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Friday, May 2, 2014

Block 3: Working Seattle Cross-Country: Part 1

All big goals are cross-country moves in their way. Each involves planning and timing and pluck--whether you move to Seattle or set out to write your great novel or break free of a dead-end job or quit smoking or lose weight. Agreed? And we know that luck's winds may abandon our sails, compelling us to row for life.  Hard times await, but I have some fine news. Two powerful tools can sustain you and help you stay on course. 

The first tool is a mantra to be repeated as required:


The letters stand for Protect the Plan. And how can those three words assist you? Like this:

Picture a thousand decisions you may be forced to make each day. Reinventing the wheel with each choice you make is bound to overwhelm you. But now picture the umbrella of this three-word mantra, under which all decisions may fall.

My Plan: to get to Seattle this fall, work at least part-time in Elliott Bay Book Store, create a cool lifestyle on Capitol Hill...and succeed as an ebook novelist. How do I Protect the Plan?
--I did not hit Snooze this morning because I knew I'd need the time to: write a letter of introduction to Elliott Bay Book Company, work on my latest novel for a June release, contact my second job to set up an appointment over some scheduling conflicts with my full-time job.
--In the meantime, I make a decision: I'll work the hours if I must to raise the money for the move. But I'll quit if my health starts to suffer.
--I stay calm with abusive thugs on my third shift full-time job. To Protect the Plan, I need to leave the job with a first-rate reference...which I won't get if I lose my cool.
--I work out twice a day, three times a week and run on a couple of off days. To Protect the Plan, I need to hit Seattle like a lion: trimmer, better toned and more gracefully coiled.
--To Protect the Plan, I need to toss anything that won't fit inside of one trunk and four boxes, as planned.
--I need to start networking now, not a month before I leave.

And so on and so on. As I get better at this, I find more of my decisions contained with the mantra. And I do what needs doing, when it needs doing, to Protect the Plan.

As good as it is, though, PTP has a flaw if it is used by its lonesome. Some of history's greatest villains have protected their own Plans, whatever it took: to rule the world, to quash their foes, to make another trillion...And the most heartless son of a bitch of a boss is just Looking Out for Number One and Taking Care of Business.

So my advice to you is this: tape the three letters where you work, explaining them to no one. Or tape the letters to your desk at home. Or put them on an index card that you keep tucked in your shirt. At the same time, never lose your grip on the second tool: three equally powerful letters we'll discuss next week in Part 2:


Action Log
05/02: Dove into the scariest part of my packing, purchasing 24 colored file folders to start with. Then, stomach heaving, I began to sift through the various stacks of papers I'd piled so far on the floor. Rejection slips alone, dating back to the 90's, will take 4-5 file folders at least. I was right in allowing 2 months for getting my papers in order. The disarray is appalling and shows how badly I was shattered by my divorce way back when. But when I'm done, I'll enjoy fingertip access to all that I need. Meet the reborn Reb MacRath--a tidy little package. 

05/07: Am drafting the introductory letter I plan to send to Elliott Bay Book Company next week. Meanwhile, I'm allllllmost down to one last remaining box of papers, unopened for 7-1/2 years. This one is heavy. I don't what it holds. I'm scared!

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