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 13 will cover the week of October 25. You can read all of my previous Episodes on my website.
Mood: Frustrated, Stuck and Optimistic. Yes, you can be all three. Simultaneously.
Accomplishments: Presented a national webinar for Harvard MedTech (“The Social Components of Pain”), spoke at the PRIMA Institute with Karen Caterino (“Navigating the Generational Gap”) in Nashville, confirmed a paid speaking engagement in March 2022.
What I Learned: I am beginning my third month without a paycheck. I currently still have just two paying clients and I’m not anywhere close to replacing my income. I’ve been ghosted by eight potential opportunities and another five have not yet turned into anything tangible. So I learned that outcomes often aren’t within my locus of control. The good news is there are eight opportunities that I’m still working on in addition to my business venture (slow but steady progress). I knew the ramp-up could take awhile and so far my financial plans are intact (savings + AmEx card takes us thru November, then I start tapping into our 401k). So it’s not like this is unexpected. But it is still frustrating. However, at just the right time, someone calls (twice last week) to provide uplifting words to reset a positive mindset.
Anxiety Level (1-10): 8
Three Good Things:
- After talking with some folks my age and younger, I wasn’t the only one that required some time to recover from NWCDC. The consensus was that it wasn’t necessarily the limited sleep, time zone difference, or alcohol consumption. It was about the physical & mental intensity sustained for 1-2-3-4 days. The need to be “on” for an extended period. I list this under “good” because it shows I’m not as out-of-practice or old as I thought. It also reinforces the need to prepare not just a schedule but also the mind.
- After confirming the March 2 keynote presentation I now have three different engagements for 2022, two of which are paid. I’ve been contemplating during COVID the role that presenting should have in my ongoing career. I really enjoy both the prep and presentation time because both broaden my knowledge and introduces me to new people. However, speaking at in-person events without at least travel reimbursement, and maybe an honorarium, is going to be much less frequent going forward. While that has some to do with the fact that travel costs come out of my pocket right now, it’s as much about the value of my time. Presenting content virtually only costs hours, not dollars, and is a good way to maintain visibility. Doing it for free at a live event is going to be much lower on my priority list, whether the cost comes out of my own pocket or not. I know this may not necessarily sound like something “good,” but for me, clarity of purpose is always a good development and the last few weeks has affirmed my direction.
- It’s the month of Thanksgiving!
Word for the Week: Stuck (in neutral).
This Week’s Lesson: Groundhog Day. The first thought that phrase elicits may be the “event” that happens each February 2 that is focused on a “prediction” of future weather by an animal. Others may think of the movie that starred Bill Murray who, according to IMDB, “finds himself inexplicably trapped in a small town as he lives the same day over and over again.” However, every day is not the same as he experiments with different actions to hopefully yield a different result – February 3. He first doesn’t believe that at 6:00am the alarm clock will awaken him to the same calendar day. Then he becomes cynical with feelings of immortality (and creative ways to end it). But then he focuses on bettering himself to romance his co-worker (sorry if this is a spoiler but the movie was made in 1993). It’s a funny and enlightening analogy to the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance). I’d make the argument those same five steps are often needed for growth and that growth will determine (predict) your destiny. When confronted with a challenge, there will be good and bad minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, even years. The response during that journey will likely be a combination of positive and negative, forward and backward. So even though I feel stuck now, I know the next step is always the most important step as I try to remain optimistic.
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.