Direction

In my formative years as a child I was never given any clear direction in regards to a career path. I’m not saying this as a slight against my parents as I don’t think they really knew or had the same guidance when they were younger. My father was a mechanic and while I grew up around him in the garage I don’t ever remember him teaching me the trade nor trying to push me in that direction. My mother was 22 years old when she had me so she had no real world experience to begin with.

My parents got divorced when I was nine years old. My mother at the age of 31 began trying to figure out her own thingand my father, who I lived with, continued in not taking an active role in my future developement. Shortly there after I moved into my teenage years and my relationship with my father deteriorated and never recovered. I only really saw my mother on the weekends so there wasn’t a lot of time to discuss my career paths.

I was never really given any guidance not only from my parents but from anyone. As a child I wanted to be one of two things; I wanted to be either an astronaut or Luke Skywalker (not necessarily in that order). However, I was also a terrible student for reasons which we can get into another time) and therefore was never really put on any sort of the academic radar that would lead someone to want to help me forge a path forward. I don’t know if I ever spoke to my guidance counselor and in high school.

In my life I’ve worked multiple jobs. My first job was cleaning a parking lot. I have been a paperboy. I’ve worked in the food service industry. I worked in supermarkets. I was a door-to-door salesman selling fire extinguishers. I worked in art store. I was a stained-glass artist. I’ve worked in the corporate environment in multiple capacities (procurement, information technology, software instructor, graphic designer). I’m currently a health coach and a part-time cheese monger in a cheese shop.

I’ve done all of these things because I never had a clear path. I never remember having the conversations of what I wanted to be when I grew up and then having them try to help me along that path. You go through life you get to a certain stage and think why did I take these paths that I took? I’m 49 years old and I only considered becoming a health coach as a career within the past couple years. It’s not what I set out to be when I was younger.

I wonder how many other people are out there like me. How many of us were never given any real guidance or set on any sort of path? There’s so many careers out there that I didn’t know existed and nobody was there to help me along and tell me about them. I’m not going to point the finger at everybody else and not shoulder any of the blame. Like I said, I wasn’t a great student and probably wasn’t listening to authority very well as a teenager. I’m probably just as much to blame as any of the adults around me. I do feel like there’s so many things that I could have done in my life had I been exposed to them. I didn’t know all the opportunities that were available to me.

If you are a parent, a teacher, a guardian, an aunt, an uncle or a sibling and you see a child that has little to no direction on what they want to do have conversations with them. Bring it up and ask them. I did it with my niece who is an artist and wants to help people. I pointed her in direction of art therapy. I’m not sure if she will go that route but I at least pointed her in the direction and let her know that this is something that exist. A lot of times people don’t know that careers even exist so they have no idea that it’s something they could be doing.

It’s not always easy to think about what a child is going to want to be doing as a career in 30 years later so provide as much guidance whenever you can. They may not want to hear it now but will appreciate it later.

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Happiness Is Easy

Happiness is easy. You figure out what makes you happy and strive to have more of that in your life. Simple.

We all know it’s not otherwise there would be a lot more happier people walking around. So why is it so difficult for us to achieve happiness?

I think there are a couple of different factors. The first is that the question “What makes you happy?” isn’t always easy to answer. You may not know what makes you happy. That may be something that you really need to stop and think about.

You may know individual things that make you happy but don’t understand the reason why. What is the root cause of that happiness? Maybe that is something that you need to figure out.

Perhaps you are so consumed with things that make you unhappy (stress, anger, anxiety, fear) that it makes it very difficult to balance that out and to be happy. In that case, the secret to happiness is figuring out what makes you unhappy and strive to eliminate as much of that as possible fro your life which is also not always easy.

I love being outside in nature. I enjoy going on hikes, paddle boarding, kayaking, sitting on a beach, camping, skateboarding – you get the idea. Anytime I can do that with my dog Micah it increases the happiness ten fold for me. But why does that bring me such joy? Each activity is different from one another with the only constant being that they take place outdoors.

Part of the reason that I enjoy being out in nature so much is because I spent so many years trapped in an office sitting at a cubical. I didn’t have a lot of time to do these things very often as I had a long daily commute on top of my time in the office. When I got to the point in my life where I didn’t need to sit in that office anymore I started going out into nature and doing all of the things that I enjoyed a lot more.

But then I realized that I was doing a lot of work in these outdoor settings. Over the summer I attended online classes while sitting on a beach in the morning. I write quite often via dictation while I’m hiking (this post was largely written during a hike). I’ve conducted a coaching session on a beach and a client consultation on a paddle board. Maybe it wasn’t just the office environment I had previously been in that I didn’t like, maybe I didn’t even like sitting at mom own desk at home.

Knowing that being outdoors makes me happy and sitting at a desk makes me unhappy allows me to change up my environment whenever possible and work in a way that is most beneficial for me.

So that’s the aim – figure out what makes you happy and strive to have more of that in your life while also figuring out what makes you unhappy and striving to eliminate as much of that from your life. You’re not going to be able to do it 100% on both sides and that’s ok. If you can do 5% on each side it’s going to make a huge difference. It’s progress not perfection.

Just take incremental steps, eventually you’ll get there.

Originally posted on meatitate.com

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Do what works for you.

This post is a transcript from a video which can be found on my health coach social media accounts.

How are you doing? Sean here. Just out for a hike in the woods. I got my hiking buddy Micah with me.

I’ve been thinking about it. It’s a crazy, crazy time we’re in right now. We got the pandemic; numbers are still spiking. We’re also going into cold and flu season. So now you don’t know if you got a sniffle whether or not you have a cold or if you have Covid. Fun times. About three weeks out from the US election which is just pure pandemonium and craziness on all fronts with that. There’s still protest going on, there’s still social unrest in the world. It’s not an easy time and I get that. You might not be having an easy time yourself and nobody blames you for that.

There are a lot of people seem to be excelling during lockdown. They learned how to bake, taken up knitting, maybe changed their careers. I don’t want you to feel guilty for not doing all that or feel shame for not doing that if that’s not who you are, if that’s not where you’re at. You might have your own things going on right now. You might be having problems working from home or taking care of kids 24/7 in a virtual school environment. Maybe you lost your job. Maybe you just don’t know how to make ends meet. Maybe you don’t know how to get up in the morning and deal with all this. You need to do you, don’t judge yourself based on other people. Do what works for you because there’s no rule that says you need to come out of this better than you were going into it.

That being said though I don’t want you coming out of this worse than you were going into it. If you’re really struggling and having a hard time; maybe you’re finding it hard to get out of bed in the morning, maybe you’re suffering through depression more than you normally have in the past or maybe you’ve taken to having a few extra glasses of wine or something at the end of the night or maybe isolating yourself from people because you’re just afraid; that’s not good either. If you feel like you’re not coping well reach out to friends, reach out to family members. Keep those social connections going, you don’t have to do this all by yourself. If you really feel like it’s beyond your control seek out professional help. Talk to your doctor, talk to therapist, talk to a health coach, talk to a life coach, talk to anybody. You don’t have to go through this by yourself. Keep that balance. You don’t have to be better coming out of this but you also don’t want to be worse and we are going to get through this. It’s inevitable that we will get through this. I don’t know exactly when, until then I’m going to keep hiking.

I hope you’re doing well, I hope you’re safe, I hope you’re wearing a mask. I got mine on but there’s nobody around me.

I’ll talk to you soon.


https://www.instagram.com/tv/CGc4iY0g2bo/

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Balance

I haven’t written here in a while – did you miss me? Sometimes you need to take a break and balance things out a bit.

I decided to take September off(ish) from work. I was running myself ragged trying to accomplish everything which only accomplished making myself stressed out and being too hard on myself. The exact thing I work with my clients on to avoid.

So I needed that balance in my life. I wanted to have that feeling that you get after being on a long holiday and you get to rest your life. I did pretty good. I was still coaching clients and doing other side projects but at a more relaxed manner.

It feels pretty good.

Now I’m back in the swing of things but trying to take everything from a very fluid perspective. I let things come in and let them go out. I’m working on projects that weren’t even on my radar a month ago.

Do I still stress myself out from time to time – of course I do. But now I recognize it as it’s starting and nip it in the bud before it escalates.

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Time

I just found out yesterday morning that a friend has been given 4 to 6 months to live. I can’t wrap my head around that. I’ve always wondered what you would do if you knew you had a limited amount of time but his health is greatly deteriorated and that reduces most if not all options.

It has solidified a thought I was having to take a break from my non-stop attempts at being productive and live a little. Spend the day doing the things I want to do rather than those that I feel I have to do.

Know me that will probably only last a short time but maybe this time around I can make it stick and then figure out how to integrate the “have to dos” into my new reality.

Time will tell.

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Writing Exercises

I’ve been reading and hearing about a lot of different writing exercises lately. Some deal with writing about a specific item and some are about writing first thing in the morning about whatever is in your head. They all seem to be about free-flowing consciousness type writing which I predominately dislike and therefore am not very good at.

I’ve given up on perfectionism years ago but it doesn’t change the fact that I like to go into a project with some sort of structure and plan. That includes writing as well. It’s why I’m not always good at writing – I need to know what I’m writing before I sit at a keyboard or I don’t write.

Oddly enough if you give me a guitar or a piano I will just noodle along until I coax some form of usable melody or chord structure I feel is worthy of hitting record and capturing. I can’t seem to do this with the written word.

I guess the real problem is not knowing how to end something that I didn’t really know how to begin. I can actually flounder through a topic (like I’m doing now) but then I get to a point where there needs to be the final punctuation mark and the words peter out into awkwardness.

How do I resolve this? But just writing more and not being critical about it. Period. End of sentence.

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China

I was doing the dishes the other morning and their was a stamp on the bottom of the bowl that read Homer Laughlin China. First first thought was “this shitty little bowl is considered china?” But then it occurred to me that really my first thought after seeing the word China was that it was made in China.

So then I thought about all of the different ideas we have about China. Which is the first that springs to mind for you:

1 – The place where a majority of good are made really inexpensively
2 – The place that is massively overcrowded and has pollution, civil rights and cleanliness problems.
3 – The place with a long cultured history with beautiful architecture
4 – Fancy dinnerware that never gets taken out for fear of breaking it
5 – That really catchy song by Red Rockers
6 – The origin of COVID-19
7 – The place where Chinese food supposedly comes from

I’m sure there are others but when you look at that list its amazing to see how much disparity there is. Sure the Red Rocker song has nothing to do with the country but the rest of them do.

It’s hard to reconcile the beautiful movements of tai-chi with crappy ill-made toys but isn’t that the same in every country? Progress happens and not always for the better. I’m sure of you take all of the things you like from the list they have their origins in ancient times and all the things you dislike are more modern based – except for the Chinese food which is really Westernized versions.

Perhaps I’m just disenchanted with modernity lately (he says as he types on an iPad). My current situation allows me to get back out into nature more which always improves my overall mood.

What was the purpose of this post? I can’t quite remember. Maybe I’ll just end it here and give you a link to China – by Red Rocker

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Lawn Mower Repair

Yesterday I did the yard work and put the lawn mower back in the shed when I was finished. I continued doing more things and realized I kept smelling gasoline every time I walked pas the shed. I finally investigated and realized that the lawn mower was now leaking fuel at a severe rate.

I finished everything up and then set upon the task of fixing the lawn mower. Do I know anything about lawn mower repair? Absolutely not. I have however spent a fair amount of time fixing other things so I grabbed my toolkit.

It only took five minutes before I had figured out where the leak was coming from and what needed to be tightened to resolve it. Nice and easy.

But then a thought struck me.

Earlier in the day I had been thinking about how my parents had never really supported me in any direct path in life. I will probably write more about this in a later post. But then as I stood over my achievement of a fixed lawn mower I realized that my father did instill in me the fearless mechanic attitude that I most times possess.

My father was a mechanic so I was brought up around garages and car continuously being repaired. When he was working in the garage fixing trucks for his main job he was working on cars for friends in the garage he rented from our neighbor. This started me down the path of taking things apart and putting them back together even though I never went into that as a profession.

I think the nice thing is also knowing that if something is already broken what’s the worst you can do? Take it apart and remember what order you did everything in and you should be able to put it back.

I do appreciate that I gained that from him. We didn’t always have the best relationship and I’m sure he did the best he could based on what had been provided to him from his parents.

I’m also glad I don’t have to buy a new lawn mower.

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QR Codes

QR code’s have been around since 1994 but I don’t think they ever really took off in the mainstream because people didn’t know what to do with them. They are very handy for a lot of applications but you use to have to have a separate code reader and it was beyond the capabilities of most smart phone users.

I love the fact that they are such a major staple of outdoor dining now. With restaurants having a QR code on the table that will take you right to an online menu rather than touching a physical menu.

It also helps that the camera on your phone now knows how to read them.

Sometimes technology can be a good thing (says the guy complaining about technology last week).

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For All The Right Reasons

I was thinking about some of my past endeavors this morning. I don’t generally like to live in the past except to learn from it but I’ll admit that I am prone to revisiting it from time to time and wondering how things may have been different with different choices.

For the two endeavors I specifically was thinking about I came upon the thread – always do things for right reasons. If you are doing things for accolades or money you will inevitably be disappointed.

By way of examples:

  1. I hosted a music based podcast for 9 years that really tried to highlight and support local and independent music. I believed in what I was doing even though it was a lot of work with little return. I got very little feedback and support especially from the majority of musicians I was promoting. When I abruptly stopped doing the show because of personal issues I think maybe one or two people asked about it. I actually had someone years later ask how the show was going which showed they never actually listened consistently. If I was doing it for the notoriety I would have been miserable.
  2. I worked for the same company for just over 27 years. During that time I worked in several positions and gave everything I had to make sure that I did the best possible work. I built teams from scratch, created processes that others couldn’t and solved problems that inefficiencies created. What I received in return was 2 promotions in that time and then unceremoniously let go.

I can still lay my head on my pillow every night knowing that the things I did were all done for the right reasons. I can’t say that about everything I’ve done in my life. I now know that this is how I want to lead my life every day though. It’s difficult though. Obviously I want these words to go out and be read by people and hopefully liked and acknowledged but it’s not why I’m writing them.

These words are really for me so I can get them out of my head and remind myself to always do things for the right reason.

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