Building Different Skills

People are often confused by the abundance of skills I developed over the years. And I guess what confuses them is the apparent spread of those skills over areas which are apparently incompatible or difficult to match together. For instance, if I bring into the conversation with a programmer an astrological opinion on some fact, chances are that I will get a “blue screen of dead” conversation. And if I bring into a fine arts conversation something about programming, I’ll be most likely left alone with that “mambo jumbo” sentence and labeled as an “unsolvable case of geekery”.

The examples above use extremely distant knowledge areas, but the confusion remains even on more closely related activities like business, marketing and sales. A marketing person will expect that I know nothing on entrepreneurship, since marketing guys are usually employed by somebody else in an established structure. And a sales person will expect that I know noting about marketing, since this should be a complete separate activity inside the company.

I can talk for hours with an astrologer only about astrology and have a fulfilling and entertaining conversation. I can do the same with a programmer and share a lot of the newest web 2.0 technologies and feel at ease with that. I can also talk about entrepreneurship and starting a company from scratch and never feel on moving sands with the person in front of me. But the moment I start to bring new perspectives on some topic and use other skills I have for that insight, my conversation partner becomes reluctant.

I acknowledge that I’ve been pretty affected by that. The moment I opened to somebody and let him know that I know more than what he expected, I was rejected. I came to the point that I felt ashamed of what I knew or learned so far. It’s better to stick on one topic of your life and seek only people who can understand you, I’ve said to myself. I do have the need for social acceptance, so if that’s the price to be paid, let’s pay it. Let’s stick with a limited set of skills, which at least will provide me with a comfortable environment and put me in touch with similar people, and bash all those new and interesting things I could learn.

But I confess I wasn’t able to do this. Although I did my best to succeed in limiting myself, I failed miserably. The dryness of such a life was simply unbearable. Limiting myself to only one major skill was just unconceivable for me and unfulfilling, at least.

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Starting To Coach

Yesterday I had my first session as a coach. It started at 10:00 AM in the morning and lasted about 70 minutes. I just felt great during the whole session and from the feed-back I got from the person being coached, the feeling was shared. What is this coaching about? And why and how am I doing it? Well, let’s take it one step at a time…

After several weeks of discussions and alternative scenarios, Diana and I decided it’s time to slow down the move to New Zealand for a few months. It doesn’t make any sense to pursue it on this economical context. The destination is still the same, but we delayed the date of departure. It’s the same thing as looking through the mirror and decide to postpone your hiking because it is so raining outside. We both agreed this is the best move we can make now.

So, after waking up with a buffer of few more months ahead me I had to face a challenge. What am I going to do? A part from this blogging on eDragonu, of course. While being a very fulfilling activity for myself, this blog – and the business behind it – doesn’t necessarily have to be the only activity. I had to do a short analyze and sketch the short term schedule for the next period.

It took no more than a few days and I came up with two main goals: teaching and coaching. The teaching will involve live training sessions on topics that I’ve been writing about in the last few years, like time management, personal development, productivity and effectiveness, and, of course, GTD. Coaching will have the same underlying fundament, it will only have a different, one to one approach.

Why Am I Coaching?

The short answer is: because somebody asked me to. The long answer has some more subtle reasons, of course.

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Handling Financial Pressure

Now, more than ever, a lot of people are faced with financial pressure. This is what a crisis should be about, anyway. Companies are cutting jobs, people are losing houses and the global economy seems to be falling down. I’m not going to talk about the reasons for this crisis, as I will try to better focus a little about the immediate reality and how I faced similar situations.

Being an entrepreneur is something that, among other interesting stuff, is giving you a lot of financial pressure. Getting from a monthly pay check (in exchange of some time spent in an office) to a complete reverse of the situation, when you have to take your money from the clients (if you do your job well and on time), huh, that’s quite a roller-coaster. It’s a serious comfort shake and it requires a lot of extra energy spent on the financial side. And it is not only your money that’s on the plate, you’ll need money for office rent, for utilities like electricity, internet access, for advertising and promotion and so on. Not to mention your employees or partners. You will have to manage a whole new level of cashing and spending. And believe me, this is a tremendous financial pressure.

When I started my own business, 10 years ago, I faced this like a train hitting a wall. Although I managed to do pretty well, in the first three years I barely knew where my pockets were. They were most of the time empty. Money didn’t have a chance to settle there. Even if I managed to do a decent living per month, there were increasing expenses that I had to face the next month. It was really tough. That was a time when I really had to learn a lot about handling financial pressure.

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Time Management For Mac OS: reviewing Slife

I’ve been a GTDer for more than 2 years but I have never ceased to look for new and better ways to improve my working process. The other day I received a comment from one of my readers on the post Manage Your Time As You Manage Your Money. It was something about a new time management application for Mac (and Windows, meanwhile) for time management, called Slife. It was a free download and I gave it a try.

The application is somewhere in the same league as time tracking services like Wakoopa, but there are some subtle differences that make Slife a very interesting baby. So, what is this Slife doing anyway?

Well, it basically tracks your time spent on your computer, with a higher granularity than other applications, letting you know not only with which applications you are spending the most of your time, but also which documents or web pages your are visiting most often (attention, twitter users 😉 ). So you will end up with some sort of report of the most used applications during your working sessions. The reporting is done in real time, with a clear, iCal-like interface (click for larger picture).

Time Management With Slife
Time Management With Slife

Did you see those little points and dashes? That’s where the granularity I spoke above takes place, if you click on one of those spots you will see the exact document on which you spent time, in my case, of course, twitter :-).

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Mind Mapping Online: Mind Meister at version 3

My first post about Mind Meister, an online mind mapping tool, was written more than one and a half year ago, and at the time the product was just about to be launched. In the last year Mind Meister has dramatically evolved from an experiment to a mature online collaborative suite. The other day I … Read more Mind Mapping Online: Mind Meister at version 3

30 Sentences For A Millionaire Mindset – part three

Welcome to the third part of the series about 30 sentences for a millionaire mindset. If you came here by chance, I highly recommend to read the first two parts first. 30 Sentences For A Millionaire Mindset (part one) 30 Sentences For A Millionaire Mindset (part two) But, to be honest, those two parts are … Read more 30 Sentences For A Millionaire Mindset – part three

30 Sentences For A Millionaire Mindset – part two

Here we go with part two of the 30 sentences for a millionaire mindset series. If you come came here by chance, I recommend  that you start with theÂfirst post in the series, which covers the first ten sentences for a millionaire mindset. Just keep in mind that I don’t intend to create another manual … Read more 30 Sentences For A Millionaire Mindset – part two

30 Sentences For A Millionaire Mindset

One of the most common questions from media people after my first successful exit as an entrepreneur was: “After 10 years of online business, are you a millionaire now?”. The value of the transaction was confidential, so I decided to give them a somehow foggy answer: “Well, I was a millionaire while I had the … Read more 30 Sentences For A Millionaire Mindset