3 minute read
All my life I have been an entrepreneur. I have lived no other life, and longed for no other life. Turns out I was pretty unsuccessful at childhood, (whatever the skills are that allow you to be good at childhood—I will never know). While I had a sense that my dislike of childhood things was a disappointment to those around me, nonetheless, accompanying adults to a construction job site was infinitely more interesting to me than the triviality of playing peewee baseball, or worse, passively watching baseball (or anything else) on television.
All my life, I would always vastly rather hang out with adults than kids my age. In public school, I failed miserably at subjects that I deemed of no value, and I excelled at those I valued. Fortunately (or out of necessity) I ultimately succeeded and achieved Flow by being a student of other people, learning about life, and so learned to trust myself as an autodidact.
In exasperation, my mother used to say, “Peter was born 40-years old. He just came out of the womb at 40. When he was 6-years old he was 40, and when he was 56-years old he was 40, and I betcha when he’s 106-years old he will still be 40.” While I can’t say I always identified with or understood exactly what my mother meant by this, what I do know is that I was impatient for the liberty that I saw adults have, and so from the time I can remember (say 4 or 5-years old), I wanted to listen and talk to adults, hang out with adults and hear their stories, participate in the adventurous activities I saw adults do.
From the time I was 15, when I started this working life at Ben Richards, (the byline was: “Manchester’s great store for men and young men, where you can buy your Haggar or Levi slacks, at 1093 Elm Street, the northeast corner of Elm and Lowell Streets”), I saw that the working world gave me the opportunity to learn what my potential was, and to earn if I made a contribution, both of which (learning and earning) led to independence, liberty, freedom. And I have worked ever since, much of it at minimum wage in the first years, at a number of jobs from age 15 where I folded Levis, wrapped gifts for others’ Holidays, moved inventory around in a warehouse, sorted and counted keg quantities of bolts and nuts, humped 50 pound bags of feed around at a feed mill, tutored undergrads in economics, was a teaching assistant in grad school, was a director of residence hall life in grad school, held the dumb end of the stick for a survey crew in the field, computed the weights of steel to be shipped, sold steel from warehouse inventory, (and delivered it during ironworker strikes), drafted detail drawings of construction components, and…omg on and on. Striving to learn, make a contribution, unlock whatever potential I have, unrestrained by the conventions of the Bureaucratic World. My best friend was (and is) my Future Self.
Maybe it’s because from the time I began at Bigelow at 05:00 o’clock am on July 1, 1980, I allocated literally all of my considerable energy to being with and working with creatives (entrepreneurs), and not corporate types (bureaucrats) that I know the importance—no, the absolute necessity—of rest, refresh, replete, rejuvenation (definition: to make young again) to be at our highest performing, highest achieving state as entrepreneurs. We don’t work for forty years and then retire to do the things we want to do. We are doing those things now. Time is one of our biggest gifts (I would argue along with positive energy). And both are finite. There is no better time to commit to refresh and rejuvenation than the curious time between Christmas Day and New Years Day. The nights are long, and the days are short.
The highest mission in life is to become uniquely ourselves, right? To continually refine and sharpen the focus on who and what we are. Like a sculptor, chipping away the “shoulds” of our mass popular culture, to discover the authentic callings of our Unique Ability®*. And staring at us right there is the obvious need for renewal. Our Self is not fixed, rather is perpetually evolving, reshaped by every experience we have: every win, and every learning, every love and every loss, every environment we experience, every person we meet, and (maybe most of all) every book we read. So, we are an infinite work in progress.
Sure, we can re-initiate working on our Future Self any time of the year at all (I also like Labor Day), but without a doubt, the time of the Winter Solstice is a time to reflect, mourn, celebrate, and plan for being Called By The Future.
*Unique Ability® is a registered trademark of The Strategic Coach Inc. All rights reserved. Used with written permission. www.strategiccoach.com
What I am Reading / Listening to
This stunningly designed and presented book is the spectacular result of an exacting labor of love by Mainer, author, and story-teller Ford Reiche. For those of us who grew up in the Sixties and Seventies (I grew up in the Sixties, and went to middle school, high school, and college in the Seventies) we agree we knew what we were experiencing at the time was just great music—we just didn’t know the time was going to end and we’d be still listening to it (Classic Rock) 50-years later! Ford is a child of those times, and boy did he keep good notes from his own experiences, plus adding to those with meticulous research, much of it in the first person from his own experiences.
The book is full of little ooh-aah “Easter Egg” surprises as you turn the page and see what you didn’t expect— pictures, well told stories, memorabilia, and anecdotes result in a nostalgia ride—kinda like driving that ’68 Corvette you always longed for. Ford is a life-long Mainer, artist, attorney, sailor, entrepreneur—and music lover—hell, he might just be the only person on the planet who could author this book. I had no idea that Maine's concert history in music was so extensive, or that, as Ford points out, it mostly came about because of the development of the Maine Turnpike.
I am going to buy 50 copies to give away as gifts. As always with Ford (in any of his creative mediums), attention to detail is his religion of success. Sui Generis.
Entrepreneur Owner-Manager Quote
“Thinking long-term is the biggest overlooked advantage; hidden in plain sight.”
You may also enjoy the Positive Enterprise Value podcast Pete Worrell did with Lisa Allen where he dives into whether high-performing EOMs fundamentally operate at the level of data and analysis, or feelings and emotions? We think other EOMs might learn a lot from their candid talk.