Tag Archives: risk

This Might Not Work

Front Cover PTB 210x300

I’m a little more than halfway through Seth Godin’s new book “Poke the Box” and I’m duly intrigued.  It’s funny because it’s a pretty short book and the text is not densely packed onto each page, but it would be a terrible mistake to think this implies the thoughts contained therein are as thin as the book itself.  OK granted, I read it on a Kindle so there is no thickness to the book to begin with, but you get my meaning.  Sheesh… cut me some slack!  OK, where was I again?  Oh yes… Mr. Godin.

The driving concept behind the book is summed up in one word: initiative.  The secret sauce that makes things go and people stop their hand-wringing to actually START something.  The magic of the book is how Godin goes far beyond just blandly discussing initiative and why it’s important to more of a call to action.  Huh… it’s like an initiative for initiative in a way.  I think I just blew my own mind right there.

I am going to get back to reading the book some more tonight, but 4 little words he stresses in the book really jumped out at me: “This might not work.”

What’s the power of such a simple sentence?  The fact that it’s a pivotal idea you need to get comfortable with… or at least more comfortable with… so you can fully immerse yourself in a mindset of being a starter.

We all tend to want perfect and we want it now and on the first try, damn it.  And if we cannot have it?  Well then hell, we better wait and plan and scheme and spend oodles of time creating charts on how when we finally get around to starting… ohh at that glorious moment, all will be PERFECTION.

Except it never is.

This all calls to mind one of my favorite quotes from General George S. Patton: “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”

Therein lies the truth of it all… that it’s a very rare time where inaction is better than action of some kind, shape or sort.  This clearly assumes at least a modicum of reasoned thought about what action to take, but certainly not the kind of endless procrastination masquerading as deep reflection that a lot of people do… and I clearly place myself into that big ugly mess.

Tomorrow I begin using the season of Lent as my own way to spur on the action I’ve avoided.  I’m giving up Facebook.  I’m spending more time in person with friends and family.  I will struggle mightily to get this damn blog in order.  Heck, I even had my very first blog post go up today on my new work blog,  about which I am endlessly excited, especially because I decided to just push it forward and see what happens.

Here’s to a good 40 day run, made up of what I hope to be a string of single day mini-runs.  It might not work, but I’m starting to get comfortable with that… or at least as comfortable as I can be.

Cutting Against Your Own Grain

The company for which I work has a shutdown period that occurs between Christmas and New Year’s every year.  Truth be told, it’s a pretty darn nice benefit, especially given the fact that it’s a time of where I would be looking to take that time off regardless.  I have spent that time doing a variety of activities, depending on the year.  Sometimes I will chuck in a week of vacation right before it starts and I will end up being out of the office like 17 straight days.  Needless to say… it was freakin’ awesome.

This past year I decided I wanted to get myself going on a blog that I would consistently update and I wanted it to have a much more professional look and feel.  As I was reading something from the absolutely sublime Pamela Slim, I saw her mention an offer from this guy named Johnny B. Truant to set up a WordPress blog for you at a pretty reasonable cost.  Intrigued, I meandered on over to his site and was immediately hooked by his tag line of “The Internet made awesome.”  Plus he dropped a lot of amusing f-bombs in his posts that made me chuckle.  Have I mentioned before I often have the emotional maturity of an 11 year old?  Hmm.  Maybe that’s why youth baseball coaching appeals to me… I can relate.

Fast forward to today (a whole 4 and a half months) and I was perusing the blogs I enjoy.  I came across a post from Johnny entitled “Revolution and Evolution (part 1)“.  Seems the good Mr. Johnny has had a rough go of things over the last few years and despite never having ink in his entire life, he is going to get tattoos on both his arms.  He writes in that post:

I want a tattoo because I’ve encountered some adversity over the past few years and have fought successfully through it. That adversity left scars — very cool, very large scars with a story behind them. Only, they’re scars you can’t see. I kind of want the tattoos because I want people to be able to see those scars — and to be able to see them myself, so I’ll always remember what I’ve learned.

David Beckham

That really struck me.  See, I’m not exactly a wild child.  I’m basically a classic middle child – a bit of an overachiever, looking to please everyone and trying really, really hard to be nice all the time.  While I am definitely a complete goofball, I am also a little bit conservative in the sense I am not out there bungee jumping, wrestling bonobos or even getting tattoos.  Hell, I had an earring in college for 24 hours (almost to the exact minute) and then ditched it because I just didn’t think it was me.  I had it long enough to call my Mom and freak her out (which was very satisfying in its own right… sorry Mom!).

But I ain’t the guy that is living a super wild life in most sense of the word… and yet… I totally understand where Johnny is coming from and I have become more and more intrigued with the idea of getting a tattoo.  Seriously.

“Why, oh, WHY???” you may ask (at least almost everyone in my family would ask).  Good question.

I’ve never been opposed to the idea of getting a tattoo.  My problem has always been that if I am going to get something placed on my body for the rest of my damn life, it sure as hell better be something that speaks to core of who I am as a human being and who I aspire to be.  Anything less is absolutely unacceptable and I would never get a tattoo unless that firm requirement was met with a little room to spare.

Ahh, but I haven’t answered the paramount question of “Why?”  Like Johnny, I’ve had a few rough patches over the last few years and I have come through (well, mostly come through) on the other side a little nicked up and rough around the edges, but unbowed and I think I’m a better man because of all of it.  Plus, I am the sort of person who believes that in order to have a successful and fulfilling life, it’s important to have a set of principles on which to ground yourself.  I think that’s a lot of what helped me through some of my rougher times – that foundation of knowing who I was and who I wanted to be.

I want to be the guy who treats people the way I want to be treated… even if that other person is a douchebag.  I want to live with honor.  I want to live with integrity.  I want to live with determination.  I want to never be afraid to risk getting my heart broken because if I hold back, I’ll never get the chance at experiencing great love.  I want to live in balance (this one is hard for me).  I want to never forget how much of this life is a gift and I should never, ever, EVER take that for granted… because I’ve seen how life can jump up and kick some amazing people in the teeth without any provocation or sense of it being deserved.  Anyone can suffer that fate… so embrace the good and the opportunities you see now.

So I think I would get one to mark what I feel represents who I am and where I belong in this world.  I am slowly settled on a design in my head which I plan on keeping to myself.  I also think that if I end up going through with all of this, I would place it in a fairly discrete spot because I would be getting it as a reminder for myself and no one else.

Is any of this in character for me?  I want to say no and that’s why I entitled this post what I did… but as I sit and ponder, maybe it’s not that crazy and not all that strange.  Sometimes you have to take that big risk to get that big reward.  Time to get my butt up off the sidelines and into the game.  God help me.