I‘ve been working on my about page on-and-off for over a month now. It’s harder than I expected, especially since I’m not 100% certain of the theme for this blog. Last time I tried starting this blog –over a year ago– this is the exact point where I got stuck and never continued.
To prevent that from happening again I’m giving myself a deadline — one week. Good or bad; I’m going to publish it. I found a good and simple template for making an “About Me” page in Michael Hyatt’s book “Platform.” I’ll give it a try.
If you’re like me, you enjoy setting goals, but have a hard time following through. I usually make goals in December. I start off January focused like a laser. But by the end of February I don’t even remember my goals! Next thing you know it’s December again and the cycle repeats itself.
Desperate for something different, I signed up for Michael Hyatt’s “Best Year Ever” 5-day goal setting course last December. At first I thought he was exagerating. I mean, how can someone sell a course promising to help you achieve your best year ever?
As a long time follower of Michael’s blog and podcast I trusted him. Plus, I know he prides himself on over delivering.
So I did it. And the results?
I’m getting there…
I was right. It wasn’t my best year ever. Nothing can top the year I got married and when my kids were born. However, 2014 comes in second place. This course (goal setting) is one of the main reasons why I had a great year.
What was different? Glad you asked, bro.
For starters, it felt like goal setting on steroids (for the record I’ve never used steroids). These factors made it different:
Theme: I’ve had this “Best Year Ever” theme running through my mind the entire year. Even when I wasn’t thinking about my goals I still thought about the theme. I slacked a few months, but having the theme ingrained in my brain ensured that I didn’t relax for too long. It’s November and I’m still have about accomlishing three remaining big goals.
Intentional: This goal setting experiment has made me more intentional with my time. I created goals for nearly each month so this kept me motivated on a monthly basis. I focused on the months, weeks, days, and even minutes. I was much more aware of my time and my priorities.
Comfort Zone: A few of my goals where outside of my comfort zone. That’s where the magic (personal growth) happens. Among other things, one of my goals was to “start my online platform by September of 2014.” Guess what? I launched this blog in SEPTEMBER (check out my first post). And it felt so good! Without this course you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog post — or my future posts. 🙂 I was scared, nervous, and confused, but I went for it anyway. I’m so glad I did it.
Happiness: I discovered this year that checking off my completed goals gave me instances of happiness and fulfillment. Imagine getting stuff done, gaining control of our life, and moving towards your dreams. That’s what I felt. Completing each goal created a snow ball effect that encouraged me to keep going. When things were not going well during the year, I looked at my completed goals and felt re-inspired.
My year wasn’t all flowers and unicorns. I had some frustrating chunks of time. Life happens! That’s part of the journey.
To make the goal setting experience better next year I’m making a few changes:
1. Partner-up: I’m going to look for an accountability partner. Without one it’s easier to get off track or even quit.
2. Review Goals Daily: I went several months without even looking at my goals and that was a mistake. Next time I plan to read my goals in the morning and before going to bed. I’ll also print out a few copies and leave them in places where I know I’ll see them to keep them top of mind. Keeping a copy in my Evernote app was crucial. I might re-write my goals at least once per week. In my new favorite book “The 10X Rule” (affiliate link) by Grant Cardone, he re-writes his goals every day. He’s a beast.
3. Real Goals: One of my regrets is making goals that were too small. I learned from this experience that Average goals lead to average results. I know we’re supposed to set “realistic” goals, but why? I want more goals that force me to test my comfort zone.
I now realize that without long-term goals we don’t have any idea or control of the direction our lives are headed. If we can’t keep score how will we know if we’re winning? If we don’t know where we’re going then we can’t complain when we don’t get there.
Just imgaine what you can accomplish in one year with the right goals and motivation.
Are you planning to set and follow through on your goals for 2015?
Every time I sit down to write a blog post it happens. As I’m writing those first words it feels as I’m being bombarded by a storm of fearful thoughts designed to stop me from continuing. The experience is almost paralyzing and sometimes I lose the battle, get “distracted,” and stop writing.
The thoughts are normally —
What are you doing?
You are not a writer.
What if people reject your writing?
What if people don’t like your posts?
The worst one is
“Why don’t you just quit. This is a terrible topic.”
What is all of this?
These thoughts are all grounded in some type fear. But what exactly is fear? One of the definitions in dictionary.com describes fear as
“an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger.”
The key word here is emotion. And emotion is a feeling. I’m no expert on word origins, but it seems that fear = feelings.
Don’t know about you, but I can’t trust my feelings too often. If I only did the things I felt like doing I wouldn’t accomplish anything. I rarely feel like exercising, cleaning-up, writing a budget, or starting my taxes.
More importantly, if we relied on our feelings we’d never experiment with anything outside of our comfort zones. And that’s where personal growth happends. We’d never
Embark on a challenge
Set HUGE goals
Attempt something we could fail
Give a speech infront of an audience
and many other things we can put in the “scary” column of life.
What I’ve discovered so far about fear is this:
Fear is relentless and is always looking for way in.
The more we fight back against fear the stronger we get.
Accepting fear prevents us from pushing our comfort zones.
I’m not sure of the best way to fight fear, but Embracing It seems tohelp. But we also have to recognize it. I like what Eleanor Rossevelt said:
Do one thing every day that scares you.
For me, clicking the blue “Publish” button on my blog feels like I’m of punching fear in the face. Bam! I’m still scared of sharing my thoughts and ideas, but this is my way taking the fight to fear itself.
Unless we’re doing something stupid or dangerous, fear is a sign we’re on the right track.
As for my next magic trick, I have to choose a blogging persona. I wish it were that easy. But what I understand is that a blogging persona helps improves our writting voice by focusing the perspective from which we communicate. Identifying the right voice should help us consistently speak with more authenticity. And if done correctly, this should reduce the confusion readers experience as they try to understanding the writer (me) and the message.
I was avoiding this decision, but after writing just a few posts it’s easy to see the benefit of choosing a blogging persona ASAP. Otherwise, I’ll start posting random stuff. I don’t have a core subject or niche yet, so the tempation to write about all the ideas in my head is a like rainy cloud that won’t go away.
My free time to work on the blog is limited to about 30 minutes a day a few times per week in the morning (or when the kids fall asleep at night). To learn about personas I referred to one post from Michael Hyatt and one from John Saddington that describe blogging personas in detail.
These are some of the personas that stand out to me:
Educational: They blog to educate and write a lot of “How-To” articles.
Reviewer: Focus on reviews of products, books, gadgets, etc):
Thought/Subject Leader: Experts in a particular field (e.g. Seth Godin with marketing)
Hobbist: Blogging is just a hobby so there’s no pressure on them.
Personal Blogger: This is basically a catch-all for many different types of bloggers. Some focus on a topic and some don’t.
Professional blogger: These are folks who make a living from blogging.
“The Struggler”: Someone reporting on their personal journey.
From these options, I’m most interested in some combination of Educational, Thought Leader, Personal and the Struggler. Narrowing my choices even more, the two most relatable or applicable to me are the
John Saddington’s description of the Personal Blogger:
“the largest group in the blogosphere (the world of blogs) and the topics of interest can be as varied as you can imagine. Oftentimes these blogs can look like online diaries or simply commentary on life. These blogs can also, at times, become community centers as a consistent number of readers come back to read the published posts. Posts are a reflection of the writer and the motivation for blogging can varied as well.
Michael Hyatt’s description of The Struggler:
This is the person who is the fellow traveler. She hasn’t arrived; she is in process. She reports on her adventures—and misadventures. She takes you along on her journey. She speaks with the voice of transparency.I’m sure there are many others. But these are the ones I recognize.
To continue narrowing my options I invented my own persona category:
I call it (drum roll please) The Grasshopper. 🙂 (Remember the Kung-fu movie where the Master asks his student–the grasshopper–to snatch the pebble from his hand? Only after snatching the pebble will the student become the master.)
Here’s my definition:
The Grasshoper: These are beginners on a particular journey who share the ups-and-downs of their story with a voice of authenticity. During this process of exploration the Grasshoper gains more self-development, self-leadership, and self-awareness. Along the way, he hopes to inspire and connect with others on a similar journey.
I thought this was just an exercise to choose a blogging persona, but it’s much depper. This is exciting. It feels as if I’m ACTIVELY choosing the type of person I want to become in the future. Isn’t that what we all want?