Skip to content
February 1, 2011 / Justin Hamlin

Navigate. Focus. Live. Inspire

Recently I have posted on topics ranging from how to create and execute a plan, to quitting my job and heading back east. Not entirely aligned with my title of “Get Busy Living.” I get it. That is the motivation for this post.

For me to define the overall direction for the blog, and with that, it is necessary for me to remember where my where my blog came from, those initial thoughts that shaped the beginning, so I can re-focus those intentions towards a defined message.

Finding Direction

One of the main things that I have struggled with since day 1 with my blog is the central focus of my writing. In the beginning, it was an exercise in persistence, just to get my thoughts written out in a semi-public forum. For the better part of 2 years I wrote about things that were inconsequential to everyone but myself: ramblings about local sports teams, basic product reviews, updates on my life, and so on. I maintained a constant readership of about 2 or 3 people. Myself, my wife and my best friend.

One day came a gathering at the house, where a new friend told me he had run across my blog (back then, a Windows Live Space) through a link I posted on Facebook.  He really enjoyed my writing style. I paid little attention to it at the time, but that ended up affecting me, in the respect that I now knew I could write something that others would read, enjoy reading, come back to read more, and even tell their friends about.

A Well Architected Plan

In December 2010, I relaunched my blog, with the decision to brand it as my own. It was with that http://www.justinhamlin.com was launched, albeit very quietly. I was inspired, I was motivated, I had the passion, but it was a conscious decision to launch it under the radar, as I was not quite sure of the direction I wanted to take with it. I did know that in order to establish and maintain a stable stream of readers, I needed to have a direction. No matter how much I marketed, a blog is only as good as its content. I have known this from the beginning.

Recently, the blogosphere has seen many writers launch surveys to have their readers help identify what to focus on. While I understand their motives, that is not the direction I want to take. I am not writing a blog because my readers tell me to. I write my blog because it inspires people. You cannot purposely write inspirationally. Inspiration is born of life experiences coupled with focused story telling. If this were a purely business venture, I would write EXACTLY what my readers wanted me to write. But it isn’t purely business here. While monetizing my online existence is in the plans, it is not THE plan. The plan is to inspire.

Establishing Focus

In a world where distractions constantly surround us, my necessity is to avoid contributing to the noise. In order to inspire change in others, it is imperative to remember to let my creativity shine through, to tell the stories of that which I have experienced.

As a reader, I do not want to read articles and blogs TELLING me what to do from someone who is merely passing along information they read elsewhere on the internet. I want to read first hand accounts and recollections of amazing things that others have done. Impossible things. Audacious things. Risky things.

As a writer, I need to create art of which I, personally, would consume. Anything less would be a disservice to myself and not depict my true passion.

Bottom line, I need to find my focus. I need to find a balance about a message that I want to convey with my blog and how it relates to my life. This has been something that has been ever present in my head for the past few weeks now, and while life is presenting a plethora of opportunities in front of me right now, once we get settled in New York, defining the focus and direction of my writing is one of the first things I will be developing.

The Days Ahead

The next month will be an integral part of my direction with Get Busy Livin’. With the vast quantity of ideas running through my head, I need to define the direction in a clear and concise manner, otherwise I will fall back into the mediocre pattern that plagued my blog for years prior. A business and marketing plan, if you will. I will be using this time to get these ideas down on paper, accumulate a list of ideas and define my message.

This time will not be a sabbatical, so to speak, there will be a few blog posts, but I will not be as concerned with traffic generation, statistics, posting schedule or anything else. My destination will be making March 1st the official launch date of the revised plan behind Get Busy Livin’.

Stay Tuned.

Advertisements
January 25, 2011 / Justin Hamlin

The Final 9 Days

This is a rush job of a blog, as I am working on the final days of my employment, lining up some small projects for the near future and trying to successfully plan and execute moving my wife and I back east

I will tell you right now, the future is bright, opportunities are piling up and the next 9 days are going to be completely stressful.

9 Days

As many of you have read, Juliet and I are moving to New York state.  The date of the flight has been set and as of February 3rd, 2011, we are out of California.

Our way to Corporate Housing in New York has been established and we have our destination for the next 6 months.  And while it might seem as though we are getting things pretty easy by having movers, corporate housing and such, if I had my choice, I think it would be easier to plan the entire move in a few weeks, rather than the small pieces I have to attack in the next week and a half.  This is where things get a little stressful for me.

In addition to working until Friday, January 28th, we have a few other important deadlines we have to meet before we leave:

  1. My car is being shipped out on Monday, January 31st.
  2. Anything we need to have back in NY that we cannot carry on the plane with us, will need to be shipped via UPS by Friday, January 28th.
  3. If we can’t take it on the plane in checked luggage, it needs to make it into the January 28th shipment

So the first item does not create too much of a problem, we can be a one car family for a few weeks while my car is in transit. The second item is what is making things a little nuts.  In addition to working, we are trying to do our best to spend as much time with friends and family before we leave, which gives us on average about 1-2 hours a day to take care of our task list before we leave.

Should not be a problem, except our task list is rather long and requires some serious man hours, preparation and planning.

Read more…

January 17, 2011 / Justin Hamlin

5 Reasons Why I Will Not Miss My Job

To say that I am excited for the next chapter in my life to begin would be an understatement. I have an opportunity staring me in the face that will ultimately help define the path in which will shape my life for the foreseeable future.

One of the greatest victories and what I am looking forward to the most is the thought of an extended vacation. Even if my time will be filled with freelance jobs, orchestrating a cross country move, finding my passions and exploring an entirely new area of the country, it will all be a vacation to me. The thought of not having to (begrudgingly) wake up, shower and head to the office everyday is so invigorating.

I think it is the monotonous routine that bothers me the most about a corporate job. I enjoyed consulting because for the most part, I was at a new client every day, or every few days, as well as the fact that I was never really expected to be at our corporate office for any extended period of time. This new endeavor that I took up 6 months ago has proven to be a learning experience for me, and it is now, that I look back at the time spent with my past 2 employers, that I realize what I value in a job, and what I do not. Read more…

January 14, 2011 / Justin Hamlin

Holy Shit…. I just Quit My Job

I fucking did it.  WOW.

I turned in my notice today.  In 2 weeks, I will be without a job, with nothing lined up, no income, nothing.  It really is happening, and I am balancing being scared out of my mind with being absolutely exhilarated at the upcoming opportunities that I have in front of me.

In 3 weeks, my journey towards an EPIC 2011 continues, with what will prove to be a life changing and inspiring transition.  My lifestyle, livelihood, profession, goals, will all change.

I will get a chance to take a step back from the corporate world and focus on myself, my family, my passion and my hobbies.  Something that I have not had a chance to do in 15 years.  I can pursue my love of photography or my newfound outlet of creative writing.  I can learn to cook (better).  I can start a new business or pursue a new an alternate career. I can do anything.

The Backstory

My wife and I have lived in Southern California for basically our entire lives.  She is a recognized top salesperson for the largest telecom company in the country.  I am a Senior Systems Engineer in the IT industry.  We have lived the corporate, rat race life that is typical of a Southern California couple with dual income and no kids.  Since we met, we have longed for a life outside of California.  The lifestyle of “keeping up with the Jones'”in suburbia.

Jet Settin'

6 months ago, I walked away from my 8+ year career with an IT Solutions vendor to take a job in the corporate retail space with a national clothing retailer.  That move scared me a little due to the fact that my job security with my previous employer was rock solid, as I had been with them through thick and thin, but in reality, had maximized my potential with my only hopes for a promotion being in the employment of another company with more room for me to move up the ladder.

For the 5+ years, Juliet has worked her way through the ranks as a very decorated and accomplished sales representative with a national wireless provider. For her, the only step up was to move into a managerial role.  With that in mind and the company’s non-official policy that in order to move up in the company, you need to be able to move to different regions, we began looking for relocation and management opportunities for Juliet across the country.  After various interviews for positions in Southern California, Northern California and Atlanta, Georgia failed to pan out, we decided that we needed to just live our lives and when the opportunity was right, it would come and find her.

Read more…

January 14, 2011 / Justin Hamlin

Your Life is a Business: Why You Need a Plan Pt. 3

This is part 3 of 3 in the Your Life is a Business: Why You Need a Plan series.  If you have not read Part 1 or Part 2, now would be a great time to get caught up.

In parts 1 and 2, we use the basics of project management to identify and achieve our goals, but also what to do when faced with something we call life.  In the 3rd and final installment today, we will tackle what to do when you follow your plan, adjust it around the inconsistencies of life, yet still fail.

Why is failure is so important? Keep reading.

FAILURE

Everyone has a plan – until they get punched in the face.  – Mike Tyson

You just set out a goal, planned it out perfectly, even adjusted when life presented challenges, and now you come to the point of success and you didn’t meet your goal.  You failed.

Fucking scary, isn’t it?

For me, it used to be. For a lot of others, it is everything they are afraid of and why most people do not set out to do anything even remotely extraordinary.

  • You are going to miss a deadline.
  • You are going to get fired from a job.
  • You are going to get dumped.

Sorry to break it to you, failure is part of life.

The sooner you come to grips with that fact, the quicker you can change your mindset to make failure just another step on the path to success.

How you deal with the failure, how quickly you get back on that horse, will define your resolve, your personality, your determination.  It will also define how you approach goals (and life) in the future.  It defines you. Read more…

January 2, 2011 / Justin Hamlin

Project 333: An Experiment in Minimalist Fashion

3 Months

33 Clothing items

Could you do it?

My experiment in minimalism continues.  What started with Operation: Consolidation as a goal to de-clutter my life and my attic, has crept into my closet.

What originally started for me was reading an intriguing concept by Nina Yau, where she decided to push her limits and wear the same clothes to work for 7 weeks straight.  Seems like a strange experiment to most, challenged her mentally.  Best part, almost nobody noticed.

Then I found Project 333 by Courtney Carver of Be More With Less. A challenge to all people dabbling in the minimalist lifestyle to take a long, hard look at their wardrobe.  For herself, she found that she would rely on a few staples in her wardrobe, just like most people.

Project 333 challenges anyone who is interested to take their wardrobe and pare it down to 33 items, and wear only those 33 items for 3 months, with a few notable exceptions:

  • Wedding Ring
  • Sleepwear
  • Underwear
  • Gym Clothes
  • Around the house loungewear

So that means 33 items includes:

  • Work Clothes
  • Weekend Clothes (going out clothes)
  • Shoes
  • Accessories
  • Jackets

While it might seem like a daunting task at first, I think it provides a worthwhile challenge.
Read more…

December 30, 2010 / Justin Hamlin

Your Life is a Business: Why You Need a Plan Pt. 2

This is part 2 in a 3 part series about using a project plan to accomplish any goal you have.  Part 1 can be found here

So you have defined your goals, picked a deadline, laid out a plan and are ready to put that plan into action.

Then life happens.

Suddenly your well-laid plan, has become unrealistic.  The schedule doesn’t work, you get sick, other projects/goals pop up, or any number of things that can slow down a project.  These are things that can be expected, or unexpected, but you have to plan for them.  That’s life, and life happens.  Sucks, doesn’t it?  Well, it doesn’t have to.


Plan Accordingly

In project planning for business, it is always good to build in a little bit of extra time to the project, for any unforeseen, or unplanned, deviations to the plan.  That aspect is very important in your planning for personal goals, as it allows life to happen.  Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could set out to do a goal and could dedicate 100% of your time to that goal until it was achieved? YES!, but who are we kidding, that is unrealistic.

Using the 5k metaphor from the first part in the series, it is conceivable that if you worked out, 8-10 hours a day for 2 weeks straight, you would have put in the requisite amount of work to train your body and mind to run a 5k.  But aside from the professionals and the unemployed, it is unrealistic to expect that of yourself.

Your body needs time to rest, your life needs your attention elsewhere.

Instead, plan to workout for 1-2 hours, 3-4 times a week, or every other day.  Now you have a plan that does not compromise the rest of your life, while allowing you to accomplish the goal you set out to accomplish.

Be aggressive.  An unrealistic plan that forces you to sacrifice other necessary aspects of your life is not a plan you are likely to stick to.  Similarly, a plan that has you working out once a week for 6 months in order to train for your 5k is also not likely a plan you are going to stick to.  Plan for life to happen.  Build in the flex time.  Set yourself up for success.

Read more…

December 27, 2010 / Justin Hamlin

Your Life is a Business: Why You Need a Plan

You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win. – Zig Ziglar

Identifying yourself as a business might seem a little strange, but let’s take a look at the parallels.  You go to work every day, to make money and provide for yourself and your family.  A business exists to make money and provide for its employees and its customers.  A business spends money on things like marketing and employee perks, in order to expand its business and make a difference in the industry.  You spend money on food, clothes and gym memberships in order to make a difference in your own life and expand your sphere of influence.  The similarities are not too far off.

I come from a consulting background where everything had a plan.  From the 4 hour project, to the 500 hour project, it had a plan.  Even our plans even had plans. But it was important, as it gave structure, guidelines and processes.  It helped us make deadlines and ensure customer satisfaction.

If these are tried and tested processes in business, why do we fail to apply them to our personal lives? We start diets and gyms, and unless it is a priority in our life, we forget about it, let it die, and move on, claiming that diet didn’t work, or that gym didn’t work.  Do you think that if we applied a project mentality to attacking the diet/gym, better results could have been achieved? Don’t you want to finish a project for yourself and be that satisfied customer?

Read more…

December 22, 2010 / Justin Hamlin

2010 – The Year in a Word

Across the blogosphere you will start to see many annual review posts, much like this one.  Some, will take a very different approach in recalling certain events which evoked emotion, while others will bring you a much more traditional approach, bringing you a chronological recap of the year that is past.  To take a cue from fellow blogger John Anyasor, I wanted the inspiration for my annual review to come from a single word.

For me, this year can be summed up in one word.  DEDICATION.

Dedication -n

the act of dedicating or the state of being dedicated

I found myself throughout the year dealing with dedication on many levels, from personal, to professional and everywhere in between.  Now, dedication is somewhat easy for me as I am kind of an all-or-nothing type of person.  I really don’t do (or like to do) anything half-assed.  I put my heart, soul, brain and body into everything I do.  It is that determination which has helped me become successful in my career at a young age.

Maintaining Through Adversity

The last half of my 2009, as well a the beginning of 2010 were definitely marred by a lot of adversity.  After 8+ years with the same company, moving up through the ranks, advancing my career, I was ready for something else.  Different?  Maybe.  I had to find something.  I had to take control of that situation.

I can not abandon my friends and my colleagues. I kept telling myself.

Much time was spent dealing with a project that was handled very poorly from the start by management.  As the engineering lead on the project, I took a lot of the weight and responsibility of the project, along with my boss and my project manager, who are also close friends of mine.  I felt a sense of loyalty to them.  My boss had been by my side, literally and figuratively, for over 8 years. My project manager, 3.   We were in this together, entrenched, fighting the fight.

It was taking its toll on me. Body, mind and soul.  I was working out, eating healthy, doing what I could to make sure I was giving my body the best, but the 8-12 hour days were physically exhausting.  70 miles a day, round trip, coupled with a brutal work day consisting of meetings where I was screamed at, more meetings where I was told I was fucking up, and yet more meetings where we watched the project quadruple in size, but not in budget.  I would spend my days frustrated and dejected.  I would unwind on the drive home, only to realize that I was taking out the left over frustrations on my family.  I became a shell of the person that I was capable of being.  It took me twice as long to do things that would normally be mundane tasks.  I was exhausted.

I stayed the course.  My colleagues, my friends, needed me.  We dedicated ourselves to each other.  We all knew that if one quit, the team would not maintain.  We dedicated ourselves to finishing the project to the best of our abilities.

We never got the chance.

Read more…

December 16, 2010 / Justin Hamlin

Operation: Consolidation is now LIVE!

I am very happy to announce that Operation: Consolidation is up, running, and off to a very promising start. There is a dedicated page at the top right of the site, where you will find an entire rundown of the Operation, from background, to current progress, goals, as well as items for sale, sold and donated.

Thanks to the support from everyone who encouraged and inspired me to do this.  This is just another step towards a better, more fulfilling life.