2017.1.6 JOE’S CORNER: GETTING MY HEAD STRAIGHT AGAIN

If you follow my posts, you probably know I have been struggling a bit these last six months.  I got behind on my work in the shop because of administrative chores, and then I got behind on those, as well.  I had hoped to have time to get caught up on things over the holidays, but, as usual, things didn’t work out the way I had planned.  I got sick the day after Christmas and that pretty much confined me to either the bed or couch until just this last Thursday.  However, getting sick turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  When I got sick, it forced to sit, and since my mind seldom turns off — even when I’m not feeling well — that left me with nothing to do but think, and I really thought.  That’s when I saw where I have been going wrong — again!

Now, I’m not sure what you may or may not believe, and I am certainly not one to preach to you, but my faith has helped me a great deal.  Back before I sold TMD to my brother, I ‘thought” I was a Christian, but I wasn’t.  At least, I wasn’t living the way a Christian is supposed to live.  I pretty much lived my life for me — period.  Then I sold the company and took two years away from things to think about the mess I had made of my life.  During that time, I finally read the Bible and discovered that what it actually teaches is very, very different from the way most people who claim to believe actually live their lives.  Not wanting to be a hypocrite, I decided to try living according to what the Scripture actually teaches us to live, and that changed everything — at least for me, anyway.

I discovered that I am supposed to live a modest life, and to focus on service to others.  I am not supposed to think of myself, but of those around me — especially the ones I love.  Needless to say, this did not come naturally to me.  I had to work at it.  But, slowly, I got better at it, and as I made it a habit to think of others first and stay away from things I’m not supposed to be doing, I noticed something else.  My life started to get better.  Don’t get me wrong: I am still a very messed-up person, but I discovered I did not have as many worries as I had always had in the past.  My relationships got better.  I was happier, and healthier.  My finances even got better.  Mind you, I did not get ‘rich,’ nor did all the troubles of this world go away.  Scripture does not promise any of that.  But it does tell us that those who live according to God’s laws have fewer problems, and when we do have problems, we get through them easier.  As it turned out, this is exactly what happened for me.  I even got TMD back and found friends who gave me the money to save it from oblivion.

When I got TMD back, I realized that I couldn’t run the company the way I had in the past.  In the past, I had run TMD for me, and that was the wrong way to do things.  Instead, I had to see TMD as my way of serving others: of serving you!  Yes, I make models.  And yes, models are not the most important thing in the world.  But what I do is still a way to serve other people, and that is how I ran TMD for the next 4 years or so.  During that time, things went well.  I had a different focus, a different motivation, and it showed.  As a result, I no longer had the financial pressures that used to stress me out.  My family life was good and I was happy, and TMD did well.  Then I started to forget what it was that had caused things to go so well for me and started to slip back into old mistakes.  And, sure enough, that’s when things started to go badly for me again.

You see, I started to do things for the wrong reasons all over again.  I got proud, and I let myself get self-indulgent — again.  This took my focus off of serving you, and that led to financial strains, which lead to stress in my personal life and, finally, to feelings that many of us think of as “burning out.”  But it was all my fault.  I forgot how I am supposed to live and I suffered the predicable consequences for it.

Looking back, I see where I went wrong.  I took credit for things I didn’t really do and blamed others for things I did do (or hadn’t done).  I started working for myself and not for you.  Worse, the financial success I had been enjoying, along with the support I had received when I had bad times, caused me to get lazy.  I didn’t appreciate things for what they were.  I just took them for granted and, in some cases, I wasted what had been given to me.  So, when difficult times came, I wasn’t prepared to weather them.  That lead me to think things were even more in my hands, and that I had to work harder to fix them, which caused me to push back and not want to do the work I knew I had to be doing and so on, and so on as the death-spiral just got worse.  Until, finally, as we headed into the Christmas break, I was thinking of selling TMD and washing my hands of it all for good.  But then I got sick…

While I was on my couch, I realized that TMD has nothing to do with me.  None of this is about me.  I am just the guy who casts the resin and ships the boxes.  It is all about you guys.  Those of you who buy and build the things we make.  Karl, who makes so many of our masters.  Dave and many others who help Karl and I research our products so we can make them as accurately as possible.  Guys who review our stuff and tell you about it.  All of it is about others — not me.  I had forgotten that, and more than this, I had forgotten to trust the Lord.  That is why I have been struggling.

Now, I understand that many will see this differently, and that’s OK.  But this is how I see things, and it works for me.  I mean, I have to believe.  As soon as I was humbled by this head and chest cold, and I started to examine what I had been doing wrong, things turned around.  The very day I asked forgiveness for my arrogance, you guys responded to my limited re-release sale.  Then you placed other orders and, that fast, my financial problems were solved.  Up until the sale, I did not know how I was going to pay the bills for December.  Then, the very day I got my attitude squared back away, my financial stresses were relieved.  Since then, my love for what I do here has been renewed.  I can’t wait to get back to work, and to see what 2017 has in store for our hobby.  But, more than this, I can’t wait to get back to serving you.  Now I just hope it’s not too late and that you will forgive my stumbles these past six months and stick with me.  Not because I need sales or anything like that, but because I need customers to serve — and I mean that.  I just want to do whatever I can to make some part of your world a little bit better.  If I can do that, then I have a purpose in this life of which I can be proud, and I will feel like my life has real value to those outside my immediate family.

So, to those of you who have been concerned about me, thank you.  I am feeling better now, and, even though my body is still getting over this cold, I am looking forward to the future again.  Now, let’s worry about you.  What can I and TMD do for you?  Email me and let me know what you’d like to see us do in 2017 and I’ll see if I can make it happen.