Pretty Good

48 Days to the Work You Love: Day 4

Family Member or Friend: “How’s work going?”

Me: “Pretty Good. I can’t complain.”

That is my standard response to just about the most common question I get.  And I think that sums up my career to this point.  This reminds me of a documentary that my friends Adam Baker and Grant Peelle made called “I’m Fine, Thanks“.  On one hand I’ve been fortunate to find work.  I have also been able to avoid bad commutes most of the time.  For the past 6 years I have even avoided almost all overtime.

Sometimes I wish I could be fine with “Pretty Good”.  My desire for something more is what causes most of my stress.  How do you turn that off though?  If I could turn that desire off I feel like I am killing a part of myself.  Yet, I also think it would be possible to kill that part of me to make room for something else. I was talking about this with Sarah and I realized that when I first started my current job they told me the group would be moving to Ohio within 2 years.  That was fine with me because I was already used to finding new jobs and I seemed to need the variety.  As the date approached for the move I decided I wanted to build my own business so I began taking on more and more side projects to figure out what would work.  For the past two years my desire to build a business has consumed most of my time outside of work so I feel like I need the closure of giving it a shot.  If my current job could give me longer than 6 months at a time I might feel like I could drop the other projects.

How has a company change affected you? How did it make you feel?

I have learned to not expect anything from my employer. I had big expectations at my first job. I expected the company to grow rapidly and to get plenty of experience.  I did get plenty of experience but that was because I pushed myself to learn new things.  Now I expect nothing.  When my company moved to Ohio I fully expected to be let go because I wasn’t willing to go.  But because it was difficult for them to hire someone before they moved they kept me on until after the move and when that worked out I continued working from home for nearly 2 years!  Every six months I would get news of a six month extension.  I can’t tell you how fortunate I am to have this arrangement.  I’ve set myself up to always be pleasantly surprised.

Have you experienced any failure in your career? If so, what did it lead to?

My biggest moments of failure are when I realize that I’m not experienced enough to complete my tasks.  Any failure causes me to first get down on myself but then I evaluate what happened and commit in my mind to avoid putting myself in those situations or to at least be realistic when committing to a project.

What were your childhood goals and ambitions for life?

I remember wanting to be a professional baseball player.  I definitely dreamed of being wealthy.  I definitely wanted to get married and have kids.  I knew which college I was going to attend when I was 10 years old.  I also knew I wanted to serve a mission for my church.  I for sure had those goals.  1. Go to BYU, 2. serve a mission, 3. get married, 4. have kids, 5. make lots of money.  I knocked 1-4 out of the park.  And relatively speaking, I’ve been very fortunate with finances.  So, now what?  I didn’t really plan that far.  I’m 31 years old. I still have a good 50-60 years to live if I’m lucky.  It’s time to establish some new goals!

Who are 2 or 3 people you know who seem to have accomplished their dreams? What do you remember about their accomplishments?

I can think of a few people.  My my parents and in-laws have accomplished their dreams in a sense.  I always think of my wife’s late grandfather as an example of accomplishing so much.  I also think of a few online examples such as Shaycarl, Pat Flynn and Leo Babauta. What stands out with all these examples is the balance they found with career and family.  They all are also people who strive to help other people at all times (hey! that’s part of the boy scout oath).  They all seem to enjoy their work as well.

What do you imagine your retirement will be like?

I mostly think about what my family will be like.  I imagine 12-20 grandchildren who we travel and visit regularly.  I imagine traveling the world serving church missions.  One thing I imagine is trying to be physically active.  The biggest factors in accomplishing my retirement vision is building a strong family, maintaining good health and having resources to travel and take 1-2 years off from work at any time.  I don’t plan on ever fully retiring.

Conclusion

The task for today was to complete the questions at the end of Chapter 2.  The task states that you should write out your answers. Your plan will come alive if you write your responses. Realize you are simply clarifying your past at this point – so you can then describe changes needed for the future you want.

I had read the questions a couple times and even thought of how I my respond but just now as I wrote out my responses something very important became clear to me.  It isn’t something new to me but it is a strong reminder of what matters most.  I thought I would be figuring out directly what career path to follow but my biggest priority isn’t necessarily my career although it may enable me to have a balanced life.  Whatever I choose I need to make sure that I can continue to

  1. Build a strong family
  2. Make time for my health
  3. Support future travel and mini retirements.

Is it wrong that I don’t want to settle for “Pretty Good”? I want an awesome life.  I only get one shot.  To be fair, my life has been more than pretty good.  Most days are pretty good with a few awesome days and very rare crappy days.  I just want to CREATE MORE AWESOME DAYS!

DFTBA

KeepCalmAndDFTBA