What are you waiting for? DO it!

2011: Two roads diverged in a yellow wood….

2012: It’s time to figure out which road I’m on.

“Your mission, should you decide to accept it….”

We’re all familiar with Robert Frost’s famous poem wherein he describes how he took the road less traveled by, and “that has made all the difference”.  Well, I can’t really say that I lived that poem out in 2011, but I can relate to it in part….

Why?  Do you know how Frost’s “The Road Less Taken” starts?

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both and be one traveler, long I stood and looked down one as far I could….

Now that is me!  I’ve been staring down the various roads in front of me rather than heading out with a full head of steam on either.

What’s going on?

Well, I haven’t talked about it on the blog, but those closest to me know that I was let go from my day job as an actuary last May.  It wasn’t really a big surprise: my job definition changed two years earlier when I had to layoff local staff and was asked to focus on sales rather than staff & project management. I didn’t excel in the sales area, so I knew my days were numbered.

Of course, I was still managing the same project load as before while relying on remote staff to do the work for me… but that’s neither here nor there.  And no, I’m not bitter.  Seriously, I’m not. 

But I digress – this post isn’t about losing my day job, it’s about what’s been going on since.

You see, I am the king of indecision, and losing the day job put me in a position where I needed to make some decisions in order to move forward. Out of work at age 50, I had the option of opening my own consulting shop or trying to find a job in the local market.

What did I do?  In true actuarial fashion, I hedged my bets – I opened a business while concurrently looking for a job. So, what’s the problem? In keeping my options open, I didn’t pursue either option fully.

“sorry I could not travel both…  long I stood and looked….”

Yes, I’ve opened my own actuarial consulting business and picked up a few clients. But, I haven’t jumped in with both feet: I held off on investing in marketing and software that I need to really make a go of it.

I’ve also continued to look for a job, but I’ve not been persistent in pursuing every option, and I haven’t doubled back to revisit those that gave me a “now’s not the right time” to see if it’s the right time yet.

I also have a vision of where I’d like to go with my blog/writing, and being out of work gave me an opportunity to integrate an overall strategy on how to proceed on both the actuarial and writing fronts. But have I gotten anywhere with the blog? Not really – in fact, my posting has slowed way down the last few months.

In case you’re wondering, I haven’t been sitting around doing nothing. I’ve been busy with all sorts of stuff in addition to the sporadic client work: I did stats and wrote up articles on our high school’s football team for the local paper; I’m still doing music at church, helping out with a Spanish speaking church plant; and I’ll be playing guitar for the high school’s upcoming production of Godspell, which will be a blast but very challenging. I’m also doing a little substitute teaching since the business doesn’t have me busy 100% of the time yet. In other words, I’m still a “too many irons in the fire” kind of guy, but I’m not getting paid for everything that I do!

So, heading into 2012, it’s time for me to start making progress down the path in front of me. The path that will pay the bills and put food on the table for my family!

Over at OneWord365, a number of bloggers are following Alece’s lead and choosing a single word to be their focus for 2012 rather than having a number of resolutions or goals for the year.  One word.  A singular focus.

For me, there are a number of words that I could use to focus my efforts in 2012.

Choose.

Do.

Work.

Resolve.

Execute.

Mission.

Get’rdone. (If I write that without spaces, can it count as one word?)

Finish.

Given everything I’ve noted above, are you surprised that I’m having issues picking a single word?  By the time I finish this post, I’ll pick a single word…  probably!

I do have a plan, believe it or not. On the agenda for 2012 are the following:

  • Set up a website, begin marketing and build a substantial client base for my actuarial consulting business. The website is up at danmcmconsulting.com, but I’ve got a long way to go in adding content to beef it up.
  • Move this blog to a self-hosted site and get about the business of helping to “Reconcile Viewpoints”, which was my objective in starting the blog to begin with.  The new site is technically up at reconcilingviewpoints.com, but I have a long ways to go to get the site as I want it.
  • Celebrate my 25th anniversary with Valerie in August. I need to plan something early so as to avoid my typical last minute planning and settling for something less than spectacular.

Ok. One word….

DO

I’ve been staring down the road in front of me for far too long, analyzing options, trying to decide what I want to do.  And I’m not talking about the last 6 months – I’m talking about MY WHOLE LIFE!  This indecision of mine has affected me since I was a kid.

Seriously, I’ve been questioning what I want to do with my life ever since I was 10 years old and realized that I might not have the size/skill to make it as a pro athlete. Even at age 9, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to play football, baseball or basketball when I grew up! Doh!

It is time to stop thinking about what I ought to do and get about the business of actually doing it.  All of that which I’m called to do, not just the stuff that is comfortable and easy.   (See Eph. 2:20 and Phil. 3:14-16 for proper exhortation!)

I considered using the word “Execute” rather than DO for my One Word, but I decided not to. Why?

When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were an expansion team, they went 0-14, losing every game. After one game, their exasperated coach, John McKay, was asked by a reporter, “What do you think of your team’s execution?”  Without hesitation, McKay replied “I’m all for it.”

When we get to the end of 2012, the last thing I want is someone to ask my wife, “What do you think of your husband’s execution in 2012?”

I don’t even want to go there!

Yep. Think I’ll stick with “DO” and continue to DO what I do best. Like Calvin (see comic), improvising is what I do best, but it’s time to start applying that ability to improvise and create to the harder items on my To-DO list.

****************************************************************

Do you have One Word for 2012? Any dreams or visions waiting to be fulfilled?

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