Sunday, December 28, 2014

I just killed a habit as old as my home internet connection

I have had internet in my home in one form or another since 1994--yup 20 years.

And for those 20 years I would sit down first thing in the morning with my cup of coffee and read email and browse the internet.

At first it meant connecting with a 28.8 kbps modem and then with a 56 kpbs (oooh, twice as fast...sort of) until I moved into a house of my own and had cable internet installed.

At first, I couldn't wait to see what surprises would show up in my inbox. But after a while it just became a habit. It was my version of looking at the newspaper in the morning.

Well, I recently quit this habit.


Spending my waking moments looking at  Facebook etc was costing me.

I knew I was losing prime brain time and spending far too much time browsing which resulted in a whole lot of procrastination. I let it go on and on for years as a more or less harmless vice--I wasn't ready to let it go until I realized I wanted to spend more time writing. That time wasn't going to just show up in my calendar. I needed to make that time.

On the first day of the experiment I settled into my chair with my coffee and resisted the initial urge to flip open my laptop. Instead I looked out the window.

There was a dove on the telephone wire over my fence. The sun was reflecting on its breast, making it appear golden. For a while I continued to have the impulse to pick up my laptop to read or (trickier) to write someone a message that needed to be sent RIGHT THEN.

I just let the urge pass, made a note in my notebook to contact my friend later and continued to watch the dove on the wire.

I finished my coffee and then started my day--a full hour ahead of when I usually would. I managed to jot down some ideas for some new projects and head out for a long walk.

I checked my laptop later in the day for all the things I normally would have at dawn. None of it was so compelling that I lost anything by waiting until later.

At that moment I made a decision about how I would start my mornings moving forward.

Only a few days before this I couldn't conceive of not starting my morning with a little browsing over coffee. It just seemed like an impossible habit to break. But by changing this habit I stopped up an enormous energy leak.

It turns out I didn't have to force myself to get up earlier to get my writing in. I could just get up and get going.

Small changes can yield huge results.

The new year is upon us. You can change a habit any old time (I just did) but I know its still popular to start things when the calendar flips over.

Have a big goal you want to work on? Want to succeed in making it happen? Check out the book I just published on Amazon. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

One lesson I hope people take away from the book

Well, despite the rewrite, the downtime in Maui, the ER, and the EVERY STUPID OTHER THING that showed up in my path I actually AM publishing in December.

December 16th to be exact!

I'm pretty damn excited.

I hired my friend, the enormously talented Kerri Antes to do a photo shoot so I would have some professional pictures for my author page and also for my website and other promo materials.

Here are a couple.

People, there are thousands of pictures of me on the web joking around, making faces etc. There are none that I can think of with me just looking nice.

I hired someone else to catch my good side because I needed some distance and for someone else to "show me" my good side.

This is pretty bad news (not that I could take a photo like this by using selfie mode on my iPhone).

No, because it's a pretty tight parallel to the way I've been treating my book project.

People come to me to help get over the baggage that keeps them from putting themselves out there, to take risks and to drop paralyzing perfectionism.

I want my clients to be aggressively on their own side and refuse to take crap from anyone who isn't on board with whatever crazy fantastic thing they want for themselves.

When I was working with my own coach this week (yes, I have one) she nailed me on my doubt on being able to draw an audience for the book.

"Why don't you think you can do that"?

"I guess I don't have the evidence that I can. I don't know if people will like it or find it valuable".

There is something stupidly incongruous with putting as much effort as I did in distilling down the information my new book contains if I have some lingering doubt that people won't find it valuable or be drawn to its content and lessons.

Good lord! I'm glad I didn't have this evidence requirement when I started writing. There isn't a whole lot of power behind the thought "I'm going to write this thing and maybe someone will read it".

No--you write a book because you want to reach the world.

And you can't wait for the world to tell you it's ok.

I've spent tens of thousands of dollars and years in effort acquiring the knowledge and experiences that fed the content of this book. I threw out everything and started from scratch so that the content would be concise and accessible. I did it because I wanted my audience to get something solid.

Being aggressively on my own side on this one.

If you undertake any new endeavor, don't cheat yourself with foolish thoughts such as "I don't know if its good enough" or "why bother".


Just don't.