Damnit, Seth! Origin Stories

From the Things Seth Godin Suggested That Make You Question Everything Department*

We’re always telling ourselves stories. And those unspoken narratives influence our thoughts, attitudes, actions, and outcomes. After all, our thoughts become words, words become actions, actions become habits, habits become character, and character becomes destiny.

Which is a pretty slick way of saying if you think you can or can’t—you’re right.

Coming back to Seth Godin’s “Akimbo” podcast this week, I caught an episode where he talked about SEO. Long story short, instead of trying to rank #1 for some word to hopefully get in front of everyone searching for that word, we should focus on BEING #1 to a small group of loyal customers.

So I was thinking, if I merged Work Life Parallel with Gearbox Magazine, it would mean worklifeparallel.com would likely become another redirect. Read: I might lose my #1 spot in Google.

Which is a slightly tough pill to swallow, since Gearbox Magazine doesn’t even make the first THREE pages for “gearbox” or “car magazine”.

But you know what’s interesting? I’ve also been thinking maybe it’s time to retire Gearbox Magazine too. Maybe it’s time to combine Work Life Parallel and Gearbox Magazine into a single entity.

Which brings me back to the origin story. If I am who I am because of Gearbox Magazine and the work life parallel pursuit, is combining everything into something new going to result in legitimate synergy—or is this just another distraction from doing the work?

I’m not sure yet—but I just googled “the gearhead project” and things look pretty inspiring.

Back to work!

*If seeing me reference all these made-up departments reminds you of the almost universally loved automotive journalist, Mitsubishi Apologist, and Clunkbucket Creator, Mike Bumbeck—GOOD. I’m hoping a little flattery here and there will prompt the return of one of my all-time favorites.

Automate. Delegate. Eliminate.

As much as Paddock will tolerate.

That was the sign on the wall of the small IT department.

I learned a lot working at Paddock Pools back in the day. At first, I was a temp-to-hire marketing assistant. A year or so later, I would find my way back as a warehouse clerk, stocking brochures and forms for Sales and other departments.

Eventually, I earned a seat in an actual office, processing escrow holdbacks for people making five figures a month—many with sub-600 credit scores—who were financing $50,000 pool/spa/bbq projects in backyards of homes that weren’t even built yet.

This was all before the bubble, by the way.

In any case, when I look back on my time at “Garden Town” (which has long since been demolished and replaced with shiny new apartments, I’m often reminded of three things:

  • Kelly, Jim, Mark, Kerry
  • “Hey, how are ya.”
  • Automate, Delegate, Eliminate.

As much as Paddock will tolerate.

What a delightful motto. And what a nice reminder for life, too.

Automate the easy, repetitious stuff.

Delegate the stuff others would like to do for you.

Eliminate anything that doesn’t keep you moving forward.

As much as you can tolerate.

Sacrifice: Cry Now. Smile Later.

See also: Deferred Gratification.

Reflection might just be the most important part of the work-life parallel puzzle.

If you can’t make an honest assessment of where you are right now. You will never be able to plot a true course toward your goals. That’s a fact.

Lately I’ve been thinking about sacrifice. No. Not human sacrifice. It’s hot here in Phoenix, but there are no volcanoes ‘round these parts. (Now, if we moved to Hawaii…)

I’m talking small sacrifice—and how, the longer you avoid making the small sacrifices, the bigger the sacrifice(s) you’ll need to make in the future.

The longer you shovel junk food into your mouth with reckless abandon, the longer you blow your money on disposable shit you don’t need, the longer you go without saving for retirement, the longer you avoid committing to doing the work to launch your side hustle business—the bigger the sacrifice you’ll need later to achieve your goals.

It’s easier to develop a common sense diet, to get off your ass and move around, to set a couple bucks aside for a rainy day, to take that next step toward your dreams than it is to radically change your diet, your lifestyle, your finances, your goals.

I love me some gelato. And I love sleep. And I love being a consumer whore—but it’s easier to keep the weight off than lose 50lbs. It’s easier stay out of debt than fight compound interest. And it’s easier to work for yourself than anyone else.

Cry now. Smile later, I guess.

PS: Mark, this is “reality check”—not “pity party”, by the way. 😉