A little over a month from now will mark the 1st anniversary of hurricane Michael, and I find myself taking the opportunity of this event to reflect in a very personal way. Consequently, this update will explain where I am going to take TMD next, but it will also be very personal. So, if you happen to be one of those who do not appreciate this side of my personality, I understand. This is why I am warning you beforehand. For the rest of you, come on: I’ll let you know what the next step for TMD is going to be.
IT ALL STARTS WITH ME
I work closely with Karl van Sweden, Dave Hobbs and a host of other friends who I usually credit under the general name of, ‘Bubba.’ But, ultimately, TMD is me, and I am TMD. It has always been this way. The problem is, I have not been me for quite some time now, which means TMD has not been what it should be, either. Emotionally, I have been ‘off’ since before the hurricane. If I am honest, I have been off since before we moved. This means, if I want to get TMD back on track, I have to start by getting me back on track, and that means I have to find a way to get interested in modeling again.
It may seem an odd thing for me to say, but it is still true: I have lost a lot of the passion that once drove me to make TMD a common name in the modeling world. I do what I do now for you — and only for you! If you did not enjoy what I do with TMD as much as you tell me you enjoy it, I could easily walk away from the company. But this is not because I am ‘burned out.’ It is because of changes I have been trying to make in my personal life. I have been trying to work at being a more humble person. The more headway I make in this area, the less I find myself feeling that I have to prove anything to anyone. Fortunately, there is an up-side to this, as well. The more I manage to humble myself, the more I find myself wanting to serve others. In this regard, working on myself helps TMD by making me want to do a better job of serving each of you the best I can. Where it causes trouble is where new products are concerned. Like it or not, making a master is a bit like making a piece of art, and I have never known an artist that could do much of anything when he or she was not in their ’emotional zone.’ That is what I have to find again: my ’emotional zone.’
FINDING MY ‘ZONE’ AGAIN
I have been thinking about this — hard! I have other opportunities presenting themselves to me. Things that I could do with my life that will serve others. Things I could do long after my failing eyes drive me away from running TMD. I have to pursue these opportunities. But there is still a part of me that cannot let go of TMD, mostly because I do not want to let go of you. This is the dilemma I have been struggling to resolve, and I think I might have finally found my answers. I am going to take a leap of faith and pursue my new opportunities with the goal of making them the source of my primary income so I can turn TMD into my hobby — not my job.
The hope is, if I can succeed in my new endeavors, there will no longer be any pressure to crank out an endless line of new products. In return, I hope that lifting these daily pressures to run TMD as a business will re-kindle my love of the hobby behind it. I dream of being able to just go back to building for my own enjoyment, and just put out whatever items I make for my own building as new products along the way. I’d also like to return to the show circuit as an entrant, not a vendor. The combination of getting back to modeling as a hobby and competing in shows again might be the key to getting me back where I was when I first started TMD. My interests have always seemed to mesh pretty well with main-stream modeling, so I have no doubt I would be able to keep making things that will serve you. The hope is that this will help me make more things that you find useful without feeling like it is a drudgery I’d rather leave behind me.
THE PLAN FOR NOW
First things, first. I know I am wishy-washy. I have trouble making up my mind and sticking with a plan, so I am pretty sure that — if I can see it — you have seen it. Well, this indecision is largely connected to the personal struggles I just described. I want to make it clear that what follows is what I am going to do. I will either make this plan work, or… Well, nothing lasts forever. Now, here is the plan:
For the time being, I am going to stop worrying about the newest kits. In fact, I am going to try to ignore the modeling world as much as possible. Instead, I am going to just focus on what I am most interested in at the time. I am going to try to actually build — for me. My new masters will come from that building. This is what I did when I started TMD, and it worked well back then. I figure it will still work today. I just have to get back to my roots.
At the moment, I am most interested in the M10/Achiles, M3 Grant and/or the whole family of Panther-related kits. I plan to get to work by the end of this week. If I do well, the first new items should follow some time around the anniversary of hurricane Michael. Just be warned: I am still a modeler, so there is an almost certainty that whatever kit I am currently building will get shelved for a while as I chase after the latest squirrel to cross my path. If that happens, I am not going to put pressure on myself to return to that shelf queen. It will sit there until I want to build it again. That means new products related to that kit will also sit. I do not need the pressure. It works against me (and you). In fact, I am going to do everything I can to take all TMD-related pressure off myself. This is all I can think to do to get things going again, and I am going to give it my best effort. From now on, this is just how things are going to be.
IF THIS DOES NOT WORK?
I do not want to dwell on this subject too long, but I have given it some consideration. At the moment, TMD is still my primary source of income. If my plans do not work out and TMD’s sales drop too much, I may have to go find a ‘real’ job. This does not scare me as, right now, where we live, a competent person can find a good job falling out of bed. We still have a serious labor shortage in our community, and the shortage is even more acute in the area of skilled labor. However, if I should have to go find a ‘real’ job again, that will spell the end of my time with TMD. But this is something I do not anticipate happening, so we will not dwell on it right now.
THE TAKE-AWAY FROM THIS POST
What I hope you will take away from this post is that, personally, I am doing well, but I am struggling to re-kindle the motivation I need to keep driving TMD to newer and higher achievements. I have a plan to do this, and I am going to start acting on it this week. My hope and goal is to get TMD moving forward again — just in a way that I can sustain until my eyes finally fail me and I can no longer master at the level I demand of myself so I can continue to provide you with the highest quality products. If things don’t work out, we will talk about what happens next at that time. For now, I am just going to focus on making my plan work. I hope you’ll stick with me. If you do, I am confident everything is going to be better than OK.
THAT IS ALL
OK, that’s all I have for now. I told you this update would be mostly personal. I suspect I kept my promise 🙂
Now, until next time, you be safe and try to build something (preferably something using TMD resin).