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  • Writer's pictureSusan Carr

The things you can learn from a toilet…

Bertrand is learning new things. He is venturing closer to the back porch each day. Even when I'm sitting there, just waiting to take his picture, when he does something cute, he's not afraid to keep moving toward the porch.

He's learning that he doesn't have to be afraid of me. That I provide him with food, snap his picture, and mean him no harm. It's fantastic that a squirrel with the evolutionary survival instinct isn't afraid to get close to a human once he learns she's not so scary.

I'm learning new things, too, and from the strangest sources.

Bertrand's listening-intently pose

The Husband told me about a cool trick our toilet seat does, so I shared this information with Bertrand. If you lower the seat or the lid just a bit, it closes on its own, slowly and gently. I have become fascinated by it. It’s efficient, and The Husband no longer has to exert significant energy to satisfy my demands of ALWAYS having the toilet seat/lid down. I wish we had discovered this sooner!

Learning new things is extraordinary.

  • I've learned over this past year that I can create a pretty good SOP from scratch, even when I've never created one before.

  • I've learned that I can write, at least according to others, some pretty good home remodeling and restoration articles.

  • I've learned I can brainstorm with a thriller author and develop a concept never before seen in a novel, which could be a massive hit if it ever hits the bookshelves.

  • I've learned that I could edit an end-of-the-year business summary, and the business owner is so pleased with the end result that she would like to utilize my services more in the future.

While I was pleased to learn these new things, I also have to take a step back in humility and understand some areas where I’m lacking.

I spent eight hours last week working on a creative writing project for a client. I was told to "unleash my words and just let them flow, don't edit anything, and let's see where it goes.” So that's what I did.

And it did not meet the client's expectations.

Granted, creative writing is usually very subjective and won’t necessarily meet everyone's expectations. But with this project, I seemed to be dealing with someone who had one idea of what should be pouring out of me versus what actually poured out of me. This doesn’t make much sense because my experiences, challenges, and achievements will not always align with how someone thinks they should.

Considering the client wanted me to put in several more hours of work and attend online meetings, all with minimal compensation for my time, I realized this would not be a good investment of time and energy. I told the client I didn't think we were a good match and respectfully declined to continue with the project.

The minute I hit 'send' on the we-need-to-part-ways email, I felt at peace. I didn't want to continue working with this client because I felt like I would never measure up to what was expected. And I don't want to work with that kind of person. Again.

I'm learning more every day. About myself, about how to grow a business, work within my strengths, stretch my abilities, and learn new things to improve in areas with which I’m unfamiliar.

If you want to be someone who wants to do something outside of the norm, to set yourself apart from the expectations of the typical 9-to-5 job, and tap into your full potential, you have to be willing to know what you want, stick with that path, and keep learning new things along the new way to further propel you down that chosen path.

I'm not working a full-time job, at least not in the "typical 9-to-5" sense. So how can I be picky about which projects I take and turn down? How can I think this is a wise way to make a living? Seems a little nuts, huh?

But I think it's one of the reasons I kind of like it. Because it's nuts, it’s not the norm. Neither am I.

So, Bertrand, keep coming closer to the back porch each day, and you may find some tasty nuts have been put out for you. Don't be afraid to learn something new; you may end up with a friend, albeit a human one.

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