What I Learned About Myself Through Mowing

I moved to Raleigh, NC just over 10 years ago.  I travel home to Rochester, NY about 3 times a year to see family and friends, get away on a cheap vacation, and to dog and house sit while my mom goes on vacation.  When I’m here to dog and house sit, I always have to mow at least once during the time I’m here.  This is exactly what happened today and where this train-of-thought blog article came from.  If nothing else, this article can serve as a method for me to digest my thoughts and think through this in deeper thought.

Before I moved, I had a monopoly on the lawn mowing service of the neighborhood – joking – but I was the only kid who mowed neighbor’s yards.  I had 3 main yards from year to year – two of them about 3/4 acre and one almost 2 acres.  I just had my mom’s green Lawn Boy walk-behind mower.  I’d always have it on “rabbit mode” and by the time I finished all of the yards, especially if I weed-whacked, which I did every other week or so, it would take me about 4, 4 1/2 hours.  From time to time I’d mow my grandparent’s yard next door, and one year I mowed another pretty large yard for a lady who moved, but was trying to keep up appearances while selling the house – that was also the year I walked over an in-ground bee hive and found out how painful a few bee stings were.

It’s been about 10 1/2 years since I had my “mowing business”.  This morning as I pulled out the mower at my mom’s house and started to mow, I found myself in deep thought and tying the action of mowing into learning more about myself.  It doesn’t just have to be mowing, but thinking back to certain events puts your mind in that place, independent of time.  Like, every time I went on a family vacation, went on a road trip, had a sleep over, riding the bus to school.  When I worked at Delta Sonic drying cars and later turned my eye for detail into a mobile car detailing business for a few years.

Deep Thought

I find that mowing, or any task in which I can zone out to, puts me in deep thought.  Like when I worked at an animal hospital, or stocking for Kohls, or even when I was in a technical support role – it became so easy that I could subconsciously help customers and focus on my own ideas that I wanted to develop.

In a lot of these positions, they had another thing in common – sometimes I would listen to music to help set my mood, put me in a happier place than doing something I didn’t want to be doing, aiding in my thought process.

Reading books and magazines do that for me a lot of times too…and it doesn’t have to be related to business, though reading on that subject does get me thinking a lot – it can be about ancient culture or something random and a lot of times I’ll relate that back to current times, a service I can develop, etc.  History often repeats itself, so I feel like sometimes learning about the past and the troubles they found solutions to could be an opportunity – re-creating a modern solution to a similar current problem.


I’ve developed quite an anxiety issue over the past few years.  Mowing today put my mind back a decade ago and even when it was sunny and in the 80s or 90s and I’ve been outside mowing for hours, not even really wanting to do it in the first place – I used to look one row at a time.  I’d line my wheel up to the last row to maintain a straight line and not worry that I had an acre left to mow, or that I’d have 3 hours left of mowing.  Today I find that I don’t like time schedules or predicting how long something will take – because in the world of programming, you just never know sometimes – but if, for example, I was going to mow at some point that day, I didn’t want to be forced to start at a certain time – I wanted to FEEL like I was ready to start.  That’s one reason I hated school so much, because I was forced to get up and start when the school wanted you to start, not when I was ready to start.  Anyway, lately I’ve found myself worrying a lot and it’s been a major contributor to my anxiety.  Thinking about things that are so far out of reach, or so far out of my control, that I start to physically feel ill.  If I can try to remember how it was when I was younger – how I’d mow one line at a time and collect my $60ish+ bucks a week – maybe I can reduce my anxiety.  Take things one hour, one day, one week, one month at a time.  Yes, future goals are great, but things always have a way of changing, or my desires may change, so I need to stop focusing on things so far out.  Over the past few months I’ve been trying to get out of my comfort zone and it feels strange, I feel like I have to re-learn how to live and manage my anxiety, something I never had an issue with.  Being efficient – like going out one day and running a bunch of errands, versus an errand here or there over multiple days – may be one thing that is contributing my anxiety.  Lately I’ve gotten out of the house for smaller things, just to reassure myself and re-learn.


I’ve always loved making money, planning what I’m going to do with it, see it grow, etc.  I never really liked the act of spending it and seeing the number decrease, but I did always like what I got in return for the decrease.  To this day, as part of my daily motivation, I have charts and spreadsheets that I can look at and when I’m feeling like my brain is about to explode from thinking so hard, or I’m bored of working – I can look at how much I’ve made for the day and that helps me get through the emotions, motivate me for another couple of hours, or helps me say “OK, I’ve made enough, let’s call it a day”.

Traits About Myself

I’m not great at being patient, but I can get into doing a detailed, job well done once I get in the middle of a task.  This holds true even to this day.  The longer I know a task is, the less I want to do it, but once I finally get started – I look for an excuse not to, I focus on doing a good job…sometimes a “good enough” job.  For something that is always changing or always needs to be done, like mowing, I don’t see the need to perfect anything, because it’s going to need to be mowed or weeded in a few days again anyway.

A lot of times I’ll get into a deep train of thought and think about some cool ideas, or like this blog post and how mowing a lawn can relate back to myself, where I want my business to go in the future, etc.


Two of my current clients of Nevis Technology, who are married, but own and operate two different businesses, are somewhat my mentors and whom I look up to.  They are a lot like Ashley and I – they don’t want kids, they like cats, they are pretty down to Earth.  I recently had a conversation with one of them about business and the way Nevis Technology currently is, isn’t really a business.  I own my job – if I’m not working, I’m not getting paid.  I’m the only one who does everything, and I wear many hats.  That’s how it’s always been with my “businesses” and even how I felt when I had jobs – if I wanted it done right, I had to do it myself – something I learned from my grandpa.  Even though I do feel that’s true, it’s not sustainable and you can’t grow a business on that.  I find myself having difficulty, specifically with how to make Nevis Technology an actual business.  I can think of other web-based businesses that I’ve spun off from Nevis Technology in hopes of growing – and maybe that’s what I should focus on growing, and keeping Nevis Technology, the main, custom web development, to myself.