So I have actually had this post running in my mind for a few days already, but it seems to have taken second place to all sorts of silly time-suckers, facebook, Spider Solitaire, checking my e-mail, working on some documents for a Limited Partnership, looking at stocks to invest in, etc.
So, in the spirit of new beginnings, after blowing another hour and a half watching 200 Cigarettes (I thought it was great, by the way, but if you were interested, you'd have probably seen it 14 years ago), and wondering if this new beginning isn't starting out looking a lot like that which I am supposedly putting behind, I share with you this week's thoughts.
I have three of them. One, I can't help you if you don't want to help yourself, with the corollary “I suppose I should help myself.” Two, I've got plenty of ways to help you help yourself, and it's time to outline some of them in one place I can refer people to instead of writing a new e-mail every time I see that someone in my world is up to something new. Three, promises, promises. I don't know if I am going to make any new ones here (who am I kidding; it's a new year; of course I will), but I should probably get present to the impact that not keeping them has had in my life and take a look at what I can do to keep from kicking myself in the head.
I've been doing business with a friend of mine for some years. He's got some things on his plate at the moment, including breakdowns around his business, his relationship with his daughter, and his health. But he also has a commitment to make a difference. Around his health, he's altered his diet, he's taken on walking every day, and he has me call him to keep him present to his commitment. Around his relationships, he sees that he doesn't have the most objective perspective. He shares with me, and lets me imagine for him what is going on on his daughter's side so that he can be responsible for how he leaves her. His business we're working on. What strikes me is that our conversations are about actions that can forward his objectives.
I have a coach through a program I am taking. A little while ago, she announced that she is looking to change her work. I have contacted her four or five times, via SMS, e-mail, and phone. She says she'll get back to me. Another great coach of mine said she wants to get in better shape, and mentioned her diet. I forwarded a bunch of material about diet — this is also an area in which I have some knowledge — via e-mail. Perhaps in time she'll also get back to me. These people, actually fairly powerful in their lives, talk about their wants rather than action.
It's occurring to me that a lot of the people who say they want to change things aren't too committed to change. Instead, they want to complain, or whine, or get some sympathy. I don't want to be one of those. The way not to be one of those is to be in action. So my first question of the year is what actions are you going to take?
work and the world of action
I start you with my friend James Altucher, and particularly his advice for people out of work, and then follow his link to the full daily practice.
As to your dream, start with Scott Dinsmore's http://liveyourlegend.net. You want to go straight to his 27 questions and give yourself a two hour window to complete them. His philosophy by the way is that you are the average of the people you spend the most time with. You want to make sure you are hanging with people who will empower you to win. More on that below.
When you've completed that, I also recommend Shawn Achor's Secret to Better Work. This is a twelve and a half minute video, but it provides great advice, particularly around eleven minutes in.
I also love Ramit Sethi. He's got some great courses to help you fulfil what you want in life, but his web site is also chock full of free stuff.
Other muses include Liz Seda who will share with you her Life Lover's Guide to the Galaxy, and Tim Ferriss, who provides a particularly effective set of tools to hack life.
It’s really easy to get overwhelmed watching and going through – or as I tend to do watching and avoiding actually doing – what these people recommend. Don’t do that. Pick one item, give it a set time a day, and do that. If you want a support group, hook up with a Live Your Legend meetup, or create one of your own.
If you want me to be a part of your structure to win in 2014, my services are available. Just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll make this a year you won't forget.
promises, grace, and forgiveness
If you want to win this year, which I am clear that you do, you'll want a powerful structure. There's nothing more likely to suck the power from a person than a commitment unfulfilled. The problem with so many New Year's resolutions is that they are just empty commitments. People — that includes you — will show up to meet a trainer or a friend at the gym. We'll go to amazing lengths to help out a friend. My most constant reminder when I stray from my diet is my children, and I am truest to my diet when I am out with others.
But left to my own devices, I am much more prone to hit a snooze button, to put the exercise off for later, and to simply conclude that I'm not cut out for what I said I want. With a little push, the right friends, or the right context, we can do pretty much anything. I've had this blog for more than a year. It's only when I took on Scott Dinsmore's Creator's Guild that a post started showing up here every week.
To keep our promises, we should also treat ourselves with good favor, grace. When we fail to keep our word (you'll notice this post is two days late), we needn't make ourselves wrong. Instead, we can just look at our circumstances, acknowledge where we strayed from our path (200 Cigarettes, for instance), notice the impact (the first thing I said to myself was “great way to screw up a new year”), forgive ourselves (I've done this twice already just with this post), make a new promise, and actually keep it.
So my first promise — and I realize this doesn't really follows from the above — is to be a partner to my wife and to let her into the places that I haven't until now. Since she is going to read this, I'm sure she'll take it upon herself to remind me when I'm not.
Happy New Year