Thoughts Of MAD


Daily Thoughts, Ideas & Experiences from Mark Adam Douglass

Would You Consider Firing A Client?

With many businesses, you have a choice as to whether or not you work with a client. Yes, if you decide to not work with a particular client, you will miss out on their money, but you do still have a choice.

If you started working with a client, and began to realise that your idea, and your clients idea, of the outcome are mis-aligned, what would you do? 

Would you bend to their will, even though you would be producing work you are not proud of, work that you wouldn’t want to put in your portfolio, or on your resume?

Or, after attempting to convince them of why your way is the most effective, and not succeeding, would you attempt to amicably part ways, effectively firing your client?

I know I used to do work that I wasn’t particularly proud of, just to make the client happy. But no more. I only want to do work that I’d be proud to display in my portfolio or resume.

Our work is defined by what we won’t do, by the lines we won’t cross, by the compromises we won’t make.

Would you consider firing a client?

It’s Nice To Be Missed

After a supposed month off from my now-not-so-daily thoughts, it is now almost 4 months later. And oh my, what a crazy 4 months it has been. 

This is how I felt in late February:

Ever since my surgery, my so called ‘daily writing’ has been sporadic at best. This is partly due to the healing process, but more so to do with being a little overwhelmed with so many projects that sprouted all at once.

So whilst I sort through all of the possible projects, and decide on what’s next, I am going to have a little rest from writing here, most likely all the way through March, and hopefully come back refreshed, and ready to write, daily. I will continue to write at Minimalist Couple, especially as we are coming up to our first anniversary, but that will be a lot less regular.

See you all in about a month.
— Mark Adam Douglass, Feb 25, 2014

My daily writing went from sporadic, to nonexistent. My inspiration to write turned into aspiration. Besides writing for projects or clients or communication, I’ve barely written a word. I’ve not lost myself in language, nor done any writing for me, or for you, my readers, and my friends.

The previously mentioned overwhelm from projects actually increased. Removing the writing helped, but I was well and truly pushed beyond capacity. 

Why did I let this happen?

Seeds. 

I planted way too many seeds. Not the plant growing variety, because my gardening skills are questionable at best, but the seeds of potential.

Well, maybe it wasn’t the number of seeds that was the issue, but rather the number of seeds that sprouted at once.

Let’s wind back to a little over a year ago. 

Jess has always wanted to live by the beach. We explored the possibility, both online, and with beautiful long drives, and one day, we found ourselves standing in an apartment in Ozone St, The Entrance. We were looking our over the lake and the sea: the soft ripples of calm lake, and the wild waves of the sea. And we fell in love. Partly with the apartment, but more so with the lifestyle.

In considering our options, we couldn’t find a reason ‘not’ to move up there, although there was one variable that we knew was going to be challenging: work.

At that point, our main household income was from my after-school & weekend tutoring at The SWOT Shop, which I’d work at four or five times a week, and which would be an hour and a half drive, each way, from our potential new home at The Entrance.

Those hour and a half drives were wonderful opportunities to listen to many inspirational audiobooks and podcasts, but we both knew that it wasn’t going to be sustainable, so we needed to consider other options in the medium- to long-term.

So we started planting seeds.

Seeds of potential work opportunities, in various areas of interest, with various possibilities for sprouting time. We just didn’t realise they’d sprout all at once. Or more precisely, having them sprout whilst we are still attempting to look after the previous one, or ten, commitments we were working on.

This time of overwhelm has forced us to decide what is important, what we really want to do, and the life we want to lead. We have learned a lot about what we like to do, and just as importantly, what we don’t like to do, and will ensure our future seed planting is more thoughtful.

We have planted one major seed, which I’d love to share, but first a little about why. 

I have taught ever since I was 16, when I began coaching gymnastics and sports acrobatics, and expanded into teaching juggling as well. Since then, I have earned a teaching degree in mathematics, taught at high school, tutored primary school children, and even lectured at university. I have also taught circus all over Australia, and a few places around the world, and I even managed a circus school for a while. I absolutely love to teach. Even most of my non-teaching work, like performing, always relates back to working with children, and I love having them in my life.

Over that time, I have found many niggling frustrations with the way things are done. Over the last few years, the majority of my teaching has been in after-school situations, and whilst they all had their positive elements, I was frustrated by the fact I couldn’t do anything to change the elements that I felt would make the education better all around, for teachers and students. 

I decided it was time to stop complaining, and do something about it.

Combine this with the fact that I love running my own business, and the decision was simple. Jess and I would open our own tutoring centre. 

And so it begins.

We will have the keys to our commercial premises on Monday 23rd June, and as soon as possible afterwards, will be opening our very own Kip McGrath Tutoring Franchise.

We can’t wait.

We can’t wait to start. We can’t wait to change many more children’s lives. We can’t wait to build a great business. We can’t wait to tell you all about it. 

But more about that another time. Let’s get back to the writing. From here on in, I make no promises as to how often I will publish, or to where I will publish, but I do make one promise: to write daily. Whether it be a mere few minutes, a whole day, or my goal of an hour, I will write, think, reflect, and create. 

As I write, I will look back, sharing all of the stories of the last 4 months, and forward, sharing all of the plans we have. It is also likely that I will share my thoughts on various platforms, but I will share the links to those when I do.

Before I finish, I would like to say thanks to those who said they have missed my writing. It means a lot to me to know that my writing is valued. Thank you.

Rest Stop

Ever since my surgery, my so called 'daily writing' has been sporadic at best. This is partly due to the healing process, but more so to do with being a little overwhelmed with so many projects that sprouted all at once.

So whilst I sort through all of the possible projects, and decide on what's next, I am going to have a little rest from writing here, most likely all the way through March, and hopefully come back refreshed, and ready to write, daily. I will continue to write at Minimalist Couple, especially as we are coming up to our first anniversary, but that will be a lot less regular. 

See you all in about a month.

Planting Ideas And Projects

Although I'm not much of a gardener, I do know that when you plant seeds, you usually plant more than you need, because, usually, not all of them will grow. Occasionally though, all, or most, do catch on, and you end up with a flourishing garden with an abundance of plants. 

Abundance is great at times, but not in this case. When the garden is merely an analogy for planting ideas and projects, many of which had a chance of failing, many which might not have worked, then abundance leads to overwhelm, anxiety, and pushing the boundaries of your capacity.  

Whilst I'm excited that so many of these potential ideas and projects have come to fruition, I wonder if maybe I planted too many to begin with. 

I guess I'll have to be more mindful when planting the next season of ideas and projects.  

 

Knowing Your Learning

As an educator, I have quite a lot of insight into how I learn best. When it comes to a teacher out the front, lecture style class environment, I know that I can't just sit and absorb. Even taking notes isn't enough. 

I've found that doing something that might be referred to as mind-less, and can be started and stopped easily, can actually help me to focus and to listen more carefully.  

One of my favourites in the past has been sudoku puzzles, because most of the process of solving a sudoku is repetitively checking through all of the numbers. Today, I was simply entering feedback form data into a spreadsheet. It worked perfectly: I took in all of the lecture; I listened to, and contributed to, the group discussions; and I got all of the data entry done. 

How much do you know about your learning? What do you do to help yourself learn better?