Personal and Professional Health

I want to follow up on Steph’s post on my last post Managing Time at Work. She made an excellent point about staying on top of one’s health, both mental and physical while pushing the limits on what you can get done every day over a sustained period of time.

I get rather busy during certain times of the year and very rarely, if ever do I take vacations. The “balance” that Steph talks about is what I cling to. Not ever having much money for travel, I take advantage of any hospitality that is offered my way and also take the spontaneous PTO day or two when I feel I cannot face another day of work.

I eat pretty well too. Although I’m not always going to the gym on a regular basis, I do keep myself strong with lots of push ups and crunches and I’m always seeking a balanced diet. My friends always turn their nose at my picky organic filled pantry and refrigerator, but they always show up when I’m cooking and invite them.

It’s strange, I’m never really “ahead” financially, but as I take small, tangible steps to get ahead professionally, physically and mentally, it all adds up to a better holistic life. I think everyone is a little bit of a control freak. Having a 9 to 5 you ultimately surrender control to a great amount of your life, so taking back the other hours of your life and using them well is a good way to build up towards something better.

Every little bit counts. What are you doing to get somewhere?

Managing Time At Work

I am relatively good at managing time at work. I manage myself pretty effectively and therefor do well in jobs with minimal supervision. I do, however like to have knowledgeable and helpful supervisors and managers who are there as a resource too, but as far as micro-managing goes, I don’t need it.

The past two weeks have been truly an exercise of endurance. With a massively complicated deliverable going out and perfection being our only option in execution, it’s been a non-stop deluge of work both on work hours and well outside my regular work hours. Despite a hectic pace and short-deadline, I have still managed my time very well.

I am just wondering what I can do to manage my time better with such a heavy workload compared to the more “regular” hours that I worked in previous months? I don’t think that things will slow down or get less crazy and I still need to keep developing my writing and trying to get a client base. I’m truly drained lately when I come home I have almost no creative energy left at night.

More “to-do” lists? More caffeine? Less sleep? More weekend hours? All of the above?

Any full-time freelancers or part-timers have any advice for time management under hectic full-time job conditions?

The “Plight” of the White Male

This past weekend I overheard, but did not participate in, conversations by white males about how hard it is for white males in America and how President Obama is going to make it worse by giving all the jobs to blacks and other minorities.

Growing up in a very blue collar family in a relatively blue collar city, I’ve heard this argument countless times. Some whites feel slighted and discriminated against because of affirmative action. A lot of them feel that AA is outdated and not relevant anymore because racism doesn’t matter these days.

This is a very complicated issue, one which I’m not 100% sure about where I stand on it, but I am positive that when I hear a bunch of employed, white males sitting around talking about how hard they have it because of their skin color, I want to laugh and shake them violently.

I think back to when I grew up in Worcester and went to school in the inner city at a private, albeit extremely diverse catholic school; I worked my ass off and never felt slighted when a person of color got something over me. I think about how some of the kids I knew growing up lived, whether white, black, hispanic, mixed race, asian or whatever… some of us had it harder than others. I’m happy as hell if one of my friends ever got called up for a special program because of their story.

So many “conservatives” talk about pulling yourself up by the boot-straps and making your way no matter what your circumstances. So, I simply pose to them; why didn’t you over-perform and get whatever you were going after? Was it impossible? Could you not overcome your circumstances?

My New Cat, Ella Fitzgerald

I went back to the shelter yesterday to finally get a new cat after I had to return my last one. Her name is Ella Fitzgerald and she is 5 years old. She is by far the nicest cat I’ve ever met. She headbutts and purrs constantly. I’m a big fan, although I’m going to change the locks to my apartment because my mother and sister are plotting to steal her and swap out their weird but lovable cat “Baby Bailey”.

Here are some pics for those of you who asked before!

Life Coaching the Un-Coachable

Last night a friend told me I should be a life coach because I seem good at inspiring people to take risks in life and chase their dreams. I took this as a compliment, but realized that I couldn’t be a life coach for a lot of the same reasons why I probably can’t ever be a teacher.

At this point in my life, I have a lot of emotional energy riding on my success as a professional and as a person. I work tirelessly to get what I want and get very angry, nervous anxious and resentful of people, places and things that get in my way. I always acknowledge these emotions and then churn them into some sort of positive energy towards the universe. I’m becoming more centered and fragmented at the same time!

One of the things that would make me unsuccessful at life-coaching and/or teaching is the fact that I cannot deal with people who don’t follow up on what they want. I am a pretty good listener and I will listen to, empathize with and comfort someone who is having a tough time in their life. I have to be careful not to be too forceful with what I think they should do, because I know that I hate when people automatically assume they know what I need. Instead, I just ask lots of questions revolving around what someone wants from their life. That’s how I figured a lot of things out in my own existence. When you acknowledge obstacles and start focusing on how to get over or around them, you’re at least using your mental energy for forward progress instead of just aimless worrying.

I’m pretty sure I’d take it very personally if I invested a lot of professional and emotional energy into giving someone advice and helping them take their first steps and seeing them not follow through. It is something I despise so much in myself when I do it, I wouldn’t want to project those feelings onto someone else. I’m always willing to have a good, long talk over coffee or wine and wax philosophic about life, but I definitely try to leave my hopes and investments in whichever person I’m talking to at the table.

I feel like if you just put the positive energy that you’ve got into the world and don’t expect anything back, you’ll often not get anything back, which is fine. But every so often, someone or something comes along and surprises you by turning into an amazing butterfly from a cocooned ball of angst and worry. That is probably one of the best feelings in life; seeing someone succeed and get what they truly want.

Seeing people genuinely happy makes me happy. I love to feed off it and put my good vibes out. I just don’t know if I could put myself out there for a living and take people by the hand and repeatedly see so many not change their lives. Or maybe the few people that do change make it all worth it? Seems similar to drug rehab or AA. To be honest, a lot of these thoughts are based from those sorts of experiences and people. Hmm….

Books about Career Development (and everything else)

Through my foray into social media about 2 years ago I’ve met a lot of interesting people with great ideas about career development, personal branding and other nu-age ideas that are relatively cutting edge. I can’t believe how many influential business books I’ve found through recommendations and even directly from authors I’ve met through social media sites such as Twitter.com and Linkdin.

It is interesting to think about who these books are targeted towards and why. Books such as “The Dip” by Seth Godin or “Me 2.0” by Dan Schawbel don’t seem to me like they are targeted towards high school seniors or individuals about to graduate from college. Actually, these books seem best geared towards people who are currently working jobs that they don’t find particularly fulfilling and might need a self re-invention. Am I amongst those ranks? Sure am! I love both of these books and many others like them.

I guess you can’t really target young people and tell them what’s up with the real world. You sort of need to just encourage them to experiment and not be afraid to take chances while they’re young and have less on the table to lose.

Developing a persona brand isn’t easy for anyone of any age because even though we live in a society of “individuals” (especially Generation Y!), there is still a relative hesitancy to step out into the crowd and be critiqued for who you really are, rather than being associated with a larger group. This is why personal branding is so confusing; what identity should any given individual cling to? Do you make something up that benefits you, or do you explore yourself and cultivate an image that expressed who you really are? Are the two concepts mutually exclusive?

I’m glad that I’m playing to my strengths as so many people, both famous and locally influential, have told me. I think that’s the key. Not sure what the full payoff is yet, but I’m already seeing dividends and that’s a great motivation to keep going. The soul searching part is tough though.

It’s almost like all of these great books are written for people who are too busy to read them. But we do find time to read them. We must!

Do any of you struggle with your personal branding? Have any of you given up on the idea? If so, what alternatives are there? Just letting the chips fall where they may?

Pow! Free Book?!?! DOUBLE POW POW!!!

So I read a post on Twitter from Saul Colt that a free business book was being given away by Andy Nulman at http://www.andynulman.com/

As someone who is starting a business, I feel I could use every bit of relevant advice I can find and being strapped for cash, the cost effective and/or free advice is often the best kind. I’d love to get a free copy of ‘POW! Right Between The Eyes.”

My address is

James R. Moreau
16 Whipple Street, Unit 3
Worcester, MA 01607

Thanks Andy Nulman!

Speechless After President Obama’s Inauguration

As I suspected, I am rather speechless after President Obama’s Inauguration speech. I got chills throughout the entire program and was left less of a sentimental feeling that I expected. I felt more determined and hopeful than before. I guess these are the types of feelings that a good leader is supposed to bring out. I am happy to get to work for President Obama and for the rest of America. I’m ready to work with my neighbors and everyone else across the country to wants to see better days ahead for when we are old and into our children’s lives.

President Barack Obama has a huge task ahead of him, but today showed overwhelmingly that he was an army of motivated individuals, inspired Americans who are behind him in his vision for a better United States of America.

I suppose I should finally get around to reading his books. I think I’ll start with this one.

 

Co-Working Outside of the Box

Co-Working Outside the Box
by-JR Moreau

What is a business idea that could spread so rapidly in this fading and transitioning economy? Co-Working! Co-working is an idea that is attractive in virtually any part of the world. The ingredients and ideas are simple. You take self-employed entrepreneurs and you take under-utilized commercial space. Bam. That’s it.

Sitting at you home office as a freelancer can be productive, but can also be lonely and stifling. The lack of human interaction really gets some people down. These people thrive off of other people’s ideas and motivation. They’re not looking to chat it up all day and be unproductive, they want to work among their peers and have the ability to collaborate if the opportunity arises.

There’s always the coffee shop that you could sit at too. Sometimes the atmosphere can be cool and the coffee is usually good (and expensive), but the crowd and vibes can change quickly. Meeting friends at a coffee shop for conversation is one thing, but bringing a client there unless they specifically ask for that type of setting? Hell no! Especially if there are little kids there.

Co-working is an outlet that is truly ideal for the independent professional who wants all of the benefits of a social setting without the drawback’s of a public space. It also provides a more-than-adequate work space with full internet connectivity and basic office supplies and amenities.

Another benefit: COST! The shared cost of renting an existing, under-utilized space is the ability to share the cost with a group of people. This leads to far lower overhead than anyone could ever manage to find in renting their own space. Plus you’re given a set, professional atmosphere to bring clients, rather than having to scramble to make sure your home is clean or grabbing a corner at the local coffee house.

The catch? Well, I suppose co-working lacks a corporate culture, a strict dress code and doesn’t encourage being punctual, but most self-employed people, in some ways, chose to become entrepreneurs to get away from all of that anyways. The next generation of entrepreneurs will not be suited unless absolutely necessary and will not be bound by a-typical office jobs due to projected responsibility or guilt.

Whether you live in a large city like Chicago or New York, an outlying suburban area or even a rural town, there is a good chance that freelancers and entrepreneurs exist and are looking for a solution to their workspace issues just like you are. You’re building community and building your business at the same time.

Resources
  1. coworking.pbwiki.com/
  2. http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1381712/coworking_outside_of_the_box.html?cat=31

If you like the idea of this, check out this book based on the concept of the “third place.” A very interesting book and theory on community and a general sense of how we can get it back.