Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Going on Gut Instinct

My husband recently enjoyed a light read that he passed my way, a book by Chuck Norris (yes, that Check Norris) called "The Secret Power Within." I have only just started in on first 50 pages, but the chapters are written in digests that are quick love 'em and leave 'ems. Already I see some parallels in my actions to some of the things that hung up/enlightened Chuck. I dig it. There is hope yet!

When writing, I definitely get into a zen described in the book. It cannot be forced; it either is or it isn't going to flow, to flood even! This flow can apply to a strategic marketing plan for a hotel, or a whimsical blog like this, a thank-you note, or a media pitch. Basically an up-welling of focus and creativity draws me to the keyboard or notebook and I go into lock-down until things are all out on paper/screen. It is present-tense intensity.

August was a crazy-weird but crazy-good month. I tried out the YES theory: basically just saying YES to social invitations, swimming opportunities, and even yes to a job offer--a full-time job that was presented as a remote work situation for content writing. It was insanity because I had a ton of freelance work queued up already. The only catches were: this actually was NOT set up to be a remote work job, and the writing was technical in nature, PLUS 75% of the time was spent trying to chase down info/plan out a work list/schedule product experts/procure parts/video + edit. It was a new position and I don't think the team understood the reality of the job. Compounding this, David's wonderful dad, Joseph, passed away and David was gone the rest of the month in upstate NY.

Three weeks in, I tendered my resignation. The weekend prior to resigning, my fingertips got itchy to write out the nuances of this position and why it wasn't working. I spent the next five hours writing out a critical path to explain how the job could be better and more efficiently executed, the ideal scope, and how the company could thrive with a fully functional marketing team that interfaced with the R&D team. I also created a D-I-Y PR sub-folder with relevant media lists, a boiler plate, a mock press release and tucked in the marketing folder. As much as I adored the team, that job wasn't for me and I hoped that this dossier would give them pause before rehiring. It was attached to my resignation letter. The exit interview was quick but the word "devastated" was relayed by HR. Still, I felt firm in my conviction that relinquishing this job was 100% right for me. Well, my email was circulated to the entire leadership team and it resonated big time.

The following week, the founder of the company met me for lunch and basically said the door was wide open to come back, but in a much more relevant marketing/communications role. Now, I'd need to mull over my ideal job and present it (or NOT) and see what shakes out. I also met with another member of the team two days later who encouraged me to go for it, but not to compromise on my needs, creatively, financially and remotely. WHAT AWESOMENESS IS THIS?

So this week, I'm in my cave a bit and thinking through things. Meanwhile, more projects and work have flown in the door. Do you know how fortunate I feel? Bottom line is, look within, trust and act on your gut and move with that force. Maybe now is a good time to go finish that book!

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Thursday, September 06, 2018

Farewell, John

Today I lost a friend named John. He is in a better place, I believe.

He was in my life for the past 30 years (give or take!). The first few years he kind of drove me nuts and I told him so! For 14 of those years, he was my father-in-law, the grandfather who helped deliver my second-born son Zachary at Kapiolani Medical Center in 1998, and later a temporary stranger when I divorced his stepson in 2005. By 2012, after some years passed, I reached out to him and his then-wife in an effort to bridge the silence...to no avail, but I tried.  And the very next year, the shit hit the fan for him and his marriage, he said.

The next and last time time I saw John in person was in 2015, about 11 years since I lived in Honolulu. I came to swim the Waikiki Roughwater, but the surf was so high the director cancelled the race as we were in the water ready to go. So an early, long lunch with John and my fellow swimmy pal Anne it would be! Man did we have some catching up to do.

We toured around Kaka'ako, John's stomping grounds at that time. It was evident that he was in hard times, but he still carried humanity, warmth and empathy in his heart. About 2013, I had been told by my ex that John was acting weird and to ignore his attempts to communicate with me and the boys.

What I didn't know then I learned in 2015, at least his side of it. He told us he had a breakdown after discovering a series of deceptions and losing basically everything. The details did not surprise me; I only thought: for a 30-something, it's possible to come back from that (I did). Not so much when you're in your late 60s.

The day of that visit, we drove around a little more and said our goodbyes at Diamond Head, but continued to keep in close contact for the next three years. I felt lucky to be in his inner circle of four he regularly emailed. He listened to my reggae podcasts weekly. At one point I briefly set him up in a co-working space to finish a web job (he'd collected an advance on to squeak by). He cheered me on during my big swim, pep-talked me just prior, even continued to give me dental advice decades after hanging up that career on Vashon, long before I knew him! He missed having contact with his grown daughter Rain Juli, and not knowing her kids. He was always tickled to hear about Alex and Zach's accomplishments, which buoyed his spirits. Just last month he recalled Zach's birth on Z's 20th birthday week. Pretty cool. I still have the video of Z's first few minutes of life, thanks to John.  I treasure the Hawaiian-English dictionary he gave me with his beautiful hand inscription (always loved his artful handwriting), and have hung onto his childhood toy--a vintage Marx "safe driving school" wind up car--he gave me when the boys were just toddlers. It was just a few weeks ago I came across photos of John and me at my UH college graduation--how time flies!

One of the last emails he sent me in the later half of August was that he felt ready for "the next Astral Plane" and he knew he was going to go soon. Then nothing. Then a text from his lifelong friend followed by a nice long phone chat that it wasn't looking good.

I have hundreds of emails to look back at. Last month he'd given me express permission to publish any and all of his memoirs, not to say I will, but that was very sweet. When I hear songs by Marley, Third World, Tosh and Matisyahu I will think of him. When I see Molokai and Lanai, I think of him and our crossings on his beloved boat (he later regretfully sold). Godspeed, John.

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