • Say please and thank you; that will never get old.
  • Finally, you don’t have to be the smartest person in the room; just smart enough.

Almost as good as my eat less, exercise more wisdom, huh? It never is rocket science, it just seems everybody wants to put a new or different twist to it.

My lap around the track

My first quarter was very solid; but that was only one lap around the track. If I’m going to break Bannister’s mile record I will need to keep this pace for the next 3 laps as well. That means keeping my eye on the ball (hey wait a minute, I thought you were talking about track…). That also means my social activities online will be intermittent. But it’s ok because I am in a good place online and off, so it’s still good to be me.

How is your year shaping up; are you still keeping your eye on the ball?

You will probably notice I use quite a few sports analogies in my writings; since I was never going to be a pro athlete, maybe writing about it would have been a good avenue for me. Nah….I’m where I’m supposed to be; I have the greatest job in the world…really.

Please retweet this post at 7:34 am EST

Sunset

I am a member of Dino and Dan’s Triberr, the greatest blog amplification platform going; me and my 1,195 tribemates with a reach of 25,702,526 as of 7:34 am January 31, 2013.

25 cents is not a lot of money, is it? What if I could get my Triberr reach of 25,702,526 each to send me a quarter? Heck, I would even be willing to pay postage if it would move this along. Now that would be cool……..PO Box 468 Lakeland, Fl 33802.

My question is, how come when I wake up in the morning and check my mentions in Hootsuite, this is when I find the bulk of my posts have been retweeted through Triberr? Wassup widat? Do I need to pony up to Dino and see if I can get a better time slot?

How in the world am I going to be the next big thing if my epic posts are being retweeted when the majority of the social world is sleeping?

Therefore, if you aren’t going to send me the quarter then I’m at least asking for the optimal time slot, as we all know analytics tells us 7:34 am is the optimal social sweet spot for sharing. I’m looking for maximum effect, not Chinese drip water torture.

Seriously, how hard can that be?

Is that your foot in your mouth?

Ok, I can still be a social media doofus.

Remember those 1,192 tribemates I mentioned? Well, that comprises 20 tribes. That’s a lot of blogs and posts to keep track of.

Trying to be the socially acceptable guy that I am and witty too, most times I will share my tribemates post without reading it just so I can get it out. I will look at the title and Triberr lets you see the first couple of sentences, so I try to play off that.

Dorman’s lazy; shocking, huh?

I know that can be a huge no-no as you never know what you might be pimping when you don’t know the content. I don’t retweet everyone of my tribemates and usually stick to my core of trusted and consistent friends. However, I see others outside of this circle retweeting me so I try to return the favor at times.

I have been burned a few times trying to be witty usually at the most inappropriate time, or being totally off topic with my witty comment attached, but man did I really get toasted this week.

First of all, due to the sheer volume, I don’t think many of my followers are eagerly anticipating my tweets just so they can read who I’m pimping. My guess is most tweets are pretty invisible. I love you guys and willing to share, but this is the reality of this little game.

Because I liked a particular title, I retweeted the post ‘You are what you think about all day long.‘ Being a guy, I should have known better but did not take the time to open it. So of course, one of my IRL female friends decided to read this and tweets back to me it was a little much for her.

Uh oh, maybe I better go read this.

Sumbich, not only was it about sex, it got pretty explicit in a Hustler kind of way, not Playboy.

Did I tell you I was trying to brand myself more through my blog?

Needless to say, I decided not to link this particular post because I need to let that sleeping dog lie at this point. It’s a good thing this is the internet though, otherwise everybody might be able to see it.

Lesson learned?

Probably none; if I have to read each and every post I retweet I would only be sending 2-3 out a day. I’m ok with the people I know so maybe I’ll stick to that for now. If you would prefer I stop the silliness or not retweet without reading your post please let me know and I will abide by your wishes. That much I can do.

It’s probably a good thing I’m charming, lovable and harmless, huh? You wouldn’t believe how many hall passes I get because of that. I really do have some redeeming qualities….really….

I might have been born Wednesday, but it wasn’t last Wednesday.

So, will you please retweet this at 7:34 am EST?

Are you afraid to fail?

Maybe not afraid, but want to position myself so I have options; instead of burning all my boats, hiding at least one in the weeds.

Well, that won’t get you anywhere sir; you are likely to be mired in mediocrity for the rest of your life then.

I just don’t want to outkick my coverage like I did in my marriage so I’m sensitive to this.

Do you know professional baseball players fail more than 7 out of 10 opportunities at bat? Does your job allow those kind of results? Swing away Merrill.

I was listening to a sports radio show and they had Joe Flacco’s college coach on the air talking about their relationship. Joe will be the starting quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens when they play in this year’s Super Bowl. Joe was a lightly regarded quarterback at essentially a non-football school and not many expected him to have much success; certainly not as a pro quarterback. However, he is the only pro quarterback in the history of the NFL who has won 6 road playoff games. He’s taken his team to the playoffs every year he has been in the league. I would say he has been successful.

He was visiting his college coach and the coach asked him “Joe, when kids come through here and ask about you, how you did it, what should I tell them?’ It only took him a few seconds to respond, he said “I was not afraid to fail.”

Wow, I guess he’s burning all the boats then.

Would you jump off a cliff?

Does your life situation dictate how bold you might be, or if you have that mindset, does it even matter where you are in life?

What if you have a wife, kids, a mortgage, and car payments and you are about 10 years into that gig? Are you apt to be as bold then?

I think we know the answer; most will say ‘no.’

You certainly want to be able to provide for your family and if your boldness puts that at risk, would it make you think twice before taking that leap? Knowing you are in a rut and something needs to be done, but also knowing it could be disastrous for your family, are you being selfish to even consider it?

It sure would be a much easier decision if it was only you that you had to worry about, huh?

Can you do both?

Most don’t set out to fail and sometimes factors out of your control like being laid off dictates what your survival mode looks like. Sometimes it’s not pretty because it looks a lot like desperation. But then again, if you are so desperate you have nothing to lose…who knows…

I see some in social trying to gain momentum hopefully building up a sustainable online business so you can tell the boss man to “take this job and shove it.” Most aren’t quite ready to make that leap and that is why they haven’t burned all of the boats; but is that holding you back? Does common sense take away some of your boldness?

Better to be pro-active and have a marketable skill-set I suppose; it usually works out much better when you control your destiny as opposed to leaving it in someone else’s hands.

Where do you draw the line?

How bold is bold? How deep is deep?

I’m in outside commercial insurance sales, I know what failure looks like and even though I’m a grizzled veteran at this point those defeats hurt now just as bad as they ever did. I also know what success looks like too however, and it makes getting up every day and going into work worthwhile.

Whereas I am an owner at Lanier Upshaw, I am not the owner and at this point, never will be. About 10 years into this gig I could tell just by the way the transfer of ownership was going I would never be the guy. That was my crossroads to decide if I ever want to do my own thing, now was the time to cut the cord. However, by then I was that guy who was married with children, a mortgage and two car payments. If I walked away I would be completely starting over from ground zero.

I couldn’t pull the trigger, but in hindsight I can say I did not make a bad decision. Even though I do not have a guaranteed paycheck as I live on 100% commission, I have never missed a paycheck. And I will say, insurance has been a pretty sweet gig for me.

If someone was considering choosing sales for a career, insurance would be my choice. Everybody is going to buy it….and it renews, again and again.

I have total freedom to come and go as I please in my job and don’t have to get down in the weeds with operational and management decisions. And there really is no cap on how much money I can make, so just show up, right? Sounds like my MO anyway.

I truly have the best job ever; was I afraid to fail?

Treat your blog like the dog that it is

Woof.

Are you a dog or a cat person?

Cats certainly are more self-sufficient, but come nowhere close to the unconditional love a dog will give you. Is your blog self-sufficient, or could it use some attention so it will provide your readers with unconditional love?

Is your blog man’s best friend?

I’ve been in this game long enough to see which blogs do a really good job of being welcoming, happy to see you kind of blog. And I see the ones that push, push, push with little regard as to the stickiness; they are on a mission and need to keep pumping this stuff out. Every day.

Self-sufficient indeed, but where’s the love?

Guess what? They are both effective in their own way and it really depends on your mission.

Do you want to feed your ego, or feed your wallet?

And speaking of wallet, if you were to guess, who do you think is making real money in social these days; who are the top 2 per-centers?

And what is real money? Do you think a sustainable 6-figure income puts you in that category?

Would you walk away from a 6-figure income working for someone else to become a solo-preneur in social; would you jump off that cliff because you think it has that much potential and surely you can crack the code and do better than most on your own?

Oh, I think the potential is there, but why would someone want to give up a 40-50-hr week for an 80-hr week at probably 1/2 the pay if not less?

Maybe it’s because it would be doing something you love, huh?

What does the economy have to do with it?

A lot, and I can tell you exactly when the tide turned because what fuels our revenues at Lanier Upshaw is a direct reflection of how healthy the businesses we insure are doing. Yes, there were some industries who lagged behind, but eventually it pretty much caught up with everybody.

It was the 4th quarter, 2007. That was when our cheese was moved.

We were rock-n-roll up to that point and going global…..ok, maybe regional, but we had some grandiose plans indeed. We have been digging out of a hole ever since, but happy to say the line was drawn in the sand at the end of 2011.

And any astute business owner will tell you cash is king; and fortunately we were in a good cash position when the shit hit the fan sands started shifting.

What did that look like?

Ugly at times.

I saw more businesses either close or become shells of what they used to be; I saw more people lose their jobs and/or houses than I cared to see; and I had a strong feeling we weren’t in Kansas anymore.

I also saw many turn to social out of necessity, hoping it would keep them afloat. Yes, social is here to stay and there are plenty of opportunities, but for most it’s not like printing money. It’s more like a real job and it can be damn hard too.

But for some after they got past the pain of the life lesson learned, it has been fulfilling and successful enough to keep you going.

Why the dog analogy?

Well, I’m hoping my blog will treat me like my dog would. Even though I have neglected it somewhat lately, you should have seen it wagging its tail when I walked back in the door. It was like I never left. Talk about unconditional love indeed.

But I do realize if I don’t walk it regularly, I will still have to clean up the pee and poop regardless of how well I trained it. I would rather spend my time doing something productive.

As I inch along.

Ok, I’ve satisfied the ego thing I suppose; I have some of the best and nicest friends in here anyone could ask for. So, I guess that leaves the wallet, huh?

I don’t want to just push, push, push as that’s not my style. But since I have invested the time in learning how the game works in here, I would like to devote more time to branding Billy D as it relates to my business and ultimately that might mean more green backs, right?

It might take a while, as nobody has ever accused me of being the sharpest tack in the box; but Rome wasn’t built-in a day either.

There is no right way or wrong way, only your way.

Who let the dogs out?

Woof.

May I have the keys?

It is an honor and privilege to have Erin Feldman back in the house for second time. She previously guest posted The Blessing of Rejection way back on September 22, 2011 and had over 100 comments. It was a lively couple of days indeed.

Recently, I jokingly told her I was giving her my blog and was going to throw her the keys; it was the inspiration for this post.

Here’s my friend Erin’s story; enjoy.

Erin Feldman

May I Have the Keys?

“May I have the keys?” may be one of the most dreaded questions parents face. Personally, I never asked my parents for the keys. My dad’s Bronco was a death trap, and what sixteen-year-old wants to drive around in the family van? No, thank you. I may not have been the popular kid, but I didn’t need to defame myself further by showing up to events in the big, brown van. I had some sense of self-preservation.

“Will you need the keys?” is equally problematic. It isn’t that I can’t drive other people’s cars; I drive a standard, which means I can transverse the world of automatics and standards. (Try not to ask me to do so. I have a strange, rebellious sort of pride when it comes to being able to drive a standard. It’s akin to being a Mac girl or boy. I may use a PC when I must, but I’m going to lob scathing remarks at the computer the entire time.)

I think question causes some anxiety because I’ve been asked to be responsible for someone else’s possession. What if I crash into something? What if someone or something (A deer? At the infamous deer crossing?) runs into the car? What if I’m not supposed to be driving the vehicle because the owner doesn’t have the right kind of insurance? What if I leave my insurance card at home, and I’m pulled over because the owner’s car has a broken taillight?

How many of those things actually will happen? Not many, if any. Breathe. Calm down.

Still, the question is a little worrisome, especially when the keys go to something other than a car. A blog? Bill’s blog? He wants me to take it for a spin? Well, well. Let’s see what I can do. Maybe I can write in a different style than usual. Maybe not. I’m told I have a unique voice, which I suppose is a desirable thing. It makes it a little hard to hide, though.

Olly, olly, oxen free…

Sometimes, it’s nice to hide. It’s good to break away from one’s usual style. It’s easier to do in a creative work, such as a short story or poem. A business blog? A different matter entirely. The voice has to be recognizable. It may evolve over time, but it needs to have a constant thread, something that makes it, it. I guess I have it, but I push against it at times.

Sometimes, “it” irritates me.

Sometimes, I become so irritated with “it” that I write something “wild.” It’s a concept one of my poetry professors used in a workshop. We had to write a poem that was as unlike our usual style as possible. I had had enough with the “Erin poem” comments, so I went wild. My usual style is short: short lines and short poems. When I went wild, I wrote a long poem. I wrote long lines. I wrote a satirical epic about my high school – complete with dumbstruck knights and nasty queens.

I haven’t been able to repeat the style. I don’t think I would like to repeat it.

Once was enough. The energy required to write as someone other than myself may be fun and may cause me to grow as a writer, but continually writing in response to comments about voice and style is a good way to wither quickly. No one can keep that sort of pace. A writer needs rhythm. A writer needs to do the work, but it’s hard to do it if the writer constantly changes the requirements. Some structure is needed. Sometimes, though, sometimes it’s nice to borrow the keys and to take a spin in someone else’s car or blog.

That. Is. All.

About Erin: In brief: I am a writer, poet, artist, and writing coach. I am the person behind Write Right, a business dedicated to helping you tell your story. I help you tell that story through an emphasis on writing right (I believe you have to know the rules before you can break them.) and creativity. Stories can be told in a variety of ways. Words are one way. Images are another.