Every once in a while you have to do something different. In this case, I’m repurposing one of my older blog posts from 2012… because I thought it was pretty good. I only allow comments on posts for around 4 years, so the only way I can let people see this again, and allow them to comment on it, I have to update it a little bit and release it new. I’ve done that before a few times, but this time I’m leaving all the older comments on it. It was pretty popular at the time; let’s see how it plays after nearly 7 years. Continue reading 10 Things You Must Have For A Happy Life→
Welcome to the first post of 2014. I know it’s going to seem strange having the first post come one day after the last post of 2013, and yet I felt I had to create this particular article because, even though it doesn’t have anything to do with blogging or writing or SEO or anything else regarding social media, it does have a little bit to do with the article I wrote about focus some days ago. Truthfully this is a story, a true story that probably took less than 10 minutes of my life, but I thought it was a tale worth telling because you either identify with me, laugh at me, or sit there scratching your head wondering why the heck I wrote it to begin with. With that as the preamble let’s begin.
As I was leaving Barnes & Noble, where I had gone to buy the DVD of Despicable Me 2, I decided that I wanted some fudge. I wanted fudge because the last video I watched before I left home was one of my online friends Tomeka Haywood making some homemade fudge. Part of me thought about trying that, and another part of me said it would be better if I could just buy some.
One of the problems I have is that, oddly enough, where I live you can’t just find fudge anywhere. Sure, there are a couple of the large candy companies that have fudge, but in my mind that stuff never quite qualifies as fudge. If it was a Saturday I would go to what we call the Farmers Market around here, but it’s Wednesday, New Year’s Day. I decided to check out my favorite grocery store, Wegmans, to see if maybe they had some fudge.
Truth be told, I knew they wouldn’t have fudge because it’s not something they normally carry. However, somewhere in the recesses of my mind I thought that maybe because it was a holiday they would have some on hand. They didn’t, but it wasn’t going to be a wasted trip because I needed more soda anyway.
As I got close to the soda area, I noticed Rice Krispies were on sale, and I thought about making some rice krispy treats. I really love these things, and they’re very easy to make, but I usually don’t have enough discretion to know how to space them out over the course of a couple of days. As a matter of fact, if I start in the morning you can pretty much be sure they’re going to be gone by the end of the day. I decided to wait for a couple of minutes and go get the soda, walk around to see what else there might be, and if I found nothing else then I might go back and get it.
As I walked around, at some point I found myself near the cookies. I took a quick look and found that they had coconut chocolate chip cookies from Keebler. I don’t eat a lot of these cookies, but it sparked a memory in my mind of how much I used to always love making a big cup of hot chocolate, and then taking my bag of cookies and seeing how many of them I could dunk and eat in one sitting. I love the flavor drastically, and you can imagine the smell of the hot chocolate and coconut cookie together, and my mouth was salivating again.
Now I had a mental dilemma. I think I’ve mentioned on this blog before that I have sugar cravings, and they were very strong at this moment. I knew that I needed some time to think about things, so I went into the frozen section where they have a bench, sat down on the bench and started to think. I had planned on calling one of two people, neither one of which was my wife, but the deep recesses of my mind said that would be pretty stupid.
Why did this take so much thought? Because I knew that either direction I went was going to cause some grief to my body. There is no secret that I’m diabetic, but I’m thinking the load of sugar that either one of these would’ve pumped into my body would probably bother anyone my age, or within 20 years of my age. Yet my mind didn’t really care for a while. And often, when I shop by myself, I just grabbed the first thing that comes to my mind, come home and eat it, and then feel both guilty and occasionally sick. I’m not one of those people who only eats two or three cookies and then puts it away, I eat as many as I want to until my body says please stop.
My wife thinks I’m crazy and that this shouldn’t be a big deal, but I’m pretty much of the opinion that anybody who goes through any kind of addiction and is trying not to do something probably goes through the same process, only probably not as long as I did. Knowing that one of the focus points for this year is to be more cautious with my health, I thought through the ramifications of the decision I was trying to make against what I felt was my immediate need for satisfaction. It sounds funny comparing suites to drugs or alcohol or cigarettes, but in my mind the decision I made was going to be very important.
The funny thing about time, when you have enough so that you can think things through quite often you will end up making a better decision than you were ready to make. I decided that I did not want to spend New Year’s Day feeling sick, so I immediately through out the coconut chocolate chip cookies and hot chocolate idea. I then decided that even though I would be starting the treats later than early morning, the process of making them and then eating them while having to clean more things in the kitchen wasn’t quite as appealing as it had initially been. So, instead of either one of those two things, I decided to buy a bag of M&M’s. True, it’s still chocolate, but it doesn’t come close to the hurt I would put on myself with the other two options, and I’m not one to sit and eat an entire bag of that in one sitting.
After I made my decision, my mind felt light and free. I went to the candy section and picked up the bag of M&Ms I wanted, this time the milk chocolate instead of the peanut butter. As I go to put it in my basket, my eyes got wide as I realized that I had picked up a 6 inch chocolate fudge cake and put it in my basket at some point; I wonder when the heck I did that? 😀 This means I would’ve had a lot of dessert and felt like I had to eat it all before I left town again on Sunday.
Here’s the rub. I’m of the opinion that if one of my goals wasn’t focus for 2014, as well as a goal of trying to be healthier, I would have bought one of those things without a moment’s notice, including the cake, brought it home and ate it without a second thought until I didn’t feel well. That wouldn’t have brought me any type of benefit, although my taste buds would’ve probably loved me.
The decisions we make and the reasons behind the decisions we make can be interesting. In a way, I could make this a topic about blogging because so many people start blogging without thinking all that much about what their intentions are for their blog. Heck, I certainly did it with this blog back in 2007. And our buddy Jeevan is starting his new blog today called Daring Blogger, and he seems focused on what his goals are as he tells us in the first post which I just linked to.
I hope you enjoyed this story, and in a weird way hope you learned something from it, not about me but about yourselves. One of the best things about stories is that often we can see something of ourselves in a story, and stories are sometimes enough to help us decide to make even the smallest of changes.
To close this post I’m going to add a video below that I created talking about how little changes can bring great growth in so many ways; I didn’t know I was going to do this, but I think it’s a good time to unveil it here on the blog. To everyone, let’s have a great 2014, and I hope to have good stuff for you throughout the year.
A couple of days ago I did a video about my goals for 2014, which is embedded below. In essence, I talked about 7 goals I have for the new year, and there’s one in particular I want to address in this article because I think it’s probably the most important one for me and for all of you; yes, I said that.
I haven’t written all that often about the term “focus” on this blog. I’ve certainly addressed it a few times on my business blog, mainly because that blog talks about leadership and behavior more often, thus it’s a good thing to address over there. So, in a slightly different vein, here are a couple of links to that blog to articles on “focus” that I think connect to this topic very well:
The reason I think focus is going to be my biggest goal this year is because I’ve noticed as I’ve reached my middle 50’s that I really don’t focus on things as well as I used to. I’m not sure if it’s age or diabetes or diabetes medication or lack of sleep but focus is lacking across the board. I have found that when I write things down that I actually get more things done, and that’s good. However, I don’t write things down enough and that’s bad.
What will focus do for me, and for you? Focus allows us to complete things we start. Actually, focus allows us to evaluate those things to see if we should even do them. I don’t know how many blogs I’ve read where the writer talks about a project they started, got to a certain point and realized that their heart wasn’t in it any longer, or that they realized they might not get out of it what they had hoped for.
In my case, I started the SEO part of my business in 2007 with the working goal of building websites, optimizing them to that they would rank well and give business owners a chance to compete with others in their industry. Six years later I realize that I really don’t like sitting down and creating websites all that much now, that more people love templates and want something simple that they can change on their own, and they all want “pretty”, which won’t get most of them any traffic at all but it’s hard to convince them of that.
Instead, I’ve changed the focus of that blog to talking more about SEO and social media interactions and website evaluation. And yet, though the focus of that site has changed, I haven’t fully embraced it, probably because the health care side of my business still drives the overwhelming majority of my income, and even though SEO and the like is way more fun, including blogging, when all is said and done the bills have to be paid and there’s stuff I want and need to buy. I talk about some of that in the video.
As I talk about my goals in the video, including focus, I also ask people if they set goals, if they’re willing to share any of the big goals, if they want help in reaching and focusing on their goals, and a whole lot of other stuff. I missed talking about the 6th year anniversary of this blog, which was on December 12th, because I was still out of town on my consulting assignment and I wasn’t focused on the milestone; sigh… I’m also realizing now that after this one I’m 20 posts away from 1,500, another milestone that, this time around, I want to make sure I don’t forget.
Meanwhile, I want to share this with you. I’ve never talked about it on this blog, but I have shared it a few times on my business blog. This link leads you to a PDF called the Reserve Index. It’s a self evaluation of where you are now and where you want to be, and there are 100 points to see where you are on the list and to determine where you might want to be. I’ve done it periodically and I’ve scored as high as 26 and as low as 7; no, those aren’t great scores.
If you’re honest you’ll see there are some things you’ll never do because you don’t want to, but a lot of things you probably do want but aren’t really working towards. I’m going to do it again within the next couple of days and use that to help me focus on things over the course of the year. And I mention something in the video that I think would be well worth your time, effort and dollars as well, and I’m getting no money from it. lol
With all of that said it’s time to let this post go to the video, and I hope that some of you watch it. If not, I hope some of you got enough from this post to comment on it; let’s find out.
Many of you know that on September 1st I mentioned that I had come up with my dream goal for the year, something I want to reach and will strive to reach by September 1st, 2013. If you don’t, check out my dream post to catch up. I wanted to give a quick update after the first month but I’m not going to make this a regular thing so don’t look for it in November or any other months, though I might mention it again around six months or so; we’ll see.
Why am I doing this? First, I think I’ve proven that I’m somewhat transparent in what I’ll share, though you certainly will never know it all. lol Second, I think it’s important to show you the types of things that occur, even with the best made plans, and how one has to be prepared for altering things or accepting certain things about themselves. Change is never easy, but some changes are easier than others.
One last thing. I won’t be posting updates here, but I have been doing a weekly synopsis of how things are going on my YouTube channel, which I haven’t advertised anywhere so this is the first mention of it. Truthfully, the videos are so I can look back on things to see if and how I progressed, but they’re also there if anyone else wants to see what’s going on. So far they’ve not been seen by many people but that’s okay. 🙂
Let’s begin. I’m going to start with the health thing. I said that I needed to make sure I took care of my body more often. Out of the first 30 days I exercised 21 days, a couple of times twice a day. I found that when I scheduled the time in for my back exercises I did them almost all the time; there were 2 days I didn’t do them because I wasn’t in the mood, but on one of those days I went to the lake for a long walk later in the day. That comes out to 70%, and I have to say I’m proud of that.
I’ve also monitored my eating most of the time but I went off base a few times and that affected me in a couple of different ways. A couple of times I had to sleep beyond scheduled time; that’s never good. One day I didn’t eat properly early on and it affected me later in the evening when I met a friend for dinner, had dessert, and went into overload mode; that’s not pretty and I don’t want to describe it too much because, well, it’s not pretty, and it ended up shutting me down the next day; ugh. Otherwise I was pretty good and even lost a pound during the month.
My mental state was pretty high for most of the month but I went into a 3-day funk, followed by the above scenario a week later, and truthfully that’s a pretty good month for me so I’ll accept that. Positivity does have its place.
Leaving health, let’s talk accomplishments. I ended up having 5 major projects in the month and I accomplished 4 of them. Those are helping me with some of my marketing efforts because one of them is based on my own unique selling proposition (USP) in one of my fields of expertise. I have started putting that out there and early in it’s getting limited hits and activity but any activity is pretty good. In this particular area I don’t need lots of clients; 6 clients for that one particular thing gives me the money for the year that I need to achieve my goal, which is why that was so important.
The one thing I never thought about until near the end of the month was that I didn’t have a real plan for generating any new revenue in the month; oops. Actually, now that I’ve completed the other things that brings me back into revenue generation for this month, even though I’ll be losing a week with a trip to Florida for a conference. But now I can push forward in marketing and hopefully sales.
What else didn’t happen? I didn’t get any accountability partners. I couldn’t convince anyone else to take the challenge with me so it’s me alone; sniff!
I only did defined people in one industry to contact but that’s my most profitable industry so I’ll take that for now.
I almost had a speaking engagement in NYC but it was going to be tight since I’d have had to drive down there the day after I came back from Florida; that would have been rough.
That’s pretty much it, unless you can think of something I’m missing or something else you’d like to know about what’s going on. Yeah, this is a “me” post, but it’s always my hope that in revealing how hard the process is that if you decide to try something like it in the future you won’t beat yourself up when pitfalls come, and that you won’t give up.
However, if you did set a goal but didn’t want to say what it was how are you doing?
Back on August 12th I shared a post here talking about my friend Rasheed and his living his dream of driving around the country, meeting people he’s known for years. At that time I said that I didn’t have a dream, and that I needed to work on finding one.
Just about 3 weeks later I think I’ve come across a dream. No, I know I’ve decided on a dream, because it’s strong, it’s big and audacious, it’s crucial, and I know if I apply, work hard, accept opportunity and make myself more vulnerable than I’ve been in the past I can get it done.
Vulnerable, I hear you asking? Actually yes, and once again this came from Rasheed. During our in-person meeting, he started telling me about a woman he saw in person named Brené Brown, who gave a talk on the subject of vulnerability. He tried explaining it to me and I have to admit that I didn’t get it. I didn’t argue it with him all that much because he was having problems explaining it to me. But once I saw the video, which is about 20 minutes, I got it, and I had to agree that it’s probably one of the most important business worthy and personal worthy presentations I’ve ever seen, and needed to see. Here’s the video:
If you didn’t watch it, shame on you. I’ll give you this much of it though. In essence, the biggest problem most of us have is marketing and sales. Brené states that every person that’s succeeded at anything has had to make themselves vulnerable to the possibility of being hurt. That’s because no one succeeds on their own, but you have to view it in more ways than one.
If you work for yourself, like I do, it means you have to market in some way. You either sell yourself to potential customers or to those who know how to make contacts so you can work and get paid for it. Even if you create things you need to sell yourself to someone so that you can sell your products. And it’s not easy because we have to be willing to be vulnerable, to get our feelings hurt, and to try again. And it’s easier to do if you have a dream and a goal worth achieving.
So, back to the dream. I’m not going to tell you what the actual dream is, though I could. And strangely enough, it’s not because of a conversation I had with my buddy Mitch Allen, who believes that no one should tell anyone anything about their dreams because studies have shown that when people put their dreams out to the public they don’t come true. Truthfully, other studies have shown that people not afraid to share their dreams will succeed, so that’s null and void.
I’m not sharing the dream because that’s not what’s important. “When” I attain the dream in the time I’m allowing myself to reach the dream, it’ll be more satisfying talking about it then. I’m giving myself a year to reach this dream. It’s a big, audacious hairy dream. It’s a six-figure dream. And I know I can reach it, track record or not.
So why am I writing about the dream if I’m not going to tell you what it is?
Two reasons for now. One, because I want to share my thought process, things I’ve been putting together, things I feel must be considered as I work towards this dream. If you have thoughts about setting plans for attaining your dreams and goals, something like this could benefit you. Or you might look at it and say “man, that’s just too much”; at least you’ll have something to compare it to. Two, because it’s possible that you, the public, will end up helping me reach my dreams while I help you reach your dreams, and frankly, my thinking is that the more people willing to take some chances, becomes a bit more vulnerable, and go after their dreams and goals at the same time is inspiring enough.
And let’s get this out of the way. Even if I don’t hit my dream exactly the process and forward thinking towards the dream is still a good thing. Jack Canfield talks about his goal of making $100,000 the first year of marketing his Chicken Soup book and making $92,000 or so instead. He wasn’t disappointed in that because it was more money than he’d ever made in his life to that point. That’s what we’re after here; who’s with me?
Here’s the thinking process, things that need to be considered:
1. Defining why I want the dream and what it will mean to me long term.
2. Defining how much money I need to shoot for to accomplish the dream and still take care of my present bills. Break down how much has to be earned monthly, weekly, and daily, possibly hourly.
3. Define how I’ll physically take care of myself. I must remember to take my medication and I must workout.
4. Define when I’ll work and rest. This one’s important because I don’t take enough time out to rest or workout or even eat, and if I don’t take care of me, I won’t be able to take care of anything.
5. Define all the ways I can make money, prioritize them, plan the marketing and sales and to whom and how.
6. Define if I need an accountability team or partner. This one is a crapshoot because it would be nice to talk to people who decide to join in on coming up with a dream and then setting up a once a week video call on Skype or Hangout to work on encouraging each other. Support systems are always nice.
7. Define all the people I already know that I need to contact in some fashion and then figure out which other industries and people I need to be contacting.
8. Continue with the things I do now that help market myself and brings in some money, which includes blogging of course. No, I will not give up blogging. As a matter of fact, it’s my intention within the next year to suddenly be in the mix of names that people mention when they start talking about the most influential bloggers in the world. That, of course, will depend a lot of those of you who stop by and read and comment, and I thank those of you who do it now.
9. Define what I do now that doesn’t get me closer to the dream and determine if it’s worth continuing with it. That one’s going to be tough to figure out because it borders on thinking about what wastes time versus what brings me a little bit of mental comfort and joy even for a few minutes.
10. Define how I can help others that help me. Did I mention that this isn’t something one does alone? I’ve always put out the offer that I’m willing to help others. Anything long will require payment but truthfully, sometimes people won’t accept help they don’t pay for.
I’m going to get this done, or I’m going to work myself to the bone trying to get there. I already have a goal charting system to work with; I just have to define everything else, stay on point, maximize my time and get to it. Everything truthfully starts on Tuesday, as the holiday is Monday (Labor Day to those not in the country), but I’ve already put a few things together in preparation; never wait until the last minute where your dream is concerned.
That’s it. I wish me luck, and I wish you luck in reaching for your dreams and goals as well.