Wobbly Nuts and Bolts

Standard

It’s day two of a week off from work.  (God bless the generous vacation benefit I receive!)

I took a nap and binge-watched the Real Housewives of Orange County.  Partway through episode three, I asked myself:

“I wonder what productive things I could be doing right now instead of this?” Then, I watched episode four.  

I am procrastinating.  There is much to be done in the land of the MN small business.  Like making an actual business plan, for one.  There’s also

  • tax registration to be filed
  • MN state and county licensure to be applied for
  • website design quotes to be gotten
  • conference vendor fees to be planned and paid for
  • inventory to order
  • screen printing to price out
  • etc, etc, etc……

So, if you’ve ever felt like starting a small business, my best beginning advice is to lie down and see if the feeling goes away.  (This is also how I approach marathon running, by the way.  The feeling always goes away there.)

The thing I cannot ignore, though, is that my ENERGY shoots straight up whenever I delve into this project.  Even if I have to cattle-prod myself into gear at the beginning.  I start to strategize in my head about launch events, instructor sponsorships, marketing schemes (even though I kind of suck at marketing), and general leadership of maybe, one day, my very own staff.  

I cannot do all this other stuff, though, unless I take care of the un-fun details like, oh, making sure I can LEGALLY sell stuff in the great (currently gray, cold, and windy) state of Minnesota.

So, my broader message to all today is: The Wobble is in the Details.  

Tell me, small family of readers, what details are getting under your skin today?  What are you procrastinating?  What do you suck at but have to do anyway?  I want to hear about it all…..

Below is a pic of my son ironing out the details of his gender identity.  I’m not sure which detail he liked best….the pink color or the texture of the thule.  At any rate, he tried a new thing.  Good job. :)

xoxo, Wobblers.

LeahImage

 

The Money Wobble (the Mobble?)

Standard

Well.  Even I thought I may have fallen of the face of the earth!  I think it’s been about 6 or 7 MONTHS since my last post.  Life has been busy, to say the least, and I’ve been a little stuck with the eternal-winter-in-a-new-city blues.  Did I mention winter is STILL going on here in Minneapolis? The sun made a 5-second appearance today–in the middle of April.  I’m starting to question whether my children getting to be closer to their grandparents was worth leaving the bloom of spring in Nashville.  (Love you, mom and dad!)

Anyway, I’m sitting here thinking about money.  I’ve been doing that a lot lately.  I’m trying to figure out why.

Here’s the thing:  right now, my husband and I are making more money than I’ve ever seen in one year.  And, I want MORE.  

I feel like the greediest ungrateful Scrooge for even having that thought, and yet, I cannot. shake. this. desire.

I’ve been reading about the enormous and enlarging gap between the mega-rich and the middle class, and how 30 years ago, even the “poor” people generally had enough to get by and to have a somewhat decent standard of living.  The salaries that CEO’s were making were a reasonable ratio above their subordinates, and they weren’t given multi-million dollar exit bonuses when everything went to hell in a handbasket.  I don’t know if I’m viewing the past with rose-colored glasses, but it seemed like there was more wealth to share and less to hoard.

I am being brutally honest here when I say “I want a bigger piece of that pie!”  I’m wondering how, in this climate, I can advance in my career in a company I’ve given almost 20 years of my life to.  I’m wondering if it’s time to re-launch Embrace the Wobble in the frozen north.  I’m wondering where my first million dollars (all at one time) will come from? 

I”m also wondering how can I take the risks I suspect are necessary to get me there?  How can I leave the nest of my comfort zone without putting my family in a tough spot?  I’m wondering if I am a terrible human being for reaching a point where it is no longer enough to know that I work in a non-profit with a good mission and a fabulous team?  ( I mean, a good mid-western native takes the crumbs and is THANKFUL, for Godsakes.)  Why, why, why, is this no longer enough?  

And here’s the really funny part.  My husband is an amazing accountant.  He’s worked so hard to get where he is in his second career, and is currently studying his ass off for the CPA exam. He is also getting paid about 30% more than I am after 2 years in his position, when I have been in my position for almost 20 years.  Thankfully, he is very cute and a good cook, so I don’t sour-grape about our salary gap too much, and of course, it’s not his fault at all.  It makes me wonder, though, about whether we magnetize ourselves to jobs that reflect how much we value our own skills and expertise.  Maybe I have not been valuing my profesional SELF enough to attract a higher compensation.  Who’s to say?

Truth be told, it’s only been recently that I have felt ready for the increased responsibility that comes with a bigger paycheck in my line of work.  I have a hard time being patient when I decide I want something.  I really do have an outstanding boss who seems committed to helping me advance after building a bit of clout in this new place.  I know these things take time, and that moving means startng over, even if not all the way back at square one. 

I guess I’m really sitting in the soup.  It never fails that where ever I go, I take myself with me. Now that I’m finding my feet and getting comfortable in this new place, all the questions that I was asking of myself and my life in Nashville are starting to float to the surface here in Minneapolis.  

At any rate, I say all these things and I wonder if anyone else has been here?  (Answer: of course they have….I’m just begging to hear about it!)  If you’ve figured it out, for crying out loud, share your wisdom.   What are your financial Wobbles?  What risks have you taken?  What are your regrets?  What are your triumphs? Was it worth Wobbling?  

Here’s a pic or two of the reasons I want to do more, make more, achieve more.  

Img_0010
Img_0021

 

 

The new place Wobble

Standard

Hi, Friends. 

First of all, I miss you all terribly.  Remember that last post?  How I said at one point I did not want to slow down enough to feel stuff?  Well, “stuff” has slowed ME down so I finally feel it.  Here is how I have been feeling these last couple of weeks/months:

SAD.

Not the ugly kind of sad where you just cry all the time—like when your highschool boyfriend broke your heart—on Valentine’s Day.  Or when your beloved dog dies.  I’d almost prefer that, because after a few days and hugs and boxes of Kleenex, the sad is generally over and you move on with a new puppy or a new cute boy.  (Don’t get me wrong, dog people, I know you don’t recover with lightning speed from that kind of loss, but the big, debilitating grief subsides after a bit.)

I’m sad because I don’t know where I fit yet.  I don’t feel at home in my body because my body is not at “home” yet.  The classes i teach feel so different.  The people here are nice, but different.  Nothing is reliable or familiar.  I even hate the grocery store options here. All of them are just NOT Kroger.  Ugh.

I watch people at work with their alliances and history and banter and I have to be careful not to try too hard to be part of that.  I have to remember that those connections grow organically and if I rush it, they don’t grow at all.  

I’m working on the friendship thing with a few neighbors, but that process is definitely slow-cooker rather than microwave.  Plus, it seems everyone around here grew up here, has family and friends from a hundred years ago, and, as another transplant I know aptly put it, not a whole lot of room around the campfire for new (and suspiciously Southern) folks.  There’s always the nicenesss—the endless stream of polite midwestern banter that makes your face hurt from smiling so forcefully–but real conversation is out of reach, for now.  AND, Minnesotans rival even the most genteel Southern Belles for passive-agressive behaviour.  Just listen to Garrison Keelor on Prairie Home Companion for a weekly description of how 30-year grudges and subterfuge are conducted through the most genuine-looking grins around these parts!

There are bright spots, however.  I really, really, love my job.  I am so glad to be teaching again, and just this last week, my yoga population doubled…..even at a challenging time slot.  So, I hope that’s not a fluke.  I love being in a full-time leadership role again.  I love putting the experience of the last 19 years into practice in a supporting and encouraging environment.  I also have luckily landed a support staff that is completely amazing.  They seem to like what I bring to the table and occasionally even laugh at my jokes.  

My son loves his day-care at the local JCC and the routine has helped him settle in a lot faster than all the rest of us, it seems.  Bailey is beginning to find her feet at school and the staff there are incredibly proactive and helpful all around. My husband enjoys his work and is making more connections with people around him every day.  The house is relatively clean and the laundry pile is a little smaller. It feels good to have the money that two full-time jobs generates.  I find myself laughing pretty much every day at least once.  

I guess I’m sharing all this to help me remember that upheaval like this is no simple matter and that sometimes my optimism is really an attempt to control the sometimes not so sunny reality of my life.  Even so,I don’t like to bog down in “poor me” when there are so many other real problems in this world.  I’m so grateful today that my move was my choice, and not foisted upon me by superstorm Sandy.  My heart goes out to the people in some of the horrific stories I’ve heard and makes me hug my kids and husband lots closer and give many thanks for the VERY sunny reality of my life, relatively speaking.

So, there’s the Wobble for the week—-transition is hard, but could always be worse.  If we keep showing up and doing the next right thing, I believe we will find our new center and our wild instability will quiet down again.  One thing I can say for Wobbling is that it is never boring.  

Hug the people you love, and feel me hugging you.  

Take care,

Leah:)

Img_1212

Here is a pic of my kitchen—a place where life is concrete.  The food tastes good or it doesn’t, and the cooking process is a known entity.  It is a Wobble respite.  Who can relate?

 

The few joys and many sorrows of moving…..

Standard

Hi, everyone.  I have lost count of the weeks since my last post.  I’ve been sitting on some pretty big news and was waiting for things to get firmed up before sharing.

We are moving.  

Earlier this week, I thought this thought with a mental backflip and an exuberant exclamation point. My amazingly competent and hard-working husband landed a fabulous job offer from a company in Minneapolis.  He truly does not give himself enough credit—-I keep telling him what a dream employee he would be to any manager…..apparently now several people agree with me!  

This move will bring us much closer to the kids’ grandparents and auntie/uncle/cousins.  It will even provide me with a delicious choice of whether to work full time again in order to pad our wallets for a couple of years and help us build up a formidable nest-egg.  These are options I would not have dreamed of having just a few short years ago.

Today, we are settling into the details of this huge transition, and the exclamation point has turned more into a question mark.

We are moving? (Wobble, anyone?)  

There’s the buying of a house. There’s the interviews for me—-where I’m the outsider, not the internal favorite.  I got a second interview, but I’m not holding my breath for an offer.  In my line of work, the internals typically get the job.  However, it would be really nice to get the nod.  I would like to prove myself in a new region.  To see if what I’ve been learning here in Nashville will transfer well to Minneapolis.  To showcase to myself and others how I’ve grown and how now, in the same position, I would do many things differently than I did 6 years ago.

I intend to continue to grow my business, even if it’s just one trade show at a time for now.  (PS—did you know I’ve been working on an ETW original workout top?  The prototype should be finished in just a couple of weeks!)  Since the last post, I’ve started a business plan and even spoken to a couple of start-up studios about carrying my stuff.  One of them wants a meeting, even! 

In bed the other night because the hamster on the wheel in my head would NOT stop running, I made a list of only the first hundred or so things that one needs to do in order to relocate-in no particular order.  Medical records.  For the whole family.  Address change, when we do not yet have a new one.  Major “stuff” purge—to Goodwill and friends.  Packing—-oh, the endless packing–for which we need boxes–lots and lots of them (thank you, Brianna).  Reserve the truck. Register at a new school.  Find a daycare that is decent and has no waiting list and is reasonably close to the house we don’t yet have.  Help my hubby drive his car up north and attempt to make an offer on a house that will do for the next 5 years or so, in a cool neighborhood with a coffee shop nearby. (Lofty expecations? Nah…….)

I really know at the bottom of my heart that if the Universe is making it possible for Ciaran to work up there, the rest will be shown to us in good time.  I’m sure this can be some kind of exercise in chilling out for me, but I’m also sure that I will not choose to do that unless I’m in the middle of a yoga class.  Thank God for the mat.  And my students.  For at least 60 minutes 3 times per week.  It may be just enough for me to keep my sanity.

At the end of the day, I am so grateful for this opportunity.  Moving always lets you know who is important to you, because you feel sad to let them go.  I could hardly talk about it this morning with my babysitter without tearing up.  I don’t think I want to slow down enough right now to really feel that sadness.  There are so many here in Nashville who I will miss and several that I hope to continue visitation rights with.  (You know who you are.)  This is the first move where some of my connections are so tight it will be really hard to let them go.

My hope over the next several weeks is to allow the sadness in along with the excitement.  To honor my friendships with more than a fleeting rush of melancholy—only to be washed away with the next wave of stuff on the “to-do” list.  

I can look to my daughter for inspiration here.  I am preparing for big tears when we finally pull out of this house and she really has to say goodbye to her dearest neighborhood friend.  I will hug her and tell her it’s alright to be sad and to miss her friend terribly. I will try my best to absorb her emotions without judging them or censoring them or telling her it’s really not that bad. It is.

 

Maybe by doing that for her, I can also do it for myself.  I know that in order to be able to move forward on the best foot, I need to give credence to the feet I’ve been walking on and next to and around these last six years.  

Thanks, Nashville, you’ve been amazing.

Take care, everyone.

Leah:) 

 

Img_1083

PS:  This is Greg.  He lives by the pond outside my hubby’s new office.

 

The Big Stall or, trying not to quit before success happens.

Standard

I woke up a couple days ago and did not want to have anything to do with Embrace the Wobble. (?!)

This was a very surprising feeling considering I just made several hundred dollars in clothing sales and orders from my very generous and supportive extended family while we were all at my cousin’s wedding in Denver.  (Thank you Rachel, for getting everyone together for me so I could show off my stuff.  I know that was your primary motivation for getting married in the first place, right?)

Also during this trip, my cousin-in-law Sam gave me all sorts of advice about business finance.  He happens to be a business banker–and a good one, at that.  Add to that the happy accident of sitting next to a small business mentor/coach on the plane ride home.  Not only did this man and his wife buy me lunch when they saw me juggling my son and all his stuff in my tiny seat, he gave me what had to have been at least $200.00 worth of his time—answering my questions, offering advice, recommending places that can help me on path to becoming the Next Big Thing.  

You would think all these events are the Universe telling me I’m on the right track, this definitely is what I should be doing, this stuff matters, and all roads are leading right into the retail sustainable clothing sunset.  

So why, then, have I begun the last few days wanting nothing more than to grab a cold one and lounge by the pool while my kids play with the full-time nanny I cannot afford?

Maybe I have summer-itis and just need a little break.  Maybe all is well and the fact that my website now has a live shopping cart, pics of the clothing, and an automated inventory calculator is enough for the moment.   Maybe my somewhat hectic travel schedule over the next 6 weeks means that a little lull in the Embrace the Wobble action is well-timed.  

Or, maybe–gulp–Embrace the Wobble is just one more of those fabulous ideas that never becomes more.  “They” say it takes anywhere from 2 to 4 years for any small business to take off.  I think I read somewhere that Life Is Good ™ tarried about for 10 years before their little-tee-shirt-that-could became a household name!  What I really need is my own personal Don Draper–minus the booze and sexual harrassment–for free, of course.  Maybe that would shrink the ramp-up time on my product sales.

(Side note and shameless plug:  retail price for a basic Life Is Good shirt is about $27.00, and their fabric is not even sustainable! ETW shirts, by comparrisson, are sustainable fabric, domestically made whenever possible, and cost about the same—check out the website! www.embracethewobble.com.)

Anyway, I’m about 9 months into this project. It’s a lot like giving birth, except no one offers you an epidural and the labor is eternal.  I’m finding a whole new respect for all the blood, sweat, money, and tears that go into all the brands that we enjoy.  

My Wobble today is not knowing whether I have the stamina to see this thing through.  A friend of mine and new mentor was right when he said “If this sh*t was easy, everyone would do it.”  

The bright spot in the week was getting my latest shipment of garments and being excited to show a new shirt off.  (Boxy fit, wide neck, perfect for throwing over a long tank with yoga pants or jeans!  Pretty colors, too!)

I feel compelled to end this post with a few cliches:  

“Anything worth doing is worth doing well.”

“A thousand-mile journey begins with a single step.”

“It takes a village.”

And a new definition:

Crazy:

KRAY-zee. n. Small business owner.

Have a nice day, everyone.

Leah:)