Everything seems quiet here in comparison to the last half of 2019. I have few trips on the horizon and while that is a little sad for me, I know I have a lot to do in this first quarter and I want to use the time wisely to make progress towards my goals so that I can that much closer to my overall dream of flexibility, travel, and helping others.
While time is speeding on its usual fast track, I will say that I have been energized lately thanks to Location Indie‘s Awaken Your Inner Entrepreneur challenge last week. It was a five-day program, starting on Monday and consisting of relatively short but significant tasks to complete. Each “homework” item was designed to push us a little, but still be doable and dare I say, fun.
None of the things were inherently difficult, but often we need something outside of ourselves to help break us free from of our own mindsets, no matter how eager, passionate, or motivated we may be inside. Sometimes it just takes that extra little push to awaken our inner spirit and propel us to move forward in a way that wouldn’t have been possible alone.
I am saying “we” because it’s a typical of us humans. Some people are great at self-motivation and can come up with a brilliant plan of action and execute each of the sub-tasks necessary to complete it. I thought I was doing a decent job of it until I entered the entrepreneurial space. Let me tell you, this is a different beast.
It’s hard to explain but I’ll say that because it’s new, it’s hard to find footing when the path is unclear. This challenge was a great way to help guide me, but also to kickstart 2020 in a direction that I feel is more on track. The year started on a lackluster note and I was feeling discouraged and directionless, yet I knew I’d get my mojo back eventually. And back it is!
The challenge was all on Facebook (finally a sensible way I can use social media!). The cost to sign up was $19 for the purpose of having an incentive to actually do it, but we were given a chance to earn it back.
Each day began with a video around 6am stating the day’s action item. To be eligible for the refund, we would have until 11:59 in the morning to post our results or explanation that we fulfilled the challenge for that day.
Day One: The BHAG
Pronounced “bee hag,” this stands for Big Hairy Audacious Goal. The premise behind this is to dream big and wild without holding back. Contemplate your most outrageous wish for yourself and your life? What are you so passionate about that you ache for a life filled with it? How would you truly like to be living if all the barriers were removed? This is the BHAG.
The purpose of this exercise is to really let loose ideas and imagine what you could do and have. Then, of course, make it happen. At least stating the BHAG allows you to have an end goal from which you can work backwards and break it down into manageable steps.
Day Two: Abundance Mentality
Also called “pay it forward,” the idea here is that instead of viewing our competitors and people we might be jealous of as adversaries, we should approach them in a collaboratory and well-wishing manner.
Instead of envy and greed, we need to embrace the concept that we all have something to offer and doing good things will come back to you. The universe has a way of keeping things in check. And you know how karma feels about this.
Day Three: F%$! Perfection
Whether you choose to censor or let your profanity gush forth, the point here is that you have to let go of your perfectionistic tendencies. That is really hard for me, but I’m not alone. This extends to the realm beyond mere details.
Sometimes you have to pull the trigger on something even if you aren’t ready. Every successful entrepreneur has a first version of something that they’re probably embarrassed to acknowledge now. Yet if they hadn’t started with something, they’d still be in the dreaming stage and never get anything accomplished.
In order to begin that step towards fulfilling your destiny, you have to take action on something. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
Day Four: Rejection
This challenge was not as daunting as it sounds, yet it did take a bit of courage to complete. Rejection is also something that everyone must face, whether it’s a job prospect that fell through, getting turned down for a date, or Oprah Winfrey never returning your phone call.
You will be rejected so it’s best to prepare for it. It’s also possible that you might not get rejected. There are countless success stories of people who persisted and got what they wanted. Just ask Jia Jiang, who made an entire career out of his rejection therapy method. You don’t have to go to those extremes, though.
We were asked to simply reach out to someone we admired or wanted to contact but haven’t. The purpose was not to ask for anything (refer back to the abundance mentality section), but to simply deliver the message. It was permission to let go of the invisible firewall that separates us common folk from celebrities and successful people. After all, they’re just people too.
Day Five: Treat Yo’ Self
For the final day of the challenge, it was time to impart a lesson that seems obvious but is easily abandoned when there’s work to be done. Here we need to recognize the importance of taking a moment for ourselves.
Once we get on a roll, it’s easy to get lost in our work. Being an entrepreneur is all-consuming, and while it’s important to be productive to achieve goals, it’s also a slippery slope towards burnout. If you work yourself too hard, you could crash and it may take more time and effort to recover. Some never do.
My Action Items
As I mentioned, I started the year with a case of the blahs so this challenge was a swift but gentle kick in the rear to get things going. My BHAG was basically to figure out my purpose. But to take that further, I want to have the freedom to travel with flexibility and frequency. I also want people to feel good about who they are with all their quirks and eccentricities. I’d love to be able to change people’s mindsets about the rest of the world, embrace their inner passions, and make a difference. I want this and the ability to travel more.
For my “pay it forward” day, I donated to the Australian Red Cross through a friend’s Facebook page. I also compiled a GoogleDocs list of restaurants and mom & pop diners in Kansas that were mentioned in one of my Facebook groups. It was hard to follow all the posts, so I just went through it and put together a spreadsheet. I’d already started working on it before the challenge, and it was loads of fun for me so maybe it shouldn’t count.
Besides posting last week’s blog post here, I decided to hit “publish” on my GeODDgraphy site for a few posts that had been sitting in draft for quite some time. I’m horribly embarrassed by the quality of the website (it makes Craigslist look fancy). At the same time, I am not a web designer and have already agonized over the look to the point that I just couldn’t exhaust the energy anymore.
I bought a website theme thinking it would look good with a few tweaks, but that may have been like assuming I could “read up” on brain surgery. Maybe that’s a stretch, and it’s likely I’m just intimidated by the learning curve or even where to start. I’ll try to figure out how to make it look prettier, but for now the content is there for anyone willing to overlook perfection. (Side note: if anyone wants to save the Internet from those ugly web pages, I’m happy to give you the keys).
My rejection task had me recording a video to one of my favorite bloggers, Joan at Against the Compass. When I recorded the video thanking him for his work and expressing my appreciation, I didn’t realize that Instagram only allows 60-second videos. The file was too big for that and email, so I had to create an iCloud link and email that. I haven’t heard from him, but at least I sent it. Hopefully he won’t see it as spam!
The last challenge was great because it gave me the excuse to finally read that book I had bought for when we went to Tahiti. I’d only read 4% (it’s on Kindle) there, but I’m halfway through now and enjoying the thought of being back in the islands in my mind while I take the subway to work.
Yesterday I saw my refund of $19. It was a small price to pay initially, but seeing the credit was a reward in and of itself. The challenge to keep up did motivate me to stick through. I am now imagining a potential dollar amount waiting for me in the future. Consider it interest on this primary investment.
There you have it. Of course, there were a lot of other things going on. We had our first snow in the DC area. A few days later the temperature reached nearly 70 degrees. It’s cold again. And such is winter in the District.