A few weeks ago, my eyes popped wide open in the middle of the night. I was completely, coherently awake at 3 a.m., like when a nightmare shocks you out of a deep sleep, and you know there’s no chance of returning so you just grab a book or a drink and hope for the best.
Yes, I had been a bit uncomfortable because of the heat, but it wasn’t out of the ordinary for August. I had only been sleeping for about three hours, so I knew there must be something up — I just hoped it was a “good” up.
Before long, my mind drifted to my recent decision to leave About.com as the guide to law school after three years. My thought process wasn’t about regret or uncertainty, it was: “How can I make that experience work for me?”
Half a minute later, an idea seed that had been planted in my mind years ago began to sprout.
Life is all about timing.
I slipped into my flip-flops, brewed espresso in the moka, sat down with my iced coffee and the Macbook under the moonlight (OK, nearby streetlight) on the balcony, and started researching.
Unless you’re applying to law school or know someone who is, you probably don’t care about the details, so I’ll spare you, noting only that it’s a personal statement editing and review service for law school applicants (please see site for more info!). As the About.com guide, I had offered free personal statement reviews as a way to increase interest in the site; I loved every second of the critiques as requests piled up and I began to wonder what I had gotten myself into. Hundreds upon hundreds of law school applicants were looking for help, and I was happy to oblige.
On my end, it was an awesome privilege to help them through a stressful time in their lives, offer guidance of the been there/done that persuasion regarding personal statements and more, and, best of all, open those excited emails months later when people I had counseled were accepted to their top choice programs and couldn’t wait for the semester to start.
Over the years, starting this type of service flitted in and out of my mind, but the timing was always off, and so it stayed in seed form, buried in my subconscious. When it peeked through the surface this time, though, I snatched it and ran — or to keep the metaphor going, I gave it some nourishment and water. I had a domain and gorgeous Themeforest WordPress theme within days; the rest was just filling in the gaps.
Pinpointing your passions is crucial, but you must also be prepared to run with your ideas.
My original plan for the last two weeks of August was very little computer, house-decluttering, reading lots of books and magazines, and spending time with P and all the girls as well as enjoying Tarantella Power, the annual music festival that takes place in my village.
Best laid plans, right? They were out the finestra faster than a Ferrari on the A3 Salerno-Reggio Calabria. Law school application season starts September 1, so if this was going to happen this year, I had to jump. As it is, I may be too late entering the mix, and there are still lots of details to iron out and add (like an e-book!), but the basics are there for me to build on this year and beyond if I so desire.
Would I recommend trying to get a new venture going in two weeks while otherwise working full-time in the dog days of August? I was lucky. I already knew quite a bit about this market since I was in and around it for several years — and I even had a skeleton plan drawn out in my head from way back when as well. I was no stranger to website-building either, having done it a few times before.
Bottom line: if I can do it, so can you.
Ideas won’t always take shape quickly, but they’ll never come to anything without taking the first step.
And sometimes, as it was in this instance, that first step is as simple as answering that middle of the night call to action by physically getting out of bed.
If I had rolled over and gone back to sleep that night, would I have mustered up the excitement and drive necessary to push this forward? What if I had stuck to my vacation plans and waited until September or even for the next application season for every little detail to be in place? What if I hadn’t had that pressing deadline to finish? Would I have ever done this at all?
I don’t know the answers, but believe me, vacation time would have been more than welcome around Ferragosto. Aside from just needing a break, I don’t do well in lengthy, unbearable hot spells, which we experienced throughout much of August. My mind threatened sciopero (strike) many times over, but the importance of strategic sleeping patterns, frequent showers, and well-placed fans (nope, no A/C) cannot be overestimated.
And neither can the inspiration of a new project along with a tight deadline for completion.
Now in early September, my house could still use some love and the books and magazines have piled up even further (I still found time for P, the girls, and Tarantella Power), but my new site is up and running, and I can’t wait to see what else this fall, this glorious season of change, has in store for me. I already have some new projects lined up as well as several fresh ideas bouncing around in my head.
And I hereby promise to answer any and all future middle of the night calls to action.
Who’s with me?