Thank you for reading this, for liking the Facebook page, sharing links to our stuff here and there on the web, and grabbing a free email subscription. Thank you for continuing to play with cars, whatever that means to you. 2014 is almost over (can you believe it?), and with the new year right around the corner, I wanted to take a minute to get it out there, just how much I appreciate your support.
As I start typing this, I don’t have a whole lot else to say, here, suffice to say I really appreciate you taking the time. It means a lot. My recent interview with Leanne Marin reminds me how those of us who take this gearhead thing as more than just a pleasant, often expensive, diversion still have the ability to turn it into a meaningful career of some sort.
I often find myself looking at pictures like the one above; VW Westie headed down a random dirt road in the desert, riding off into the sunset, and I feel that thirst for adventure. It would be nice to spend more time chasing shadows than standing in them. They say we can work hard to make our dreams happen – or work hard making someone else’s dreams happen. It’s a reminder that each of us has something inside we’d really like to spend our lives doing, if we could just figure out how.
There’s really no choice between working harder or smarter. We have to work harder and smarter. We have to take a good, hard look at where we are right now, come up with a really detailed vision of where we want to go next, and sell ourselves on why the hard work involved is worth it.
There was a time when I’d personally publish three stories here every week. I don’t know that I’ve published three stories this month. That really grates on me. I love to write. I love to write about gearheads and all the ways “playing with cars” matters. You’ve been here before. You know I play the long game (with the long stories). It’s just how I roll.
I’ve got some big plans for 2015. You could say I’ve got some resolutions. I sure hope I’m more successful with them than most people. I mean, we hear the phrase “New Year’s Resolution” and we all kind of roll our eyes, right? Still, there’s something about putting things out there, telling you I’m going to do them, that lights a fire under my ass to get them done. Back in 2010, if I didn’t have my quota of weekly stories in place, I’d totally freak out. People are counting on me.
Over time, seeing our traffic drop from 10-15,000 people a month to closer to 5-7,000 after we merged all the subsites (mitsubishi.gearboxmagazine, rally.gearboxmagazine, gm.gearboxmagazine, et. al.), then closer to 1,500 people per month, after busting my hump to crank out those monthly issues only to see barely half the people actually opened the emails to look at them, I guess you could say I lost my mojo. Maybe people don’t really care about this.
A lot of that is my fault. Plain and simple.
Nietzsche said, “When you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” Time and again, you’ve heard me say this site – and everything it stands for – is my life’s work. That’s how much I value the GBXM|united mission. It’s that important to me, and yet I’ve spent so long looking into the abyss of perceived disinterest, that disinterest has infected me, personally.
I’ve done a lot of thinking about this lately. It’s good to look back and get some benefit from that perfect hindsight, ya know? While my vision for GBXM has evolved and matured, it seems my work ethic hasn’t. Part of that is the shift from thinking people are counting on me to people don’t really care. There’s some serious cognitive dissonance in play when you think nobody cares about your life’s work. And how hard is it to convince yourself to sit on the couch watching Adventure Time when you think nobody will notice if you don’t publish that interview with the guy who did the thing? Know what I mean?
So yeah, I’ve got some big plans for 2015. The Death Valley Adventure? Waaaaay up in the air at this point, but I’m nailing a few final things down and I’m going to find a way to make it – or a far simpler version of it – happen. First, I’ve got to get the Dukar, the 97 Pajero parts truck in my driveway off to the scrap heap. Then I’ve got to get 195/2000, my failed rally VR4 project out of the garage to its new owner. I just can’t bring home another car until Vanessa can park the Juke in her own garage.
On the publishing front, I’ve got to get issue 2.04 built and published. Target for that is before December 31st. I’m getting down to the wire, but I’m about halfway done with it. This time, I’m going to get it on Amazon and maybe ask for a $1 donation or something to download it. You know, to maybe cover a month of hosting for the site.
Paddle your own canoe.
I recently started reading Nick Offerman’s book, Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living (that’s an Amazon link), and though I’m barely a chapter into it, I’ve got this strange desire to start building something. It’s crazy, considering I’ve spent 5+ years building GBXM, but it is what it is. I’m reminded of the importance of consistency, discipline, and planning how I use the limited time I’ve got. If I want to spend more time helping gearheads build better lives, I’ve got to spend more time helping gearheads build better lives.
The interviews are one thing. I’ll always be interviewing gearheads here, but I’m also going to make a serious effort to expand the content. I want GBXM to be more valuable to us all (I learn from interacting with you, after all). Beyond the big Death Valley Adventure thing, I’m already working on an editorial calendar for 2015. I’ve got story ideas in place for the entire year. Now I just need to get started researching the fine details and writing.
A quick look at what I’m working on for January, for example, three articles:
- Understanding the business: business acumen, functional/technical skills, technical learning
- Making complex decisions: decision quality, intellectual horsepower, learning on the fly, problem solving
- Creating the new and different: dealing with ambiguity, creativity, innovation management, problem solving
A lot of us would like to work for ourselves, be our own bosses, set our own schedules, do things that really matter. This means we’ve got get serious about adapting the skills we develop building cars to building our lives. Much as I hate the idea that “business exists to make a profit,” I know we can’t pay our bills on hopes and dreams. We need to take our dreams seriously and work to make them come true. Thus, I’m going to start 2015 with some thoughts on strategic skills.
We might even try our hand at reviewing new models here on GBXM, too, once in a while, maybe dabble in video and podcasting, and you know I’d love to get the forum moving again. When we work together, there’s nothing we can’t do. In 2015, I’m looking forward to working with you. Thanks for reading the whole thing. Keep going fast with class and press on regardless.
PS: I originally titled this piece “a *quick* thank you. lol