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True Confessions from the Porch

March 1, 2011
I have traveled a lot of places, but for the last three years, my favorite place has been my rocking chair on the porch in Live Oak, at dawn on a Saturday, with hot coffee and a pair of bird watching binoculars.

An hour after the sun comes up, I feel at peace, yet energized.  I do a lot of reflecting in that hour.

For some reason lately I have been reflecting on the fact that my business is about to enter its fourth year.  In some ways it feels like I just started, and in others, it feels like I have been doing this for a long time.  As part of my reflection, I recently remembered a humorous speech I gave in 2007 about the culture shock I experienced switching from corporate life to the life of a small business owner.

I am not Catholic, but I used Confession to provide a framework for my speech.  I hope my Catholic friends will not be offended – no disrespect is intended.  This is about reflection and, I hope, is in the spirit of a confession.   It went something like this:

“Father, I have sinned.  This is my first confession.  It has been said that the devil’s in the details.  Well, I have seen that devil, and it is me.  Father, three months ago, I had no worries about technology, and assistance with minutiae.  I had a human for voicemail, mobile Starbucks outside my window, subsidized health insurance, a salary, and expensive art in my office.

“But Father, I saw the shiny apple of entrepreneurship and I had to take a bite.  The Siren’s song of personal freedom beckoned to me and I went hither.  Father, I have done strange and terrible things ever since.  I have foolishly believed I have secretarial talents.  I attempted to create my own filing system and now cannot find things.  A mound of paper scraps of ideas cries out for my scatterbrained attention.

“Like squirrels in my yard, I dash to a different duty every 4 ½ minutes.  In fact, after I have climbed the tallest tree, I remember that I left an acorn at the bottom.  Once I’m back on the ground, I can’t remember why I went there.  Just as I find what I was looking for, the phone rings.  It’s Joe with another acorn for me.  Do I go get the nut or (winter’s coming), make a safe place for it first?  I know, I’ll do both at the same time.  I’ll be Super MultiTasker Squirrel!  But Father, could I just end up Super Skinny Squirrel, exerting all of my energy and never enjoying my acorns?  Is this good for my humility?

“Father, should I also be confessing how I don’t miss my bosses?  Or mind-numbing meetings that go nowhere?  That I now hit the Send button without further review by a five-person committee?”

Now, three and a half years after that speech, I would add, “Should I confess that I sleep so much better?”

Off and on for the first three months that I was “in business,” I wondered if I had made the right choice.  Since then, though, I realize the choice was one of the most challenging, but one of the best decisions I ever made.

I’ve heard that confession is good for the soul.  And I guess it must be true.

Coffee, anyone?

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