Friday, October 11, 2019

The 30 Day "Idea and Create" Challenge

I just came up with this literally 5 minutes ago, but it could save my life - or sanity at least. Maybe it could do the same for you. One of my great struggles in life is that I over-analyze everything.

  • Should I write this post?
  • What will happen if I choose this instead of that?
  • Is this the right strategy for me?
I could probably write 100 of those if I had the time. But you get the point.

Beginning today, I'm starting a 30 day "Idea and Create" challenge for myself. The thought process behind it is as simple as it sounds. Have an idea that I want to pursue? Start creating content around that idea. Go hard for 30 days. See what happens.

I'm going to take the same approach to social media. I overthink every word on every post I make. I guess I'm worried that my 76 followers on Instagram won't approve, and obviously I'm trying to create for the 'likes', which never works out anyway. I spend far too much time thinking about what my profile should say...but that doesn't really matter when I never post anyway, now does it.

For the next 30 days, just document my life on all platforms. That is going to be the goal. Make at least 1 post on Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok, and LinkedIn. Maybe even Facebook too.

Have an idea and go to work creating. It's the only way I'm getting out of this rut. Can't wait to see how this process plays out.

Friday, August 9, 2019

How do you know when it's time to move on?

For the last several years, I've been debating 'retiring' from soccer, both refereeing and coaching. I began officiating soccer when I was 15 years old, and it was my first job. I loved going out to the park and refereeing the little kids. It was cool when they all looked up to me, but that was a long, long time ago. Twenty-five years to be exact. I am 40 years old now.

More recently, I found myself asking the question "What am I doing here?" during high school soccer matches. I particularly remember my last match in 2017. I was doing a girls game at Evergreen High School in Metamora, Ohio and we were in the middle of nowhere. It was a peaceful night in a low-level, end of the season contest. I had a lot of time to think, and the entire match I just kept asking myself the same question...

What am I doing here?

It didn't help that my marriage was at that time falling apart. Soccer season always seemed to put a strain on our home life, but this season there seemed to be something more to it. Weeks prior, while my wife was in New York City visiting her brother, a match that I had been working (because I stayed home to make that money) got so out of control that the Assistant Athletic Director escorted me and my partner to our cars.

I asked the question all weekend...What the hell am I doing here? Instead of having fun in New York City, I decided to stay home to get harassed on a soccer field for 7 matches. In hindsight, it was really stupid.

This past June, I decided to quit refereeing once and for all (with the exception of a few payday tournaments here and there). I remember the exact moment that it hit me that this would be my last match - that my referee career was finally coming to an end.

I stuck around after the match to take this picture for the ' the picture to read my caption from June 3rd. I haven't officiated a match since.

I was working a match at the Total Sports Rossford Dome, and as I'm in the center, I just had this overwhelming feeling that I can't do this anymore. Twenty minutes into the match, and I couldn't wait until it was over. I was losing focus during the match because all I could think about was...

This has to be it. I have to be done after this game.

So, how do you know when it's time to move on?

It's different for everyone, but I think it starts by getting inside your own head and coming up with an honest answer to the question "What am I doing here?". If your answer is "I don't know" or "I hate doing this", it's probably time to move on. Don't wait another 2-3 years like I did to make the decision. Life's too short to be miserable doing something you don't enjoy.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Measure your actions instead of your progress

Today's post is sort of building off of yesterday's, so if you didn't read that, you might want to check it out first. One thing I'm learning, especially in the last 6-12 months, is that in order to make true progress, it's better to measure your actions instead of your results. The difference is slight but significant.

When you measure your results, you are only looking at outside forces, many of which you have no control over. You could list 100 things on eBay this week and none of them could sell. You start to feel like you're failing, but it could be that it's just early. After all, you can't force people to buy or predict when they will.

The only thing you can really do in that situation is manage what you can control: your listings. Continue to list items every day (or at least 4-5 times per week). Sales is a numbers game, and the more you have listed, the more you have the potential to sell.

This idea isn't restricted to sales or business, this is a principle for every area of your life. The same could be said about weight loss, getting a new job, or a million other goals. But since I mentioned it, let's talk about weight loss for a minute.

So many times we focus on the scale, and really what that does is it tempts us to cheat. We all know something we could do to go down a pound today, but will it last long-term? You and I both know that answer is 'no'. After all, you can't starve yourself every day.

In that instance, a better approach would be to track what you eat, how much water you drink, your daily exercise, or hundreds of other metrics. The main point though is that with everything, you'll be much farther ahead if you focus on the actions you can control, instead of the outcomes that you can't control.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

For Massive Improvement, Force Yourself to Take Daily Action

When is the last time you achieved one of your big goals - something you really had to work for? For me, it was completing the 2017 Glass City Half Marathon. In just 3 months, I went from not being a runner at all, to finishing a half marathon in just over 2 hours.

When you have a big goal, you have to put in the work toward it every day, whether you like it or not. There is an old saying that says "find something you love to do, and you'll never work another day in your life". I heard that all the time from my Dad growing up. It's a nice thought, but there is a fundamental problem with it - there is no truth to that statement.

Whatever you're trying to achieve, there will be work involved. The bigger the goal, the harder that you're going to have to work. Even if you really love what you're doing, there are going to be certain parts of it (or even days) that you just don't feel like working on your goal. In those times, it will most definitely feel like work.

The fastest way to improvement

When your goal gets hard (and it will), the fastest way to improvement is to power through. From my experience in training for the half marathon, the biggest gains were earned on the days when I didn't feel like running. That's because there is a certain satisfaction in knowing that you pushed through and got it done, even when you didn't feel like it. 

You proved to yourself that you can accomplish hard tasks, even when you didn't want to work at all. It's a mental victory, and those are far more important than the physical victories.

Whatever you're trying to accomplish in life, make it a goal - force yourself if you have to - to take specific action toward that goal every day.

For example, this is probably the 97th time I've restarted this blog. Typically, I will write for about 2-4 days, and then just quit. In fact, the last time I restarted, I wrote a welcome post and then apparently just quit. I want to write, but don't know what to say. Instead of writing until I figure it out, I've given up.

Forcing yourself to take action will turn it into a habit. So, until the end of September, I'm going to write a blog post every single day. At that time, I'll re-evaluate to see if that's still the frequency that I want to post, but until then, I'll be taking that action every single day. It's the only way the writing will every improve.

I challenge you to figure out what your goals are, and then find a way to take action on them every single day. 

Let me know in the comments what you're going to be working on. I'd love to hear about it.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Welcome to my blog

This blog has lived inside my head for about a decade. It's true, I like to wait until a platform is nearly obsolete before I give it a go. I've heard so many times that "nobody blogs anymore", but here I am restarting again. Anyway, I know the written word will never die.

It's not that I never got started; it's that I never saw it through those first few posts. I can remember sitting at my computer around the end of the year in either 2009 or 2010. I was Facebook messaging a friend of mine that had a blog about caps that he was hand-painting and selling at the time. He was telling me I just needed to go for it.

My problem is that I've been running from who I really am for 40 years. I am a writer. Wow, just typing that seemed powerful to me. Writing is a very personal journey, and I guess I've always been too concerned about what people would think of my words to actually put them out there. So, instead of writing a blog that may or may not have generated a following, I came up with excuses.

  • What will the title of the blog be?
  • What topic will I write about?
  • What font type and size should I use?
  • Should I blog on Wordpress or Blogger?
  • Should I buy a domain or use the platform extension?
  • What if it doesn't work out?

I asked myself all these questions and more every time I sat down to get serious about blogging. In reality, I was stalling, and over the years I have become a world-class champion at putting off the things I'm not sure about. You probably are too. What I was really asking was this: What if this blog thing works out and people really start to read what I have to say? How will I deal with that - good or bad?

Over the last three weeks, I've been looking into my past and have come up with some answers as to why I do these things. It really comes down to a lack of confidence, and that stems from me being the black sheep of the family - the one who was scapegoated my entire life. I realize now that it's just time to step up and tell my story - good or bad - and take whatever comes my way in the form of feedback.

Blog Plan

My plan is to write every morning, and publish each post at 6 AM (It's 5 AM right now as I write that line). Weekends will be a little later, probably publishing at 8 AM. I'm not going to be concerned if I miss the deadlines that I've set, at least not right now when I have no audience.

There is no strict format this blog will follow. I will write about whatever I'm feeling for the day, and hope to make each post into something that you as the reader can actually use. I plan to write very similarly to what Seth Godin does on his blog - a short post every day about any topic that I feel qualified to write about. What I won't be doing is giving advice about something I've never been through personally.

Don't Wait - Just Get Started

I know you've heard this many times before, and so have I, but it's something that has really hit me hard in the last three weeks. There will always be people who want you to wait, or not tell your story, or not run that race, because your success makes them feel bad about themselves.

It's ridiculous when you think about it like that, but we both know this is true. We also know that getting started is the fun and exciting part. Once you're several days or weeks into your work though, and the newness of it has worn off, that's when the challenges will come.

I don't know much about finishing, but I do know about starting. Beginning something new is fun and exciting, but it's met with frustration and disappointment when you don't follow through and complete the task you were working on.

With this blog and in life in general, I hope to consistently improve and never actually "finish", because one goal bleeds into the next goal. I wish the same for you. Through this blog, I hope to foster a community of doers, who are constantly looking for improvement.

Thank you for reading this today!!