Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The Bad Times Bible Blog: There is No Straight Line to Success.

The Bad Times Bible Blog: There is No Straight Line to Success.: I used to co own a tree service. It was called Trees Company. Clever I know. My partner in the business was (and is now) one of my best frie...

There is No Straight Line to Success.

I used to co own a tree service. It was called Trees Company. Clever I know. My partner in the business was (and is now) one of my best friends whom I've known since I was 2 years old. He is an arborist and a damn good one. (See pic to the right.) He is also one of the hardest working people I have ever met. We were a great combo. I'm 6'3 and he is somewhere around 5 feet tall. (I can hear him yelling I'm 5'2!!!! in my head)
The classic big man, little man combo. We started the business with a pickup truck, a 6 inch chipper, and some gear. We did everything in the beginning. Landscaping, stone work, snow removal. We didn't turn down work and we worked hard.Very hard.

The thing is, even when you are pulling down brutal, 16 hour days of back breaking labour, it can be fun. It is amazing what you can accomplish when you have a common goal, loads of coffee and great people around you to do it. I think that is why this writing thing is tough to do sometimes. It is just you and the computer and maybe the cat. There is no camaraderie, no bullshitting with friends and co workers and certainly no reward in terms of feeling like you did a good days work. Don't get me wrong, finishing anything when it comes to writing is a victory in my experience, but it doesn't feel the same as finishing a tree job. They are two different worlds and I don't miss the pain, lack of sleep and the stress of watching your closest friend 60 feet in the air (or more) taking down an old dead tree. Its just that when you finish a tree job, clean up, load the trucks and leave a happy customer behind as you drive away with a cheque there is a very distinct feeling of accomplishment. For one, the body loves to work. It doesn't like to work beat up and hurt, but it does like to work. Its nice to feel that buzz in your bones after a hard days work. It feels good to do dangerous work and pull off the job and go home safe. Writing is more long term when it comes to the reward factor. Personally, if I finish or get through something when I am writing, I consider it a victory.

With writing there is no straight line to success. Thats the frustrating part. You can put your head down and work at writing, but you can't approach it like you can a physical job. In the hardhat work boot world you can put your head down and work hard. You can push through fatigue and pain and all that physical stuff. You train your mind and body to deal with it. With writing its ALL in your head and your body just sits there. I found that really challenging. The mind suddenly becomes harder to deal with. You can try to push through but it just isn't the same.

  When we started the business I knew it would succeed. I knew we had the basic components for success. We had the knowledge and skills we needed to do the work. We had a work ethic and a will to push hard. Ernie had a reputation of being a skilled arborist. I knew how to talk to people and didn't mind handling the phone calls and I knew how to work hard. I knew that once we put ourselves out there we would do well based on all these components. With writing it is so much more daunting. It is a solo activity and whats worse you are up in your head all the time. You are constantly thinking about so many things and I found it really hard to just bull my way through my writing sessions. The best advice I ever got was just write, just keep going, don't even correct spelling mistakes. Just let it go. When I was writing the BTB I found that I had to set the alarm for 5am, get up, turn on the computer boil water make tea and just go for it. I would read what I wrote last time while the water was boiling and then write until 7 or 8am. Then it was off to work where I would think about what I had written and where I wanted to go with the writing the next morning. Sometimes I would write at night too, but mostly I was too burnt out.

Writing develops a different kind of mental strength. It shows you who you are in a different way. Writing is just one part of the equation too. You need to learn the business side of writing and the marketing side of things. You need to think about branding and how you want to present yourself to the world. It is a lot of work and not the kind you can just physically grind through. I find it to be a lot harder. When you are finished the first draft you have to start going through it all over again. Over and over until it feels tight and right. Like preparing a fighter for his fight, you keep working at it, sculpting it and breaking it down. I love it and I hate it.

There is no straight line in writing but there is a path. I keep setting goals that I can reach and I keep building on those small victories. My first goal was to get up at 5am and write. I found it hard to write for 30 minutes when I started but in the end I was blowing through the writing sessions and regretting I had to stop to go to work. Its like Jiu jitsu. Randori was tough as hell at first, I would need a break between rounds for the first while. Then you get a bit better and you learn efficiency of movement and how to breathe and stay calm and you begin to get tougher and smarter. You begin to last longer and it starts to be fun. Writing is the same.

Time is the best teacher if you are committed to learning anything. You just have to keep at it, be humble but hungry and keep pushing. Small victories baby. Small victories!    


Thursday, 1 March 2012

A few thoughts on Positivity.

Last night after Jiu Jitsu I came home and remembered that Terri and I had to take our (4) cats to the vet for their yearly check up. Yes we have 4 and they are spec CAT ular.

That was horrible I know.

So Terri's mom came to pick us up in her van as she was bringing her two cats and her dog to the vet as well.
I felt like a Bering Sea crab fisherman stacking pots as we loaded the cat crates into the van. We drove to the vet and I have to say the little furry bastards were quite well behaved.

Our youngest cat is named Seamus. He is the orange one in the middle (with Mac and Logan) in the picture above. Seamus is a cat that is pure love and terror. He loves to shower, yes shower with Terri whenever he can. He is absolutely unapologetic in his unrelenting quest for food. He eats his food locked in the bathroom because he will wolf his down and then attempt to eat the others food. He also will stare into your eyes with pure love in them, for minutes at a time. He is a great, great cat. (When he isn't getting into absolutely everything or terrorizing the others with his constant need to roughhouse. )

What does this have to do with positivity? Be patient...

So we let Seamus out at the vet and he explored the room and made himself quite comfortable. He charmed the pants of the vet and didn't even notice the needles he was getting. I watched Seamus as he took it all in. He had that happy face on and he was all over the place, exploring and being a nosy bastard. I realized that this cat has no fear. He just takes it all in as it comes and looks happy doing it. He loves everyone and enjoys his simple little life to the absolute max. I found myself wanting to be more like that little furball. He is just in the moment and going for it all the time. I realized as he was nose to nose with the dog, he was totally unafraid, just curious and wanting to take it all in. He looked happy and calm. I was jealous.

Like many people I went to bed thinking about how things were going in my life. I realized that I felt deep down inside that things were shifting for the better. I had a great day. I shot a video with my buddy Ben at the Healing centre I am going to be doing energy work out of. It went really well and I was excited to see the final product. I saw another friends yoga space in the same complex and it was beautiful. I met with a couple to talk about their upcoming wedding and the meeting went well. (I have been a wedding officiant for 10 years) After that I had an awesome randori class and rolled for 45 minutes with some really great guys at the academy. I then got home and we went to the vet where Seamus showed me the way. I also really enjoyed watching the vet work with all those animals. She was  AMAZING. The best I have ever seen. It made me smile to see my lady working alongside the vet helping her and being so gentle and loving with the kitties. I felt grateful to have her by my side, a steady, loving force that puts up with my insanity.

So lying in bed I thought about why I felt so good. I have reasons to be stressed like everyone else. I came to the conclusion that I had spent the day with (and observing) passionate, positive people. I had worked on my goals, trying to get the life I really want going. I had help from people that believed in me. I was around people who loved what they were doing. What a difference that makes. This was when I started thinking about positivity.

Positivity isn't just having a good attitude. I believe it has everything to do with accepting things as they are but having the courage and commitment to change them to be the way you want them to be. It doesn't mean it is going to be easy or painless. In my experience it is nerve wracking and scary. Being positive is hearing the voices of doubt in your head and still pushing forward towards your dreams. Being positive is not shrinking under the influence of the negative attitudes of people around you, but realizing you no longer need them around at all. Being positive means making tough decisions about your life and sticking to your guns even when you don't trust or believe in yourself.

I thought about everything I am working on. My book, my music, the HeartQuarters clothing and the energy work practice I am setting up. I used to think I had to do it all alone but I am now seeing that the times I am most successful is when others are there with me helping me, pushing me and lending a hand in making my dreams come true. My dreams and goals all revolve around moving forward, being positive, having courage and living life from your heart. Everything I do is to help others and that makes me feel really good. Not because I am trying to be a "nice" person or to make others think I am a nice person. It makes me feel good because I know I am doing the work of my heart, from my heart and that it is going to succeed and help a shitload of people along the way. This makes me feel grateful.

So there are a few thoughts about positivity from your old buddy here... If you want to be a partner in my success, I would love to be a partner in yours.

I pulled a card at my friend Anne's yoga space today and it said to do one thing today to change the course of your life for the good forever. I realized the day I had and smiled as it dawned on me that I had done just that.

Have a great day you furry little bastards!