Getting Back In Control

If you’re like me, you’re burning the candle form 17 different ends. You have a professional career which eats up most of your time, family spread across the country, weekends filled with social engagements and a million things on your to-do list. Or maybe you just have too much going on and feel like you can’t get things under control.

Image Courtesy of Jutta under Creative Commons 3.0
Image Courtesy of Jutta under Creative Commons 3.0

The biggest desire for me is to keep control of my destiny and ensure that I am doing what I want to be doing for the rest of my life. I don’t want to be filing reports that no one will read. I don’t want to be wrapped up in deadlines that don’t have any impact on my employer’s business. I want a purpose in every one of my actions.

In order to pursue what we love doing outside of our regular jobs, we have to make a lot of sacrifices. Whether it is staying up a few hours later each night, not being so lazy on our weekends or forgoing social opportunities to engage in our other business interests.

The bottom line: being a part-time entrepreneur isn’t easy.

If you neglect your e-mail for a few days, don’t return a phone call or suddenly find yourself not engaging with the people that can help make you successful it can become overwhelming very quickly.

I’ll be honest, I have been struggling with focusing on my entrepreneurial aspirations while balancing my day job, time with loved ones and just “zoning out.” The implications of changes at my day job have been draining and it has been so easy to just get home and veg out as much as possible. It almost seems like a defense mechanism of our bodies, to just let our minds release all of the tension that envelops us and to find relaxation in something that requires no thought or consideration (television is an excellent example).

However, as rewarding as that temporary distraction might be; as good as you might feel sitting and doing nothing, it will only make matters worse when you try to get everything back under control.

Last week I made a spur-of-the-moment decision which has impacted me over the last several days. Immediately after getting my mouth x-rayed to determine how invasive and costly a surgery would be to remove all four of my wisdom teeth, I decided to take the bull by the horns and have the procedure done right there.

It was something that I had been putting off for years.

I was afraid it would hurt. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to afford it and most importantly, I was afraid of the suffering I would endure afterwards.

But, in retrospect, it wasn’t that bad. The procedure took all of about 35 minutes during which I was under heavy sedation. I followed the doctor’s orders and haven’t experienced any pain or swelling. To top it off, after my insurance coverage, it was a fraction of the cost that I thought it would be.

So why did I spend so many months and years worrying about having this done?

It never does us any good to put things off and worry. Sometimes things might feel like getting our teeth pulled, but sometimes getting our teeth pulled really isn’t that bad. In fact, it’s good for us.

So this weekend, as I enjoy a somewhat limited diet, I’m grabbing the bull by the horns on all fronts. I’m attaching my 1,000+ message inbox, my 22+ Google Voice voicemails and numerous unanswered comments in social media. I’m replacing Google Reader, reinventing the way I post to social media and exploring the idea of a weekly Flipboard magazine.

Keeping up with this world of constantly changing and improving technology can be a lot of fun, but it is also a lot of work. The longer you stay out of practice, the longer you will have to spend catching up.

Just a few weeks ago I renewed my passion for what I do online by speaking at a local SEO Meetup. I was challenged by some of the questions in the audience, but refreshed by everyone’s curiosity. I knew after that class that what I am doing is what I love and there is no reason I should be doing something else.

So now, with that renewed passion I am heading back into the sea of notifications, plowing my way through and plotting my continual course to success. No, it’s not a straight line, and it might not be the fastest way to get there, but if we stop dead in our tracks, we’ll never make it.

In order to succeed in what you love doing, you need to be relentless. You need to beg your loved ones to encourage you. You need to immerse yourself in whatever it is that you love. You need to know it, love it and breathe it. You need to exercise your passion every chance you get.

When you decide to get things back under control, start small. Evaluate what it is that you need to accomplish: write a list. Using tools like Evernote and Google Keep can help you sort out your priorities and keep focus of your goals. If you ever feel like you are drowning, get back to your list, remember why you are pursuing your passion and figure out what you need to do to start treading water again.

Once you take a deep breath and dive in, you will immediately remember why you love chasing whatever dream you’re after.

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