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 14 will cover the weeks of November 1 and 8. You can read all of my previous Episodes on my website.
Mood: Two people checked in on me after I did not publish an Episode last week. It was uplifting to know that people were engaged enough to miss me. My answer to both was that I didn’t have it in me. For anyone that has created content, whether a published article or a simple journal, you know your mind has to be primed to produce. A term I’ve often used to describe it is my internal muse. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the term muse is both a verb (“to think about something carefully and for a long time”) and a noun (“a person, or an imaginary being or force that gives someone ideas and helps them to write, paint, or make music”). My use of the term fits both definitions. Try as I might last Mon and Tue, my mind would not engage in the process necessary to write. Some might call it a “writer’s block” or lack of inspiration or motivation. I’ve been writing professionally for more than a decade and it’s happened on several occasions. I have something to say but I can’t put it into words. In retrospect, I needed a break.
Accomplishments: Presented “Passing The Torch” with The Transitions co-founders Barry Bloom, Dr. Claire Muselman, Jason Beans and Melissa Coleman at the Comp Laude Awards Gala virtual event on Nov 4. This unique event, hosted by WorkCompCentral, started in 2014. I attended for the first time in 2015 and every year since. I presented a brand new national CE webinar, “Building Pain Resilience,” as part of my Advisory Board responsibilities for Harvard MedTech on Nov 9 and received very positive reviews. My story was highlighted by IN TOUCH for “The Men Making an Impact in The Workers’ Compensation Industry.” I connected with some new people that continued to expand my knowledge of and access to trends in the industry. I started my preparation for the WCI conference scheduled for Dec 12-15 in Orlando, both for my session (Tue Dec 14 from 1-3pm) and filling my calendar with meetings.
“You have been approved for the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 COBRA Subsidy for the month of September 2021.” Although I prefer limited government, I’m appreciative of this gift from taxpayers. So to each of you that contributed in some way, now or in the future, thank you!
What I Learned: This journey has been as much about what I could / should / can do as about what I shouldn’t. It has been a series of trial and error chances, review the response and pivot as necessary. Some of these chances have turned into tangible opportunities, others are still evolving, but most have evaporated. While I certainly learn from success, I learn even more from failure. Which is why, over the past two weeks, I have focused the majority of my time on the new business venture that I’ve alluded to in the past. We are close to finalizing the investment so my partners and I can get started. There has been a lot of sweat equity built up thus far: I’ve been developing the concept for 3-4 years, crystalized it to a friend (now one of my partners) two years ago, worked nights and weekends (and days since August 2) on the details over the past year. As I mentioned in “Next!“, there is no such thing as coincidence or luck, so as I evaluated my options it was obvious where my focus needed to be. Nothing is certain in life, and when starting a new business, Day One only begins when the cash hits the checking account. But I have a renewed sense of being “all in” on making it happen.
Anxiety Level (1-10): 8
Three Five Good Things: I decided to pass along these inspirational thoughts that came into my inbox over the past two weeks.
- “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” — John Wooden
- “In most things success depends on knowing how long it takes to succeed.” — Montesquieu. A French political theorist of the Enlightenment era, the Baron de Montesquieu was familiar with the slow-moving nature of success. Though active in his local parliament and scientific academy, Montesquieu did not attain literary fame until nearly a decade into his career, with his epistolary novel, “Persian Letters.” He traveled abroad extensively to study governments across Europe, leading to some of his best-known writing. Montesquieu even considered a diplomatic career, but realized establishing it would take too long, choosing instead to devote himself further to his writing. His words and commitment to his work encourage us to be patient with our ambitions, giving each step the attention it needs so that we can continue to grow.
- “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” — Warren Buffett. Billionaire investor and business magnate Warren Buffett’s description of shade on a warm, sunny day is a perfect metaphor for the importance of long-term thinking and investing in the future. When we realize our actions can either help or harm our future selves — or later generations — the choices we make become immensely impactful. It may require sacrifice and hard work today, but we will surely be thankful for our efforts in the long run.
- “Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” — C.S. Lewis. In his 1942 novel, “The Screwtape Letters,” author C.S. Lewis makes an important observation on the nature of courage. He argues that all spiritual virtues — such as love, hope, faith, patience, and mercy — have little meaning if they disappear in the face of danger or persecution. It is easy to be kind, forgiving, or strong when times are good, but retaining those qualities during times of adversity requires great courage.
- “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” — Epictetus
Word for the Week: Pivot. It’s good to review and revise periodically because that’s what helps make forward progress.
Foundation before building. As has often happened, Episode 13 elicited several public and private messages of support. That got me to thinking … Why? Some of it is because I’m talking about the human condition and almost everybody that reads these posts has either gone thru a similar situation or knows somebody that has / is. But I think most of it is because I had built a foundation of relationship to individuals, groups and an entire industry over time. If I had started to share this kind of information without that foundation, it probably would have been dismissed or considered TMI. Transparent authenticity that is effective typically does not come as a surprise but instead as a confirmation. I am who I am, and what I’ve written along this journey is a true representation of me. While these very public thoughts have historically been relayed in more private venues, those that knew me before I started sharing were not surprised by what I was sharing. You are who you are. Build a foundation and then stay true to it. Or … If you’re not who you want to be, create a new foundation and build upon it. As the Biblical parable advises, a wise man (and woman) build on a strong foundation.
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.