Saturday, March 17, 2018

What If I Buy a Company?

Last weekend, as I was driving across Kansas after visiting friends and skiing in Colorado, I was once again sad to leave the mountains. As I called various people on the long drive, one suggested a career idea I had never really considered before, buying a company. People do it all the time. I'm talking about those small "boring" businesses, not really a franchise, but with enough reputation to have an established customer base.

In the absence of evidence I typically default to thinking about the world in terms of black and white. You either work a corporate job, or you start a company from scratch. Obviously those are not the only two options. People who were brave enough to start businesses retire all the time without any of their kids wanting to take over.

Last week I visited Mexico, and we visited five suppliers plus our factory, and I looked at those little machine shops from an angle I had not considered before. In many cases the owner or one of the owners showed us around. I realized, I could do their jobs. Not initially, of course I would need training and time to learn the business. However walking into an established business, you would have their current work, their current prices, and employees to help keep from screwing up the opportunity initially.

In many ways it's an awakening for me. I have a great job! I make quite a bit of money. However, I'm struggling with my non financial incentives, like Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose as this RSA Animate video shares. Well, the mastery part is actually very fulfilling for me currently. I get to work on really technical problems where no one, as far as I have read, has really solved the problems. Still, the lack of autonomy and confusion about purpose can be stressful.

Along these lines, I paid off my student loans in December, and it's interesting how that, and Everest, had been big financial motivators for me the past eight years. The only real other financial goal I can think of would be to save 25 times expenses to be financially independent, and I'm so far away from that that I can't live the next 15 years of my life solely aiming for that goal. Plus, it's a pretty selfish goal, that again doesn't really deliver a sense of purpose. Now that student loans and Everest are off the table, having been accomplished, I would take a major pay cut for the right opportunity.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

I'm Tired, March 2018 Version

Running is a microcosm for the state of my life. When running is going well, everything in my life is right where I want it. When my life is not just how I want it, running does not go well. Tonight I ran 4 miles at 6:44 pace on the treadmill, with a short warmup and cool down, and it wasn't a piece of cake. My watch showed those miles averaged 8:01 I think. The last quarter mile I had a shin splint in my left leg. My left hip is hurting, I think it's hip flexor tendonitis, and of course I haven't been to a doctor about it because I don't know where to go to get a running doctor near Independence, Kansas.

In some ways the source of my stress is irrelevant, because I am the source of my stress. My desire to control my life is my stress. Ugh! I detest the word control, and try to use influence instead. Yet in many ways it's about control, the illusion of control that we like to have about our lives. When the illusion is not there, it's stressful. I've been having a little back pain lately, muscular, and it's not because of my core routine, although it might be related to sitting in a chair too much. (Telling you this is an allusion to the psychosomatic back pain I created for myself in April 2010.)

"...When I saw him years later, he was beaten down by life." - Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams. As I  am two months away from being 32 I realize, once again, that life has it's ups and downs, which seems to rarely correlate with the actual facts of how life is going. My life is awesome! And it's crazy how much I let the state of my running fitness affect my attitude.

On days like today with a sore hip, a shin splint, and 26 days until the 100k I hoped to run this spring,  I wonder if I should retire from my semi-professional running career. Of course I won't, at least not yet. Not until I have exhausted all of my options for recovery and rebuilding. Change is exciting, and it's also hard.

Some day, I'm going to take a week long vacation on a beach and average 14 hours of sleep a day.