Shop by the Stream

Shop by the stream


One of the parts of the Life Business™ program I really enjoy is the process of naming your “Life Businesses™”. A Life Business™ is nothing more than a cluster of related activities that are part of a theme, or Life Business™ as we call them.

Back in my early 20’s I worked making custom furniture for a few years. I was quite fortunate to have as my business partner at the time, a good friend, Michael King. Michael was a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design in the woodworking department (My apologies if I am not giving this the proper name) Michael was, and I imagine still is a real master at his craft. He taught me a great deal!

After a few years of this, we wandered back to residential renovation work, which is how we had met. Furniture making faded into the background. We still had the wood shop, and would make custom moldings, fittings, and cabinetry for jobs. It was always fun to be in the shop. When we finally stopped, I promised my self (I remember this very, very clearly) that I would have a wood working shop “when I was a grandpa J!! Ah to be 20… what a great perspective.

This vision has stayed bubbling below the surface for all the time since the “when I am a Grandpa” thought.

It came back in focus in the past few years as it became more of a potential reality, and the spark of “Shop by the stream”. The name itself evokes wonderful imagery for my. I see an older building out in the woods (I used to live in Vermont), with a stream nearby. Inside is a nicely arranged wood shop that is inviting, comfortable, and serves as a place to encourage my creativity in both thought and action. Just thinking about this image, or saying the name “shop by the stream” brings a smile to my face and some very nice body sensations!




Well, the vision is now becoming reality! We recently moved from Chapel Hill to Durham. The new house has a 2 car garage. In it I am setting up shop. There is no stream yet, but the house does sit on a wonderful pond! (I think I will count that as a win!) I have created a page on my website to keep a photographic journal of the set up process, and then will continue to document as I begin other projects.

The process of designing and building the workstations for the shop has been quite interesting.

I have found that I enjoy all this even more than I imagined I would. (Crystal, my wife, says I am like a kid on Christmas morning. Every day! It is a wonderful feeling to be so engaged in something you love to be involved in.

That is the essence of Life Business™, to identify the things that you really love to do, are your strengths, and find ways to integrate those things more and more into your daily activities.



This is my workbench. Made mostly by hand from a design by Tage Frid published in Fine Woodworking. I believe I built this in the early 80’s. It was a labor of love. I actually made a wooden hand plane to plane the joints for the maple pieces to be glued up for the top! Bolt holes with an electric drill, and board rips with a table saw. I think all else was by hand. It is what European cabinet maker apprentices used to do as their first project. You have to master most skills to make the bench. It has been moved and stored in many places over the years. Now it sits happily in its new home. I use a block of wood as a coaster for my coffee cup as I sit and ponder :-)

If you would like to explore creating some of these results for yourself, feel free to use my online schedule to set a time for us to talk.


Jerry Bergner is a productivity and life satisfaction coach based in Durham, N.C.  His company is Integrated Life and Financial Planning.  Jerry has been coaching since 2008.  His sweet spot is working with business owners and salespeople to assist them in focusing on the activities they enjoy and love to engage in while increasing their results and overall satisfaction at the same time.   Contact Jerry to book a consultative strategy session to learn how he can help you work toward your goals.

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