The smart farmers in Iowa where I live don't rely on just one crop; they typically have not just corn or soybeans, but cattle, sheep, maybe some exotic horses and some type of equipment they can loan out or use, like a road grater, to help them make money. That way if one peters out, something else has them covered.
A few years back I started a company that was into the email newsletter business. It's coasting along at breakeven and has been for the past two years, but we brought in a developer (thankfully not me) last fall who is revamping the product and we will relaunch that this spring. I own a third of the company, so if it does well, fantastic. If not, it's not hurting me today. But things are looking good.
Then an idea that I started developing about two years ago (an events search engine) has recently revived and gotten some traction thanks to Mike Sansone (an awesome guy by any measure) and my daughter, Bari. They know each other through the place where she works, and Mike connected some dots and is helping to move this football forward. If this continues as it seems like it will, then I'll end up with a partial ownership stake, as would Mike, and here again, a former project looks promising.
Over the summer, I blogged about the big project at work that I had undertaken and for which I have received some notice since we released it in August. Yesterday, we revealed our development on a resource management module that allows managers to estimate their employees' allocation on projects/tasks/PTO and that too was well-received. There's a possibility, and some VP buzz, that the web site I wrote could go corporate, meaning that all of Wells would use it in tracking/managing projects. Woo hoo!
And of course, lately I've been writing of the progress on my greeting card venture.
None of these things is a shoe-in. The company of which I own a part could tank or continue to limp along. The revision of the events web site could fizzle. My greeting cards might be wanted by no one, or few anyway. And Wells could adopt some other tool than the one I wrote.
But like a farmer, I have the benefit of having four possibilities out there. Could 2006 bring me a good harvest?
I've been watching my friend, Kris, move ahead with her artwork and sell it to get to her dream of being a musician/artist full-time. My friend, Lisa, is not a blogger, but she left her underwriting job to work in a retail setting to learn the retail business and get closer to her dream of someday owning her own store. I recently re-acquainted with my old guitarist, Kelly, who is building his own home studio. Shantyl nears the end of her degree and she's working on her writing. Erin, too, is fanning the flames of her desire to write and do what she was born to do.
A lot of bloom going on... and it ain't even spring!
Here's my point... I could have said "No" to any of these extra hours projects and simply coasted along in a cushy job. But I took the risk and now the possibility exists that I could hit a home run. At least my chances are magnified by the number of efforts out there.
My friends are also taking some risks and moving ahead on their passions to evolve into the dreams of their lives. We could all simply put up with "good enough," but we know that there is more. We do it because we can. And quite frankly, because I don't think we have a choice. To do otherwise is to deny our very nature.
We live in the best country on earth, where dreams like these are possible. We live in a time when it's not quite so difficult to get noticed for what we can do. We can move into "tribes" of like interests through the communication tools at our disposal and we have relatively easy-to-use technology to aid our pursuits.
Bloom is, well, inevitable.
The only thing that can hold us back is our personal refusal to step out on the faith that we can achieve what we dream. Lucky for me, my friends and I step ahead fearlessly. I get to watch this incredible and talented bunch launch into the future.
I'm tellin' ya - so far, I love 2006.