Monday, November 7, 2011

Finding My Why



For a number of years now, I've been saying that I'd "kind of like" to be able to do my home business full-time (as in it provides a significant portion of our income) after I retire from the military. But if you asked me to name a specific reason, the best I could usually come up with is that I'd like to avoid the stress of looking for another job.

Woops ... I've had a negative "why".

As you can probably guess, although having a continuously profitable home business for over 10 years now could certainly be considered successful in relative terms; if I had to retire from the Air Force tomorrow, I wouldn't yet have enough of a regular income to avoid a job search.

Clearly I need a stronger motivation to build my home business income. I retire from the military at the end of 2013, so I've only got two years to figure this out.

Last Friday, the girl's school had a military dad's lunch, in honor of Veteran's day. I got to go eat lunch with both Jasmine and Jaiden ... which was a lot of fun. We laughed, and smiled, and just generally had a pretty happy lunch hour. As I was walking home, and reflecting on what a good time I'd had, something hit me ...

When I retire from the military, Jaiden will only be in Kindergarten, and Joey will just be starting pre-school. They're going to have a lot of years of school ahead of them ... which will mean a lot of lunches, and field trips.

I think I just found my WHY.

Starting in January of 2014, I WILL be at EVERY one of these parents lunches. And I WILL volunteer to accompany my girls on EVERY field trip. And I will be there for EVERY soccer game, or gymnastics meet, or just to play in the yard. In short, my goal is to be a Stay at Home Dad ... with an income that allows me to enjoy it!

This is a much more clear cut goal ... I can close my eyes, and easily picture it.

But ...

Just so I don't fall into the trap of trying to justify the minimum amount I can do to somehow just "get by" while still nominally achieving this goal, I want to add in something with a financial cost.

Turns out this is relatively easy to come up with too. You see, we just bought a new house, and it turns out that the back yard is pretty big. Big enough, in fact, that there's more than enough room for a pool.



So, the second part of my goal is ...

By the summer of 2014, we will have an in-ground pool in our back yard. Due to the hard ground here in central Texas, I've been told that this could easily represent a $40-$50K investment. No matter, I can see myself floating in that pool, not caring in the least that it's 105 degrees. :-)

Ok, that all sounds well and good. But what am I going to do to make these goals come to fruition?

I could smile and think positive thoughts.

Actually, I intend to do a whole lot of that.

But, I also need some sort of measurable action, that I can track over time.

So here's what I'm going to do ...

Between now and December of 2013, I will get 1000 No's

Huh? What the heck does 1000 No's mean?

Simple. I will invite people to look at my home business plan. I'll ask them to partner with me. And I will do this enough times that at least 1000 people tell me "No, thank you"

Here's the cool part though ...

Along the way to getting those 1000 no's, a certain percentage of people are going to say Yes!

And the even cooler part, I have no excuse to be scared of inviting people to look, and asking them to partner with me ... since my purpose is simply to get an answer ... doesn't even matter what they say.

If it's a Yes, I have a new partner.

And if it's a No, I can count it towards my 1000.

It's pure win/win.

.. and it's a bright, shining path towards my getting to enjoy a whole lot of lunches with my girls. ;-)

Keep havin FuN!
[todd-sig]
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Sunday, November 6, 2011

How To Pack For A Military Deployment

I spent a little bit of time today, getting my uniforms together, and building my "72 hour" bag for my upcoming deployment.



I'll most likely finish packing the night before I leave ... that's just how I roll. But at least I was able to start getting things ready while I was home today. And even better, my 3 year old daughter Jaiden spent about 25 minutes helping me .. and that's not even "help" in quotations ... she actually did help me.

One of the 1st lessons I learned about Army support 6 or 7 years ago, is that when you go to the field, you should pack your clothes in gallon sized ziplock bags before putting it into your rucksack. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way, back in 2007, that this rule also applies when preparing for a regular deployment to a fixed base. When I went to Iraq the first time, for some reason I just stuffed all my clothes into my rucksack, and big "body bag". When we got to Al Udeid, Qatar, I took my little backpack with a couple of sets of PT gear with me through customs, so I'd have something to wear while we waited for our flight to Iraq. The rest of our bags were loaded into big bins near the flight line ... uncovered bins ... and of course it rained for two of the three days we were there. You can probably guess the rest of this story. When it was time to leave, I dug through my bag for an ACU uniform, only to discover that they were all wet. So, I wore a wet uniform on the plane. Then had to turn in pretty much all of my clothes to the laundry the 1st day I was in Iraq ... fortunately, there was a very quick turn around. But still, that flight was no fun.

This time, I'm applying some of the lessons I learned back then.

Jaiden and I sat down with a box of ziplock storage bags, and a couple of piles of clothes. She would grab a bag, open it up, and we would both repeat:

  1. First a T-Shirt

  2. Then some Underwear

  3. And finally, don't forget the Socks!


We made 7 bags, that all look something like this:


Then we did the same thing with PT gear:

  1. One Shirt

  2. One Shorts

  3. One pair of Socks


7 more baggies:


I also got some of those bigger 4-gallon bags, in which I was able to get 3 uniforms, and most of my long underwear.

My 72 hour backpack has 2 sock/t-shirt/underwear bags, 2 Pt gear bags, one bagged PT sweatshirt, one bagged PT sweatpants, and a pair of tennis shoes tied to the outside. There's still plenty of room in the pockets for my phone, netbook, and Kindle. I'll be wearing one uniform, and will put my gortex jacket, and shaving kit at the top of my rucksack, so I can easily take it out when I get to Manas.

The rest of my uniforms, extra boots, jackets, etc., will all be in either ziplock or other waterproof bags, in my rucksack, waiting to be unpacked, nice and dry, when I arrive in Afghanistan. And I think I've actually packed efficiently enough this time, that the only thing I'll need to put in my other big rolling "body bag", is my flack vest, helmet, and gas mask. Heck, I'm almost tempted to just pick those up at Manas, and go with just the ruck sack ... but I'm sure I'll be able to find a few other useful things to stuff in there.

I'm looking forward to a relatively easy trip.

And if you've got any military "vacations" in your future, I hope you found this helpful ... don't forget the ziplocks!

[todd-sig]
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