What is Your Exit Strategy?

Well, chronologically March 4th is the 4-year anniversary of this blog but since I have been persona non grata for close to a year it might be a stretch to think this post as an anniversary. However, it was interesting to go back and see what post numero uno (that’s Spanish if you want to look it up in Google translate) was about and what was on my mind at the time. If you are curious at all, here is that bad mofo (that’s French I think).

With writing like that the internet world must have suffered a significant setback when I left, huh?

What does any of this have to do with an exit strategy?

No kidding, right; looks like you are they guy who leaves through the back door without telling anyone goodbye.

The reality is, I am of the age that I should probably start putting some thought into this process instead of just walking out the door at work and expecting everything to just fall into place. Of course, that’s pretty much my MO, to just show up, so why should this be any different?

The truth is, my job is probably not different than most in that some days I am ready to walk out right now, no questions asked. Then there are other days where I feel I could easily do another 10. I am somewhere in between leaving right now and probably closer to 10, but then again I had a pretty kick ass start to this year so we will see how long that euphoria can carry me I suppose.

Part of the reason I am leaning more toward the 10 number is that my wife has already said I won’t be sitting around the house, and if she says it then it’s probably true and unless one of you want to take me in I better just keep showing up at the office.

Looking back

When I reminisce and reflect on my life the easy thing for me to do is to break it down in 10 year increments. 10 years is not a long time, but to put it in perspective I remember how much I enjoyed my 10 year old birthday party with my friends and only 10 years later I was celebrating my 20th with Uncle Sam in the woods at Ft Benning, Georgia.

During that 10 year stretch not only did we move away from the home town I grew up in, my parents divorced and I came of age I suppose.

As much as we take comfort in the routine at times, life is all about change, and a lot can happen in just 10 short years.

In the 4 years since I took the pledge and became active in the social arena there has been quite of bit of change. There have been some consistent Steady Eddie’s but then there have been more who just became tired and threw in the towel like me. It’s just online it’s more visible to all.

Every journey can be a learning process and would like to think I smelled the roses along this journey as much as I could. My circle of friends certainly expanded.

Looking forward

What does the future hold in store? Who the heck knows and when you listen to what is going on in the world around us it can be certainly scary at times. But I usually just compartmentalize it and put it on the back burner because it’s all out of my control anyway.

What I can do though, is to sit down and map out what I would like to see the next 10 years look like for me. Not only financially, but what in the heck I am going to be doing with myself to keep it interesting and fun (I’m still very big on fun).

Fortunately at work we have some tools at our disposal that will allow me to do just that. Things will always be fluid because life events dictate it, but at least I will have a road map to get me headed in the right direction on this journey.

Have you peaked?

Some people who were cool and popular peaked in high school. That wasn’t me fortunately because I was never as cool as I thought I was, and would like to think that peak is still out there somewhere.

Maturity allows for wisdom and most will say I am not mature at all but chronologically it allows me to be reflective and feel I have become more open-minded and less judgmental these days and happy and thankful for my lot in life.

That’s a good thing, right?

Well, enough rambling for now; I’m not making any promises but I’m sure I will at least remain in the somewhat invisible lurking mode for the immediate future. And you know what the man with the glass eye said when he removed it, “I’ve got my eye out for you,” so behave out there you kids and don’t forget to have some fun.

3 absolutes mountain biking will teach you

The hand

Tru dat…

Even though I am a flatlander living in Central Florida, there are actually some pretty decent mountain biking trails pretty close to my crib. Most of these have been created from the remnants of the phosphate mining industry and the mountainous stacks of sand and dirt they left behind. I haven’t had the luxury of trekking on any true mountain biking trails and it might be like comparing snow skiing in North Carolina vs Colorado, but it gives me all I can handle.

Mountain biking/trail riding was something I always had an interest in and even tried it a few times with a tweener bike, but if you are going to do it proper you really need the right equipment and of course it takes somewhat of a financial commitment to get there.

After using a loaner for several months and knowing this was more than a passing fancy for me, I bit the bullet and bought the real deal. It was love at first site; even though my new girl friend can be quite contrary at times.

Even though I’m just a little over a year into this thing, there are some certain truisms I feel I can share at this juncture with some authority.

The 3 truths mountain biking taught me

  1. You will wreck; not every time you hit the trail but trust me, you will crash and burn. And everybody I talk to has either crashed and burned or knows someone who has. I know people who have quit riding just because of the wrecks; hmmm, should that be a sign?

Skill level doesn’t matter either; in fact, the better the rider usually the more spectacular the crash.

The crashes can occur when you least expect it too, on areas you would think as non-hazardous. I don’t know if it’s lack of concentration or what, but my 3 nasty spills were on very nondescript areas you would normally have little to no trouble negotiating.

And maybe it is my age, but every big crash is just like a mini-car wreck; you definitely feel it for several days afterwards. And do you know how hard it is to get a tired ass adult body off the ground?

2.  Your fitness level will increase substantiallyIf it doesn’t kill you first. 

Since I have started I have dropped 10+ lbs; then again, some of that weight is from the skin I have lost skidding along the trail…:). Of course, the 100% Florida humidity and middle of the afternoon riding does its part to help too. Just make sure you bring plenty of water.

I am probably about 5-7 lbs from my ideal weight and all my vitals are in the better than average range, so for an old fart like myself, this should be worth something, right?

As long as I don’t have to look at you on the beach.

Beach? Well, between the cuts, scabs, scrapes and bruises I’m not exactly Mr Body Beautiful, but at least I am in shape. Maybe I will just plan on retiring the Speedo then if I’m asked to leave the beach.

3.  It will replace other hobbies you have.

My hobby du jour prior to mountain biking was golf; and it is not necessarily that I was looking to replace golf on my schedule, but now with two broken hands I have not been real eager to grab a club and swing it around for 18 holes. Fortunately I have just enough grip strength in both hands to still ride my bike.

That’s just crazy talk. 

How long can this last?

Who knows, I am still enjoying it and have come to realization it’s like a NASCAR race every time I go riding; sometimes you will finish the race and some times you will get tangled up and kiss the wall or flip upside down.

Personally, I feel my skill level has increased tremendously since I have started riding and truly did not expect to be picking myself up off the dirt like I have lately, but I think it’s an anomaly and not the norm. At least that is what I keep telling myself.

Or either I am just too thick headed to know when to quit; which is a very distinct possibility.

In summary

I think it’s a great hobby and diversion from the normal ways to stay fit. Yes, you can be safe and remain on the flat beginner trails or you can venture out to the more difficult ones. At the end of the day I would recommend you try it at whatever level you are comfortable with, and if you buy a really expensive bike and decide afterwards it is not your cup of tea, just let me know as I might be in the market to take it off your hands.

Happy trails to you. 

Until we meet again.

Older yes, but bolder than dirt

Technically, dirt is 3.9 billion years old. However, the dirt that is in your backyard has only been around for about 2 million years; a mere babe in the grand scheme of things, huh?

August 10th is my birthday and even though it’s not a milestone birthday it’s knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door…:). I only mention this, because now it’s to the point the remaining milestone birthdays are not as cool to bring attention to anymore.

No need to divulge which milestone, but I definitely know what a rotary dial phone is.

The reason I use this analogy as the topic of my post is because my nephew just turned 15 and we were sitting around the table at his party talking about the upcoming birthdays in the family, and of course the inevitable how old are you going to be was directed at me. When I mentioned my age the inevitable dirt reference was made. Therefore, I Googled how old dirt was just to make sure I can speak from authority.

Because if it’s on the internet it has to be true; right?

Birthday’s are cool

I like birthdays. Out of all my milestone birthdays with the exception of the 20th, they all have been memorable. I was in the Army on my two-O and whatever I did to celebrate it, I don’t recall it being special. In fact, if I recall anything it was being deeply entrenched in the woods on a 28 day training exercise. The highlight of the entire trip was being able to clean up by jumping in a river on our next to last night out there. Other than my fatigues, I threw all my other clothes in the trash when we returned to base.

As an aside, whereas it might look like camping, in the military there are no camp fires, no booze, and no fun because you are playing pretend war the whole time. Serving was probably the best thing for me at that point in my life, but it also strongly enforced considering other career choices might be a good thing for me.

You’ll never get rich digging a ditch, you’re in the Army now…

Anyway, being the self aware guy that I am, my wife has totally surprised me on every milestone birthday since then. I mean every single one caught me totally by surprise. She has a year to work on the next one, but I will be ok if if it doesn’t garner any undo attention.

But age is only a number

Physically, I was a late bloomer but have always been somewhat athletic. To me, it seemed I was always about 2-3 years behind my age group where I needed to be physically to compete on real teams. So hence the frustrated athlete still trying to show I’ve got what it takes.

Of course, the older I get the better I was, huh? Maybe if I wanted it bad enough I would have put more time into it.

Anyway, I mention this because to this day most of my activities involve play. For about 15 years you could catch me at the YMCA playing basketball during lunch; after two knee surgeries I moved on to running to stay closer to the ground. Also during this entire time I was playing adult softball, tennis and golf.

The point being, fitness and fun have always been a part of my life and for being older than dirt, I feel like I am still in pretty good shape.

My new girlfriend

My Scott mountain bike of course.

Even though it was love at first site I can share she hasn’t been the best of girlfriends. I try to treat her like a queen and with respect, but sometimes she just gets ornery and becomes difficult at times. This certainly has nothing whatsoever to do with the operator, it’s strictly her temperament.

I have actually become a pretty decent rider (in my own humble opinion) but the last two weekends she has been a bucking bronco and thrown me to the ground twice; hard. I’ve got more scabs, dings and nicks than a goofy 8-yr old riding a bad bike with a loose chain on a bumpy gravel road being chased by an angry dog.

Whereas it used to be cool to share my biking adventures on Facebook I am now reluctant to do so. My wife sees everything I share and she is quick to point out how dangerous my hobby is and somebody of my age doesn’t need to be doing foolish things on a silly bicycle.

Personally, I think she’s jealous and wants me to break up w/ my girlfriend.

Can you be too old to mountain bike? I think I’m still athletic and coordinated enough to be a skillful rider but given the terrain there is always bound to be some bumps and bruises, right? I might not be a pretty site on the beach with band-aids and scabs, but I’m long past the days those kind of looks really matter. I have lost 10 lbs since I have been riding though.

What do you think? Is there a point where your participation in an inherently hazardous sport preclude you from participating solely because or your age?

I don’t know if you have seen the #8Fact app, but one fact says research concludes doing things that scare you will make you happier. Yes, some of the trail riding scares the beejesus out of me but also comforted I have the skill set to accept the challenge. And I have even been given the moniker of Mr Happy, so maybe it’s true.

My biggest fear?

If I grow up, then I really will grow old…and that’s the truth.

How about you; are you out there doing things at your age your parents would have never done?

Life is short, don’t be afraid to live it large.

Now I know how Hootie must have felt

Hootie who? Hey, where did everybody go?

You know, Hootie and the Blowfish. And no, Darius Rucker was not Hootie even though he was the front man for the band.

There was a period of time, this band was the hottest thing around. What started out as essentially a garage band playing on college campuses blew up big time. How big?  Big as a blowfish

In interviews, they will tell you this was not their end-game and all the fame and fortune was somewhat surprising for them. They would have been perfectly content to keep playing smaller, more intimate venues while flying under the radar.

And then they were gone….

Did they run out of talent?

My guess would be no; maybe they just ran out of fresh ideas or desire once they hit the big time.

I know how they feel.

Back in the day when I was wildly popular and some considered me the next big thing, all I could see were clear, sunny skies on the horizon. It was incredible; there were some days I would have thousands er, uh hundreds several visitors a day and it was becoming a real challenge to maintain my lofty status because the bar had been set so high.

Where did they all go?

Well, I certainly didn’t become less talented; maybe I did get a little fat and lazy because the success came so easy to me….ok, ok maybe a lot fat and I have lazy down to a science.

But I still like to perform

Darius Rucker still goes out on the road and is perfectly content to perform for significantly smaller crowds, in fact he prefers it that way.

Of course, I would be content too if I hadn’t blown all my money I made in here the first time around.

There is a big difference doing something because you love it versus doing something because you have to and are desperate. And the smell of desperation is similar to stale BO, not a pleasant smell indeed and very noticeable.

But you didn’t pay your dues

What?

I was hangin’ and bangin’ with the best of them….ok, maybe not hanging with them but some actually knew me by name.

Well, that and $5 will get you a cafe latte at Starbucks. 

Let me ask you this question; do you like to read, listen to music? I certainly do, and think I am pretty good at both. It might not always be culturally correct material, but I can still do it with the best of them.

But just because I am really good at doing both does not mean I have the same level of talent on the production side. About the only instrument I could play would be a kazoo or a cow bell and even though I can write a blog post doesn’t necessarily mean I should, huh?

Did I say I was lazy?

I’m sorry if I disappointed you

I know you expected me to maintain my greatness, but I found it so hard to keep running with the big dogs. I was either going to have to start drinking much more heavily than I do now, quit my job, or start my own meth clinic like Walter White.

Therefore, that is the main reason I have decided to slide back into relatively obscurity; content to play the smaller venues and have the occasional patron come up and say “didn’t you used to be somebody?”

One thing I do know, if you set the bar low enough you will never be disappointed.

No wonder everybody left

Hopefully you know this is a tongue in cheek post, much ado about nothing.

The real genius behind this post was the fact my efforts last week looked like it might be my first where there was a real chance of not having a single comment.

And guess what? I didn’t freak out or rail against the social hierarchy for not including me on one of their lists or for never stopping by to visit.

Other than for my obvious brilliance I should expect no less considering how little effort I have tried to maintain any semblance of a social presence these days.

Maybe I’ll just stick to my reading and listening of music knowing I was destined to be a better consumer than a producer. Somebody’s got to buy this stuff, right?

Is this the one?

Let’s see if this gets less play than my last post; if it does, I will toast it, roast it, but certainly not boast it and just find somewhere else to be awesome for awhile.

Just remember, fame is fleeting so make sure you are well grounded to minimize the drama which allows you to just be your awesome self. I know I try to, hope you do too.

Ok, I’ll stop typing before you are tempted to grab a ballpoint pen and stick it in your ear…provided you got this far down the page.

I hope your summer is going well; mine is….see ya….

My wife barely tolerates my girl friend

Bike

You thought I was going to go Donald Sterling on you and talk about how I flaunt my girlfriend in public in front of my wife, didn’t you? I will go one better, my girlfriend lives with me; albeit she has to stay in the garage.

I don’t even know her name, but I think I am in love.

Because I became semi-obsessed with her, it was my wife who dubbed her my girlfriend.

Yes, I am talking about my new trail bike.

It hasn’t been a perfect relationship however

But how many relationships are; just like any relationship worth having it takes a lot of understanding, patience and communication.

Then why did she throw you off 3 times already?

The good news is that I have been on the deck 3 times now after the broken hand incident but still back in the saddle riding; all were really rider error so I will have to shoulder most of the blame. There is a fine line in trail riding between too aggressive and not aggressive enough. In my unprofessional opinion, more wrecks occur being tentative than from being too aggressive. I mean everybody can ride a bike, right? You just have to channel your 8-years old instincts…..

Why are your shins so dinged up; it must not be all smooth sailing

Tru dat.

Apparently there are some adjustments to be made on a new bike after you have broken it in and even though I thought we were still in the honeymoon phase, my chain has slipped at the most inopportune time causing me to bang a shin and/or a knee. I have taken her to the shop twice for adjustments and even though the situation isn’t totally resolved if I keep my fat ass on the seat so the chain isn’t bouncing around as much when I hit terrain it is less likely to happen.

So why doesn’t your wife approve?

She said if I ever brought anybody home they damn sure better be able to cook and clean. Well not only does my girlfriend not cook and/or clean she is obviously getting all of the attention right now.

As I was trying to convince my wife a trail bike was a good investment for me because my window of opportunity for trail riding had a shelf life, she was quick to remind me she felt my window of opportunity for this has already come and gone.

Well I never….

Since I am the sole breadwinner in our family, it’s all or nothing. Since I am worth about 3 times as much dead as I am alive my wife doesn’t want any in between. Either I am upright and answering the bell everyday or I better be pushing up daisies…:).

Nah, I’m sure she’s just teasing; how can she not want to live with Mr Wonderful.

For better or for worse…

What is this post about?

I guess you are looking for some kind of positive take-away, huh?

Me too, so get in line.

I will close by saying if you find something you really like whether it be business or personal related; then what’s the problem with being all in, because that is where I am with my trail riding right now.

Sounds like an obsession…

Close, and I imagine there is a fine line between hobby and obsession. However, I have been all in with softball, running, weight lifting, rec basketball, reading, golf, tennis and online social at one time or the other throughout my adult life so there does appear to be a pattern.

For the athletic ones, usually injuries got me moving on to try something else, but at least it made me try other things.

This is what happens when you never grow up; maybe it’s good and maybe it’s not, but what are you going to do when your wife barely tolerates your girlfriend?

 

 

4 ways mountain biking mimics your day job

Take one guess what my newest hobby is; and it’s not bowling?

I have been interested in mountain biking for quite sometime. Even though Florida has no mountains they do have some interesting terrain where phosphate mining occurred at one time. However, it wasn’t until a friend loaned me his old trail bike after he purchased a new one that got me hooked.

And yes, you can roll out there with an off the shelf bike from Walmart for about $300 but I will attest, having the proper equipment makes a big difference. Therefore, it took a lot of research until I found the right deal and the right bike for me, but very happy with my new rig.

Yes, I have already crashed and burned once causing a broken hand but that was on the loaner; the silver lining, it also gave me plenty of down-time to properly search for the right bike however.

And that leads me to the topic of this post; how many times have you crashed and burned in your business life, what did you learn from it, and did the experience help you grow?

You have to walk before you roll

Trees, roots, rocks, sand, mud, hills, turns and sometimes critters are all objects you will encounter on the trail. Some of it is pretty benign and some of it is oh crap

How often in life, particularly in business do you have to deal with real obstacles and how do you handle them?

Since I have taken a hard fall once I am still somewhat cautious, especially on new, unfamiliar terrain; but at some point you just have to throw caution to the wind and let ‘er rip. That is where practice and training comes in because it will give you the confidence to take on more technical trails along the way.

How many of you practice for your job? Professional athletes train and practice all the time, they don’t just show up and play. How about you, are you really practicing and growing, or are you just showing up to play?

If someone is paying you to play (even if it’s yourself), don’t you think you should do all you can to be the best player on the team?

But it’s just a job…

4 lessons from trail riding you can use in business as well 

1. Confidence – the more I ride the more confidant I become. Each time pushing myself a little bit more, I find that confidence breeds confidence. The training and practice makes me better each and every time.

2. Perseverance – Yes, there are times I fall down, bang a tree, slip a chain; but each and every time I get back up and keep moving forward. If I decided to quit because of one setback what kind of message am I sending to myself? How many times are you willing to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep on going?

3. Growing – It gets me out of my comfort zone; when you crest a hill and see the path go straight down with roots and rocks along the way, it’s your moment of truth because once you commit to it that back brake becomes virtually useless. Yes, it takes my breath away at times but it is a good kind of scary. Sometimes you need that good kind of scary, a feeling of accomplishment when you step out of your comfort zone, to grow and succeed in your business life. At times, it feels like you are jumping off a cliff as you try to build your wings on the way down.

4. Handling adversity – you fall down and break your hand, skin a knee, break a pedal, snap a chain, run out of water, get eaten by a gator, get stung by a bee; and a good chance most of those will happen at one time or another, just hopefully not on the same day. Your attitude and how you handle adversity in dealing with these minor situations could go a long way for preparing you when similar calamities occur in your daily life. Tough lessons at times, but hopefully a learning lesson if nothing else.

We’re talking about a bicycle here, right?

Yep, just a bike; probably your primary source of transportation at one time in your life. As I told my wife (while I was trying to convince her it made sense for a 70 yr-old guy to invest in a new trail bike at that age) I could have picked a much worse hobby like dirt bike racing or professional hot dog eating or something like that; at least it is mostly healthy and gets me outdoors.

There are many activities where parallel life lessons can be learned and I chose this topic as my case study because I did crash and burn and it would have been very easy to take up couch potatoing at that point. But as Andy Dufresne so eloquently said in Shawshank Redemption, Get busy living, or get busy dying; I think I’ll choose living, especially if it involves fun too.

What do you think; what activities outside of work are you involved in that parallels every day living you can draw lessons from?

Until next time…

The 30-day naked classroom challenge

Made you look, didn’t I? Sorry, no nekkidity here today.

However, everybody has had the dream where you show up for class without any clothes on, right? Don’t be joshing me; I know you all have.

Don’t worry, you are saved, I certainly won’t be taking off my clothes here; but, if you feel like your life has become too predictable (I have) then I want to challenge you to get out of your personal space and comfort zone. 30-days in the title sounded better than 9 months but what I propose is finding at least one thing a month to do for 6-months or so that totally takes you out of your comfort zone.

Just one a month.

Suggested suggestions:

  1. Introduce yourself to 3 new people at a networking event
  2. Perform some type of public speaking/singing
  3. ASK somebody to do business with you…for pay
  4. Go to a restaurant you have never been to and order something unique off the menu
  5. Spend time around people more successful than you
  6. Say ‘yes’ to every single opportunity for a month, big or small
  7. Try a new hobby
  8. Pick a book totally outside your area of interest, and read it
  9. For a day, make eye contact and smile at everyone you see
  10. Visit a total stranger at a nursing home and take the time to learn their story

As you can see, there are a myriad of things you can do that make you feel just a little uncomfortable and can probably come up with plenty on your own.

Other than making me uncomfortable, what will this get me?

A new car? Not likely but it could if that is what is holding you back in sales and you might be surprised how it can subtly change your life and pull it out of those deep ruts. It’s bound to help you grow and by opening your mind it will expand your horizons.

If you feel like you are too predictable and stuck on square one this will provide just enough creative juices to give you the confidence to be bolder in everything you do.

Vanilla is a killah…

Confidence attracts.

But I won’t shave my legs

Why not? If it will take you out of the zone and get you out of a rut, run with it.

It sounds too silly to really work

Try it; if it doesn’t work and you haven’t changed a habit or two or phobia by the end of the year, I will guarantee your money back.

But I am afraid

Of course you are, but the only thing  we have to fear is fear itself, right? The real question is, what do you have to lose? Personally, I think the reward far exceeds the risks and it might be something you will continue each month thereafter.

The more you expand your horizons, the more interesting you become, the more interesting you become the more others like to be around you, the more others like to be around you the more you get invited for drinks and food; so how can this not be a win-win, huh?

And the results are:

If you are already doing this I would like to hear about it; whether you feel it makes your life more interesting. If not, are you willing to at least give it a try?

Here’s to full frontal nudity in a classroom of your peers; do I feel a draft in here?

And my fighting weight is….

You don't have to be perfect

Hey, who said I was a fighter? I know you think I’m probably an American Badass but Billy doesn’t do fisticuffs….I don’t want anybody messin’ up my grill.

Even though that could be a reasonable facsimile of me lounging on the beach, it’s kind of how I feel these days. Having a broken hand over the holiday season and still eating like each meal might be my last sure made my clothes shrink up. You know you are in trouble when you use a knife to punch one more hole in your belt instead of buying a new one.

Hey you old fart, nobody cares what you look like anymore; you’ve been invisible for sometime now. Ha, even though there is some truth to that, it’s a good thing I am fairly active and like doing athletic endeavors that allow me to indulge in tasty food.

But that’s not the point of this post, it’s actually about habits and routines and is it possible to get too comfortable? Change can be hard, but if you are not willing to get out of your comfort zone how can you possibly grow and thrive?

Look out below

When I crashed my bike, it was an accident in the truest sense; it happened so suddenly I had zero time to prepare. Subsequently, my hand took the brunt of the fall. Whereas I thought I’d be a fast healer and maybe down 6 weeks at the max, it is now 3 months and I still can’t grip a golf club (but can still grip a bike handle…:). Being right-handed, fortunately it was my left hand that was injured, but it still tilted my universe just enough to discombobulate me (how do you like that word Josh?) and I have felt off kilter the entire time my hand was in a cast.

In my working world, January 1 is a common renewal date for business insurance so December is always a very active time for me; add all the parties and social events, it can be a very busy end of the year indeed. Trying to get through it just felt like they were sending me into the fight with one hand tied behind my back.

I know, call the whaaaambulance like anybody cares, because my ills were incredibly minor in the big scheme of things. 

But on the other hand…

I have been feeling stale because it felt like my life was becoming too routine and wondering if it was holding my awesomeness back? Routine can make you lazy and predictable and not want to get out of your comfort zone; for some that’s ok and the more routine the better but then you end up sitting back on your heels waiting for something to happen and can only react instead of making something happen; and then you just have to take what you get, good or bad.

What is the happy balance; I don’t want to be that guy? But I also don’t want broken bones to shake my world up either.

Who cut moved my cheese?

Most know my chosen profession is commercial insurance sales. Yes, I said it, sales. If I don’t form a relationship where somebody is paying me, then mama don’t eat; and if mama don’t eat she’s not a happy camper and if she’s not a happy camper, then trust me, nobody is…:). 

Lanier Upshaw Inc has been and still is a somewhat tradtional and conservative insurance agency. We do a lot of things from a service platform that many of our local peers do not do which helps us stand out, but at the end of the day you won’t see us dancing in the streets with our party hats on.

Up until a year ago neckties were part of our dress code with a long sleeved dress shirt…in Florida no less. Allegedly, it can get pretty toasty and muggy in August in the F L A.

We do a pretty damn darn good job of taking care of our customers at Lanier Upshaw, Inc and we have some really talented people who routinely perform at a very high level. However, it seems like it’s a lot harder getting those new opportunities in the door and I’m definitely seeing a changing of the guard where my peer group is either retiring, or starting to think about it.

So, where do I fit in? I did lose the tie and now we call it professional casual but keep a sport coat handy because you never know when it’s going to be 98 degrees with 100% humidity, huh? Easier to dress down on the fly than to dress up I suppose.

I do see this as an excellent opportunity in a land where a lot of us insurance types are treated like vendors, to stand out and create an awesome brand and using a social platform to accomplish this. I’m still a big believer in the face to face networking, but is that becoming a thing of the past; is that too going the way of my necktie?

So who’s with me; who thinks this social platform is going have some legs and be around for awhile? Do you think this is a sound strategy, and if so, does anybody want to do this for me? I promise, I can show up with the best of them, and I can look really good when I just show up, right?

It’s kind of embarrassing to have been in social as long as I have and finally come to this conclusion, huh? I just didn’t think this stuff was going to stick and I certainly didn’t want to be a bandwagon type…:).

If I have to work too hard, I might change my mind but who knows, stranger things have happened I suppose.

Don’t worry, when I become Big Time I will still make eye contact and say hello.

Until next time…

 

Can you do 3 more?

Being social in the witness protection program

Happy anniversary baby, I got you on my mind…….

Back by popular demand…true story, last week I was at an event and a person I didn’t know came up and introduced himself to say he read my posts and really liked my Once you go black you never go back effort; whoa, you talkin’ to me?

That particular post was written over two years ago; maybe I was on the cusp of greatness and should have hung in there, huh? I coulda been a contendah….

Three years is a long time

Actually, the last 3 years seemed to have gone by pretty quick; heck, I did a 3-year tour in the Army and it seemed like 10.  I seem to be at the end of the toilet paper roll where the years start rolling off more rapidly now.

It could have been worse I suppose, I could have become rich and famous in the last 3 years and turned into a total A-hole and forgot about all my friends. Since that didn’t happen, I just re-upped for two more years with my billdorman.me Go Daddy account in case I ever decide to jump back on the hamster wheel full time. Go Daddy said I would get to meet Danica Patrick if I renewed, but that hasn’t happened yet; I believe they tricked me…

However, March 3rd, 2014 officially marks my 3rd year anniversary; I have to stop by the place every once in awhile to make sure my key still works but I have pretty much moved all the furniture out and had the power turned off not to incur any unnecessary expenses. Of course, this is a cheap free site so I never spent a lot of money anyway…:). There’s nothing wrong w/ saltines and ketchup dip; and the clowns I hang with in real life think this is a delicacy.

I used to leave the backdoor open for the strays that would show up, but just noticed the door has been taken off the hinges and since there is no food around anymore there is not much coming and going anyway.

It’s still one big party

For me it is at least, I thought I was going to get serious at one time but don’t know if I have it in me. Whatever online success I have had was because I loved the networking part, and just like in real life, I still do. It was a way to stay in touch with your friends, some more frequently than others, but you usually got a good feel for what was going on in their lives. Nobody was paying me for all this frivolity and if I would have found a way to make dollars happen it would have been pretty cool, but lack of pay has not really been the deciding factor on my level of activity.

Recently, I have been lucky enough to be selected as a Brand Ambassador from a friend for a book that is to be published shortly; and yes, the author had to increase the cutoff to 1001 requests to get me in, but this person has been the biggest influence on me regarding a social presence and regardless of my invisibleness I still know where to find her and for that I’m thankful. Also, reading this book has opened my eyes and rekindled the spark again so there might be a resurrection after all.

I’m just trying to figure out if I need to hedge my bets because I’m not sure if this internet thing is going to make it or not and how uncool will that be if it looks like I was just jumping on the bandwagon anyway?

I just wanted to say thanks

I’m not really a tech guy but I can be as dorky as the best of them. My strengths are people and the networking part and if that and $5.00 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks, then I’m all in; Venti Redeye for me please.

Until you’ve done this blogging gig, most outsiders don’t understand; but all the friendships I have made on this journey they are as real as real can be and I really appreciate it. For me, it has been time well spent.

What does the future hold?

Who knows, maybe better hair or a new car; or just appreciating all the talented friends I have access to on this platform.

All I would say is don’t form the line behind me just yet, and even though I might smell like I’m dead I just might have some life left in me yet.

Until next time…

‘Invisible’ in 2013 – outside looking in

The big revelation

Online social has survived without me; albeit barely I assume, but last time I looked it seems to still be here. Amazingly however, when I pulled the plug there was no hangover, no withdrawals; I certainly missed the banter and repertoire, but  didn’t miss the hamster wheel. Also, no one was clamoring for the next great piece of fiction I had threatened to write either…imagine that…

Secondly, it was way too easy to revert back to my extremely busy and ultra-exciting life I had before online social. If you don’t believe me, just check my Facebook posts…edge of the seat kinda stuff, huh?

Thirdly (is that a word Josh?), business-wise I am better off right now than I was at this point last year; but not by as much as I expected. I thought the distraction of social could have been holding me back; apparently, I have to now come up with a different excuse.

Please forgive me

I thought being frivolous and doing a blog for the fun of it was sustainable. It might be for some and probably could still be for me as long as I’m willing to set the bar so low anything is acceptable. If somebody had been paying me for my time then maybe a different story, but then again I guess that is what everybody is trying to figure out so welcome to the club pal.

If I tricked you into signing up or hanging out, I hope you felt enriched in some way by our acquaintance while you were here; I know I sure enjoyed having you around.

But what can I say, these times are a changin‘…..

The landscape has changed

I still see some of my original friends slugging it out, but quite a few have dropped back like me. Is it because the economy is better and people have gone back to traditional jobs or was it too much of an effort in futility?

Also, I don’t know if the new wave that is now jumping in are flocking to the blogs like my group of peeps used to but my guess is the numbers appear to be down. That’s just a Billy assumption however, no statistical data or Google research to back up that statement. I guess if I’m not around then that must mean nobody else is either…:).

What I did learn

You can pretty much go as high as you want and felt like even I was able to crack the code a little bit and rub elbows with some of the elite goober smoochers in here at one time.

Just like most jobs, you have the two-percenters who have figured it out and are very successful by all outward appearances. Then you have the majority that do well enough to hang around but never quite getting to the quit the day job status. We all want to be at the top of the rung, but the reality is at this point pretty much what you see is what you are going to get. Therefore, you better start buying lottery tickets ’cause this is as good as it’s going to get…just kidding; anybody who is in here is still willing to still learn and try to make something of this in some form or fashion. Congrats to those who are still making the effort.

Oh, and by the way it will also require getting out of your comfort zone…and some elbow grease if you want sustainable success.

For most, getting out of your comfort zone is akin to public speaking. Did you know the fear of public speaking ranks higher than the fear of death for most people? I just fear missing my next meal…

What I really learned

In the beginning…it was new, fresh and exciting. Even though we were all different ages, there was a certain neutrality because of the relative anonymity of social and it felt we were all somewhat the same age. Even a creepy old guy like myself felt like I belonged and could act as silly as I wanted.

Now that I’ve been away it’s making me feel my years and question if this is really a younger person’s game after all. It’s much easier to be a spectator at this point than an actual participant. Where is that Easy button anyway?

It looks like the social platforms are here to stay so I’m thankful I at least took the time to master social 101 I suppose. It is still a tremendous networking opportunity and you can even do it sitting around your living room in your skivvies while turning your fingers orange by eating Cheetos; how cool is that?

I coulda been a contendah….

Yep, suppose I coulda, huh; couldn’t we all?

Blowin’, goin’, and growin’…if anything it feels more like a holding pattern now and doesn’t feel like I’ve lost any ground. How about you, do you feel you are much farther along than you were at this time last year? What’s your one big thing for 2014?

Who’s going to make the cut?