Episode 29- Gaining A Month Of Freedom By Losing One Assignment

Gaining A Month Of Freedom By Losing One Assignment

I will follow up on yesterday’s podcast about the advantages and disadvantages of killing our business. We keep learning and you never stop learning but what we learned in this process, what we keep learning is that there’s always growth ahead of you that you don’t even see. So, the wedding side of our photography business ended like this and it is a pretty interesting story. 

We booked one final wedding for the last year of the business. We weren’t planning on doing any but it was a referral from a past client. They seem like a great couple so I figured why not just take one last one and then we’ll end it after that. We’ll give it all we got and we’ll be done and will move on. Our other business are taking off. It was already taking over so we wouldn’t even need to grow this business anymore but okay we’ll do the job well and then we’ll move on. After we booked it, I looked at the calendar and it was two days after one of our sons’ birthdays and were going to go on a trip. But normal work life, that’s just the way life is, right? You just need to do the work, not thinking how much control we actually do have over our lives by the choices that we make and by the jobs that we take. 

So’s wedding was booked and being it was two days after our son’s birthday, it was obvious that we are nowhere going on a trip. we can do it may be before after. we thought about doing a month-long summer trip and that was off the table on that booking so we just accept and we go on. 

Here’s how the business ended. We’re traveling to Colorado, were leaving the hotel and we’re going cross-country as a family. As we checked out of the hotel, I checked my phone as Elizabeth and the boys were coming downstairs and I get an email from the bride from that wedding. She emailed and she said “I understand that we paid a deposit for this and that deposit can’t be refunded because they’ve held the date for almost a year, but should I regret to tell you that the wedding has been called off. So, there won’t be a wedding and we won’t need your services for that day.” The immediate response in your head, naturally is “oh my goodness!” You know you are thinking about this couple. you are thinking about what problems could happen? What the reason is? Maybe it’s just postponed. Maybe they broke up. You just don’t know and I am not going to ask the details and they’re not sharing it. It is the first thing you feels when you are thinking about the couple. The second thing you think is “Oh, we’re not going to be shooting that wedding now so that date is now open.” That’s the way that we would normally think me. The date might be open for another couple now. And the third thing you think is the certain amount of money that was supposed to come and that’s not coming in. The fourth thing that really hit me and that made me realize even though we had gained so much freedom by going from a job to a business, where we had freed up so many more days in our life for making that one shift, not even realizing how this one cancellation change my mindset on time freedom and location freedom. And here’s what happened.

That one booking that we accepted in the middle of the month, once it was gone, freed up the entire month for us to do whatever we wanted to do location freedom wise. Literally that one job was going to keep us in Pennsylvania for a month and we can do a shorter trip before that or possibly a shorter trip after it. But when that date went away and I saw the calendar open up, I didn’t realize how many of those other jobs that we took, to physically have to be there, were preventing so many other opportunities for us. How many times I couldn’t go to a conference for the business that I was growing because I had assignments that I need to be here for. How many times could I not do some type of a project, how many times could we not go on a trip that we wanted to go to or go to an anniversary or birthday party at a state from somebody else or go to a conference that would’ve really leveled up the business that were growing, out of town out of state for multiple days. I couldn’t do any of those things because we already committed to all these jobs where we live that I couldn’t do any of that stuff. That’s the normal world, right? I don’t expect that situation to feel bad that we couldn’t do that type of thing but it really opened my mind to the idea of we have complete control over our time if we wanted depending on what we want to build in terms of our career. 

So, at that very moment, as we are leaving Durango Colorado and heading along the southern part of Colorado, headed back home, I really got the vision of what the next level of our business looks like. And building a business that included location freedom was a huge part of it. Now I never could’ve done that before because I never could’ve even envisioned it. It was in a world that we lived in. But once you start tasting what that’s like, now you can build what it is that you actually want from the very beginning. So, as we drove back in all those hours of driving back from Colorado at that point, I was able to craft what that looked like. I was able to craft with the work I would do it look like. I was able to plan what I did not want to do and I was able to plan what I really did want to do and that was the big seed in terms of building the next level of a location independent business. 

Now we had time freedom, we have the financial freedom but what that business did not give us was the possibility for location freedom. Location freedom is not just about going on vacation. It is not the main point of it. So many people get caught up with that “I don’t want to work and I will live in the beach.” That’s not what I want. I love working. I love helping. I love creating ideas and thoughts and challenging people to be better at what they’re doing and where they are right now but that didn’t require me to be in one place to work. We had built a business because we were good at it around being required to be in a place to work. I did not realize until that moment how much that held us back from doing so many other things that were more in line with the life that we want to live. 

But it takes things like canceled weddings. It takes things like taking chances and stopping doing the work that is good so you can build the work that is going to be great. And that requires some courage to be able to do that because it’s so easy to just be like, “it’s good enough.” It’s good enough, I can’t complain, I’m happy. It’s easy to say but that’s a hard thing to take and make something really better from it because if we didn’t saw that, we would have continued booking dates the same way we were and we were still be in better shape than we ever been in the past but what we didn’t see with the possibilities beyond that. And once that wedding got canceled, which is a terrible thing all around right? It’s a terrible thing for their relationship. It wasn’t good for our business to lose it but it was actually the best thing that happened to our business because not only did it open up a month but it really allowed us to sit down and over a week, while driving, map out how you build the business that is location independent. That’s we love. We would not have been able to do that fully without that understanding. so, there were obvious growing pains when we decided to end our business, a lot more hasty than other people would’ve done it. But the growth and the learning that came from that and then a year out when it all finally ended and we were able to put our full time and effort into the next stage of the business was really such an incredible leap from one level to the next.

Episode 28- The Lessons Learned From Killing Our Business



All right, so yesterday I talked about why Elizabeth and I shut down our wedding photography business. Why we just ended it instead of just rolling on and keep doing it, just to do it. Keeping things safe and looking back year and a half, nearly two years later, it seems like it was kind of a bold move to do that seem pretty extreme, but in the time it felt right, it felt like this is the time to make a change. And I always worry about if I don’t take action on something, if I don’t go and do it, I’m going to get complacent and I’m going to get comfortable again and I’m going to stick with what I’m doing and I’m really going to regret not taking chances on what I really want to take chances on. But deciding to really just shut down a very lucrative business, a business that had already given us a life of freedom. 

I mean, if you read Freelance To freedom, this is kind of what went on as soon as the book was done being written. So have you read the book and you wonder what happened after that story ended? This is kind of what happened. We decided to end this part of our career with the grand vision of building what we’ve built now and continue to build. But the thing is, there were some upsides from doing it that way and there were some downsides to doing it that way. And this is what this podcast is about, to kind of let you know what the struggles were. We decided to do this, so maybe it could be a warning or it could be a help for when you’re in this position yourself. If you’re in a position where you’re doing something that is profitable but it’s not really your passion anymore, it’s not really something that you want to be doing. 

It’s a crossroads because you struggle because you feel like, I want to be grateful for what I’ve got. I want to be grateful for the income that this is bringing me with the same time. I know there’s something much more for me to do at this point. So I’ve become an advocate more and more of burning the boats because life is just too short to do anything that you don’t want to do. That’s one thing. When you’re 26 years old, you don’t have kids or family. It’s another thing when you have three kids, you’re married and you have a family that depends on your income. And fortunately for me, I have a wife that gets this and stuff has never been a big deal for Elizabeth. So we’ve been in the position where we’ve had money, we’ve been in the position where we haven’t had money, and I can tell you life is much better when you have the money, but there also comes a point where it doesn’t matter as much anymore. 

You know, there’s this, there’s a study that says, after you make more than $75,000 a year, the increase in income does not bring you more happiness, and there really is a lot to that study. So we decided to kill this business without the income to replace it. Yet now we weren’t going into this blind. We had the roadmap set. We had the book that was publishing. We had coaching that we were doing. We had masterminds that we were starting. It just wasn’t anywhere near what we were making with the weddings yet, but the big picture, Ford had so much more potential. I just needed the time and I needed to execute, so I’m going to go into what the negatives were about shutting it down. I’m going to go into what some of the positives were by shutting it down. I’ll start with the negatives and the first thing is I didn’t give us enough time. 

I didn’t give us enough financial in a short period of time to do this the way that we really probably should have done it. When you have the curse of being an all or nothing type of person like I am. When you’re done, a lot of times you’re done and it really could have been a little bit know a lot smoother if I would have laid out a plan that was a little bit more concise in terms of how the money was going to come in to tide us over. Now at the same time, I want to say we had an emergency fund set, we did have income coming in, we had no debt, so we were in a better place to do this. Then maybe some other people might’ve been or that we’ve been in the past. So the risk was a lot less, but still, you know this, when you get to a certain point in a certain income, you kind of get comfortable with that and any drop in that can scare you a little bit because is it going to come back? 

There was no guarantee that that was going to come back. So I put us in a difficult position because the month of my book released, it was the lowest income month that we had had in over five years that month that it released, which is pretty ironic when you’re writing a book about financial freedom. I mean there was a little bit of guilt like who am I to write this? Because at this very moment, as this book is being distributed and we’re traveling across the country, income coming in for this month is not what it used to be. So I certainly didn’t give ourselves a large enough window, a large enough runway to make it feel comfortable. But at the same time, you need to knock buildings down. You need to knock old buildings down that aren’t the future, so you can pave it over and build up the new one that you want to build. 

And that’s what we believed in. It’s the same as, I didn’t really have these feelings back when this happened. I look back and I feel this, I look back and I wrote, Ooh, that was kinda crazy that we did this. But when we’re doing it, it didn’t feel that bad. So if I were smarter and I was to do it again, I definitely would have created some type of a bridge income, something to make it a little bit more comfortable during those down months of the transition. So that was the downside. But here’s the upside of doing it and taking bold action. It forced us into action. It forced us to make this work because it’s happening to me in the past that when the money comes in and you know it’s there steady, you can really lose the drive for putting the work in, putting the grind, working for making the next thing work. 

You can kind of get complacent, you can take it easy and you’d be like, yeah, we’ll get there, but everything’s going good over here. So I’ll get there when I get there and it lets fear creep into what the next thing is because you’re losing something comfortable. And we didn’t have anything comfortable to lose because we had already lost it. And once we had lost it and we knew we weren’t going back because we very easily could have said, all right, let’s take some of these wedding inquiries that are coming in. We were still getting them. We were just turning them down while not producing the income. It was kinda crazy to think about, but we knew that every inquiry that we took at that point was going to take us off focus to where we really wanted us to go and it wasn’t about the money, it was about the freedom. 

It was about the future and that was the second good thing that came from it. I got to spend all my work time. I got to spend all of my work thoughts, all of my energy in that realm towards what we’re building. I wasn’t looking over my shoulder. I looking back, I wasn’t having regrets. I was completely and utterly focused on growing this next wave of the business. Now when you burn the boats, you are forced to do that. That’s why I am advocate for so many people that are not happy with their jobs to leave. And I get pushed back on that because it seems really bold. But when you use your income to pay off your debt, when you force your mindset into an abundance and not a scarcity mindset, if you accept no less than just doing what it is that you want to do that can help the right people, you have no choice but to make that work. 

There is no fallback plan because often when there’s a fallback plan, you fall back and I wasn’t going to allow that to happen. And the third thing that killing our business in such a dramatic fashion did for me is it forced me to realize what I really wanted to do. And when the money wasn’t flowing in and it was no longer about the money, I was forced to look there and say, where do I want to go with my life? I get to choose right now. I’m no longer handcuffed to a certain thing because we had to make this money. I can now look and say, what is it exactly that I want to do and let’s go build that thing and let’s not worry about the past as a sunk cost. The past. It doesn’t matter anymore. It’s not what we want to do. 

It’s not what we want to go. So why would we spend any more time doing that just for money. And for those of you that are saying, oh, but you got to pay the bills, you don’t understand there’s bills, there’s expenses, kids are expensive. I want you to get to the point where that’s not a problem. I want you to get to a point where financially you’ve put yourself in a position or you can make decisions that aren’t based on money anymore. Because when you can do that, you’ll realize so many of the decisions that you’re making are based only on money. And if money didn’t matter, you wouldn’t do that work. You wouldn’t go to that job. You wouldn’t get up and get in the car at six 30 or get on that train or deal with that boss if it wasn’t for money. 

So get your money together, pay attention to it, pay off your debt, build an emergency fund, start the side business while you don’t need it. Because when you finally had enough and you could be like, I’m ready to go. And there’s no more excuses. So there were some downsides to doing this. There were some slight hairy ties that we have to deal with, but for the most part, three to one ratio, doing it abruptly and doing it the way we did it actually was a big benefit and not a negative, but to do it and to do it right, it required vision. It required focus, and it required tenacity. And if you want to hear the story behind all this, you could download the audio book for freelance to freedom for free from our website, total life freedom. That comm slash f two F book. It’s there for free for you to pick up and download. And I’ll be back with you tomorrow with a story about how losing one assignment, one job gained us a month of freedom. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

Episode 27- Why We Killed A Six Figure Business

The transcript for Ep. 27- Why We Killed A Six Figure Business

So for over 13 years, one of the main sources of income for Elizabeth and I was photographing weddings and if you read in the book, shooting weddings was not something that we were dying to do. It was something that was born out of desperation. It was something that was born out of financial need. After we had decided that the newspaper career that we’re in was not going to suffice for the life that we wanted as our son was getting ready to be born. So we started this career, that desperation of something just to make a couple of bucks and it turned into something that we actually really enjoyed doing. It was something that we could tell stories with, we could be creative with. We actually had carte blanche over the way that we did the work because we control the message. We weren’t working for somebody else, so we could design our website to reflect our personality in terms of the work that we do, in terms of the art that we create for our couples. 

So it turned out to be something that started out as like that we did not want to do because we had a preconceived notion of what it was about. But once we got over that and we got into it and we actually took the chance and we got our fingers in it, we realized, well we can tell better stories in this format that we were even able to do in the newspaper world, which we thought was the ultimate level of creativity for a journalist. It wasn’t because we started thinking about it, we’re like, well we have to do all these environmental portraits, pictures of buildings, different assignments. I had no journalistic feel to it at all. They were just kind of gripping grin pictures. But with a wedding we got to just tell emotional stories of one of the most important days of these people’s lives. And we really got into it. 

So we made it our thing for all these years and it turned out to be extremely successful, extremely profitable. I mean to the point where within a couple of years we had paid off all our debt. We paid off our house, we quit. Our jobs were financially free. So about two years ago we decided to stop. We decided just to stop shooting weddings. So people in our life that have been in our life the last couple of years, they know everything that’s going on, all the different changes that have gone on, the different businesses that have started, the different areas that we’re in. But people that I haven’t spoken to in a little while, they’re like, oh you still shooting weddings? And I’m like, and that feels like 40 years ago. Like, no, we’re not like we’ve, we’ve moved on from that. I haven’t had to answer the question very much, but I’ve had to answer it a lot lately. 

It’s kind of like, why did you stop shooting weddings and like well might as well make a podcast about it. Cause I get asked it a bunch now, especially when the book was published, when I wrote the book, our primary income was weddings, which was six figures. And we decided to kill that. We decided to just basically put it aside, put it away and do other stuff. And I think some people were really intrigued by that. So I’m like, I might as well tell a little bit of the story of that because you know, it’s more than just one small podcast. But what happened was a few years back I was going through a tremendously difficult health issue, which was adrenal fatigue. My thyroid was all messed up. I was going through adrenal fatigue. I was in a situation where I was, I was tired all day, but I couldn’t sleep at night and I’m not an anxious or depressed person, but I had severe anxiety, severe depression that came with, I mean crippling to the point where it was like days in bed, just doing nothing but just worrying and everything seemed heavy. 

That’s the best way I can describe it. Everything just seemed heavy. Every decision, every everything with the kids, everything with our career, you know, it all seemed just so important and it crippled me. It mentally crippled me for for a long period of time. And this went on for probably a good year and a half. So when it started, you know, we were fully entrenched in our wedding business and when it was over, we had already killed the wedding business and it moved on. That’s how, that’s how long it was. And that’s how bizarre it was. So the backstory to it is during this adrenal fatigue, while this was going on, we were still shooting weddings. So I was exhausted. I mean, I would show up at weddings and I would, and I would just do my best just to stay energized. At that point I was even drinking red bull, which is so bad for you. 

But I was drinking those just to get a jolt of energy just to get me going through the day. And I would say to myself like, Oh, six more hours, you know, til I’m done. But I would just try to give it everything that I had. And then Sundays and Mondays were brutal because it was just recovery time. And normally it wouldn’t be that bad. But going through this, it was tough. But what happened was there was one wedding, and I remember it clearly, and this was the day that I knew that the career was over. I show up at the House of the groom getting ready. Elizabeth was at the bride getting ready and as we normally did, what was the two photographers? She would be with the bride, I’d be with the groom, we’d meet at the ceremony and then I would shoot. Then we would meet at the reception and I would shoot the rest of the night until the, until the wedding was over. 

That’s, that was generally the way that we worked at. But I remember ringing the Doorbell or the groom and here’s what I thought. I said, I hope they don’t answer. That’s what I thought. I said, oh my goodness. Like I, if they didn’t answer and I could just go home and go to sleep, that’s how crazy it was. Cause this is somebody’s wedding. But I was so exhausted and mentally just shot that I just didn’t want to do anything. But they opened the door and you know, they start getting, so immediately the adrenaline kicks in and you and you start doing the work. So what happened was I shot that, went to the ceremony, shot the ceremony, I met Elizabeth there, we did the receptionist at the lights, did the portraits, did the whole thing. And when it’s going on, you don’t feel any of it. 

Cause the adrenaline is so high and you see the energy of this couple, so you feel it. So you feed off of them. But you know when it’s all over, I mean literally when you drop the cameras in the car and you get in the car, your body is gonna just shut down. You’re just going to feel it. So what happened was I shot the entire ceremony, shot the entire reception. And then as I got in the car, I started driving home. And normally when I drive home from weddings, I recall all the moments from the wedding. I recall the things that I shot. I think about the lighting, the moments that I get this, that I get that. Anything that I missed, you know, I just, I do an audit in my head of the entire wedding and I drove home from this wedding and for the first 10 minutes I didn’t even think. 

And then I started thinking about the wedding. I don’t remember anything that I shot. I don’t remember the ceremony. I mean I was there, but I don’t remember the pictures that I took. I don’t remember if the light was good at the reception. I don’t remember if I captured all the key moments, you know, first kids, all the things that matter the in between moments that getting hurt. I don’t remember any of it. And I’m driving home and I’m thinking, oh my goodness, like we’re dead. Like the, she’s going to come back to us and she is going to complain. You know, we had never gotten any like that in all those years and doing weddings. It’s always been fantastic response and we’re going to get like the first real complaint for our work. And I’m like, ah, you know, and, and it just broke my heart. 

Like I blew it for them. I blew it for their wedding. Like as it was all over with, I’m thinking, I’m not thinking about how I felt anymore. I’m thinking, holy crap, I screwed this up for this couple and this is their wedding day and that’s how important it is. So for two weeks as Elizabeth edited all the pictures, I didn’t even look at it. I didn’t even want to look at it. She did the work. She know it looks good, you know I’m like okay and I’m not really believing her. So she edits it and then we put together this slide show and we send it off to the couple. And I’m just bracing myself. I’m bracing myself for the response. I’m bracing myself for, you know, how, you know I’m already thinking are we going to make it up to them somehow? Is there something we could do for them? 

You know, we give money back with all these things because I’m still in the middle of this adrenal fatigue and then we send it off and we get an email back and I see all these capital letters and it’s just like we love it. Like this is, you got everything. You got all the moments that we wanted. I don’t know how you guys captured it all like this is better than we ever expected. And I was like, what? I was like, what are you talking about? I don’t even remember this. I don’t even remember how we did it and now you’re raving about it. And I was completely expecting just to be shot down and now like whatever repair has to be done afterwards. And once the dust settled on that, I said to myself, it’s over. I said, I can’t, I’m not gonna, I can’t do this anymore. 

And the reason why is because there was no longer a challenge. It was always such a challenge. I always loved the idea of like working without a net, you know, I need to earn it. I need to earn this, keep, I need to be on to do this, right. I need to be able to be at a certain level and mentally there. And when I realized that I can sleep, walk through something and still produce the work that we would have expected, I immediately realized I had to be done. I needed a new challenge. That’s exactly what it was. That’s exactly what my mindset was. And I said to Elizabeth, I said, I’m done. And I think she understood because she kind of felt the same thing too. It kind of felt like, well, we can keep riding this gravy train, we can keep doing, we can raise our prices, make more money, but we’ll still be doing something that we’re not feeling challenged by and now we can always choose a new way to challenge ourselves. 

Right? We can choose a different style to try to embrace or do things differently, but it just felt right to make a change. It felt like this is the time to try something new. And I had been doing coaching of photographers for a couple of years on the side, just doing one on one coaching. And to me that felt like weddings felt in the very beginning, like in the very beginning when you don’t even know what you’re doing. But you’re learning and you’re trying and you’re, and you’re growing in, you’re excited by it. Like it, that felt like the thing that I w I knew nothing about and I want to get better at and the weddings is like, yeah, we can keep getting better at it, but when do you cut the cord? And so we decided to cut the cord at that point forward. We booked maybe another half a year of weddings to go forward in terms of income wise. 

And then we ran out the ones that we had and we built this next business on the side and that’s how we made the transition. And there’s a lot of mistakes in that I’ll talk about in the next episode and what we learned from that and what we’re doing now to not make the same mistakes we made then. But essentially it happened that quickly. It was like it’s time for a change, it’s time for a new challenge and we’re going to go after it. We’re not going to do it just for the money. We’re not going to do something that we’re half into just for the money. It’s not the way that we want to work or live our life. So that’s essentially the story of how we decide to start getting out of actually killing a six figure business and go into something completely new. And I’ll be back with the lessons that we learned about what we did wrong in that process tomorrow.

Episode 26- Two Things That Hold People Back From Freedom


The transcript for Ep. 26- Two Things That Hold People Back From Freedom

I want to talk to you today about two reasons why I think so many people struggle and fail while trying to create their own business and trying to create their own life of freedom. And it comes down to these two things. It comes down to their perceived need of stuff and security. Now that’s it. Now business can be very complicated, but in truth, it really is pretty simple and when it comes down to it, people’s need for stuff often trumps their desire for freedom. So they will allow their stuff, they will allow their cars, they will allow their house, the neighborhood they’re in, the activities that they’ve signed their kids up for, their want for that motorcycle or that boat that gets them away from the thoughts of their crappy job. The thing that is their escape, they allow that stuff to actually stop them from living the life that they want to live day after day. And that need for stuff that need for things that used to feel special, but they’re just normal now that you don’t want to lose

That stops people from actually taking chances on things that they want to do. It holds them in their place. It makes them keep playing defense instead of starting to play offence. So they are quite literally just trying to hold onto things that they already have so that they don’t lose them, instead of actually being able to give up things that are just okay for the things that they really want. So we have a really nice car, but with the drive to the job that we don’t want to go to with it, we have a really nice house, but it’s the house we have to come home to after doing work all day that really doesn’t excite us. It’s the boat or the vacation home that we purchase to get away from the life that we’re trying to escape from. So I study really successful people. 

I consider that my job. What I noticed from so many successful people that the stuff doesn’t really matter. Now a lot of them have it, but it’s not that big of a deal to them. That’s not why they do it. And there’s no way in the world they would let stuff stop them from doing the work that they do now. And the problem is you don’t even know what the great work is that you can be doing because you’re so stuck doing work that you don’t want to do to pay for stuff that you already bought that you can’t even see the other side of it. So we model the people that are successful that we really want to learn from, and what we’ve learned is stuff isn’t a big deal. So we have a house, we’ve got a nice house. 

It’s not a gorgeous mansion, it’s a nice house. It’s a paid for house in the suburbs of Pittsburgh that is more than good enough for what we need for us and our three homeschool kids who are messy and dirty and love creating things and love building things. We don’t need a beautiful pristine house for that. It’s just not the time of our life for it, but we can very easily be coerced into thinking of, that’s what we need. That’s the image that we need to project to be this person in this world, and it makes no difference to us. So somebody can come to our house and be unimpressed. They can be like, I thought it would be bigger and that makes no difference to us. Whether they think that or don’t think that or they’re impressed by it or they’re not impressed by it. 

What makes a difference to us is having the freedom to do what we want to do every day and having no limits and not feeling like I need to take on work that I don’t want to do to pay for something that I already bought or I need to buy to make myself feel better. So that’s the stuff part of it and there’s so much more that we can dive into. There’s so many other episodes that can be pulled out of just those couple of minutes, but I’ll stop there on that one. But the second one is security, and I’m not sure exactly which one holds people back more. And I love studying this and finding out more and more, but security is another big one. Your need for security, for perceived security is going to severely slowed down your ability to actually do the work that you really love doing or at least being able to brainstorm and think of the ideas that you really want to be doing because I can tell you when you need security and you need that job and you need somewhere that’s going to give you a steady paycheck to make you feel like everything’s fine, you will have a really hard time finding the courage to say, this is not what I want to do and this is what I want to do and I don’t need the security to do this. Because I can tell you right now there is somebody that is way broker than you are that has way less security than you do, but they have no fear. 

They have nothing stopping them and they are going to eat your lunch. They are going to come in and they’re going to just do what they want to do their way because there’s nothing to lose. But if you feel like you have something to lose, I can lose the house, I can lose our emergency fund, I can lose our steady paycheck. If you work that way, you will play defense mode the whole way. And it’s just like the football team that goes into prevent defense when they’ve got a four point lead with two minutes to go. Just about every single time when they play prevent defense, the other team drives down the field because there’s wide open spots to throw the ball. And here’s what happens. The team with the lead has lost their momentum. They’ve lost their momentum cause they went into prevent defense mode. 

They went into security mode. And by the time that they need to make that stop, deep in their own territory, they can’t do it because they’ve lost their momentum. And I see so many people like this in business and in life where they lose their momentum and they’d try to just hold on to what they have instead of fighting for something that they really want. And when you realize, you realize if you lose those things, if you lose the stuff and you lose the security, I often want people to lose it because they realize, oh my goodness, it wasn’t what I thought it would be. It’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be. I don’t even need this stuff. That’s when it’s really easy to actually do what you want to do. But we get hung up on these paychecks and the security and this stuff that we now can’t lose, that it forces us to play prevent defense. And while you’re worried about losing these things that don’t matter, your stuff and your security, you actually wind up losing the things that do matter to you, which are your dreams and the things you want to accomplish.

Episode 25- The Random Compliment


The transcript for Ep.25- The Random Compliment

Back in March, I attended social media marketing world as a conference out in San Diego is happens every year. Michael Stelzner runs it and it’s gotten bigger and bigger every year. It’s an absolute powerhouse of a conference. I really go to hang out with so many people that I know in the industry, so many people that I want to meet and so many people that I want to learn from and I spend a lot of my time at conferences just talking and meeting with people, not going to the conference part, not going to the speakers. I really want to get to know people more. I use it to my advantage to build my network with people that I would not normally get to hang out with for a couple of days and it’s led to so much, so much growth in so many different ways. I’m going to do podcasts about the power of conferences coming up in the future, but something funny and interesting happened while I was at this conference. 

I wasn’t even expecting it. It happened before the conference even started and our family was staying in Arizona for three months during that conference. So the day before I drove from Arizona to San Diego, I went and got a haircut and I was long overdue for a haircut. So I went in there and this guy who had cut my hair the last couple times I went in who’d always done a great job. I don’t know what happened this time, but I wasn’t happy with it. Like he just took it way too short, way too short on top. It just, I felt like, ah man, he kinda, he kinda botched this one. So I’m going into this conference now and I feel like I got this crappy haircut. I feel like it’s too short. It’s not what I wanted and I’m all self conscious about it. So it’s funny talking about this out loud than recording this for anybody to watch, but it’s just the truth. 

I go to this conference and I’m literally like, ah, like I wanted to get a better haircut before the conference happened. And then I get to the conference and it never rains in San Diego. I don’t think I’ve ever been to San Diego when it really rained, like a heavy downpour. Well, I get to my Airbnb and I’m staying there with Andy Storage and Ken Carfagno, two close friends of mine and they’re at the conference. So I get to the place and at the park, my car, but it is pouring down rain. It is just coming down like, this is not normal in San Diego. So I gotta get to my car and I’ve got to get to the Airbnb, I got to check in and I don’t have any time to even get ready. So I’m like, I’m going to get drenched. I’m already not happy about my haircut. And now it’s going to get all wet and I’m going to show up looking like a, like a drowned rat. 

And I’m just Kinda just all self conscious about this. So I finally get into the Airbnb and my clothes are so soaked from the heavy rain coming down, I change my clothes, put all new clothes on and just comb my hair real quick and it’s just all wet and I’m like, ah, this is not what I want. There’s not the appearance that I wanted to make. I know this is so vain and insecure and whatever, but it’s just, I was being honest in terms of how I was feeling. And there’s a reason behind this. So I text everybody, I’m going to meet him at the conference and I’m walking over and literally thinking, I look like crap. I’m near Petco Park walking towards the San Diego Convention Center and this woman walking next to me, she looked like she might’ve been from, she looked like she might’ve been from Jamaica or the Caribbean and I didn’t even see her. 

And she says, that’s a nice haircut. And the first thing I thought was, oh my God, I’m getting made fun of, not even like quietly, but I’m getting made fun of like to my face. And I stopped and I turned and I looked at and I said, excuse me, and she said, your haircut looks really nice. That’s good haircut. And I said, really? She said, yeah, it looks really good on you. They did a great job. I didn’t get the impression at all that she was being flirtatious or anything like that. She was literally just giving me a compliment and I have no idea who this woman was. I said, thank you. And I went on my way and I went to the convention center. But because of her, I was able to approach it so much differently because I really was self conscious. I really wasn’t happy with it. 

And out of nowhere, this woman took the time and not only the time, but she had the generosity to go out of her way to make a compliment that there would be nothing lost from her life by not giving me that compliment. It wasn’t like I was fishing for it. It wasn’t like she knew me. She was just walking down the street. She noticed something that she wanted to give a compliment to and she went and did it. And to whoever you are, I’m not sure what your name is. You literally made the conference for me, because the rest of the time I felt confident. The rest of the time I was like, Hey, I thought back to her saying that. And I can’t remember the last time somebody gave me a compliment and a haircut. I can, I mean, probably when I was in my twenties I cannot remember the last time somebody gave me a haircut compliment. 

And, but her doing that at the exact moment that I was self conscious about it and it led me into a conference with so many people. It’s so important to feel confident. It’s so important to let all that stuff go and just be yourself and then just really connect with others. And this woman out of nowhere did this for me and gave me the boost that I truly needed at the right time in such a small, superficial way. But she went out of her way to do something that she did not need to do. And it stuck with me since then and I, you know, I try to do my best at doing this, but I realize I’m not giving enough random compliments out of nowhere to things I truly believe could use it. Now I’m not talking about your BS compliments to try to get something or just because you, you want to impress on me and I’m talking about something like this woman where there’s no benefit for her to do it except to be nice and to help somebody else out. 

She probably went on her day and probably went home that day and whatever happened, not realizing the impact that she made, but never underestimate the power of an unexpected compliment because you never know how you could turn somebody’s day around somebody conference around or even just inspire somebody else to do it more. So I want to take this lesson and I want to bring it to you and I want to inspire you today to go out and find somebody or more than one person to give a random compliment to that’s unexpected that you truly believe in, but you might not normally have done it. And it’d be even more important if you know that the person really needs it. So again, to that lady in San Diego that made my day, I appreciate you, I appreciate you doing that. You taught me a wonderful lesson and I’m hoping to bring that lesson to more people. All right. There you go. I will talk to you tomorrow.

Episode 24- Yesterday


The transcript for Ep. 24- Yesterday

So I believe I mentioned in a previous episode or two that we homeschool. So we have three sons, they’re 14 they’re 11 and they’re 8 and we’ve done that for about four years now. And everybody asks, how do you do that? And this isn’t a podcast about homeschooling, but a lot of people ask, you know, how do you guys do that? Who teaches, how does that work? And it really depends on the day. And my answer is different all the time, depending on where we’re at. But my joke is that Elizabeth is the teacher and I am either the principal or the substitute teacher, whichever one gets less respect, that’s the one that I am. So I can be the substitute teacher that doesn’t get taken seriously. Or I can be the principal as the lay down the law sometimes. But homeschooling three boys, while running our business from home and Elizabeth and I work in our business together can get very challenging at times, especially with time. 

We have to be so much more efficient with our time than we used to be. And we actually become more productive with less time now than we used to be with a lot more time because each moment that we work has to be taken a little more seriously. When I need Elizabeth upstairs to work on something or to tweak something, we have to take advantage of that time because we’re generally with one of the kids or all the kids or their home or we’re doing different activities. So we’re really focused when we work, we’ve got to get the work done, which has created a lot more time freedom with our family and then more efficiency with our business between, we never would have figured out, but with the kids being home, a lot of times it can be very difficult. But we got the kids in the summer camp this year, so Andrew’s been going for about five weeks now and Nolan Dylan went last week and there’ll be going next week. 

So there’s like two weeks during the year that Elizabeth and I are going to have the entire day to ourselves. And it’s quite bizarre. We look at each other, we go when we talk about, because we’re so not used to either talking about the kids or talking about business or just having spare time or free time. And even though we have a life of freedom, it’s not a life of just kind of lounging around and quiet. It’s, it’s a busy free if that makes any sense. So on Friday with the kids in camp, Elizabeth and I took a date day and we went out to lunch and then we went to the movies, which is just, we haven’t done that in forever where the two of us just go and laughing and I’m back to just being goofy and telling silly jokes and her having to deal with it. But we went to go see Yesterday, which was a fantastic movie. 

It’s about a musician in the UK and he’s a huge Beatles fan. And then there’s a power outage and he gets hit by a bus and all of a sudden his favorite band, the Beatles and some other things are forgotten about. So he realizes that people don’t know the Beatles music and he starts playing it again, and everybody loves it and he winds up recording the Beatles songs. There’s nothing I’m giving away. There’s everything that’s in the trailers if you want to watch the movie. But there was a point in the movie when he figured out how to play the Beatles music again. Then he started playing this classic music for other people. Now it’s not his music, but nobody had heard of before. But these are some of the greatest songs ever written in pop culture that people know about. So he sits down at the piano in his living room with his parents and he starts playing Let It Be, it’s a really funny scene because it’s one of the best songs ever written and he’s so into it and it keeps getting interrupted. 

He’s getting interrupted by his dad who wants to go get something to drink. He’s getting interrupted by the doorbell, by the cell phone ringing, by people kind of just joking about it cause they’re not taking it very seriously. Even though he’s playing one of the greatest songs ever. They just don’t know it yet, but he’s not being taken seriously by the people that know him very closely. Mostly his parents, they’re supportive, they’re like here, play it for me. But he never got through the first verse of the song. At the same time, he’s got a group of friends, three or four friends who are just big fans of his, they just love him and they appreciate what he does. They’re the only ones when he’s playing these different concerts, they’re showing up. There’s 12 people there, but they’re there supporting him. They’re just true friends that really care about what he’s doing and they’re supporting what he does. 

So when he starts playing the Beatles music, they’re just blown away by it. They just cannot believe it. Like, how did you write this? And he tried telling them that it wasn’t him, that the Beatles wrote this, but it was erased from everybody’s memory. So nobody believed him. So we kept playing the music and recording it over and over again. So his friends are blown away by it. And then he’s playing it in some coffee shop and some music producer finds him and loves the music and then signs a contract and then he’s recording music with this guy. So all these people are appreciating the work that he’s doing and it goes on and on and he wants it become very famous. It becomes a superstar, but the thing that I noticed is his parents never took them seriously. His parents up until the very end, they show up at this big concert is doing to promote his new album and even the dad was as interested in the sandwiches that were in the room that were available then he was in terms of really the music that he’s playing, and what I pulled out of that movie was we’re so often looking for the approval of our parents in terms of the work that we’re doing that they might often be the ones that take us the least seriously. 

They might not be the ones that believe in what we do the way other people are going to. They might not be your biggest fans in terms of the work that you do because quite often they still see you as a 12 year old that burned rulers by the couch as I did. Or maybe it was that you weren’t good in school or that you weren’t very outgoing when you were a kid or you were just a troublemaker, whatever it was. Quite often our parents and our siblings see us as that person from way back and they don’t see us for who we are today and that’s why something like Jack Malik, who’s the musician, this movie had to believe in themselves even though he generally didn’t have the raving support of his parents. Now they weren’t putting him down in this movie, which a lot of us have to deal with a lot of. 

I know I’ve talked to so many people who are battling their parents’ perception of them more than they’re battling with what they’re actually able to do. But if Jack was looking for his parents’ approval when he was playing Let It Be, one of the greatest songs ever written in their living room. And by their reaction and by the friend’s reaction that showed up, he would’ve quit right there. Or he would have play at a coffee shop. We would have played in his room. He never would’ve done more, but he knew what Let It Be was. He had seen what it had done in pop culture. It just, nobody remembers it. So he had all the faith in the world that if he keeps playing this song, other people are gonna love it because they already have now his parents don’t get it and his parents don’t take them seriously. 

But they were the least of his concerns when he moved on to bigger and better things, they were never going to be his biggest fans. They were never going to get it. And he had to realize this wasn’t for his parents. He wasn’t doing this to get their approval. Even though his frustration throughout the movie with them showed because of their lack of seriousness in what he was doing. And what I notice in artists and entrepreneurs and freelancers quite often is how they’re doing something because they’re looking for the approval their parents, because they never got it. And thinking back to Jack Malik, Jack knew that he had loads of songs that the world was going to love because he’d seen it happen. He had an advantage that was bigger than his parents’ approval. It was bigger than what they thought about it. And I often wonder by those who get stuck because they’re so busy looking for their parents’ approval that if they realized they had something that was way bigger than what their parents understood, if they would be able to blow off their parents either disapproval or disinterest and actually go make the work that they need to make for the people that truly want it, cause quite often it’s not going to be your parents that truly want it or truly get it.

Now, I know there’s a lot of people that deal with this. I know this holds a lot of people back because they always felt like they weren’t good enough for their parents, so why would they be good enough for somebody else? But the truth is, there’s somebody else that needs what you’re doing, and a lot of times it’s not going to be your parents and they’re not going to get it. So do what you gotta do anyway. And then when you take what you’re doing and you make it a success for all these other people, that’s probably when you’ll get the approval of your parents, but by then you won’t need it. So it’s a perfect situation. So go out and do what you have to do, regardless of who it is that’s not believing in you right now. By the way, if you like stories like this and you haven’t read it yet or listened to me yet, go download for free my book Freelance to Freedom. I made the audio book absolutely free on our website. If you’d just go to freelancetofreedom.com/f2fbook, I’ll post a link in the notes and you can download a copy of the book for free. And I really hope you enjoy that. All right, I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

Episode 23- I’ve Been To The Top


The transcript for Ep.23- I’ve Been To The Top

One of the fun parts of my career has been the ability to meet, to photograph, to interact with and get to know some really influential and oftentimes famous people. And it’s pretty cool sometimes, especially when there’s somebody that you grew up either listening to or watching or being influenced by in some way or the other. I’m an eighties kid, you know, I grew up in the 80s, I came of age in the eighties in terms of music, in terms of sports. So people from that era hold a special place within me because they, cause they shaped a lot of what I learned and thought and kind of just listened to and it was influenced by, so when you get to meet those people, it’s really quite bizarre, especially when you get to sit down and talk to them and get to know a little bit more of the stories. 

And I was fortunate enough that years back, it was probably, you know, early 2000s, I got to photograph a concert by John Mellencamp. Back when I was growing up was John Cougar, John Cougar Mellencamp and he came to Indiana where we worked. And lived and he came and did a concert there and only that I get to photograph, but I got to be there for an interview that the reporter was giving with Mellencamp and just to kind of hang out and just observe and I wish I could remember who the reporter was and I hate to do that. I hate to mention somebody and not mention their name and give them credit, but I just don’t remember this moment. And we’re backstage, I think it was the day before the concert and he was interviewing Mellencamp and he was asking some pointed questions, you know, camp being from Bloomington, Indiana is not far from Evansville where we worked. 

So we had very, very close ties to the area. I think it was kicking off his tour at that point. Melloncamp is a really honest guy, he just tells you what he’s thinking. He’s a down to earth, outspoken Midwesterner who just believes in what he believes. I love that there’s no holds barred when it comes to just the conversations that he was having and the reporter was pressing him on, you know, his career now and touring. I mean, the arena was sold out so you still have big enough name to do it, but he wasn’t doing what he did back in the eighties in the eighties it seemed like everything you put out was a major hit. Pink houses and Jack and Diane and all the songs that while on MTV and they became number one. He was just top of the world. And the reporter asked him, he like, do you miss that? 

Do you miss those days? Do you miss being on top as opposed to now where you’re not on top, you’re still doing well? And I think he, I was, I was impressed because it wasn’t like kissing up to them. It was just a really honest conversation. But Mellencamp gave a response that it was the only thing I can remember after the show. And then even now, all these years later, I think about it and I think about it even in terms of the quest for success and the quest for glory and the quest for more in the quest for bigger. He laughed when the question was asked and he said, he said, man, he goes, I’ve been to the top and there ain’t nothing up there. So I’m cool right where I’m at. And that’s honestly not even a question that many people can answer because many people have not been to the top. 

Many people don’t have any idea of what it’s like. Most people don’t know what comes with it. Those people see the glory of it and don’t see the other side of it. And I can tell you from photographing and meeting so many professional athletes, so many musicians, so many people, you know, business people at the top, often it’s not always what it’s cracked up to be. It’s often not what it was cracked up to be at all. But to us it’s all just special. It’s all just awesome. It’s money and it’s fame and it’s notoriety and it’s all those things. And what we don’t know on the outside is what it’s really like in there. And for him to give that answer. There wasn’t one hint of him BS’ing on that. There wasn’t one hint of somebody who’s not doing as well as they used to and him just justifying that he doesn’t want to be there. 

It was the sense of wisdom. It was a sense of understanding of like, I know what that world is. I’ve been there. I have no need to strive to be there again. I want to do my thing and I want to do my thing the way that I want to do it because when you’re at the top, you don’t know who’s got their hand in the pie. You don’t know what it’s like in terms of people controlling your art and when you talk to artists, and a lot of us in the freelance world are artists. A lot of times the bigger you get, the more you have to sacrifice the quality of your art and that’s why you see people like Sting. You see musicians who made it to the top, made the money, and then you don’t hear from as much anymore. They’re still doing their thing. 

They’re not doing it for the pop culture way. They’re doing it their way. This is the thing about financial freedom. We talk so much here in terms of that becoming financially free because financial freedom gave Sting or John Mellencamp or anybody, the ability to be able to do what they want to do and not have to do it for quote on quote the man anymore. So maybe they’re selling less albums, maybe they’re making less money, maybe less people are going to the show, but they’re doing the work that they love to do. Whether it’s 8,000 people or 23,000 people showing up, they would feel better with less people doing the work that they want to do then more people doing the work that they don’t want to do. And I think that’s really hard for somebody that’s not there to understand. And it’s really hard. It’s very easy to like, yeah, I like to find out what that’s like. 

And of course we would, but I like to go by the wisdom of people who’ve already done it, the people who already mentally know what it’s like and learn from them. So when he said, I’ve been to the top and there’s nothing up there. Not that it reduced my desire for success, it didn’t, but it reduced my desire to have to be at the top. It reduced my desire to have to say, oh, we have to be the ones that are known. We have to be the ones that are, we have to be the ones that are judged and and are put up at the top of the pedestal in terms of the top of our field. So even with our photography business, even what we’re doing right now in terms of coaching, in terms of masterminds, in terms of the book, none of it was about being at the top because I heard from way too many people that said that the top is not what you think it is. 

So that’s not where you think it is. What am I striving for that for? What I want to strive for is to do the work that is most authentic to me and to the people that follow what we do and want this message. And it’s not about being at the top, the top off. It might mean you might actually have to sacrifice all the things that really matter to you for success and notoriety. So to hear that way back in 2002 before we even started our first business was a huge boost for me to say, do what it is that you truly want to do and the way that you want to do it, and don’t worry about the crowds or the adoration or the notoriety or the numbers of it. And that one interview had a big impact on the way that we went about building our business.

Episode 22- “It’s Not My Jam”


The transcript for Ep. 22- “It’s Not My Jam”

So it’s entirely possible that I’m going to go on a little bit of a rant this morning cause I talked to two people this week. Two people that are freelancers, they’re looking to grow their business. They’re frustrated because they want more time to be able to do the work that they love to do. They’re struggling with money as a lot of freelancers are, and yet there are things they are not willing to do to get there. And the thing that both of them said that got to me that made me think about recording this episode was the term that’s not my jam. And one was related to photography and one was related to the online space. And both times when there are opportunities staring right at them, that would give them way more money in a lot less time, both of them looked down on the idea and blew it off. 

And that drives me crazy because they might be the same people that two years from now say you can’t do this. It’s not possible to make it in this world, that world that I wanted to get into. Oh, it’s just too tough and too competitive and there’s not enough money in it. And that’s not the case. The cases that they aren’t willing to do the work to get them to where this would be viable. I’ll give you the example of one of them, which is a photography business. now, they had a style of photography that they want to shoot in and there’s a style that they want to do. And there is a certain type of photography that they want to do. And there’s other areas like weddings for instance, that are way more profitable in a shorter amount of time that you can get moving and get to where you want to get to. 

But this person looked down on the idea of doing weddings just like I used to do, so I can relate because way back 14 years ago I did the same thing. I didn’t want to do weddings, but what they’re missing and what we learned was weddings got us to where we needed to get to. It wasn’t our jam. I’m not sure if that’s just the hot phrase right now, but I keep hearing it. It’s not my jam to do that. That’s not my jam. I don’t want to do that. And I’ll be honest with you, I don’t care if that’s not your jam. If you want to live this life that you’re striving for, I don’t care that is not your jam. I care that you get yourself set up so that you can actually do what you really want to do. Because the truth is nobody really cares right now about what you want to do. 

Nobody cares if you want to do portraits of flowers. Nobody cares. And if they do care, they are paying you for it. So there’s no reason to be having the conversation. So obviously you’re struggling with something. Obviously you’re struggling that you don’t have enough money and you don’t have enough time and you’re trying to get there, but you’re trying to fit a square peg into a round hole and you want to be done your way when you’re just beginning. And the it’s not my jam part is so frustrating because very few people get to do what they want to do from the very beginning. They had to do what they need to do, which is something that gives them more experience, gives them more expertise, gives them more trust, makes them the money, frees up the time because money is not a stress and then there’s more time freedom. 

And then with time freedom, you have the ability and the possibility to start doing what you want to do. Now, if you want to do your thing, your jam on the side and you work on that and give it 10 hours a week where you work on what it is exactly that you love working on, go for it. Go and do that. I encourage you, not only do I encourage, I recommend you doing that, but that’s probably not paying the bills right now. One day it will, but here’s the deal. When you don’t need the money and you have the time, you can now turn that into whatever you want to turn it into. And as long as you try to do that first and not have your money together, you’re going to be banging your head against the wall with tons of frustration and tons of almost entitlement that people don’t care about your art and they don’t care about your art. 

They care about it when it can help them. It’s not about what you want, it’s about what you’re doing that can help other people get what they want. So nobody cares about your art yet. You know, for me, the first six years of photography, I made $20,000. Nobody cared. Nobody cared about what I did because I cared, but nobody else did. And I had to find a way to make it to where they cared about what I did by helping them, and it gets frustrating because most of these people saying it’s not my jam are not in the position to say, it’s not my jam. Get to where you can do that, to say that. We’ve earned that point, right? So financially and time wise, we can say, even though I don’t use it, we can say it’s not my jam to just about everything. I’m just going to do what my thing is and I’m going to get better and better at that. 

But beforehand, get yourself set, get yourself financially set, get yourself time where you can think and create the art that you really want to do in the best way you do it instead of taking what you love doing and actually coming to resent it because it’s not giving you the money that you really want from it. So I’m not sure if that was a rant, but kind of was. So really the lesson from this is do the work until you don’t need to do that work anymore. And it’s not my jam thing is really just fear or procrastination or laziness or whatever it is, but do the work that you need to do so that you could then do the work that you want to do. As always, thank you so much for listening and I’ll be back with you tomorrow morning.

Episode 21- Eighteen

The transcript for Ep. 21- Eighteen

So going back to yesterday’s podcast episode about the mom in Starbucks that I was listening to as she was talking about her daughter and she was pushing her daughter into a nursing career, when her daughter didn’t like blood and her daughter did not want to be a nurse. And I think about what we do to our kids, and the pressure we put on them at such a young age in terms of a career decision. And I think back to when I was 18 there’s a song, you know Alice Cooper famous song called I’m Eighteen, I thought back of the lyrics of that song that came out in 1970 and it basically said, don’t always know what I’m talking about, Feel like I’m living in the middle of doubt, like baby’s brain and an old man’s heart, like just completely clueless at 18 and to think that at that time we should be putting pressure on our kids to make one of the biggest decisions, if not the biggest decision of their life, which is to take out hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans and to dedicate the next four, six, or eight years of your life to a certain subject that you don’t know if you’re even interested in, but you have to do it because the clock stop taking on high school and you need to choose now is one of the most ridiculous things that I’ve ever heard of.

Because when I was 18, I was the dumbest that I’ve ever been in my entire life. And there’ve been many moments of dumbness in my life, but I can’t think of a time where I was any dumber than I was when I was 18 and the pressure, and thank goodness for me that I wasn’t good in school at that point because if I was good in school, I would be pressured, I need to go do this now you need to go to this college and the competition is so high that you need to pay for it. And it’s a lot of money and it’s a lot of time. And what nobody ever asked me and we’ll go into this and other things and nobody ever asked these kids is what do you want to do? 

And the answer a lot of times is going to be like, I don’t know. And that scares parents, but it shouldn’t scare parents because they don’t know. And at that point they need to go figure stuff out. They need to go learn and maybe it’s college, but a lot of times maybe it isn’t. Maybe it’s working because guess what? Guess what’s going to happen when you’re done with college. You’ve got to go work. You’re going to have to go work somewhere. So why not work and learn what it’s like to work. Cause let me tell you something. When you’re 18 years old, for the most part and this society, you haven’t worked very much yet. You’ve taken tests, you’ve followed in line, you’ve went to class but you haven’t worked and maybe the best thing is to go and work because if you go and work and you realize I don’t like mopping the floors, I don’t like doing this grunt work at this low of a pay, maybe that’s going to give you the incentive at 21 to actually care about what you’re studying ,to actually give it an effort.

But if you think because the kid’s 18 and you forced them to go to school for something, that they’re going to actually study something and actually enjoy learning it to where they’re going to want to do something with it later. I think you might be in for a big surprise, and I’m not saying this is for everybody, I’m not saying this is an all or nothing black or white thing. There are a lot of kids when they’re nine years old, they know what they want to do. They love it. They study it, they want to, and they know going to this college for this degree is going to make the most sense because it’s like that’s not what, I’m not saying this isn’t for everybody, but I can tell you if you have a kid like me, if you have more of a rebellious by nature kid, somebody that doesn’t follow the norm, somebody that doesn’t want to wait in line, somebody doesn’t want to follow in line, somebody who kind of wants to do their own thing, you really should think about giving them the space to do that.

Because what can happen a lot of times when you force somebody into something, when they’re not ready for it, there’s going to be some resentment. There’s going to be some resentment that they didn’t get to do what they really wanted to do or at least try what they wanted to try. And then that’s going to lead to issues later on. And this idea that at 18 years old, that’s the time where you choose your career. I want to know when that was discovered, when that was made up. Why wasn’t it 16 why wasn’t it 21, why wasn’t it 24, and why is it the same age that every kid is supposed to pick that? 

And I think it’s a travesty that we do to our kids and we put stress on them when maybe they just need to save up a little bit of money and backpack and travel for a little bit and figure out something they actually like doing. Because when you’re in a classroom all day learning certain subjects but not other subjects, maybe you haven’t even figured out what you liked yet. That was my case. I didn’t figure it out what I’d like till I was 22, when I finally was exposed to it. Now that wasn’t something in school I even had the maturity or the access to do. It took time, and I think the put the pressure on our kids for a career. I’m not saying working, I think our kid should be working. I’ve always worked. But the career, the thing that you’re going to do forever at 18 years old, I think needs to completely be rethought. 

Wondered, why do we do this to these kids at this age? Why do we make them choose something that they’re not ready for? Just cause we say it’s the time and it goes back to that song again. I’m 18 I just don’t know what I want. And that’s perfectly fine at 18. You’ve got a long life ahead of you. You’ve got a lot of time to figure things out. And the last thing that an 18 year old needs to be doing is being strapped with a heavy debt burden and a responsibility to a career that they might not want to begin with. Little food for thought on that, I’m looking forward to the angry messages from teachers from that, and I will talk to you all tomorrow.

Episode 20- But She Doesn’t Like Blood

The transcript for Ep. 20- But She Doesn’t Like Blood

To the parents that are listening, I want you to listen closely to this story. I was at Starbucks, I was doing work. It was my home away from home office. There were two women sitting behind me and they were talking about their daughter and they were talking really loud so I couldn’t really ignore them any longer. I was trying to get some work done. I should’ve known better than to try to get any writing done while I was at Starbucks, especially on a weekday afternoon. But there I was, and there are these two women behind us and they’re talking and one of them was talking about her daughter and her daughter obviously was graduating high school, was getting ready for the college admissions. So as I’m drawing a blank on the work that I’m doing, I actually started to just listen to the conversation because there’s nothing else I could do. 

I actually got up and got a coffee. I came back, she was still talking about it and started discussing her daughter’s situation and in terms of the school that she was going to go to, so she’d obviously done research. It was very clear that she wanted her daughter to become a nurse. So they’re looking at different nursing schools, which ones are which, the prices of the different schools, what’s out of state, what’s in state. So at this point I kind of just sat back and I just listened. I’m kind of just assessing what’s going on and I’m not saying obviously saying anything to them, but I’m just listening cause it’s, it was inherently more interesting than what I was working at that moment cause I couldn’t get any work done. So she’s going on and on about this and she’s talking about the different schools. 

They’re comparing the costs, they’re comparing, you know, the quality of the, of the nursing school here. What would be in the program, which you would have to do. The friend of hers was giving a whole lot of advice back and then the woman, the friend said something like what are the downsides of this? The mom of the daughter going to school said something that just completely got my attention. She goes, yeah, there is a downside. Not really about the school, it’s my daughter. She doesn’t like being around blood and she doesn’t know if she really wants to be a nurse. I almost spit my coffee out. I couldn’t believe it. The whole time she’s going on and it took everything I had to not turn around and say something. If you know me, there’s a chance that I might actually say something in that situation, it took everything I had not to. 

I’m thinking this mother is planning out her daughter’s career. She’s planning out the schools and the cost and the emotion and everything that goes with it and she’s not taking into consideration that this is not her daughter’s idea. She said as much, this is her idea, this is what she wants for her daughter. And I just think for our kids, what are we doing to them when we do stuff like that. And a lot of that comes down to control because you control the money when you’re the parent and your kid has no money and instead of realizing she might not know what she wants yet, she’s 17 years old or she’s 18 years old. Instead of allowing them to find a path and figure it out and maybe it’s not going to be when you’re 18 years old, maybe it’s going to be at 24 like it was for me. 

Maybe it’s going to be a little bit later, but maybe it’s not up to us to control exactly what our kids are going to do for careers when they’re 18 years old, especially when it’s something that they don’t want to do and it broke my heart because I know that this woman is going to go back. I know she’s going to be very supportive of her daughter going to school for nursing and her daughter is probably going to go along with it because it’s going to be paid for and your daughter doesn’t know yet and you think back to when you’re 18 and you don’t know. And this mother. The problem is she actually thinks she’s helping. She really thinks she’s helping out. But what she could be doing is sending her daughter on a path that she doesn’t want to go on and putting her into debt that she’s not ready for. 

And then having to later on figure out, I never wanted to do this to begin with. And then when she’s 35 years old, so how’d you wind up as a nurse if you didn’t want to do this? And it’s because, well, I don’t know. My mom suggested I should do it or I thought I wanted to. And then you go in and then you have all this debt and you have four years invested in. How do you then say, I don’t want to do this, because you’ve already done that. You’ve already put the time into it and then you say, well, I don’t really want to do the same as you don’t want to give that time up that you already did, even though you don’t want to be there to begin with. And there’s so many kids going through this today, and there’s so many parents that don’t even see how much of a problem this can be. 

So this is for the parents that are in this situation. We have to be able to allow our kids to figure out a lot of what we have to do. And maybe they’re not ready at the same pace that everybody else is. Maybe they’re going to take some time off. Maybe they’re going to travel, maybe they’re just going to be in a dead end job for a couple of years until they figure something out for themselves. But 18 is not the be all end all when you need to figure out your career. And we put so much pressure on kids these days to do this that it winds up leading to such awful results in the future, so often, and I thought about this girl and the girl kind of is going to have no shot at this unless she puts her foot down and says, mom, I’m not gonna do this. 

And then you’ve got to deal with the consequences of, well, then you’re not going to go to college. I’m not gonna pay for it. Whatever they would say, you don’t know what it’s going to be. So just as parents, let’s just keep an open mind to the fact that we’re not all ready at the same time. Not every kid walks at the exact same time. Not every kid talks at the exact same time. We’ve got to give individually, each of us an opportunity to grow at our own pace. And it might be a little bit longer than their classmates, and that’s fine. So that’s my rant for today. I’ll talk to y’all tomorrow.