How to be Independent -Introduction

February 2002. War was raging in Afghanistan, the Twin Towers were still smoldering,
and I was smoking a cigarette in the parking lot of a dirty chemical plant four hours
from home. As I contemplated how I had gotten here after swearing not to work in dirty
chemical plants anymore I realized my life and my career were not my own. I went
where my employer told me. I did the job my employer wanted me to do in the way he
told me to do it. I had been two months out of work after being canned from my  previous job. We had been living paycheck to paycheck, so we had to max our credit
cards. Even though it required travel I was desperate, so I took this job and showed up
for my first day on September 11, 2001. I knew the world would never be the same. I just
didn’t yet know how different the world – and my life – would be.

As I took another drag off my cigarette and exhaled. I watched the smoke and my
breath drift off in the crisp bright air. I looked around nervously – I didn’t like my boss’s
client to see me smoking. Even quality time with my buddy Winston was not wholly my

I made a decision and a promise to myself in that moment. I gave myself five years.
Five years to become free. Within five years, I swore, I would own a business. I would
call my own shots. Even if I ended up at a dirty chemical plant, I would be serving my
client. It would be my decision and I could walk away or stay as I wished. My job
security would no longer depend on the whims of an employer. My job security would
depend on my ability to network and enlist others in my vision. My salary would depend
on my negotiation skills. I liked my chances as a business owner more than my chances
as a corporate drone. 

Within three years I made good on my promise and then some.  I had become an independent consultant and I was serving my first client. I was making more money and working in a clean office instead of a dirty chemical plant.
And I got to hang out with my friends in the evenings instead of sitting in a Motel 6. My
career and my future were in my own hands now.

As I continue this blog, I will describe exactly how I did it, step by step. I will give you tips that
you can apply to your own career and your own life. If you’re willing to work hard, maybe you could free yourself, too. The results are up to you, though. My story is not
typical. Few are willing to do the work and have my level of success. That’s a good thing.
Because there are tons of opportunities out there, but not many know how to take
advantage of them. So, read on. Do the work. Free yourself and change your story!  

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How to be independent? Go!

Apparently I don’t know how to get focussed and disciplined to write a book. I do, however, know how to write a blog post.

Let’s make a deal…

I’ll write blog posts about my journey of independence. Along the way, I’ll give you some tips and wisdom that may help you on your independence journey. In return, you will:

  • tell me what works and what doesn’t
  • ask questions for me to answer in future blog posts
  • Share posts that hit home
  • Share posts that might help your friends and family
  • Receive a gratis copy of the book I will compile and edit from the blog posts

My goal is to help people. I want to spread the message that you can be independent. I want to share my story of how I became and remained independent in the hope that it will inspire others to forge their own path. Because I think the future will continue to seem unpredictable and chaotic. The world is changing faster than our old institutions can keep up. To take care of ourselves and our families in these times, we will need to understand what it means to be independent. Because the old way – relying on a company or the government to take care of us – simply will not work for many of us.

Next up: introduction to my story.

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To be clear

I believe in the power of the mind. I also believe in reality. And science. I also believe in the healing properties of humor. And sarcasm. So let’s set a few things straight.I made up the diagnosis Chronic Senescence as a tongue in cheek condition to which I would attribute my symptoms. I am well aware that my symptoms are self inflicted and that they are ever more challenging as I pile on the years and pounds and minutes on my butt. I am friends with my doc and I knew he’d get the joke. That, by the way, was the first and only joke in this visit.

This doctor visit was not about getting a diagnosis. It was about enrolling an expert partner. And it was about having a bucket in which to pour my seriousness about getting healthy. Think of whatever metaphor you want. Whether it’s the piano teacher who you wish not to disappoint by not practicing, the personal trainer who will notice if you haven’t done the drills, or the cycling partner who will kick your ass up the hills if you don’t get in the miles. Doc is my guy. And he knows a ton about the human body.

For those of you worried that I’ve run to a doctor who’ll just pump me full of pills and for those of you who are worried that I’ve gone to a witch doctor, neither of you has a thing to worry about. I’m in good hands – my own. And I have a trusted partner to guide and advise me along the way.

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Getting Healthy Day 1

I am 47 and I have self-diagnosed Chronic Senescence. I went to the doctor today. It was just a check-up, but he confirmed my diagnosis. This condition is characterized by increased body fat, frequent tiredness, and a feeling of being run-down. Patents report occasional vertigo and difficulty focusing and concentrating. Put another way, I’m getting old.

Getting old, it turns out, is more than a state of mind and not exactly a preventable condition. It is quite possible and, for me, desirable to manage the symptoms. This is day 1.

Day 1 was about assessment. No answers yet. Just questions. From my Facebook:

It’s a whole body approach. Looking to healthfully and sustainably (and as naturally as possible) bring my body to a higher state of health. We’ll see when results come back but I suspect refined diet, supplements, and maybe some meditation. I’ll know I’m making progress when I’m not so tired all the time and my body composition and weight are closer to normal.

They took my BP, measured my body composition, took my vitals, etc.

Dr. Logan ( ordered a panel of blood tests to be conducted by The Cleveland Heart Lab. Among the markers they will look for are indicators of inflammation. I expect I’ll fail this portion of the test. Or, pass if you consider that I’ll find out why I’m tired all the time and feel run down a lot. Dr. Logan added some tests for cholesterol, testosterone, and thyroid. The thyroid part is because of my history of depression. The testosterone is about the energy.

I will have results in about 8 weeks. First, I have to wait 2 weeks to get my 12 hour fasting blood draw on account of my scooter injuries possibly throwing off the result. What’s that? You didn’t hear about my scooter accident? That’s over on Facebook.

In the meantime, I’m going to start myself on some MCT oil, some ghee in my coffee, and a lot less sugar.

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Public vs Private Intention

I never follow through on my public intentions. Many self-help programs (books, training workshops, etc.) will tell you to make your intention public and it will more likely come to pass. Power of attraction, affirmations, mindfulness. All these systems have a ton of people hovering around them that promise great riches if you just speak your intention into the  universe.

Not me. The minute I speak my intention to the  universe, the universe looks at me and says, “oh yeah?”

Which is why I am going to state my intention here, in public. And then prove the universe wrong by making it come true. Take that, universe. My compromise with the universe is this: I will not provide details. I’ll just state the goal, the benefit to humanity, and the  start.

Step 1

Set up high value on-line mentoring

Step 2

Use social media (without spamming my friends) to build a fanbase

Step 3

Pay off my bills and stop worrying about money

Bonus Step

Collect underpants

Your critique is welcome

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Days gone by

Having been sick since Sunday afternoon, it’s a weird feeling to have just lost 3 days. It’s not the money (if I don’t work I don’t get paid, but days off are in the business plan). It’s not even feeling sick (humans forget what pain feels like; otherwise we’d all be only-children). It’s knowing that I just lost 3 days. Now I’m feeling better and sitting out on my deck listening to the birds and other evening sounds. The smell after today’s rain is thick with life and earth. A few bugs are tickling my skin, probably feasting on dead skin cells (bastards probably don’t know yet that they are now infected). Point is, I missed 3 days of this. So, tell me. Aside from vitamin C (which I already take), how do you avoid getting sick? 

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RIP Raccoon

Found a dead raccoon on our property today. Picked it up with a snow shovel and tossed into the ditch next to the road. Maggots and flies and ants and birds of prey will dispose of it. The parts of nature for which I am grateful. I am also glad I don’t have to hang out with those parts of nature.

That may also explain why Trump is popular.

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Be sure and don’t miss these 4 ways to waste words

When I was a kid, my friend Paul and I would joke about how one should not waste exclamation points or question marks by using more than one. As conservation minded as I’ve been when it comes to punctuation, I have been more wasteful than a Hummer running on baby seal blubber when it comes to words. And so without  further ado, 4 ways we all waste words.

1. Be sure and…

Just tell me what you want me to do. If I want to do it, I’ll be sure and do it.

2. I feel like…

First, nobody other than your mommy cares how you feel. Second, I know this is how you feel because it’s you saying it.

3. Sorry to interrupt…

No you’re not. Unless you happened to be walking by my office at the same moment that the Hanson brothers were body checking you into my door, you meant to interrupt. So, don’t be sorry, just be grateful that I wasn’t in the middle of negotiating peace in the Middle East.

4. Trying to change somebody’s mind on Facebook

Here’s a picture of the Hanson brothers:

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This tree

Having a picnic. Laying on my back staring up at this tree.

This tree has no idea that it’s Sunday.

Sundays, even family Sundays like today, feel different. Conditioning I guess. Can’t stay up late. Must finish weekend chores.

This tree has no idea who’s running for president. Or governor. Or judge.

This tree has no idea how long it has been here or for how munch longer it will be here.

I like this tr… SQUIRREL!!

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The First Time

Or… Doing a remote segment with a live audience…

How often do you get to do something for the first time? Lately I seem to be finding these opportunities a lot.

Talk about starting before you’re ready (Seth Godin’s advice). Before I knew what I was getting in to, I agreed to do a bit for the Don’t Panic Radio Show on the upcoming World Championship of ComedySportz. The bit will be a segment I’m recording tomorrow night in front of an audience at Indy ComedySportz after one of their shows. I’m guessing that some day this will seem like easy peasy lemon squeazy. But right now I’m certain that I will look like a fool. And that I will screw something up. And I’m certain that between my co-host and I we will be able to cut together a pretty good show.

Is the first time the hardest? Or just the scariest? I’d guess the 3rd time is probably the hardest. Just a hunch.

What have you done lately for the first time?

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