I wish I had bought that t-shirt I once saw that boldly proclaimed “You can’t scare me, I have a daughter!”
I’ve lived in my house for nearly 40 years and have kept a list of all the things that are broken for the past 30. In fact, the oldest item on my list is over 20 years old. And while the list constantly fluctuates, it regularly contains an overwhelming number of problems. (Today there are 174 things broken at my house.)
In reality, I probably should be scared to attempt some of the tasks on my “What’s Broken” list. I mean, I’ve never tiled a floor before. Or patched plaster walls. Or replaced drywall. Or refinished hardwood floors. I’ve certainly never mortared anything in my life. I’ve never painted or wallpapered either. In fact, I’ve always avoided painting by claiming I hated it. I don’t actually know – I’ve never painted anything before.
So why am I so sure I can reclaim my house? Now? On my own?
Simple — I’ve succeeded at some pretty significant past events, so I’m confident I can parlay those successes into even more.
1. I’ve raised an articulate, intelligent, strong-willed daughter 100% on my own.
Whew! Now let me tell you, that was no small feat! In fact, I don’t describe raising my daughter as being 100 times harder than I thought it would be. I don’t even describe it as being 1,000 times harder than I imagined.
Rather, I describe the experience as a MILLION times harder than I ever thought it was going to be in my wildest dreams! (And I still insist that I won the Daughter Lotto.)
But the fact is that I DID IT! And I did an absolutely fantastic job of it too, even if I do say so myself.
2. I’ve raised and bred Rottweilers.
Rottweilers are a lot like children on steroids. They are intelligent and strong-willed and they are eternal puppies shackled with a teenager’s mind. They follow you around while they constantly question your authority. And to top that off, they can be VERY, VERY stubborn. They shed and snore, too. But truth be told, they are also complete love-bugs and I’ll probably never own a different breed of dog. Ever.
3. I’ve owned and operated a successful software development company.
I’ve done software development (Newcomputing, Inc.) for over 30 years, and I’ve historically loved it. But that was before I discovered the secret of youth!
And what is that secret of youth, you ask?
Simple. Learning. Constant, daily learning. And I frankly wasn’t learning enough new things fast enough as a software developer. So I changed careers. Now, as a technical writer I am constantly exposed to new things, required to learn them well enough to teach them to others, and then tasked with creatively doing that using a myriad of media. Nirvana!
4. I’ve changed careers when my peers are retiring.
Like father, like daughter, I guess. My Dad started his own successful auto mechanic’s shop (Otto’s Tune Up and Brake Service) after being a farmer for most of his life. I was always impressed by his gumption, determination, and self-confidence, not to mention his extraordinary work ethic. I was even more impressed that he was able to capitalize on what he often did on the farm (fix motors) and turn it into a profitable business.
Perhaps it is hereditary. I too have changed careers when my peers are retiring. I’ve just always loved words and this quote by Randy Pausch resonated with me: “Follow your passions, believe in karma, and you won’t have to chase your dreams, they will come to you.”
Oh sure, making that happen took a lot of planning, forethought, perseverance, gumption, determination, and self-confidence. It also took some brutal self-assessment. But something tells me this is going to be one of the better decisions of my life. Thanks, Daddy, for being such a great role model.
5. I have a boatload of resources on my side.
I have YouTube, the Internet, friendly associates at my local hardware store (with whom I’m on a first name basis), my incredible Handy-Woman Helpers, a rather extensive personal collection of tools and the Oakland Tool Lending Library. And I have a brain.
Lucky me – I live in a city where the PUBLIC LIBRARY has a tool lending service. They have over 3,500 different tools and they check them out to library card holders for a week. For FREE! Perhaps your city does too. Check it out!
This is What I Know For Sure …
If I Can Do This, You Most Likely Can Too!
So, why is any of this important? Well, I hope that by sharing my story I can encourage you to reflect on your own past successes and believe, like me, that success can and will be repetitive.
And if you don’t believe me, check out what my helpers and I learned while moving 50 TONS of brick, dirt, tree roots, and sand while relaying my clinker brick courtyard.