My friend and fellow Digital Gunslinger, Abby Clabough of Dangerous Curves, wrote this treatise on staying positive when you’re earning your bruises.
I’m a storyteller like Nick, except most of my stories come from the road. I’m a woman who’d rather be riding her Harley more than anything else in the world. I’m what you’d call a biker chick. Tattoos, unkempt hair, desire to stay out of corporate America at all costs, jeans and t-shirt kind of girl.
A few years ago I lived in New Hampshire and decided to take a cross-country trip on my motorcycle. I threw my MacBook in the saddlebag and blogged about it. Almost everyone liked my blog, except for my on-again, off-again boyfriend who said it sounded like a complaint log. He didn’t like the fact that I went on this trip by myself.
To me, I was talking about life on the road. As I like to say, you can’t have a good story without adversity. So when I was talking about riding across South Dakota at 112 degrees and expecting to see those huge cylindrical bales of hay explode into flames, I wasn’t so much complaining as trying to get my readers to understand just how freaking hot it was. Two days later I was bundling up in every item of clothing I brought with me while crossing Bear Tooth Pass. Any time you’re on a motorcycle, you’re at the mercy of the elements, other drivers, road conditions… you name it. It’s part of what makes riding such an adventure and creates good stories.
Another saying: Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment. This works for just about everything, especially for small business owners. We’re really fortunate to have people like Nick who are willing to share their experience with us. That way we get the benefit of his bad judgment without actually having to live through it. His bad judgment isn’t necessarily something he did wrong, but he may have trusted someone even though he had a bad feeling about the deal from the start. I’m grateful that I’ve read some of his stuff on unhealthy (in a relationship way) clients, because I recently turned someone away who promptly called me a scammer and a crook and threatened me with an international bad reputation. I didn’t take a dime from the guy. I was really glad my Spidey-sense, and Nick’s shared experience, kicked in before I chose to do business with the nut job.
It can be hard to document these life lessons without being cynical or harsh or just plain mean. Bloggers are compelled to write when the feeling strikes, and it’s often when one has had a bad experience. We want to share our story with the world, so everyone else can be rescued from a similar fate. There just has to be a way to do it where we come out of it feeling more like rainbows and unicorns than something that gets washed out of a cow hauler on the east side of Greeley.
I have a friend who, when asked how he is, always says, “Like a slice of Heaven.” Always. Out of ten people who get this reply, five will look at him like he’s a dork, three will wonder if they heard him correctly, and the last two will be delighted. As people see him more, they come to look forward to his happy response. At the supermarket he frequents, clerks will go out of their way to open up a lane if he’s waiting. Gas station attendants light up when he walks in to pay. So even if eight out of ten people are ambivalent to his optimism, he brightens the day for the last two. He genuinely makes people feel better. They aren’t laughing at a raunchy joke that makes them smile for a second or two. He leaves a trail of good feelings.
I’m not so rosy all the time myself, but seeing how his cheerfulness so positively affects the lives of others makes me want to try a little harder. I want to tell my stories so people can feel the bite of the open road, but I want to make sure they finish my piece and feel that life is good – like a slice of Heaven.
(Header photo: The Return by Vincepal)