2009 WILL BE DEFINED! pt 1

by Young Che on December 25, 2008

It’s funny how nearing the end of each year affords you the opportunity to reflect on the year that is passing away and prepare for the year ahead. Whenever I look ahead I kind of naturally start to think in terms of goal setting and planning. This year is no different. There are so many things that I want to put on the agenda for this upcoming year. But before I get started I want to take a little bit of time to reflect on the year that has just passed away.

Just like every other year 2008 had its share of ups and downs for me both personally and professionally. Last year around this time just before stepping into 2008 I came up with a little chant to help me get ready for the New Year:

2008 IS GONNA BE GREAT! 2008 IS GONNA BE GREAT!

I’m not prepared to dig into all of the factors from 2007 which led to my having to come up with a reassuring positivity chant to get ready for 2008. Instead I’ll just kind of sum up 2007 like this: I felt completely trapped.

One of the reasons for this helpless condition of feeling trapped is that we finally moved back into our house which had to be restored and completely rebuilt as a result of damage from Hurricane Katrina. For many this magical moment of experiencing the right of return in its fullness was an ultimate high but for me it was the undesirable confirmation that New Orleans was home again. Every time I think I’m out they pull me right back in.

The second main contributing factor to this feeling of being trapped had everything to do with my professional life. I run a small Air Conditioning and Heating (HVAC) business as you may or may not already be aware of. The point is somewhere along the way during 2007 I hit “The Dip” as Seth Godin refers to it. At the time I didn’t really understand fully this concept although I quite naturally came up with various possible solutions to my “unique” predicament. All I knew for sure was that I was in a bad spot and all I could think about was quitting. After a whole year has passed and I’ve had the benefit of reading several books, blogs and articles which helped to shed light on this little situation it would seem that I was right on with feeling like that. The Dip contains the best advice I’ve read on this subject and also bolsters what I knew at the moment I began to feel trapped by my business. If you cannot be the best at what you are doing then quitting is a better option than languishing in mediocrity.

Quitting isn’t as easy as it sounds. There are always other factors to consider and more specifically other people (customers, employees & family) relying on you to fulfill your role. Quitting one thing to focus on another thing will automatically begin to redefine your role and affect the relationships that you are involved in. Two days ago I watched half of Kung-Fu Panda and the beginning of the movie sheds a little light on my situation. The A/C business is to me what the noodle business was to Panda. In 2006 I took over the reins of the family business not fully comprehending what that meant. Had I realized the importance of being passionate about what you do I would have definitely thought twice about accepting the responsibility to run a business which I don’t truly live and breathe.

2008 IS GONNA BE GREAT! 2008 IS GONNA BE GREAT!

What was extremely unclear at the time was what I would do instead and how would I extricate myself from this undesirable condition of feeling trapped by circumstances that were seemingly beyond my control. How had I gotten to this point? But more importantly, how would I get myself past this point?

As 2008 rolled around I decided that I would get started on my Digital Empire. For some years I’d been thinking about doing something internet related but the stars never seemed to align for me to step into the realm of online business. I knew a couple of web designers who do amazing work but the problem with working with digital creatives who bring to life your vision is you have to be able to communicate your vision clearly. My vision was anything but defined but I knew I wanted to do something. I started the next logical step and that was to begin to look at the time I invested online from a more business like perspective and try to figure out how I could carve out opportunities for myself.

This of course opened up a whole new world of possibilities. After doing some reading I decided to launch a blog because it allowed me to produce and publish my own content online and eliminated the need for a web design person until I develop my online vision. As a result of launching this blog almost by default I ended up landing two “clients” serving as their “Social Media Specialist/ Advisor/ Strategist.” Social Media has proved to be a fun ride thus far because on a certain level I “get it” but the majority of people and businesses still don’t get it. This post wasn’t intended to be a series but I guess it will have to be since the Holidays are invading my space in the form of family members crowding me out and interrupting my flow. AHHHHHHHHHH!

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