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Lifestyle Design & Random Networking September 11, 2008

Posted by Who? in Business, Career Planning, Jobs, Lifestyle Design, Random.
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One a more positive note—Last night I went to the Puyallup Fair with some friends.  Having grown up around here, the fair is…the fair.  Overpriced, dirty etc etc etc.  But we had some free tickets to the Kid Rock concert so we reluctantly indulged in the tradition.

I decided that I wanted to wander around instead of going to the concert.  So I set off to do what I normally do, people watch and bullshit with whoever looks interesting.  Asking different vendors working the booths about how business is going and what not.  I end up sitting down to watch one of the cookware demonstrations.  As it turns out, the guy doing the presentation had never done it before and the “owner” of the booth was letting him give it a test run before he bought into the company (American Craft– cookware and kitchen stuff).

So I go back to tell the owner, he was watching from behind the audience, that this new guy is good and to tell him to stick with it cuz he’s got that x-factor that will translate into a lot of sales.  I start bs’ing as usual and the guy isn’t really that into talking to me.  After he realized I wasn’t going away, he started talking to me and asking questions.  Talk about strange connections and totally unexpected networking. 

Turns out that this guy selling pots and pans at the Puyallup Fair is an accomplished entrepreneur, former consultant with Arthur Andersen, holds two Master’s degrees and recently published his first book.  This guy….selling pots and f’n pans at THE FAIR.  Weird.  We hit it off an exchanged cards.

He’s got the life I want.  He has sweet, sweet income coming in on almost auto-pilot and it allows him the freedom to design his life and pursue projects.  Does it get any better than that?

So I’m pretty stoked after meeting this guy and get back to wandering around looking at all the stupid shit that people buy.  On a side note, its kind of funny that the people selling all this stupid stuff are making a killing- random fact: one guy I talked to pays $17,000 for his space at the fair for 20 (TWENTY) days!!!!  Meanwhile the rabid fair-goers trade their paychecks for ninja swords, fleece blankets emblazoned with white tigers and beautiful stuffed animals.  Anyways- back to walking around… I stumble upon a booth filled, wall-to-wall with unbelievable photography.  Amazing stuff- I’m actually trying to squeeze the ol’ budget to allow a Bald Eagle print for the old man’s bday coming up.

Naturally, I start talking to the guy working the booth.  Turns out he is the photographer.  Also turns out that he is what you might call…successful.  Decide for yourself- his website.  We’re talking nationally renown.  Super nice guy goes on to tell me about his path and his life.  Randomly, for the second time in an hour, I happen to strike up a conversation with someone living their dreams and living life to the fullest. 

He finished his Ph.D in Forest Resources from the University of Washington in the early 70’s (I finished my undergrad at UW in 2006).  So he’s all set to start his career as a professor but decides to pull the plug after he experienced the politics involved with teaching at that level.  So he decides to see if he can turn his hobby- trekking out into the wilderness to capture wildlife and scenic photos- into a career.  32 years and 500,000 photographs later he is living his dream and is/has been rewarded for it.  Spends most of his time in nature and traveling the world from the great NW to Africa and everywhere in between.  Cards get exchanged and a completely random, genuine contact is made…again.

Never know who you’re gonna meet or where you’re going to meet them.  It is unbelieveably refreshing and motivating to meet nice people that have achieved financial success that has allowed them to design the life they want and live their dreams.  Don’t be afraid to talk to random people; that guy selling hot dogs on the corner could be more than meets the eye.  Then again, he could just be a guy selling hot dogs.

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