True Confessions from the Porch

I have traveled a lot of places, but for the last three years, my favorite place has been my rocking chair on the porch in Live Oak, at dawn on a Saturday, with hot coffee and a pair of bird watching binoculars.
 
An hour after the sun comes up, I feel at peace, yet energized.  I do a lot of reflecting in that hour.
For some reason lately I have been reflecting on the fact that my business is about to enter its fourth year.  In some ways it feels like I just started, and in others, it feels like I have been doing this for a long time.  As part of my reflection, I recently remembered a humorous speech I gave in 2007 about the culture shock I experienced switching from corporate life to the life of a small business owner.
 
I am not Catholic, but I used Confession to provide a framework for my speech.  I hope my Catholic friends will not be offended – no disrespect is intended.  This is about reflection and, I hope, is in the spirit of a confession.   It went something like this:
 
“Father, I have sinned.  This is my first confession.  It has been said that the devil’s in the details.  Well, I have seen that devil, and it is me.  Father, three months ago, I had no worries about technology, and assistance with minutiae.  I had a human for voicemail, mobile Starbucks outside my window, subsidized health insurance, a salary, and expensive art in my office.
 
“But Father, I saw the shiny apple of entrepreneurship and I had to take a bite.  The Siren’s song of personal freedom beckoned to me and I went hither.  Father, I have done strange and terrible things ever since.  I have foolishly believed I have secretarial talents.  I attempted to create my own filing system and now cannot find things.  A mound of paper scraps of ideas cries out for my scatterbrained attention.
 
“Like squirrels in my yard, I dash to a different duty every 4 ½ minutes.  In fact, after I have climbed the tallest tree, I remember that I left an acorn at the bottom.  Once I’m back on the ground, I can’t remember why I went there.  Just as I find what I was looking for, the phone rings.  It’s Joe with another acorn for me.  Do I go get the nut or (winter’s coming), make a safe place for it first?  I know, I’ll do both at the same time.  I’ll be Super MultiTasker Squirrel!  But Father, could I just end up Super Skinny Squirrel, exerting all of my energy and never enjoying my acorns?  Is this good for my humility?
 
“Father, should I also be confessing how I don’t miss my bosses?  Or mind-numbing meetings that go nowhere?  That I now hit the Send button without further review by a five-person committee?”
 
Now, three and a half years after that speech, I would add, “Should I confess that I sleep so much better?”
 
Off and on for the first three months that I was “in business,” I wondered if I had made the right choice.  Since then, though, I realize the choice was one of the most challenging, but one of the best decisions I ever made.
 
I’ve heard that confession is good for the soul.  And I guess it must be true.
 

Coffee, anyone?

Holly Donaldson

Holly Donaldson, CFP® runs an hourly and fee-for-service financial planning practice virtually from her Tampa Bay, Florida office. She also works with clients throughout the U.S. (except Texas) interested in retirement and tax planning advice without product sales or investment management. Holly is the author of The Mindful Money Mentality: How to Find Balance in Your Financial Future (Porchview Publishing, 2013) and publisher of the award-winning monthly e-letter, "The View From the Porch."

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