Allow me to put my cards on the table. I never signed up for the Get It Done in 30 challenge. I thought I did, so it wasn’t a complete lie, but it didn’t happen. I was under the impression that I had signed up for their trial run and that I would be part of an experimental group. Well, that was not the case. I realized that I had signed up for notifications and that trials had already happened. I decided that I did not want to pay the $97 or however many dollars it was to participate for August. “Go it alone!” I said. Again. I can tell you right now, I am failing miserably. I doubt I have lost a single pound (probably gained a few after the drinking this weekend), but the lack of a scale and benchmarks are clear signs that I’m not managing or measuring anything! I’ve had several intense conversations about weight and the psychology behind our bodies, but we all know that talk doesn’t make shit happen. I told myself that I would be strict Paleo this month. Can you hear me laughing? If you’ve been reading my blog, you know how much I love to quote Stevo: “We are all Paleo, BUT…” I’m a big butt. I have had my Paleo days this month, but it’s been a pretty weak attempt. The Get It Done in 30 is a great idea because it sets you up with one focus and a support buddy. Trying to accomplish a goal motivated largely by guilt and shame, and accomplish it alone, seems foolish. Fail. Epic fail.
So far, I’ve been unsuccessful because I lied, I didn’t do what I said I would, I didn’t ask for support, and I didn’t measure anything.
This weekend, I watched a video on Marie Farleo’s blog. It is an interview with Steven Pressfield of Turning Pro. The take away is fairly simple, if you are passionate about something, treat it as though you are a professional. If you are serious about something and are committed to improving yourself in that arena then treat it with the same amount of respect and dedication you would your career. The example the author uses is a friend who was determined to become a better golf player. Apparently, she was truly awful. Instead of giving up, she bought herself a nice golf outfit, fancy shoes, some golf clubs and scheduled regular lessons. Dedicated to the cause, she announced that she was going to treat golf as though she were a professional. With consistent practice she worked her way to becoming a skilled golfer.
I would like to start applying this mindset more thoroughly to areas in my own life. It’s a process and I like the idea of growing into this attitude. Specifically, I feel that this has been happening naturally in regards to my writing. Since last September, I have become more dedicated to writing posts at specific times and have treated it as homework and a scheduled activity rather than something that will happen whenever. I even invested in a new computer earlier this year. I have spent many mornings getting up at 5:30am to make sure that I have at least 20 minutes of writing time before going to work. I’ve experimented with posting to this blog once or twice a week. I’ve researched different blog planning tools and have organized writing files on Google Drive. I am learning about social media and blog management tools. On top of that, I am receiving regular emails from some of my favorite blogs and podcasts to keep me in the loop of what is happening in the blogging world. I am hoping that by writing regularly and creating a consistent posting schedule, I will step more into the professional mindset of being a writer.
I tend to see the glass half full, however, I am using this post to illustrate how to recognize failure or where you are falling short and not give up entirely. I have been unsuccessful in behaving like a pro in regards to my blog by not posting yesterday (Monday). For August I told myself I would post twice a week, Mondays and Wednesdays. Yesterday came and went. My excuse? I am exhausted. I spent Sunday in Ukiah with some friends after their wedding. This involved going to bed at 1am followed by a 5am wake up time and a 3 hour drive. After work I could barely think straight, so I crawled into bed and passed out at 8. Then I woke up at 2am to pee and haven’t been able to fall back asleep since. FAIL. So here I am, trying to catch up on writing and post some shit before another day passes and I feel even worse. Perhaps the early wake up is a blessing in disguise? Nothing like the wee hours of the morning to get things done.
If I had of acted like a pro, I would have gotten myself to a cafe with free wifi yesterday evening and posted to the blog, come hell or high water. In my mind, professionals don’t dwell on “I don’t feel like it” for very long. I am honestly OK with all the choices I made this weekend, despite exhaustion and crabbiness. I want to be real with myself and recognize where and when I succeed versus when I don’t. There are several goals now that I am certain will not be accomplished by my birthday. I would like to think that opens up the opportunity to focus on one thing and hopefully that one thing makes me feel awesome. Today, that one thing is writing this and publishing it right here.
I attended the Mindful + Entrepreneur tea and chocolate tasting event hosted by Leo Babauta and Jesse Jacobs, and naturally was reminded immediately of our interconnectedness. As soon as we began, I sat next to Andrea, owner of Satori Yoga Studio. Why is this serendipitous? Because my good friend, Debbie Steingesser, who helped me get the seasonal job at Lululemon and who I work out with regularly at San Francisco CrossFit is also a yoga teacher at Satori. So a wonderful woman who was only one degree removed from my acquaintance, is now my tea and chocolate tasting buddy. This was a great way to kick off the event, it made me feel right at home.
Leo and Jesse gave each other introductions and we all introduced ourselves. We had a well rounded group: Andrea from Satori, Travis a fellow CrossFitter, Ashley from Buy Nothing New, and Nealy from Vice Chocolates, to name a few. Then Leo and Jesse began to speak towards building a mindful practice. While both practice meditation, Jesse discussed how developing a ritual, such as brewing tea creates the space to deepen our awareness. We reviewed briefly how to brew our tea and how to examine the leaves, inhale the aroma, and to sip our tasty beverages.
With each step in the tea brewing process, Jesse encouraged us to become aware of negative space. Where are the pauses in our lives? How can we embrace them and bring our awareness to those spaces? For example, Jesse meditates as the water for his tea boils. He intentionally does nothing and practices emptying his mind.
As a way of deepening our understanding of mindfulness, Leo then talked about his own meditation practice and his time management throughout the day. He highlighted intention and how that can be a clarifying element to any task. Ask yourself: what is my intention? You may find yourself in a pregnant pause when posing this question.
Maybe you don’t have time to sit around asking yourself about intention. You are too busy for that shit. Well, Leo and Jesse know as well as anyone how busy life can get. Our lives are ripe with potential and brimming with activity. How do we even know what to prioritize? Nevermind exploring intention. Here Leo described his organic experiments with time management. He says he is trying to cultivate an internal trust within himself that he will do what needs to get done. This is a relentless practice against value judgments.
What do I mean when I say let go of value judgments? I mean stop telling yourself that one thing is good and another is bad. The majority of the time those are simply stories our mind is telling us. It is important to realize the nature of reality – what is here and now.
So as Leo is going through his day, he is actually practicing getting in touch with his intuition and using that as a compass to prioritize which tasks will get done. Obviously, around this time of year, we all have certain things that we simply must do. Like taxes. Here is a good opportunity to practice patience and compassion, mostly with ourselves. Sometimes we just need to do what needs to get done, so that everything doesn’t fall apart down the line. Being aware of the tasks that take more of our emotional energy, it might be smart to reward yourself with afternoon tea at Samovar after dealing with taxes.
More highlights from Mindful + Entrepreneur (to be continued…)
- Making declarations and logging progress
- Experiencing fear and hope
- A 5 word business plan
- Whisper marketing and…
- How to title blog posts.