Connecting the Wrong Dots

Listen to silence. It has so much to say. Rumi

I thought I had it all figured out. I thought I knew exactly which path I was on, and exactly where I was going – but now I believe I connected the wrong dots.

My passions are books, history, and travel. Absolutely no question that I love these things; I’ve been crazy about them for the past 45 years! I suspect, though, that within these large loves, I’ve picked the wrong connecting thread. In fact, I know that this is what happened because even though I’ve already set up the preliminary framework online, and rearranged the house to create a dedicated work space, I’m stalled. I can’t seem to move forward.

I can’t move forward because I keep thinking of an alternate path to take, one that is also rooted in books, history, and travel, but mixes them in a different way. I’ve spent much time reflecting on what I want to do, how I want to do it, and now, why I’m hesitating. I suspect I was sidetracked by opting for the route that will more readily produce an income. I feel, though, that if I continue with book selling as the primary path, it will be a betrayal, a defeat of the purpose of reinventing my life.

Books to Travel

So. I’m starting over, again. Collecting and selling books about historic trails will be a side hustle, travelling the trails myself, and possibly with others will by the main thing.

And, I feel so much better having said that out loud!

~ Debbie MacLeod

First steps

You see, bookshops are dreams built of wood and paper. They are time travel and escape and knowledge and power. The are, simply put, the best of places. – Jen Campbell, The Bookshop Book

Let’s be honest. Reinventing your life, from the ground up, can be a scary proposition. You may have a strong support system in place, and sufficient financial resources, but you’ll still need a plan, or at least a direction, as well as the courage to take a first step. Whether your first step is huge, resulting in an immediately life-changing 180-degree turn, or a smaller one that focuses on preparation for the future, each of us approaches the process from within the framework of our own skills, experience, and knowledge.

My first steps towards opening a small town bricks-and-mortar bookstore specializing in history began with Community Futures. I knew any kind of retail outlet in my location would be challenging because rural communities, in general, are in decline, and retail outlets everywhere are battling the rise of online shopping. However, I also knew that most specialty bookstores already had e-commerce sites that accounted for most of their sales. With this in mind, the first objective in my journey became to set up an online bookstore selling used, out-of-print, and collectible books.

Niche BookstoreCommunity Futures offered an introductory course on starting a small business. Sessions included webinars, seminars, and one-on-one sessions with a business development officer. As I progressed through each module, I was tasked with researching, and defining a particular aspect of my niche ‘bookstore.’ This involved a lot of time, and tough decision-making, but it was an incredibly productive exercise. Once I had defined my business, and identified the online platforms and tools I’d need, I had to learn the business of books: the terminology and how to catalogue, valuation and pricing, their history and culture, etc. This has been the best part.

Each one of us who ventures into new territory will need to educate themselves in some way, on at least one aspect of their project. Because I am the way I am, I chose to learn the basics of starting a business from a professional. I opted to operate online first because I’m comfortable with technology, and I could forge ahead with minimal start up costs. Books are one of my most favourite passions, and to learn the book business, I can’t just take a course. I will need to research, to read, to visit antiquarian book stores, to attend conferences, and book exhibitions, and to learn by doing. I feel like I’ve won the lottery!

~ Debbie MacLeod


The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference has been organized to showcase local heroes, individuals from within our own communities, who are creating their own path, leading by example, and following their dreams through purposeful work.

Intrigued? Come listen to the stories. Ask questions. Be inspired to change your life!

Procrastination

So, to sum up Pychyl’s research on our attitudes about procrastination: “we think we’re having more fun, but we’re not”; “we think we’re not affecting future self, but we are”; and “it’s all about giving in to feel good,” which—see point number one—doesn’t actually work that well. – Josh Jones, Open Culture

Last week, I laid out my plans for 2018. Actually, just the plan for making plans for 2018, but, to be honest, I haven’t started, yet. The brand-new notebook has not even been opened. The thought of starting fresh is exciting to me; planning comes naturally to me; my family supports me. There will be virtually no start-up costs, and time, also, is not an issue.

What’s holding me back?

Why are we so quick to make a New Year’s resolution, but so slow to follow through on it? Why is it easier to throw our dreams to the wind?

Timothy PychylTimothy Pychyl is an expert on procrastination. He is an author, an award-winning professor, and the Director of the Centre for Initiatives in Education at Carleton University, which includes the Procrastination Research Group (PRG). Pychyl, and his graduate students have been studying “the breakdown in volition action” – procrastination – since the 1990s. This article on the Open Culture website is a great summary of Pychyl’s findings on the why of putting things off, and includes an hour-long video of Pychyl presenting his findings on student procrastination.

… we put things off not because we are morally deficient, or “lazy,” but because our emotional brains are trying to cope. We feel some significant degree of fear or anxiety about the task at hand. The guilt and shame that comes with not accomplishing the task compounds the problem, and leads to further procrastination. – Josh Jones, Open Culture

Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of ridicule… sound familiar?

~ Debbie MacLeod


The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference has been organized to showcase local heroes, individuals from within our own communities, who are creating their own path, leading by example, and following their dreams through purposeful work.

Intrigued? Come listen to the stories. Ask questions. Be inspired to change your life!

2018 Starts…. NOW!

Do it badly; do it slowly; do it fearfully; do it any way you have to, but do it. – Steve Chandler, Reinventing Yourself: How to Become the Person You’ve Always Wanted to Be

2018 - New Year's Resolutions

I stopped making New Year’s Resolutions a long time ago, and when I did make them, I usually kept them to myself. I didn’t think it was anyone’s business to hear about where my dreams were going. Of course, I lean towards the introvert side of the spectrum, and am still considered pretty stingy with my innermost thoughts.

Today, though, all the important people in my life know I’m ready for something new, and different, and challenging, and I know that it’s time to face my dreams head on. So, the tradition of putting pen to paper, and making a list of New Year’s resolutions seems like a pretty practical approach. I need a plan, and I’ve decided to mix and match the best ideas from the three articles below.

I’ve got a blank page in front of me, my new desk calendar beside me, and I’ve been inspired to make a list. I’m looking for a yearly mantra, a check list of achievable goals grounded in my mantra, and a list of ‘anti-mantra’ actions or attitudes that I will not do. Wish me luck. I’ll keep you posted…

~ Debbie MacLeod


The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference has been organized to showcase local heroes, individuals from within our own communities, who are creating their own path, leading by example, and following their dreams through purposeful work.

Intrigued? Come listen to the stories. Ask questions. Be inspired to change your life!

Connecting the Dots

Connecting the Dots
It’s not always easy to figure out why we feel dissatisfied, or bored, or restless. Sometimes the answer is a simple fix. Other times, it’s a lot more complicated, and involves much soul-searching and reflection. The answer to happiness for some is to embark on a journey of self discovery, and reinvention. When that happens, the question then becomes, “Where do I start?” In some cases, the first step forward may be to look backward.

I’m an avid reader, and have been since elementary school. When I look backwards, I see how reading introduced me to libraries, where I became a volunteer, and a literacy advocate. From book borrower, I grew up to be a book buyer, a collector, and a seller. From reading, I moved to writing, to blogging, and to working as a communications professional. Books also introduced me to history, which led me to university, and archives and museums, to travel, and to art – all things that today, I can’t imagine living without.

As I begin to reinvent myself, to search for the path forward, I’m looking back at all the things I love best, wondering how they will fit together: the books, the history, and the travel. Are all the pieces in place? I feel that they are, but I’m still looking for the idea, or the inspiration that will connect the dots between my experience, my skill set, and my dreams.

It’s that creative spark. Where do I look for that?

~ Debbie MacLeod

(Photo courtesy of pippalou via morguefile.com.)


The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference has been organized to showcase local heroes, individuals from within our own communities, who are creating their own path, leading by example, and following their dreams through purposeful work.

Intrigued? Come listen to the stories. Ask questions. Be inspired to change your life!