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.

5 things I learned using a standing desk

Desk

I mean standing at work as in a standing desk, no chairs allowed.

One truism in my world of commercial insurance sales is that I don’t make any money sitting in my office at my desk; I need to be out and about among the masses to make it happen. Once, we had a sales manager who threatened to remove the chairs from our office so his troops would feel compelled to get out of the office.

Of course, when you are not in the office then they wonder where you are.
Sheesh……

Ha; if he could only see me now.

For over a year now I have been imitating a preacher and working from a platform that allows me to stand at my desk and not sit. It has been an interesting transition and there were some adjustments to make, but it appears it is no longer an experiment and I am in it for the long haul.

The primary reason I made the change was from a wellness standpoint; allegedly, sitting is the new smoking in terms of lifestyle choices that adversely affect your health. And I actually found this on the internet so therefore, it has to be true.

So what have your results been?

5 things I have learned being a walker preacher stander

1. At the end of the day, damn I’m tired; it feels like I have been on my feet all day. I say that facetiously, but sometimes it’s tru dat and I’m just tired.

2. You have to adjust your writing style. I went on the cheap and made my own platform (because I’m handy like that) but unfortunately, it’s one size fits all. If I’m writing something down or signing a letter it can be a little awkward in a subtle kind of way. If I need to sit I have to remove the box to still access my laptop. But, if this insurance gig doesn’t work out for some reason I suppose I can always try my hand at stand-up desk box building, right?

3. Be prepared to buy new clothes because you will lose massive amounts of weight. Ok, that’s pretty much a lie; I have lost 10 lbs but that’s from the sauna heat in Florida and my new hobby of mountain bike riding. If anything, it seemed to make me want to eat more, but it doesn’t take much for me to want to do that anyway so thank goodness I lead an active lifestyle or I would be buying new clothes.

4. Your co-workers will think you are a little off. Of course they already thought this, but if there was any doubt before, this was confirmation. My wife was concerned I would get fired over it. You become a zoo animal and people want to stop by to observe you working at your desk. Since I went out on a limb and started this trend, we have had one other convert in the office and probably 3-4 more ready to go if the corporation would set it up for them.

5. It helps your focus. For me at least, since I have to be somewhat organized to work from a platform it seems to have helped me stay on task when I am working on a particular project. It seems there is less time to get lost in the time-suck rabbit hole of the online world.

Has it been worth it?

For the most part, yes. I can’t say I have seen any measurable differences in my health, flexibility or fitness level since I started standing.

So maybe it’s not so much whether you sit or stand, it’s more about the activity.

My guess is, intense exercise can be good for your health, but I am of the opinion you can exercise in non-traditional ways too as long as you’re active. I also think if you have a network of people you can lean on this helps your mental/emotional well being which can be just as important.

Do I want to live to 100? Depends as I don’t have any set number in mind; my grandmother made it to 102 and she was relatively active up until the very end. I think your health is the key component and whatever age that might be when yo time is up, the healthier and more self-sufficient you can be the more you can enjoy the ride.

So who’s on board; we’re going streaking, who’s with me? 

 

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.

My top 10 best comments of the week

Some bloggers think it is advantageous to re-purpose their older posts because these prior endeavors were obviously literary works of awesomeness, but for some reason maybe didn’t get the full play they deserved. Well, I looked back through mine and believe I got about as much run as I could so better let those sleeping dogs lie. However, I do have some gems from my comment section that found their way to that special folder and never saw the light of day, but obviously these people know me very well.

For your pleasure, here is the best of the best:

1 – Could you write about Physics so I can pass Science class? Obviously, this person recognized my brilliance right off the bat. 

2 – The genius store called, they’re running out of you. Once again, it ain’t bragging if you can back it up, right? 

3 – For the love of God, keep writing these articles. Now we are calling on a higher power so maybe I better stay in the game, huh? 

4 – Hey would you mind stating which blog platform you’re using? I’m looking to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a hard time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique.

P.S Sorry for being off-topic but I had to ask! And everybody chided me for having a free site; this will show ya. 

5 – Impressive brain power at work! Great answer! So obvious, will someone please tell my wife. 

6 – Clear, informative, simple. Could I send you some e-hugs? I’m a hugger, I guess e-hugs are good too. 

7 – Howdy my family representative! I want to state that this particular article rocks !, awesome composed you need to include approximately many considerable infos. I’m going to view additional discussions in this way . Have you ever considered about including a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is important and all. Nevertheless think about if you added some great pictures or video clips to give your posts more, “pop”!

Your content is excellent but with images and clips, this blog could undeniably be one of the greatest in its niche.

Amazing blog! I would include more pictures of me, but every time I try to take a good pic this old cat keeps showing up and ruining the shot; maybe one day I can beat him to the punch. 

8 – An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a colleague who had been conducting a little homework on this. And he actually bought me breakfast because I found it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending time to talk about this matter here on your web page. See, I’m bringing some value; I’m feeding my followers now. 

9 – Hey there! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from an established blog. Is it difficult to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about creating my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any points or suggestions? Thank you – My friend Carolyn would be impressed, they are asking me for ‘techincal’ advice; maybe they know me too well. 

10 – Your honesty is like a beacon. See, I told you what you see is what you get. Other than the fact I look much better in person, this is really who I am. 

Top 10 indeed

Well, there you have it. I made the mistake of letting my spam folder accumulate too many of these gems before I tried to clean it out. I think I’m going to start releasing them as regular comments to keep my popularity numbers up.

I was a little disappointed though; it seems back in the day I had some really spicy ones but those seem to have gone by the wayside. Oh well, my friends now joke we are at the age that not only do the girls not see us anymore when we are out, they can’t hear us either.

Say what? 

What are you gonna do; we’ll see who will be diggin’ on me when I win the lottery, won’t we?

Scoreboard.

How ‘manly man’ are you?

Sorry ladies, this is really a gender neutral post but I had to stick with the title because it was so clever…..:).

So then, do you mean hairy knuckles and the cro-magnon look?

Ok, maybe not that manly and typically not a good look on my lady friends, but then again if you wear it well I might not be too judgmental.

I guess the big question is, how far are you willing to push the envelope; how much of a risk taker are you?

You take the challenge

What got me thinking about this topic was from one of my mountain bike rides. The disclaimer is, everybody knows there are no mountains in Florida, but where I live there was extensive phosphate mining at one time and it left some really nice hills in its wake.

I normally ride in the afternoon, but during the summer when we get in the rainy season it can be hit or miss. Therefore, I have been sneaking out before work on Friday’s to take the weather out of play.

The biggest advantage to this is the temperature is much cooler (relatively speaking) so it is a very pleasant ride from that perspective.

Another advantage/disadvantage is I am usually the first one out there.

The advantage to that is I don’t have to worry about other people on the trails.

The disadvantage is I become the spider-web catcher and some of the critters are still on the trails (alligators, snakes, raccoon’s, and turtles).

Being a native Floridian and one who spends a lot of time outdoors, critters don’t bother me. I know how to respect their space and they typically do the same with mine.

So what’s the problem?

Because most of the trails are the remnants of old phosphate mines, you have bodies of semi-stagnant water called phosphate pits, and steep slippery slopes for the trails. This also happens to be an excellent breeding ground for some really big country-sized critters.

And most of the less elevated trails are right on the water. The elevated ones, it’s just a longer slide into the pit. More times than not, if you are going to take a spill you will get wet.

Knock on wood, I have not been wet yet, but went over the handle bars for the first time last weekend so I’m sure that wet day is waiting out there for me somewhere. One of my riding partners took his first plunge a couple of weeks ago.

Did I say it was stagnant water

Anyway, I feel my technical ability has increased tremendously since I started trail riding and I am now very comfortable on all the intermediate trails and starting to be bold enough to start trying most of the advanced trails.

Well, I was feeling pretty confident last Friday morning and as I had maneuvered through most of the course there are 3 advanced trails toward the end and these are called fingers. They jut out into the water and the entrance and exit to these trails from the road are essentially at the same place.

As I approached the entrance to the first finger I knew I needed momentum because it is on a steep incline and the second part of the incline has a narrow passage-way that you need neutral pedals to get through. Well, apparently I did not have enough mo and right as I got to the narrow entrance I could tell it was not enough to make it and just hit my back brake to put my foot down and walk myself through.

Well, that sounds pretty easy then. 

As soon as I put my foot down I heard this huge splash to my left on the exit trail and knew immediately it was either somebody getting rid of a dead body or a huge gator rolling off his (or her) perch. I softly chuckled to myself and thought ‘I don’t think so,’ and turned myself around and just went right back out the way I came.

You big sissy.

You damn right; even though the gator was getting off the perch and not likely to come back for awhile, I took that as a sign ‘not today pal.’ Have you ever heard of the saying “there are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are never any old, bold pilots?”

I might be somewhat less risk averse in my golden years, but hopefully some of this wisdom I have accumulated can still be put to good use.

What risks are you willing to take?

My wife is not in favor of this mountain biking gig, at all. She thinks I am too old and it is way too dangerous.

There is certainly an element of danger too it, but age is just a number and I am a reasonably coordinated and athletic person, so I liken it to downhill snow skiing. The more I ride the better I get, which can be good and bad I suppose; it all depends on how far you push it.

I will also tell you I have a high level of self-preservation too. I’m looking to test my abilities and make myself feel alive at times, but I certainly want to see tomorrow because it’s still good to be Billy.

I like to let my hair down but most would consider me a pretty conservative person. I mean, if you stay in one job and marriage for 31+ years, how wild and crazy have you really been?

Where do you stand; are you more willing to push the envelope with your hobbies than you are your finances or your career?

What is the riskiest thing you have ever done or are doing? Any regrets?

10 reasons to include me on your bucket list

Without stating the obvious of actually getting to meet me in person and buying me drinks, there are actually 10 good reasons to visit Lakeland, Florida, where I live; on purpose.

Where?

10 reasons to visit Bill Dorman Lakeland, Florida

1. Duh, it’s in Florida… I have lived in the F.L.A. all of my life and I think there maybe was one day I couldn’t go outside because of the weather and it was like 32 degrees or something and I was afraid the roads might ice up.

Yes, it gets hot as balls during the summer but there are plenty of other places that get hot and humid in the summer too. Even though it’s the Sunshine State, where I live is almost semi-tropical and we have plenty of greenery and shade. I am very adept at Florida parking which is good as long as you don’t mind bird shit spots on your car.

2. Location – Lakeland is pretty much in the center of the state on the I-4 corridor which means you can travel to the big cities of Tampa and Orlando in less than a hour. We have the benefit of being able to enjoy the amenities the larger cities have to offer but able to come back home and still be able to drive in normal traffic.

3. World Famous Architecture – Lakeland is home of Florida Southern College which houses the largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture in the world . In 2011 and 2012, the Princeton Review designated Florida Southern College the most beautiful campus in the country.

Located on the shores of Lake Hollingsworth, it is truly a scenic setting. Lake Hollingsworth is located close to downtown with a 2.87 walking/riding path around its entire circumference and some of the nicest homes in Lakeland dot its shoreline.

4. Beaches – not in Lakeland, but because of its central location you can be in Daytona or Cocoa on the Atlantic or Tampa, St Petersburg/Clearwater or Sarasota on the Gulf in a little over an hour. The beaches on the Gulf are some of the finest in the world.

5. Theme parks – if you are into this kind of torture entertainment, we are once again in driving distance of less than a hour to pretty much every type of theme park known to man.

I gladly welcome tourist who spend their money and help our economy and it’s the biggest reason we.do.not.have a state income tax.

Within the confines of Polk County we have Legoland, Bok Tower and Fantasy of Flight.

6. Professional sports – We have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Rays, Tampa Bay Lightning and the Orlando Magic within one hour. Depending on the time of year, one of the teams should be playing.

The Bucs have won a Super Bowl; the Lightning have won a Stanley Cup, the Rays have been in the World Series and the Magic have played in the NBA finals. Can your city/region say this?

7. Golf – Yes, because it’s Florida there are plenty of places to play golf; however, the Streamsong Resort is located within Polk County and its Red and Blue courses are already rated in the top courses of the world by Golf Digest.

Even if you don’t play golf there is plenty to do at the resort and it is world class indeed.

8. Bike trails – there are several rail to trails opportunities and over 100 miles of track available to enjoy. In addition to the rails to trails there are nature preserves and mountain biking available too.

Lakeland puts a big emphasis on making it a bike friendly town.

9. Lakes and orange trees – there are many lakes within the confines of Polk County and Winter Haven has the Chain of Lakes which has 10 connecting lakes on the northern chain and 16 connecting lakes on the southern chain.

Yes, there is probably an alligator or two along some of the banks and it is a rarity not to see one if you spend enough time around the water.

Orange trees and plenty of them. You are not really supposed to, but it’s very easy to park your car and just pick one or two ripe oranges from the tree. Some people even have them in their yard, but being a low maintenance guy I don’t need to be picking fruit from the tree or the ground.

10. The Polk Museum of Art – one of Lakeland’s and Polk County’s gems. The Polk Museum of Art is a nationally accredited art museum in Lakeland. It is a member of the Florida Association of Museums and is ranked among the top art museums in the state of Florida.

It is widely renowned and highly respected. There is world class talent on display at all times. If you are into this, you definitely need to put it on your list of must places to see.

So whadda ya think, it would be better than a sharp poke in the eye; is that enough for you to give Lakeland a try and pay me a visit and buy some drinks?

Can you tell I’m thirsty?

C’mon down; I’ll leave a light on for you.

Is your cheese still being moved?

Is it ever, make it stop; this is an edited version of my original post from February 6, 2012; back when I used to be somebody…

If you are familiar with the bestselling book, ‘Who Moved My Cheese‘ you know it deals with change and how to deal with it in work and life. Sometimes too much change and turmoil makes me want to cut some cheese, that’s for sure. One thing I have come to expect, and that is don’t get too comfortable, whether it is life or business these days because change is just around the corner.

Most know my day job is commercial insurance sales; this is an old-school traditional job if there ever was one. The original model was you work extremely hard your first 3-5 years, ‘grow’ a book of business and put it on cruise control from there.

If you plan on that being your model today I would advise to not even bother because you might have a better chance of taking care of your career by picking a winning lottery number.

Change can be good

Change, because it has an element of the ‘unknown’ typically brings about a certain level of stress. And whereas too much stress might not be a good thing, it can actually work for you.

Although relaxation ought to be, um, relaxing, stress management has somehow become yet another pressing item on our to-do lists. We’re made to feel like failures if we can’t live in a state of balance. But some stress is good; great, even. The discomfort of stress is a sign that you are tackling life’s problems head-on. Stress also improves productivity and performance – at work, the gym – and your body will be stronger if you alternate periods of calm and heart-pounding excitement.

Some know of my trail bike riding exploits these days and you certainly have enough oh-shit, heart-pounding excitement moments just about every ride.

How it has worked for me

Some of you might also know I have been doing this ‘insurance gig’ for 30+ years……….all at the same place. Talk about a breeding ground for complacency. The good news is we have forward thinking management and try to be pro-active and relevant in a fast-paced information overload society. This means don’t get too comfortable in your chair, because you might have to move soon if they even let you keep your chair.

I certainly don’t want to be the ‘that’s the way we always did it‘ guy but try to set the example and lead the charge if I truly think it will benefit the corporation. We are an ESOP (employee owned – employee stock option plan) corporation so everybody’s performance impacts not only our success, but our ‘retirement’ account as well. If everybody has some skin in the game it’s a lot easier to hold everyone accountable.

Has all this change made me uncomfortable at times? Absolutely, but it has also kept it interesting, challenging and fresh. I feel my eagerness to learn and adapt also keeps me young at heart and always growing.

Other changes I see

There are quite a few of us in my community who entered the ‘social’ journey at about the same time. When we jumped on the hamster wheel we were led to believe more followers and more comments are how you succeed. There is nothing wrong with that per se, but you do have a tendency to ‘chase’ under that model; and it’s circular.

Just about everybody I know has varied from that model now they are deeper into their journey, and some have just given up. We are all smart enough to copy and emulate what we perceive as ‘success’ in here, but I feel we have come to the realization there really is no ‘right way’ or ‘wrong way’; it’s ultimately only ‘our way’.

Just like life, if you are going to be a survivor in here don’t get too comfortable in your seat. What is working for you today could be totally different in 30 days…or less; that is how fluid social is.

This is what keeps me going

Numero uno – it has to be fun; fun is a great motivator for me. I work plenty hard in my day job. In my ‘spare time‘ I’m a volunteer Guardian ad Litem and sit on several boards; all non-paying positions. Therefore, it’s important to find a fun factor in all, even if there is hard work involved.

The jury is still out for me if I have the motivation to take any of this social stuff any further than I already have. Not that I made any lists in the first place, but I don’t expect to make many in the future as well unless somebody is doing a ‘whatever happened to‘ list.

What about you?

Has traditional blogging run it’s course? Do you feel there are greater opportunities to be successful with a social platform now or has the newness worn off and most are on the other side of the curve right now?

Is the continual moving of cheese the new norm, or will we ever get back to being able to take a deep breath and actually enjoy the fruits of our labor before running off to the next big thing?

At the end of the day, what is important to you?

Life lessons – 31 years on the ‘job’

Office pic

Lesson one – if you show up every day and do what you are supposed to do, then at least that is a starting point to have some longevity. But that’s no guarantee these days because it is well documented in corporate America that lifetime jobs have become a rarity.

Then again, so have lifetime marriages but somehow, someway I have made it 31 years with that gig too. My wife definitely deserves a medal.

It is much more than just showing up though, it is also knowing if you don’t take control of your own destiny others will and then you pretty much have to accept what you get.

Regardless, both work and the marriage have taken some perseverance, compromise, patience and a little luck.

But is it necessarily a good thing (not the marriage dear, that has been fantastic…:)?

Lesson two – a lot of water has passed under the bridge during this time but it has cultivated a lifetime of stories. There have been a lot of people who have come through the doors at Lanier Upshaw, Inc and along with that comes the highlights and heartbreaks of life.

When I first started, people were allowed to smoke in the break room and there was a roster where each woman had a week’s worth of kitchen duty; walking around the office at the end of the day picking up the coffee cups and any other dishes off the desks.

We also had no women producers at that time.

We had Christmas parties out of town where drinking was expected and then letting people drive home afterwards.

Think that would fly today?

Ultimately you have to be adaptable to change and continue to learn; otherwise, you need to be put out to pasture.

Lesson three – there is no looking back; it’s ok to reflect and reminisce but most of your fork in the road choices have been made and it’s best to continue taking advantage of the opportunities in front of you that you can control.

Whereas it would be ludicrous to think I did it all on my own, ultimately it came down to me to make the decisions that controlled my destiny.

It hasn’t always been a bed of roses, but I always knew nothing was stopping me from making a change when things weren’t going particularly well. Just like a marriage, sometimes it is best just to wait it out.

To summarize There are two schools of thought about the value of longevity. If you are enthused, stay current and bring value to the bottom line then the institutional knowledge you acquire from being somewhere for any length of time can certainly be a positive and should be worth something.

However, I see some in this position who get stale and their value is marginalized and the easy thing to do would be to replace them by bringing in fresh ideas and energy to stir things up; reading between the lines that reads younger and cheaper.

There is some balance to be had in there somewhere and I am sure a middle ground approach can still be profitable for the business.

I have had a few opportunities to explore the other fork in the road but at the end of the day the desire to start over never outweighed the bird in the hand. 

Good or bad? The lifetime employee seems to have worked for me; I guess some souls are a lot more restless but I embody the adage that southerners take root because I have certainly done that.

Y’all come back now, ya heah…..

Partners

I got (1)99 problems but a blog ain’t one

200

One-nine-nine as in one hundred and ninety nine posts preceding this one; yes, this is post # 200 from billdorman.me’s fabulous site.

And of course to reemphasize how hip I really am, the title of this post is a play off a semi-popular hip hop/rap song so yes, I can be that creepy old guy scaring girls off and who still embarrasses his kids because he never grew up.

Since this blog was birthed on March 4, 2011 that essentially puts me 38 months into this gig with the caveat I was essentially invisible most of 2013; regardless, by my simple math this equates to an average of 5.2631578 posts a month. I know there are many who average this many in a week, but based on my non-platform I have been operating off of it’s amazing to me it survived this long.

According to the stats I have 3,267 followers and have had 74,792 hits; whatever that means. Those are not gaudy numbers by any means but it just goes to show you if a big dope like myself can jump in and get some traction, then pretty much anybody can, right?

Do you want a medal, or the chest to pin it on?

Just give me something to eat; I’ll work for food.

The few, the proud, the Marines who still read this post came into the game about the same time I did. We all have cycled through pretty much the same emotions and ups and downs this kind of commitment can bring. It has been interesting to see the evolution and who dropped out, who changed, and who still just puts their head down and keeps plowing through regardless.

Just like several hobbies I have undertaken and didn’t see all the way through, I could never figure out if I wanted to be just a writer, a teacher with a business blog, or just a big goof. Work gets serious enough and I know if used properly this platform could enhance my business efforts; but as I explore that landscape and the commitment involved it takes some of the fun out of it for me and hence, some of the appeal.

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

Where is the next WOW coming from?

Blogging was around way before I jumped in, but when I did take the plunge it was new and fresh and felt like one big party. Other than not having a paid site and some of the bells and whistles that go along with it, I considered myself all in. Personally, I feel it was time well spent on many levels and I’m much richer for the experience.

Some say blogging has run it’s course; I have certainly seen plenty who just ran out of gas or decided to change because there was just too much of a sameness permeating these halls of bloggersville.

Bloggers talk about finding your voice, but for better or worse my early posts could easily be interchangeable with the latter. At least it’s consistent, huh?

Maybe that’s why you suck and don’t have any staying power. 

Possibly, but read back about the fun part again.

So what does the landscape look like in 1 year; 3 years; 5 years? Will there be something else that’s new and we look back on this and laugh?

Let’s get this party started. 

I was never looking for fame and fortune

If something would have clicked and I found a sustainable business model that would have worked for me, I would have pursued it as hot and heavy as I am doing my trail riding right now. Other than the networking and meeting new people, I never found enough of that spark to spur me to the next level.

I know you can’t get paid on networking alone and it is usually just a means to an end; but that is what I do really well, you are getting into my sweet spot now. Can’t their be some brilliance in that?

For a 200 this was probably not too epic, but very much in line with my style so why should I try to change now…:).

The reality is, any problems I have are within my control and if I want to change the landscape then I can do something about it. That’s probably a pretty good place to be, don’t you think?

What’s your problem?

 

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?