#Trust30 Day 14 - Ambition

[Yes, there are a lot of these #Trust30 posts...here's why].

When good is near you, when you have life in yourself, it is not by any known or accustomed way; you shall not discern the foot-prints of any other; you shall not see the face of man; you shall not hear any name; the way, the thought, the good, shall be wholly strange and new. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The world buzzes about goals and visions. Focus. Create a vivid picture of exactly where you want to go. Dream big, then don’t let anything or anyone stop you. The problem, as Daniel Gilbert wrote in Stumbling Upon Happiness, is that we’re horrible at forecasting how we’ll really feel 10 or 20 years from now – once we’ve gotten what we dreamed of. Often, we get there only to say, “That’s not what I thought it would be,” and ask, “What now?” Ambition is good. Blind ambition is not. It blocks out not only distraction, but the many opportunities that might take you off course but that may also lead you in a new direction. Consistent daily action is only a virtue when bundled with a willingness to remain open to the unknown. In this exercise, look at your current quest and ask, “What alternative opportunities, interpretations and paths am I not seeing?” They’re always there, but you’ve got to choose to see them.” - Jonathan Fields

The author’s prompt does not quite fit my situation. I do not have a “blind ambition” that causes me to miss opportunities that I would otherwise see. Rather, I am too open to possibilities, and the reluctance to choose a more focused approach to life is creating challenges for me. There are too many distractions in my world, not too few.

However, even though the prompt is not perfect for my situation,  I am still willing to sit down and think about the ‘alternate paths’ I might not be seeing. Some of these could be:

  1. Writing for a magazine or other publication
  2. Start an international coffee newsletter, to combine my interests in coffee, travel, writing, business, economics and storytelling
  3. Turn this site into more of a demonstration of my capabilities and let people know how they can hire me (building logos, graphics, creating presentations, speaking, editing videos, etc.)
  4. Try to find a “normal” job that allows me to travel and write about those travels when not working for the company
  5. Contracting with a company to write/oversee its newsletters, either internal or external

One alternative (#2 above) for what I am doing would be to create a newsletter for the coffee industry that is different from the coffee trade magazines. [side note: If you are someone who is in the coffee industry, is there some type of information out there that you are missing that you would like to have available? My crack team of researchers could start working on finding it.] I heard a marketing professor say one time that to be successful, you have to find a problem and be the solution to that problem. In other words, you find someone with a headache and then be the aspirin.

My current ‘quest’ is to make a living out of writing and other creative activities. I would like to turn Caffeinated PDX into a more important and useful site for visitors, but that is going to require some changes (and, eventually, some assistance). The blog is going to have to have a stronger message to attract more people and it also will need to grow outside the Portland area.

In essence, the current Caffeinated PDX is a first draft for the project it will eventually become. During the last several months, I have learned a lot about coffee, writing, blogging and social media. I continually remind myself that it takes time to build something successful, and that even on the days when it seems like my progress goes backwards, I am learning things that will be valuable in the long run. At some point, I will find the right mix of message and utility, and then use my “not so blind” ambition to make it work.