Sunday, February 7


I need to think.

In my past life, depression came often enough that I didn't have to schedule time to think about my priorities. It just happened anytime that life went downhill. Depression would take over, and force me to rethink everything important to me, focus on only the truly important things, and toss everything else aside. When it gave me back control, I was a new person.

Now, my life is just... busy. Busy enough that I could just keep going without having to stop and look at it all. Busy enough that I could go days, weeks, even months without needing to stop. I work at my shop (whether helping customers or coming up with crazy new ideas), spend time at Church, and spend time with people.

But I need to figure out my life.

The Soap Factory makes money, but is it what I want to do forever? There's plenty of money to pay employees, cover costs, and pay rent even with a recent downturn in tourist traffic, and our local cadre of customers keeps growing. People tell their friends, and the word spreads. I love watching people make their own creations, try new things, experience something totally unique and different. I still enjoy making soap because the process ensures that every soap will be different... and I do it almost every day.

But my mind and heart have been tugging at me recently, wanting room to push and experiment and try new things. It's the same issue I faced in all of my jobs - a need to constantly move, change, create something different, learn something new. A need to engage my mind in something epic, and when I've understood, to find something else.

The issue is that I'm not sure how to best use the resources I have to do that, and what would actually be a wise business decision on top of doing what I want. The Soap Factory needs help in marketing first and foremost, yet I have almost no passion there. And the model is stable and successful - why would we change it up?

Because I need it.

So it's going to happen.

I've been fighting myself for the last month over this. Part of me doesn't want change... but I'm not sure why, and I don't know where it came from. The other part of me wants to try everything under the sun, and see what works. To buy a 3D printer that we could use to print structures and make our own molds. To hold weekly classes on cold-process soap-making where people could come in and make cold-process soap, then come pick them up the next day. To hold classes on essential oils and the history of soap-making, and to do field trips into classrooms to teach the importance of  personal hygiene (and to share the dark side of antibacterial soap).

Maybe the part that doesn't want change is afraid.

But afraid of what?

Afraid of failure? Maybe. But I face so much potential failure each day. Failure is part of life.

Afraid of success? Maybe... but I don't even know what that would mean.

Afraid of...

Probably afraid of letting people down. Afraid of inviting people to a class where no one else comes, or to a seminar where the information is bland and boring. Afraid of going into a school and being unable to communicate well, and wasting peoples' time and money.

That's it.

That's what I'm afraid of. I'm afraid of letting people down.

And that's also why this is such a different feeling for me. In the past, my decisions in work and career growth didn't really involve people... or they were in areas where I felt confident in my personal abilities (as faulty as placing that confidence may have been).

And, identified, it should be easier to get over the fear.

I need to recap.

I love my business and my job. The Soap Factory is making a difference, albeit small, in the community, and it's successful.

At the same time, I need constant change, growth, and intense learning experiences in my life, and especially at work.

But due to my own personal circumstances, I face fears that cripple my ability to make decisions, take risks, and act in my own best interest, likely lessening my own personal creativity and the impact I could have on others.

I think that I would benefit from a structure in my life that encouraged (or required) innovation, learning, and growth.

What if I set aside an innovation budget for myself that needed to be used each week or each month? It wouldn't be a ton, but it would require me to spend a certain amount of time and money each week/month trying something new.

And what if I just told myself to buy anything I wanted? Usually the things I want to buy are useful gadgets, or tools, or something that could make creativity better come to life and improve my life and the lives of others. The times I've let myself make purchases, most of the time it's a huge success. But even when it's not, it's still worthwhile.

But I have trouble spending money, especially on things for myself. The last time I went grocery shopping (Tuesday), I spent less than 7 dollars. And the last gadget I bought was only because it was cheaper to buy a woodburning kit and create my own hanging sign than it would have been to buy it from someone else.


This is a somewhat laughable problem. There are people in the world with major illnesses, a contagious virus that is destroying people's lives, war, famine, hunger, poverty, drugs, crime, violence, loneliness, immorality, slavery, and so much more... and yet I'm focused on whether or not I should let myself buy things for my business.

Which brings me to the other part of my self-talk:

Am I doing what I should?

Am I really making a difference in the world? Am I using the gifts that God has given me and helping people change their lives?

A big part of me says I'm not.

I don't do much to really help people in the Church with same-sex attraction. (G)MG may be a valuable asset in some people's lives, but I don't do much other than just write my thoughts. That's a valuable thing, and God gave me the ability to write so that I would... and it makes an important difference. But...

I also am not doing much with music. I wanted to start up Grace again, but I haven't done anything about it except tell my younger sisters and ask for their help in a vague, roundabout way. Someone asked me recently what performing I had done in the recent past, and there hasn't been much of anything for years.

I had a major health miracle (being cured of bipolar) from following a crazy diet, and yet I haven't gone on talk shows or spoken with anyone passionate who could shout the story far and wide. I haven't written a passionate book about it, or even written down everything that happened except for a few blog posts. Yet, if it worked for me, there's the potential that it could dramatically change the lives of thousands of other people for the better.

And a dozen other 'talents' have made their way under the bushel as well. But where do you use them as a young single adult? I used to be an awesome swimmer. Maybe I could train for the Olympics, but I probably wouldn't make it anymore.


I have a goal. Or two goals. Or, perhaps better for me, two rules I want to follow.

I may not be able to drop everything and change the world today. Regardless of the decisions I make, I'm not going to be able to save everyone, and perhaps I'll even be a failure in the things I do... but it's worth trying from where I am, currently, and giving myself rules and guidelines to follow to progress.

Rule 1: Anytime I get the desire to try something new - and if the desire is deep enough that I keep thinking about it for days or spend hours fascinated by the pieces - I have to do it. Or buy it. Or try whatever it is... within a month, if plausible.

Rule 2: Anytime I get the desire to influence others, build others, do something specifically nice for my best friend that I'm not sure if he'll appreciate, or do something to serve people, again, I have to do it... and again, within a month.

There's no budget or allocation associated with these rules, which means that if my mind doesn't wander or pull me, I don't have to spend money. But that probably won't happen. Much more likely - if/when it does pull me, then I do have to make the plunge - and I can't use the excuse "that's out of my budget" to push the creative dreams aside.

This is scary. A month isn't a very long time, and I have a major backlog of creative pursuits that have been burning holes in my brain: ideas and wishes to make an impact. But it's also exciting.

Good luck, David. I think this will work.

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