Timing is Key

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In the fall of my senior year of college I had taken a course in entrepreneurial business. I was at this point in my life in which I decided I wanted to be a producer instead of a director and therefore needed to learn the business side of things.

From the description of the class we were going to learn how to start an online business and make money from it. I thought it would be cool so I signed up. What it turned out to be was a class on blogging.

You see at the time of the class the only sort of “blogging” I knew about was xanga, livejournal, and myspace. All sites where people just journaled their thoughts and feelings to the world. So right away I was worried about this assignment that would be the whole of my grade.

We were supposed, pick a niche, use blogger and create a website in which we continuously add content, and use google adwords to get money. Seems like a pretty neat class right? Well… at the time not so much. I couldn’t think of a single “niche” to create a website about. Matter of fact I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to put out for the world to see. AND on top of that we had to compete for the best site based on adword clicks and site visits?

So yeah I dropped the class in a hurry.

Fast forward to now where I’ve done a movie blog, a student debt one, and now this. Would that class be a great thing to have now? Yes!

The thing is, timing is key. Sometimes the things that annoy us in the past are the very same things that we embrace later. I mean how many of us hated vegetables as a kid but enjoy eating them now? How many of us hated when our parents would make us stay home or when there was nothing to do on a friday night but now we relish it? Or how about when you know someone (a friend of a friend) but it’s not till years later where suddenly you and that person really click and you wonder why you never clicked before? Timing.

Not everything falls in just like we think or hope it should because sometimes the timing just isn’t right yet.

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Currently Reading: Pitch Perfect

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Have you ever had a moment where you said something and wished that it didn’t come out of your mouth? Or have you ever walked away only to come up with the perfect response just a little too late? Or maybe you gave a speech and it turned out horrible? That is what this book, Pitch Perfect is about, those moments.

In this BIll McGowan breaks down the how you can effectively communicate in your personal and professional life. He introduces seven principles that you can apply.

What originally drew me to this book was the fact that my communications skills are somewhat lacking. It is not the fact that I do not communicate, it is more about how I come across. Many times I am viewed as cold or blunt when I don’t try to be. Also I have a RBF. Which essentially means that I always look angry even when usually I am happy. Sometimes I think that if I was just born with a happier looking face things would be a lot easier, lol.

The other thing I wanted to work on is pausing before I speak. I tend to stumble over my words, especially when I am excited. This is covered in his book under the No Tailgating Principle.

The speed in which you talk should be directly proportional to how certain you are about the next sentence coming out of your mouth.

He also covers how your posture, stance, facial expressions (especially when listening), tone of voice, and gestures play a part in how you come off either in a conversation or a presentation. And if you need to know how to graciously turn someone down or congratulate someone you don’t like, the book goes over that too.

Overall I think this is a great book to read. Each chapter is filled with funny anecdotes and real life stories that puts the book’s principles in perspective. The knowledge in it is easy to follow and you don’t feel overwhelmed chapter after chapter.

If you are looking to improve your communication skills this is a great book to add to your repertoire.

 

 

 

Make Your Own Adventure

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I am a person who loves to travel, experiencing new things, and try new food. I get excited when something new crosses my radar. Just a few days ago I tried purple squash in a spring roll with mango Habanero sauce. It was delicious.

Then, this past Saturday, I went with a friend to Red Bull Crashed Ice. It was awesome. We were out in the cold and muddy ground (mud in January? What?!?!?!) and drank hot cider as we watched the US go up against other countries.

Sometimes we place such significance on going somewhere big (like Florida or Mexico) when we can easily have an adventure of our own right where you are. I’m not saying you shouldn’t leave your state, because you most certainly should, but when you can’t get away for days at a time or need to save time you can find many things to do right where you are.

But what if you don’t have anyone to go with? No problem, go by yourself. This is another big thing for me. I am always waiting to find someone else to go with me in order to go somewhere. I’ve decided that I am going to let people know when I am going to events and if they want to join me they can and if they don’t I’m still going to go. So should you.

So far I have up the Red Bull Crashed Ice event and look forward to doing much more. And it was seriously awesome cheering on the US. There is something about standing in a crowd, on a cold day, sloshing up mud, and yet cheering loudly that just gives you a sense of camaraderie. Got any cool travels you are doing on our own? Let me know I always love seeing what people are up to!

Currently Reading: Get Unstuck, Be Unstoppable

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When I began my new year I wanted to find a book to start off with, something that would get me going and help me to grow. I had gotten a couple of gift cards for Barnes and Noble so I started there. There were two books I got, the One Year Bible (one of my goals is to read it all the way through, so far so good) the other is Get Unstuck, Be Unstoppable by Valorie Burton.

What initially drew me to the book was that I was stuck and I continually get stuck, and I needed to figure out why. It also doubled as a devotional AND it was 50% off, so how could I lose? Turns out I won big time.

You know a book is good when the intro messes you up and calls you out. I was reading it and was like Does this woman know me? How did she get in my head?

“If you ever found yourself avoiding what needs to get done in favor of something-anything-else, even other stuff you’ve been procrastinating on that now seems easier by comparison, then I bet you can relate.”

If that quote sounds like you then you know exactly how I feel. It was like a serious gut check. I ended up super highlighting this passage because it spoke so loudly. In this book Burton breaks down the different ways we can get stuck, in what areas of our life, and how we can overcome them.

She lists three reasons as to why we get stuck: Fear, Overwhelmed, and God’s will and your will don’t match. My reason? I get overwhelmed.

“The project that needs to get done feels so big you don’t even know where to get started–so you simply don’t start. you analyze it, talk about it, and even strategize. But for some reason, you don’t actually do it.”

Boom. That’s exactly it.

The great thing about this book is the realness of it. It has workbook areas where you can apply things learned in the chapter, short chapters so you don’t get bogged down with too much information at once, and scriptural references with prayers.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is stuck and not sure why. This is a great helpful tool and I am sure I will be reading it again and again.

Are you Journaling? 5 Reasons why you should

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One of my bigger accomplishments of 2014 is that I kept a journal in which I wrote every night before bed. Each day I would do bullet points of happenings that day and at the bottom I would write tasks for tomorrow. No entry would be longer than a notebook page (in this case mine was 8×6) and each one was concise and summarized the day.

This year I will be doing the same again. If you are not journaling I urge you to on a routine business and if you are not sure why here are a few reasons:

1. It is a good way to evaluate in a timely fashion

Writing in it every night forced me to look back on my day and see just where I could have changed things or how I could have been more productive. It also helped me to reflect on things that happened relational, emotional, and spiritually. Why did I argue with that person? Hmmm I probably could have spent less time on social media. Wow, when I sum it up, I really didn’t do much of anything today. These are some thoughts I have at the end of the day when journaling and assessing how I acted during the day helps me make better decisions for tomorrow.

2. Keeps you on task

Part of my daily journaling is putting down the things that I had accomplished that day and things that I will need to do the next day. For instance when it comes to my writing, I would put what my progress was for the day and what I was expected to accomplish tomorrow. Also have you ever just gotten into bed and realized ALL the things you forgot to do that day? Yeah… now you have a place where you can write all those things down so you can remember to do them tomorrow.

3. Baggage lifter

Ever have something happen to you and you just need to get it off your chest. This is a good way to do that. “Never let the sun go down on your anger”. You don’t have to go into super details when writing about it, you can simply just write down that you are angry and frustrated. Just doing that can sometimes make you feel better.

4. Looking back

Going back now and rereading my journal entries allows me to see myself almost from the outside. I read entries of things I have gone through that seemed so consuming at the time but now I am over. There are events in it that I have forgotten have happened. And mostly there is a running theme of thoughts and actions that I didn’t notice before. It is like I am giving insight to myself. It is kind of like one of those look back videos they have on Facebook only this is far more detailed and personal.

5. It can be fun!

I use multicolored gel pens and alternate between them so at the end of the year it is like a rainbow of colors. Sometimes I will even paste something in it or doodle. At the front of the book I usually start it with a meaningful quote, then accomplishments for the past year, disappointments, and then what I am looking forward to this year. You can do whatever you like, get creative, it is your outlet.

So give it a try and start journaling, it is definitely worthwhile.

Also here are some tips for journaling:

  • Find the right kind of notebook whether it is spiral, leather-bound, or digital. Make it a format that will be readily accessible and comfortable to use. For instance I prefer a spiral or soft-bound notebook usually by the company miquelrius.
  • Make sure the notebook is thick enough. If you want to write everyday then you need a notebook that has about 400 pages/200 sheets.
  • If you are keeping a digital journal I suggest using a word processor (word or pages) and saving the entries to a special folder if you are doing separate documents. A great app to use for this would be Evernote or Day One . Check out this article for good iPhone apps and this one for android apps.
  • Put the date at the top of the page. I usually put the time, the day of the week, and the date.
  • Leave space at the bottom to put tasks for the next day. I will help you look forward to tomorrow and when you look back you can see how often those tasks were completed.
  • Do it everyday or just once a week but make sure you are consistent.
  • Be open. This is about you and you shouldn’t be closed off to yourself.

Happy journaling!

Hello to a New Year of Possibilities!

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Happy New Year! Welcome to 2015! I got to ring in the new year with an awesome church service and then spent the next day hanging out with friends. I hope you also had nice time ringing it in, even if it was just a relaxing evening at home.

There is something about a new year that brings with it the feeling that anything is possible. That your old slate of disappointments, hurts, and setbacks are behind you and before you is an open window of possibilities. That this year is going to be great. That this year is going to be better than the last. It is as if all of time is stretched before and your reach is infinite.

And yes 2015 can be this and so much more but don’t get ahead of yourself too quickly.

Take a moment to pause and reflect on last year and the things that have happened. Reflect on how you were in those moments of triumph and despair and think of what you have learned from them and how you have grown. And then think of how you can apply those lessons to this year.

Sure this year itself is a blank slate but we are a series of marked slates that have been stacked upon each other and even though we now have a new one, there are still the old ones underneath. These slates make you who are, and you may not always like what is written on them but congrats because you just got a new one. This new slate is blank and waiting for the possibility of what you will put on it.

What will you write on your slate this year? What are the possibilities you will reach for? And if you don’t think you have any, think again. Just by you being here today means that your possibilities are endless even if you can’t see them, even if you have no idea how to reach them. So pick up that blank slate and start writing.

This is Your Life

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I read an article today about how we, as millennials, continually compare our experiences with one another to asses if we have taken the right path or if we have completely messed things up. Here is the gist of what it said.

Everyone is worried about their choices. Those in cities worry if they’ll ever get out to the country, and those in the woods think they might be missing the opportunities of city life. Young professionals are terrified they’ve forever bid farewell to fun and freedom, and those with throw-away jobs are down about not making as much money as they could be and not appearing accomplished enough. Some who are dedicated to school want more room in their lives for other things, those with roomy lives desire that space to be filled. Single people want relationships, settled people wonder if they’re missing out on something, traveling types miss stability, stable ones are restless, old friends want new friends, new friends miss old friends, and basically almost everyone my age has some dangling worry trailing around after them everywhere that they’re somehow not doing everything, that what they’re doing is not altogether the right thing, that they are missing out.

I read this and thought “man that is so me”. I look at friends who seem to be traveling all the time and wonder why I’m not doing that, I look at friends who have stable careers and wonder why I don’t get a “real” job, and I look at those who seem to be so collected in the life they have and wonder why I’m not like that.

The truth of the matter is… they are wondering that same thing. I guess it’s that whole grass is always greener on the other side outlook. We take for granted what we have, what we’ve done, and where we are because we are so busy looking at another person’s life.

Here’s the thing, you don’t have it all together and neither do they. Paths were chosen and decisions were made and that is how you got where you are, but if you are so busy looking at what they are doing with their life you end up missing out on what you could be doing with yours.

The author of the article addresses this to people in their twenties but honestly I think this is a lesson for everyone, regardless of age. So take a look back at all the great things that have happened to you and the things you have to look forward to because those things are pretty awesome too.

Reassessing

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Have you ever stopped doing something because you can no longer remember why you started doing it in the first place or the reason that you started no longer feels valid? That is how I have been feeling with this blog. I haven’t written in three weeks because I could no longer see the purpose behind it. The one I originally had has slowly faded away and now I wonder why I even started.

This isn’t the first time this has happened either. Matter of fact this has happened each and every time I started writing a blog. I would start out with high hopes and a plan of action of what I am going to write and when I am going to write. The say the best way to plan a blog is to have a back log of posts already made so I would do that too.

But then after a while the back log posts would seem lame or not relevant to who I was at the moment and I would loose interest in my own writing until I would stop writing all together. Then I would take a break, sometimes a really long break, reassess and then come back with a whole different angle. One blog I changed the direction of so many times that I couldn’t even tell what it was about anymore.

Every time I stopped and every time I didn’t write I always felt like I was letting people down. I don’t know who though because I don’t even know how many people actually read this blog besides me. Either way I would pressure myself to write because of it and slowly feel the joy of writing starting to dwindle away.

I would write certain pieces and then think “man who is this narcissistic know it all”. Or I would read another piece and think “I wonder if people can actually tell that i don’t really care about this topic and am just posting it for the sake of posting something”. On and on and on.

Heres the thing, I started out doing this for me and ended up doing it for an invisible somebody else who pressured me with deadlines and more relevant topics and the need to be entertaining but meaningful, and some how I got lost in the process. But you know what, this is nothing new.

We start things and get lost in the process of doing them until we get so fed up we throw our hands up in the air and just say “screw it, I’m done!” But we aren’t done, because we don’t really want to be, we just want things to go back to how it was in the beginning before it got so complicated for no reason.

They say you need to go back in order to go forward. Sometimes this is true. Going back doesn’t really mean to start start from scratch, it just means you need to reassess how you got to where you are now so you know where to go in the future.

So I am reassessing this blog and many other things in my life and then I am going forward.

The Art of Asking

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What makes a crowd funding project successful? How do you connect with and audience? How do we move from asking customers to buy something to being apart of something? When does investing become more about fair trade than money?

These are all questions I ask when it comes to creating projects and getting people on board with them. It’s not just about begging and talking, it is about making a connection that’s deeper than surface interfacing. But that isn’t easy, it takes risks.

Watch the TED talk below with Amanda Palmer and perhaps you’ll learn something like I did.

Good Intentions

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Ever go to bed the night before thinking of all the things you’re going to get done tomorrow and how productive you will be and then when tomorrow gets here you suddenly don’t have the stamina you though you would and your productivity is left wanting? This is like my everyday off. All I want to do is sleep, read, watch tv, or bike. None of which includes writing, selling my scripts, or building my website.

See that comic up top? That is like my everyday when it comes to writing. Sometimes I think that maybe if I were to change my surrounding environment that would help but I’ve worked from home, the library, coffee shops, restaurants, and the like. I think maybe I should cut myself off from social media and the internet completely but distractions come in other forms like cleaning my bathroom, or suddenly needing to clear that pile of papers on my desk, or discovering I am out of milk and therefore having to go to the store.

Good intentions are great but they are just that, intentions. Unless there is a purpose or actions behind them they are meaningless. I need to get back on track so that my intentions become actions and that I don’t just wish I will be productive tomorrow but know that I had been productive today.