Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Entrepreneurial Spirit and Feeling a Sense of Contentment

I’ve always admired people that have what I do not. In this case, total self-confidence. I do have self-confidence in certain situations, but it is not a constant flow. I know that sometimes people may portray this air about them, yet they are not as confident as they seem.

What comes to mind is a boss from long ago. She was originally from Sri Lanka and I will always remember and admire her self-confidence and entrepreneurial spirit. She pushed forward even if there was doubt. If she didn’t know something, she would tell a client, “sure, we can do that,” even if she wasn’t absolutely sure what the program was, and she would quickly either find a way to do it herself or because of the business she ran—computer training for corporations—she would find a person who knew how. She had enough confidence in her abilities to know that if she didn’t have a solution right then, she would surely figure it out in time.

There are so many people that have emigrated here to the United States, who followed the spirit of this land and it amazes me how they did it. They leave their countries, come here with practically nothing but a vision and desire and make it happen. And then there are some people that have been living in this land of opportunity that have become used to the gifts of the land or who have no reason to break new ground and quite possibly forget how lucky they are to live in such a free country. Of course, there are also those of this country who have that same entrepreneurial sprit. We have seen many come and go.

I admire this spirit and cheer for those who are successful.

My co-worker just asked me yesterday if I had heard back from the folks—entrepreneurs—that I interviewed for. I said that I had not and that the interview went well and I followed up with a thank you email and that they would be in touch one way or the other. I said that it could be a while. They had several applicants for the open positions and they would not have a need for a couple of months. They were being proactive for upcoming business. I also admire proactive people. I am one myself.

Later that evening, coincidentally, I received a call and it was one of the owners of the company calling back to say they had narrowed the interviewed applicants down to a few and that I was in that pool. The next step would be reference and background checks and then they would make their final decision. I admit, that yet again, I have had a few of those heart to heart conversations with God. I wasn’t asking for the job, only asking that he continue to guide me in the proper direction, that, yes, I would like to have this job. It would be an opportunity to learn, branch out while keeping my other part-time position. More than anything, the learning opportunity and being more productive is most attractive to me right now.

I’ve thought upon the changes by deciding to work full-time again by having two part-time positions. I have searched throughout the years, but I didn’t want to be hasty. I didn’t want a regular full-time position with one company, and I wanted to be sure I found a company that I felt good working for. This feels like the one. I will be ever so happy if I am offered the position and if not, I will be glad to have gone through the process, since it had been long since I had.

The biggest change if I get offered the position is I will have less time for reading and writing. In a way, though, I have done a lot of both over these years. I’ve had the time by choice and I feel satisfied and happy about that. I am ready. Ready to move on to a new chapter. Reading and writing will always be there. They always have been.

The entrepreneurial spirit seems an essential ingredient in writing for publication. Eventually the published writer, depending on their situation, will be in a position where they have to sell themselves. That’s the part I don’t care much for. One of the things I’m beginning to feel from participating in the writer’s group is a real excitement for witnessing one of the first of the group to see one of their larger works to publication. A few are working on novellas and a few of us are working on smaller pieces. I’m enjoying the process more than anything. Of course it would be nice to see one little essay or one short story of my own published, but that goal has been overtaken with the joy of the process itself and of seeing others succeed. In a way, I already feel published—if that makes any sense. As I said, I feel a sense of satisfaction and closure, and knowing that I may have less time to spend writing, may actually catapult me and focus me forward. It may even give a kick to my creativity.

I feel that I’ve been writing since I was born and of course that’s not possible. But, being so introspective, being a quiet child who lived an interior life—in that sense it feels that I wrote as a ghost writing in the sky. And I was also written onto by my surroundings. I struggled in school, especially writing between junior high through my first year of community college. I really couldn’t write proper sentences and had trouble getting my thoughts out. I always want to remember this because it is such a gift to myself that I didn’t give up and that I still write and express myself in ways I would never have imagined. That means everything to me. That can never be taken from me.

I do not have a true entrepreneurial spirit, but I admire it in others. I applaud and cheer for those of you out there!

With each small risk or new adventure, no matter the size, I do gain self-confidence. But I do not forget where I’ve come from, and that allows me to maintain some sense of balance and compassion toward my fellow human beings and myself.


Vincent said...

Now I find myself anxious to hear that you get the job! As for it giving you less time to read and write, I wonder if that matters, for I reflect that during eight months in 2007, when I came out of retirement to work full-time in another town, I wrote more regularly than before or since: and more spontaneously.

And for me the effect of the writers’ group has had the opposite effect from the one you describe. I think less about publishing my own stuff, more about helping foster the writing of others. But it has made me think more about the art of writing, and decide that actually I prefer to encourage others than push forward my own. Because it cannot be pushed. I think it will be better the less hard I try, the more i become transparent to the voice within me.

And now I’ve had the courage to take on the role which I hastily rejected before: to possibly chair a new writers’ group, or as they view it, an ongoing Saturday workshop, at the local Arts Centre --a disused Victorian church and associated buildings. They seem to have the idea of linked groups: painting, drawing the performing arts including jazz, drumming, songwriting, scriptwriting, costumes, scenery. For adults and children, separating by age as and when necessary.

So I said I’d be happy to take on the twin challenge of promoting writing as a means of self-expression, self-knowledge, along with writing as fulfilment of commissions defined by the Centre, e.g. pantomimes, sketches, songs for musicals.

It’s probably too late for me to chicken out of this now, even though there are other writers there to support the project, including members of the other writing group at the library, whom I've invited along.

Either something will happen or nothing. I don’t feel nervous about it at this stage. But I would not call it self-confidence.

Rebb said...

It will be great if I get the job, Vincent! It’s a bookkeeping position and that’s all they do for other companies. I explained to them that I was not a “full-charge” bookkeeper and that I currently do light bookkeeping, but would like to do more because it’s what I like. I enjoy keeping track of the records up until you hand the information over to the accountant.

I think being busy will enhance my writing relationship. I do recall when I worked full-time and was taking classes; it seemed to be a good creative writing period—more free. I think sometimes having too much time on our hands can have its disadvantages. It was a choice with reasons in between. Now my choices are changing—or at least I hope so—depending on present outcomes, etc.

I do still think about publishing, but not as much as I did before. The process of writing and sharing with a group for critique is what is fun. It’s fun to hear the good and the bad, to hear what everyone has to say about all of our work. I would love to see any of the other members publish their work, and I try my best to give constructive feedback, to point out parts that do and don’t work for me as a reader. It can be so subjective, but the writer then takes what he or she wants and tosses out the rest.

This last time I had submitted my travel piece with edits, but I hadn’t changed it to fiction, but I feel that I found the larger truth of the piece. It was well received. One of the members had the same comment as you: To make it into fiction. She added: to let the characters go and be wild. I still have to think on this because I’m not yet able to step away from the reality of it. I’m not yet able or ready to take my reality and make it fiction, at least not in this travel piece.

I’ve thought more about the art of writing too. For me, what has really begun to propel me to think of this in more detail is an audio book I’m listening to—I mentioned it in a previous blog: Stein on Writing – Sol Stein. It’s helping me reflect on the writing in the group, as well as my own, but mostly the group and how some of the points mentioned apply. It’s also moving me to read books differently. In fact one book I was enjoying called The Painted Drum stopped me in my tracks when I arrived at part 2, about 100 pages into the book. The POV had changed and frankly it sounded like the same character from the first part of the book. I wasn’t able to believe it any longer. I want so much to find out about this drum and this is the part that gets me there. I haven’t come back to the book for several days and am in limbo on whether I am going to finish it because I’ve been taken out of the story.

You said, “I think it will be better the less hard I try, the more I become transparent to the voice within me.” Yes, I think this is true.

Good for you, Vincent! To chair a new writers’ group seems the perfect role for you. Whether you do it or not, it is clear that you are still able to encourage and share within the group you presently belong to. I would love to take a workshop with you as the lead!

Those nerves are positive and I’m sure you will channel them one-way or the other, Vincent. I look forward to hearing more—as much or as little as you wish to share.

I’m very excited for you!

ZACL said...

Good luck with your enterprises Rebb.

Che sera, sera.

There is a time for introspection and a time for circumspection. There is a time for moving forward and moving on. There is a time for letting it happen. There is a time for everything in its own time, even if, sometimes, it feels like other people's time too. It may well be, but, remember, if it is for you, it is your time as well.

Rebb said...

Thanks, ZACL, Your words are comforting and a great reminder. I have this tendency to over think and over process. Can't help it sometimes.

"Che sera, sera"--Yes! Perfect words.