Category Archives: Updates

Should I quit my job?

This post is from my latest newsletter.

As I’m working on my book (round 2), I have begun to focus my efforts and my writing over at Prolificate.com.

I still plan to post here now and then, but this site is reserved for whimsy, random musings, and other inanity.

Meanwhile, I hope you’ll head on over to Prolificate and try my newsletter. You’ll be the first to get book updates, and you’ll have the opportunity to weigh in with your thoughts – you may even make it into the book. If you think I’m a complete idiot, tell someone! You can both have a laugh at my expense. Seriously, feel free to share.

I post about once a week about things like The Journey, Figuring out what you are really here to do, and tapping into the soul of your business to really make it great.

Here’s the article. Enjoy.

“Question: Is it better to stay in my soul-sucking job for the money and the security? My family is counting on me, and I do have some friends at this job and people that I like there–or should I quit and feel better, but give up the security and the money? Which is better–soul or security?”

I ask you the same question. Which is better–soul or security?

I left a six-figure salary almost 2 years ago for exactly this kind of reason. This year, I’ll be extremely lucky if I earn more than fifteen thousand dollars. The book I was writing turned out to be good practice, but the manuscript just wasn’t good enough or focused enough, so I threw it out.

Now I’m working on the chapter outline for a new book: Startups with Soul. It’s about the real secret to success–that secret sauce that some organizations just seem to have. That secret is soul. Just like an individual can have one, so can an organization. If fact, all organizations do have one. The best ones intuitively know this and embrace it.

Like my friend on social media, I knew that the jobs I’d held in the past weren’t me. They were perfectly good jobs–great even, at times, but while I made the big salary and the decisions for someone else’s company–someone else’s dream, I found that I was too comfortable. There was always a gnawing in my gut and a little voice in my ear that I tried hard to ignore. I filled my life with a hectic schedule, luxuries, and as many distractions as I could muster, but every now and then, when I was alone with myself and the background noise died down enough, I would hear that voice. The voice would say things like: “Come on, man, you’re better than this.”, and “Andy, the world needs the whole you–not this sanitized bullshit version that spouts off the same things everyone else spouts off about.”

I didn’t weigh in on my friend’s dilemma. I started to, but backspaced and deleted my response. It would have been just more spouting off about how important it was for him to listen to his inner voice and follow his dream.

Instead, I just read his post and smiled a knowing smile.

I can’t tell him what to do. Part of the process that I call finding your soul is about deciding when to fight like hell for your dream–for your vision, and when to just swim with the current and marshal your strength. He’ll figure it out for himself. I hope he does at least listen to that voice and hear it out. He can then make a conscious decision about how he will live his life. That–the conscious decision part–is the essence of the journey.

I’ll be rooting for him and cheering him on from halfway across the United States either way.

In the meantime, I’ll keep writing until the savings runs out or I crack this particular code. Either way, knowing you’re along for the ride with me is so very cool.

Someone please remind me of this when I’m on stage (Hopefully in the slot right before Seth Godin) giving my TED talk about Startups with Soul, Business with Soul, or how I lived for 2 years on rice and beans.

-What is your soul here to be?

-Andy

p.s. My friend later deleted that post. Letting the world really see you is a scary thing.

p.p.s I do also enjoy the occasional cold beverage in addition to rice and beans. A man’s got to retain some semblance of dignity, no?

What I’m up to: Writing, business coaching, and much much more…

What I’m up to of late

My desk & my life right now

One of the things I do is write. I’ve decided to get more serious about developing this facet of myself and to actually finish one of several books I’ve gotten underway.

This latest round of interest was sparked at a retreat I attended recently. Janet Conner was one of the session presenters and I learned about her story and her passion around writing. Her book, Writing Down Your Soul is a compelling read for anyone who’s been through trying times. It isn’t journaling. It isn’t prayer. It isn’t meditation. Yet it is part each of those.

Janet’s work and message connected with me so much that I am plunking down the money to take her once-yearly writing course (which starts in a week or so).

To prepare for the course, I’ve been working through several other books she recommended (Ray Bradbury’s Zen and the Art of Writing, and Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones).

One exercise that caught my attention was to write every day. That’s a sometimes daunting thing to do, especially when your mind is everywhere but on the page in front of you.

I’ll be doing a project called “This Moment” to build my writing muscles where for 30 days, I write something starting with the statement, “This moment,” – and then just roll with what comes.

Yesterday’s post, “The salad knows.” was the first of these. I may share more on this website.

Additionally, I’m working hard on Prolificate, my business coaching practice. I continue to feel in my bones that there are ideas trapped in minds around the world that I can help bring into being by using my business chops (chops? or are they merely business cutlets? Oooh, how about “business bacon”! You heard it here first.)

At any rate, I continue to meet business owners (current and future) who are good at their craft, but feel too intimidated by the obstacle of turning their dreaming into doing (a business, non-profit, NGO, or club, etc.). It’s slow going, as there is much competition for people’s attention, but I know I can help. I just need to figure out how to have my voice be heard and trusted. (open to your ideas here).

Look for more from me on multiple fronts including travel photos, personal and business writing, and other inanity soon.

-AC

I’m an addict – notes from rehab

Hi.

My name’s Andy and I’m an addict.

As I write this, I’m in rehab trying to get my life back. I know this may come as a shock to some of you, but I owe it to my readers to let you know about my story – the good AND the bad.

Today was particularly rough. It was my first day in the program and I cheated. Twice. Ok, maybe more than twice. I can’t help it. Once you get hooked, you don’t realize just how much you need the stuff. One day you’re living your life, you think that you can spice things up a little, so you try it. It’s fun – just as advertised. You seem to move faster, your mind works at warp speed. It’s like you can be everywhere at once.

Then one day, you find yourself in the basement sneaking it. Or in the bathroom. Or at a wedding. What the hell? When did I become this person?

Today, my wife walked in and caught me. I felt ashamed and weak.

Tomorrow, I’ll get up and try to do better.

I’m talking about the internet, by the way.

— oh — and I’m serious. Nothing I said above is untrue. It just isn’t about drugs or alcohol.

I’ve been feeling like I’m overly scattered for some time now. I have umpteen projects started but can’t seem to get traction with any of them. I’m a writer, but I haven’t been spending much time writing. I’m a consultant and financial advisor, but I have several projects waiting for me that aren’t moving like I want them to.

Yesterday, I asked for some help. I helped my wife with a goal-setting session a few months ago and it worked wonders for her — Together, we helped her put together a list of what is important to her. She’s on track and does something from that list every day. She’s built a routine around the list, so she’s guaranteed: no matter what else happens each day, no matter how much the day goes to hell in a hand basket, she’s spent a half hour first thing in the morning getting her mind right and centering herself. I can see how it helps her.

I asked her to help me do the same thing, so now I have a list. Today was rough because I didn’t do much from the list — but at least I have one. 

To help me get started, I’ve bought Courtney Carver’s micro-course called Creating a Meaningful Morning Routine. It’s worth way more than the ten bucks Courtney charges for it, but I’m so glad it’s available.

For the next few weeks, I’ll be less available online. I’ve limited my internet access to one hour a day, plus an extra 15 minutes at the end of the day to check on any pressing emails from clients. While I’m doing that, I expect to focus mostly on writing every day, building a website that’s been dodging me, and catching up on client projects. 

It sounds kind of funny — and I’m so thankful that it isn’t drugs, alcohol, etc., but my internet habit has me good and angry with myself for not being able to control. In the meantime, I’ll be writing everything offline and then posting during my 1 hour window tomorrow.

I can do this.

I can do this.  

 

Should I be more concerned?

We leave Cincinnati in 57 days. With one-way tickets to Kuala Lumpur.

“We” means myself, my wife, my 15 year-old daughter and my 7 year-old daughter.

People keep asking “Wow – you must be so busy preparing for your trip, right?”

We do need to sell all our stuff, but keep putting that part off. Other than that, I think we just go.

We’ve been living minimally (as-in, I own 1 pair of jeans and a few shirts and clothes) for a couple of years now. Everything I own will fit in my Osprey Meridian backpack – either that, or I’m selling it. 

But people keep asking, “Aren’t you nervous?” “Ready for the big adventure?”

Maybe I should be nervous, but I think I’ll just get up that morning and go to the office like any other day.

Only the office will be on the other side of the globe.

Am I missing something?

The Hills are Alive…

If you see a guy walking around Cincinnati singing Edelweiss, that’d be me. My youngest daughter Xela is rehearsing for her part as Gretl in the upcoming production of The Sound of Music. It’s playing at The Carnegie in Covington soon.

After sitting through 3 or 4 hours a night listening to the rehearsals, the songs are tattooed on my brain. It’s annoying, I’ll admit, but I’ve learned that you can make almost anything better by singing a selection from this Rodgers & Hammerstein classic.

Dogs got into the trash and scattered it around your neighbor’s yard? Try singing Do Re Mi while picking up rotting kitchen scraps. You’ll be skipping and twirling in no time.

Find yourself in your crawlspace at Christmastime with shit all over you from the broken sewer line (turns out it couldn’t take Aunt Bunny anymore than you could)? A few cheery bars of My Favorite Things from underneath the house will have your company exchanging worried looks with each other, packing up the obnoxious kids, and heading out straightaway.

Just try it the next time you have to change that diaper or clean up after the cat. You’ll be transformed.

In the meantime, we’ll be shuttling our budding actress the 2 miles to and from rehearsals by bicycle/trailer.

Here’s a video she took unbeknownst to mama.

 

Our travel [un]plans

I’ve alluded to this in some previous posts – we’re getting ready to hit the road and travel for an indefinite period of time. By “we”, I mean me, my wife, and our two daughters, age 7 and 15. This is something we’ve been working toward for a long time. We all enjoy travel and seeing new places, and experiencing life through others’ lenses.

Recent years have seen us in Vancouver, Miami, Washington D.C., Toronto, Portland, Iguazu Falls, Argentina, and Buenos Aires. Each time we travel, we make a few more mistakes, learn a few more valuable things about who we are and how we relate to our world, and get more in love with seeing as much of it (our world) as we can.

Fast forward to today: I have left my job with a fantastic employer and started my own consulting business. My wife has stayed at home to school our daughters and has started several businesses around whole life health (coaching, healthy products, and virtual assisting to help you de-stress). We’re getting ready to launch another business jointly to show you how to use homeschooling to create an atmosphere that frees your children of the shackles of traditional education and feeds their love of learning about their world from an early age.

All of these businesses are mobile and can support us wherever we go as long as we have internet access. These days, internet is available pretty much anywhere around the world, as I’ve learned from following my favorite travel bloggers (there are tons of people who travel the globe and blog about it for a living).

Being avowed minimalists, we will be leaving in April (less than 90 days from the day I write this) with one small carryon size backpack each. Forcing ourselves to distill everything that is really meaningful to us down to what will fit in this backpack has been a valuable experience. Through the process, we’ve begun to realize just how much all of our possessions were manacles rather than luxuries. In fact, now that I’m mostly rid of years’ of excess crap, I’ve never felt better about it. I went through what I thought was the agonizing process of parting with things I had equally agonized over acquiring – in the mistaken belief that these things were going to elevate my life into something better and more meaningful (Roomba, anyone?).

As I sit here today, we still have to unload another round of the accumulated material things of a lifetime to get to our final fighting trim, but we’re pretty much there. Like I said, all that ‘agonizing’ was much ado about nothing. It turns out that I am me wherever I am and  with whatever things I happen to have. Home is wherever I find myself with my family – it’s a simple concept, but a leap of faith at the same time.

_DSC0815

At this point, we’re excited to be nomadic and essentially ‘audition’ places to live. We’ll show up in Malaysia, get our bearings, and spend a month or two traveling around the region seeing, smelling, listening, and just trying to experience all the newness. Once we’ve been to enough places in the region (we’ll know when we’ve been to enough – you always do, right?), we’ll pick the one we liked most and head back there for awhile longer to slow down and just live for awhile.

We have onward tickets to Australia later in June where we plan to do the same thing. From there, who knows? Maybe we’ll be tired of the wandering and long for American suburban shopping malls, meals at cookie-cutter chain restaurants, and cheaply made goods from big box stores. I doubt it, but we may decide to head back to the US for a bit. If so, we’re planning on auditioning Austin and Asheville, N.C. – Or – maybe we’ll have loved somewhere we’ve just visited enough to head back there – or maybe we’ll have heard about some other place that is so great that we just have to see it. Isn’t it all so delightfully uncertain!?!

Along the way, we’ve got businesses to build, new people to meet, and 2 daughters to worldschool. If you’d like to keep up with us, subscribe to this blog, or just stop back by periodically for updates.

Looking forward…

I just checked the weather. Monday (3 days hence), the high temp here in Cincinnati is forecast to be -1F/-18C. In Kuala Lumpur, where we’ll be headed soon, the same day is forecast at a high temp of 85F/ 29C.
I love Cincinnati, but I don’t love cold.

Goodbye (for now) to Downtown Cincinnati

Reborn
The old next to the reborn in Cincinnati

About a month ago we made the decision to leave Cincinnati and head to Southeast Asia in the spring.

We love the city of Cincinnati and the friends and relationships we’ve developed here.

My wife and I are still young enough to enjoy (and remember) the places we want our children to see, and we’re both ready for a change of scenery, so off we go.

Over the coming months, I’ll be posting updates. We’re avowed minimalists, and make it our aim to live with only those material things that make our lives better in some way. Traveling long-term with this mindset may prove challenging, but I suspect we’ll figure it out. Plenty before us have done just that.

Til then, be well, and find a way to leave it better than you found it.

Cheers,
AC

Here’s a taste of the lovely city we’re leaving behind. You really should come see it.

DSC00195

DSC00172

DSC00165

DSC00159

DSC00138

DSC00201

Howdy

Hey there.

Glad to see you here at my new digs. I plan to use this site for photography, general travel blogging, and my usual inanity. Stay tuned.

Oh, and turn off your computer. Go do something that makes you or someone else smile…