In my continuing effort to document what it’s like to go from comfortably employed to suddenly unemployed to launching a business in very short order, Episode 6 will cover the week of September 6. You can read all of my previous Episodes on my website.
Mood: Doubt started seeping back in on Thu as it became obvious that my income for Sept would be 13% of my previous FTE income. Gulp. Shortly thereafter I had a catch-up call with someone in the industry who didn’t know of my transition yet. His response upon hearing my plans – 100% chance of success – was just what I needed. It doesn’t take much – fact-based observations or “what if” scenarios – to (re)introduce doubt into my brain. That self-doubt can start to become a self-fulfilling prophecy if it impacts my motivation which impacts my actions. It seems to be a push / pull emotional struggle at this inception phase. I know its only been six weeks since I launched a business from scratch (sanity check: a really short time), but I also know the clock is ticking. So to have someone I respect give me a clear-headed affirmation that my business model is solid and will ultimately lead to success gave me the juice to finish the day.
Accomplishments: It’s funny how a three-day weekend takes on a different perspective when you are non-salaried. I worked on Sat, Sun and Mon as I had specific project deadlines (which I met). I worked with my one active client, signed a contract with another client, shared Work Comp insights over lunch with a friend I had not seen in-person since the start of COVID, and did a lot of work to prepare for the COVID webinar I helped host on Wed (replay here). I also gained ground alongside my partners in finding investment for our business venture. And, finally, I achieved clarity with my direction for healthcare … COBRA.
What I Learned: I know my word for the previous week was “Patience,” but it’s one thing to say it and another thing to do it. I did pursue some follow-up and had several good connective discussions. But, in 2021’s “instant gratification” society, it’s tough to wait. Tension is ever-present when you’ve handed the locus of control to other people / situations. You want to do more but you also realize you’ve done everything you can. “Or have I” is that nagging question always there. Oxford defines patience as “the ability to stay calm and accept a delay or something annoying without complaining.” I learned – again – that disposition does not come naturally. The best way to find patience is being fixated on the big picture. Don’t let the little stuff take your eye off the big stuff.
Anxiety Level (1-10): 7
Three Good Things:
- I have historically not posted much on Facebook, personal or business. However, I thought this blogpost would be a good bridge between the two and so I’ve been doing that each week. Last week, three individuals commented on their own journeys. Two had already been successful with the transition and the other just got their notice (fortunately with several weeks advance). Their stories were uplifting. If this weekly blogpost can spark a dialogue so those that have “been there” can help those that are “going there,” then I’ll call this journal a success.
- Speaking of journal, I’ve never done one before. I know the value but it has never been important enough to me to do. Knowing I have a weekly blog to produce, I’ve found myself taking notes (usually a quick email to myself on my phone) as thoughts / actions occur so they’re ready for when I write on Mon. In essence, a journal. Knowingly keeping track of my steps forward and steps backward gives me better context for the battleplan. I learn from the negatives. I get reinforced by the positives, reminding me of the song “Count your blessings, name them one by one.” Being able to track positives and negatives as they happen and then read later to remind is a good way to “count.”
- I know this is totally nonsensical, but every time I see the dress shirt in my closet that I wore on the day a gallstone tried to kill me creates anxiety. It was drenched with sweat during the hour I struggled in pain until finally texting my daughter to call 911. My wife washed it but the psychological stain remained in my mind’s eye. So rather than continuing to avoid it in the closet, I pulled it out this weekend for the giveaway pile. Again, I know that shirt had nothing to do with causing me to spend most of Father’s Day in the Emergency Room. It’s an inanimate object that happened to be at the wrong place (on my torso) at the wrong time. But I feel better now that it is out of my closet.
Word for the Week: Impatience (see above).
This Week’s Lesson: Look for opportunities to help. It’s obvious, based on the feedback I’ve received throughout this journey, that what I’m going thru resonates with so many because it mirrors what they’ve encountered. When you’re unemployed / without income, survival is of paramount interest. It is an emotional rollercoaster ride. Seasons of accomplishment are marbled with seasons of doubt. I have utilized the platform I’ve spent years building to share my thoughts, and because of that many people have reached out to help. When I start thinking about how I haven’t made much progress on new clients, someone pops in to give me confidence. As I start thinking about how I’m going to pay the mortgage, someone provides a lead. Just when I think I’m not qualified to do this, someone who has already successfully navigated this journey shares optimism for my success. I realize I’m blessed to have built so many meaningful relationships. Not everyone has that reach, or may not know how to reach out, or may not want to reach out. So it’s incumbent upon the rest of us to be sensitized to the needs of others. Challenges that create struggle go well beyond the scope of employment – health, death, relationships, finances. Some people wear their mask so well that nobody knows what’s behind it. But, often, there will be a leak of honesty (anger, fear, questioning) that provides the crevice into which someone’s kind words of encouragement can be injected. Without prying, stay tuned to the verbal and non-verbal requests for help and then actually do something to help. Don’t underestimate the power of an encouraging word.
About Mark Pew
Mark Pew is a passionate educating and agitating thought leader in workers’ compensation and award-winning international speaker, blogger, author and jurisdictional advisor. He has focused on the intersection of chronic pain and appropriate treatment since 2003. He is the driving force and co-founder of The Transitions and just recently launched The RxProfessor consulting practice at https://therxprofessor.com.