It has been a long week. I was out of town in Seattle and Bellingham, Washington over the weekend and, of course, traveling doesn’t make keeping a routine any easier. I wrote a bit while I was away, but the trip made it challenging. I will blame the changing seasons and the nostalgia overload for my resistance in the past several days. Returning to the Bay Area, stepping out of the Oakland airport, I was immediately relieved by how warm it is here. Yes. The Fall I had been waiting for. Such a relief after the nipping cold that has already struck the Pacific Northwest.
I have returned to early alarms in the morning followed by 20 minutes of writing, but I have been dragging my feet. I got out of work today and was walking through the late afternoon sun across the parking lot thinking about writing and the resistance that is relentless inside of me at the moment. I’ve had trouble keeping my eyes open, my mind wanders, and I write things that don’t make any sense (not even to me). I am even having trouble revisiting anything I’ve written already long enough to edit. Soaking up the suns warmth, it dawned on me that I continuously have thoughts that I should be writing, I should be posting.
We all have a long list of “should’s” in our lives and it’s a fascinating thing that happens when you look at the difference between things that we are somehow obligated to do (or think we are) and those that we reward ourselves with. For me, writing is fun. I started without anyone asking me to and I continue to do so without any outside obligation. So why do I keep telling myself that I should write? That I should be posting to this blog?
I feel that I should because I want to be committed and act like a professional. You do not get proficient or good at a skill without dedication. If you practice any skill long enough, there comes a time when you feel resistance towards it. The number one reason most people do not master a skill is that they give up shortly after they have began.
This is a common theme for me, as well. I have a lot of interests and ideas, many of which I am excited about right out of the gate. However, give me a couple of days and it is possible I’ve forgotten about it completely. Or I’ll pretend I have to mask the embarrassment from lack of follow through. That being said, there are several things I am quite passionate about and have spent countless hours working on. A few of these would be bicycle touring and bike maintenance, reading and writing, painting and drawing, business and personal development. These passions have taken me on a cross-country bicycle tour, overseas to study art, and to multiple conferences to meet authors and entrepreneurs. This is to name a few benefits of follow through.
The experiences that I consider amongst my greatest accomplishments are the results of longer term projects where I endured the ebb and flow of inspiration and interest. Then comes the nagging “should”. I wish I could eliminate this word from my brain. It sucks the fun out of an activity like a vacuum pack seal. I’m annoyed just typing about it. We do not pursue things like surfing or painting or music because we should. We pursue our passions because we are inspired to do so, because we have no other choice, because it connects and flows out of us, when it wills it to be so.
So I feel forced to ask, but really it’s a simple question that surfaces in my mind: are there things we should do? I don’t really believe so. I would like to answer that we should be kind and we should take care of ourselves. However, I can’t help think of Byron Katie and follow up my answer with another question: is that true? Can we know it to be true that we should be kind? A question for another time and blog post.
Walking through the parking lot I realized that my resistance grows when I feel like I should be doing something. I am passionate about writing and about treating it like a professional practice. I want to be a proficient writer, therefore I want to work on writing everyday. Should I write? I do not know the answer to that question. I know only that when I say the inverse – I should not write – that my mind flips a little and reverts to thinking “What?! But I MUST write!” The thought of losing the practice, of foregoing the blog, of abandoning writing, is more painful than the irritation of the “should”. That being said, I tire of thinking I should anything and hope to slowly eradicate it from my mind.
Are there things you feel people are obligated to do? When do you tell yourself you should be doing something? How does it feel to have the opposite thought – that you should not be doing that thing? Would love to hear it: Lara@LaraBuelow.com
How do you know when you’ve got something good?
You know when you’ve got something good when you miss it, your body craves it, and when you can feel it nourishing your soul. It’s a thick syrup of satisfaction. It’s the complete exhaustion of a raging dance party, a 4am ski tour, or completing a century ride. You’ve got something good when pride radiates out of you like a supernova and buzzing electric energy keeps you up at night.
However, it isn’t always that easy or obvious to recognize. There are a million and one messages out there in the world telling you what you should want and why. Sometimes we get confused; are we chasing something because we know it’s good or because someone else said so? It’s challenging to tune out all the noise and check in with yourself to see where you really stand.
And what does nourishing your soul mean anyway? There is nourishment that comes in the form of wholesome Fun Type A: hanging out and talking shit with your buddies or going for a stroll. There is also soul nourishment that comes in the form of Fun Type B: writing at 5:30am, prying your eyeballs open and leaking coffee down the front of your sleepy shirt, rappelling down a rock face even though you feel like you might shit your pants, or giving a speech in front of 100 people. Recognizing soul-fertilizing moments can be intuitive and easy or hard and mysterious. Sometimes you just know. You can feel it straight in your gut, even when an activity is a strenuous pain in the ass, yet you soak it all in because you are pumped for the reward that awaits.
Then there are times you aren’t so sure. Maybe you’ve begun taking things for granted or you are tired and overworked. Sometimes I sit and think to myself “what would my life be like if I didn’t hold on to this idea that I have to write? Or set goals?” In the wake of all other daily activities, I wonder if I am adding to my own stress or pursuing a healthy passion. There is always a pregnant pause in the moments following my contemplation of this idea.
I feel like I know I have found something worthwhile when there seems to be no other way and I would otherwise be leading an entirely different life. Even though there is no clearly defined path, I can’t help but try and forge one in order to continue exploring this thing. In my case, writing is a perfect example.
There are mornings where I sit blurry eyed and half asleep (much like this morning) and ask myself “why am I doing this?” I have likely gone to bed after my roommates and I am up well before. The seasons are changing, it’s still dark outside, and I would happily catch up on sleep and recover from my best friend’s wedding this past weekend. Yet, the alarm has gone off, and hot tea in hand, I know that deep satisfaction is on the other side of this writing hurdle.
Without a dedicated writing practice, I would sleep in and have a shorter list of things to do. I wouldn’t worry about Mondays and Wednesdays and not having anything to post. I wouldn’t have to collect photos or worry about editing them. Without writing, I would have less anxiety based on posting my thoughts online and the fear of looking stupid.
Yet… I do it anyway. My birthday looms of the horizon and it will be my one year anniversary of starting It’s All in the Blanket. Without this blog, I would not receive feedback from several of you about goals and aspirations. Without this writing practice, I would not be as challenged intellectually or experience the swells of inspiration to continue striving for more in my life. I have connected with so many creatives, authors, entrepreneurs, and active community members through my work to create these posts that I wouldn’t have it any other way.
You know you’ve got something good when you look back at all the blood, sweat, and tears and every sensation tells you it’s worth it. You know it’s great when it makes you laugh, dance, and sing that you would do it all over again.
By the time you read this, I will have been on vacation for a week. Thank God. So desperately needed. Someone recently shared this on Facebook:
‘A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?”
Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.
She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”
She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.’
Remember to put the glass down.”
Bam. There it is. This little story sums up how I feel about a lot of things in my life lately. It’s a refreshing reminder that we have to watch our thought patterns so we don’t go too far down a dark and lonely path. It’s also frightening because I recognize how many stresses I have a death grip on. I am hoping that the week of beautiful unscheduled freedom I am about to experience (will have by the time you read this) will help hit the reset button. Or at very least, give me some new perspective.
Happy Labor Day!
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.
What do you do when you fall off the horse? That’s right – you get back on.
In May I wrote 26 days out of 31. I haven’t written since June 3rd, but the time has come to start again. In May I focused on writing. I stayed the course, writing almost every day, and experimented with posting to this blog twice a week (every Monday and Wednesday). In May I published 9 blog posts. Writing and posting this frequently has allowed me to explore several other themes this month.
I began by asking “what’s wrong with these pants?” My way of exploring body issues and seeking to change my thought patterns in order to avoid further developing a self deprecating attitude. Especially while shopping because shopping is supposed to be fun and it sucks to be stuck crying in a dressing room somewhere, when we should all be striving to love ourselves more everyday.
Following my exploration of jeans and our psyche, I explored how one defines success. Maybe it’s by recognizing evil thoughts about your own body and reminding yourself you are WUNDERBAR! It’s an interesting thing to question your definitions of success because it is likely to uncover something either highly influenced by your parents or society and expose dreams that you may be discrediting. This can be an incredibly powerful process because you can reframe your ideas and start building an empowering definition of success that supports who are. You may begin to see areas of your life you have been successful in that you didn’t realize before. It’s a great way to prioritize projects in your life and start moving towards the things you really care about.
May is national Bike to Work Month. I wrote a Bike to Work Day post about how I think bicycles are the coolest form of transportation. Did you know that they are still the most efficient form of transport in the world?! That blows my mind every time I think about it. I love riding bicycles. Get out an set yourself free!
While listening to BlogcastFM, I found out about a book called What Superachievers Have in Common by Camille Swiney and Josh Gosfield. I was so intrigued by the interview that I immediately went to a book store and bought it. I could write a blog post about every chapter, so I chose a few that stuck with me and started writing. The book is full of inspirational stories that make you want to get off your ass and practice getting totally awesome at something. It is also a great reminder of all the unconventional paths there are available in the world. Ever thought about what it would be like to create crossword puzzles for a living? Or designing baseball stadiums? Yea, don’t sweep your dreams under the rug, because chances are we need your crazy idea.
One of my favorite chapters in Superachievers is: How to be the Most Fabulous You. I think about Simon Doonan pretty much every day now. I hate feeling average or boring and feel that style and dress have the ability to brighten the world through our clothing choices. So I really take it to heart when Doonan says “dress everyday as though you were going to a Lady Gaga concert, you’re guaranteed to have more fun”. This is it, folks, this is your life. It’s all about today, there may not be a tomorrow. Get out there and express yourself!
My favorite blog post of the month is Rejection Sucks. Not only does the title sum up exactly how I feel, but this post explores several topics that I am super passionate about (relationships, vulnerability, risk, and love/hardcore crushes). It feels good to reflect on an experience that was painful, process the story, and come out the other side feeling like I’ve done the work to move on. Leo Babauta of Zen Habits has a wonderful blog post called The Obstacle is the Path, that was wonderfully serendipitous to read at the time. It can be a hard pill to swallow; the anger, the hurt, the rejection – that is the path. Walk it.
Embracing my own path, I came out and declared myself a Dear Diary blogger. Ah! The weight off my chest! I love Dear Diary blogging! I love owning my own shit and getting straight on my motivations. I asked myself why am I writing? I explored who I write for and what the writing process does for me. I wrapped up the month with Feats of Strength, a post reviewing my work at the CrossFit NorCal Regionals. It is impactful to watch humans perform such intense activities. It was an inspiring event that made me question where I want to focus my energy in my own exercise practice.
Believe it or not, that was the month of May. It felt good to write regularly and digest the various parts of my life that can seem so disparate. These posts helped me weave the different corners of my life together, in true blanket fashion. Superachievers meet CrossFit games, Zen Habits meet CrossFit thighs, rejection meet writing practice, blogging meeting psychology and Bam! 9 blog posts later I fall off the horse. Here is me dusting myself off and getting back on.
I am coming out. There are two things I would like to claim: first, I am a “me too” blogger. Second, I am also a “Dear Diary” blogger. In case you haven’t noticed. Part of me questions whether these things are true, but there is a sense of power in claiming them and I do believe that I indulge in both of these aspects of blogging.
“Me Too” Blogging is jumping on the bandwagon, the same one that 164 million people are on, and writing a blog. Because, why not? I want to do it too. It is the style of blog that may seem a bit repetitive or broad. You have read it a million times before and chances are you are regurgitating someone else’s information. I would like to think that I am not quite this bad. I attempt to portray myself genuinely. I wrote a few mean (as in sharp) essays in college and I can write critically about others content. I do, however, love borrowing, reflecting and riffing off of other people’s work. I have known this about myself for a long time. Even as a visual artist, I love collage, I love practicing painting master’s styles, and I adore using other peoples imagery and adapting it to myself. That being said, I value making things my own and going through unique transformations with ideas and concepts I am working with. I feel the need to embrace “me too” blogging because I write about a wide variety of topics, rather than focusing on something specific. Which brings me to another claim I would like to make.
If I put myself in a category, this one fits fairly well: I am a “Dear Diary” Blogger. Not only do I see others writing blogs and say “me too!”, I love nothing more than writing a “Dear Diary” post. I write my blog mainly for me. It all comes back to me. I want to practice writing and I want to practice posting my work. How do I do that? I write and then I put it on my blog. The truth about writing? It’s fucking hard. I struggled with the writing process growing up and writing in college was often a pain. But I find myself writing all the time, constantly, whether in list form or in a journal. When I paint and draw, I often include text in my pieces. So how do I claim something I love and continue to practice with intention? I keep it fun! There is a time and place for suffering. Writing is challenging enough as it is for 20 minutes, so to ensure that I write everyday, I tell myself that I can write about whatever the hell I want.
Did you know that most bloggers stop writing after 3 months? I’ve started multiple blogs, primarily for travel journal purposes, but I have kept It’s All in the Blanket going since September (that’s almost 7 months). I’ve only increased my writing time. Even if it is a “Dear Diary” blog, I enjoy having a space where I can tie the pieces of life together. In this way, I have remained consistent with the theme of “It’s All In The Blanket.”
Consistency builds strength. Strength builds power. Power makes me feel more fabulous.
It’s self love month, do something nice for yourself today that will make you feel stronger tomorrow.
May is Writing Month. If you want to build a habit, it is best to practice every single day.
So here is the challenge: write a blog post in 20 minutes.
Step 1: Choose your topic or prompt before you set the timer.
Step 2: Don’t think too much.
Step 3: Know your editing style. If you like to edit your posts or add photos, don’t spend too much time writing.
Step 4: Get it out. Do it now. Post post post!
Take a moment and think about what success means to you. Is it a finite, measurable thing? Does it have a face or a name? Is it a color? How does it show up? Is it related to a part of your body? Where does your awareness go? What emotions do you think of when you hear “Success!”? What most recent memory do you have where you felt successful or proud?
For me, success is getting 20 minutes of writing done in the morning, watching sunlight spill over the hill and hit the building across the street through the open window. It is a feeling that pops up spontaneously and suddenly, like a pounding hammer hitting a high striker all the way to the top. “Ding Ding!” Real success feels like a solid force. It stands confidently behind you, letting you know it’s got your back. “Keep going” it says. It gives you a nudge as you continue down your path day after day, or sometimes a shove when it’s time to get your ass in gear.
Feelings of success can be stirred up, coaxed, and encouraged through simple reflection. I find that I feel much more successful around my goals or whatever is going on when I sit down and reflect on it’s role in my life. This is why I am working on documenting my 27 x 27 goals month by month. The writing component has become significantly more important and has a huge influence on the goals themselves. For example, last month I felt pathetic about the list of things I was trying to accomplish everyday. However, writing about the attempt allows me to see that (1) I was taking on way too much, and (2) that what actually feels more important is reflecting about why I want to accomplish these tasks. It is the process of writing it down, and simply getting in the habit of recording more information in a straightforward way that is important to me.
Success is a feeling and it is animated in my head. It’s getting the job at San Francisco CrossFit (SFCF) and feeling genuine as I jump up and down and flail my limbs. It’s being told what a valuable person I am to have at Suppenküche and my lips stretching into a smile. It’s getting hugs and high fives. The feeling of success keeps me up at night, like a 7 year old anticipating the tooth fairy. It is the kind of happiness that is persistent and contagious. It is like an ocean wave hitting me and being carried along with the flow. I swell with pride. I stop giving a shit about what others think and I want to sing and dance my way through the elation. Success feels like resolute satisfaction. It is like a breath of fresh air, a sense of clarity that says “Yes, this feels right”.
P.S. Take a moment to check out the Urban Dictionaries definitions of success, it may inspire some new perspectives and ways of looking at your own life. Or just give you a good laugh.
Ka-POW! So it came, so it went. So it goes. What a month! How did I do goal-wise? This is when it’s a good time to know what your measure of success is. If I hit my target 1 out of 2 times, do I feel successful? This month, I feel like a failure as far as measuring certain actions: days at Crossfit, mobilization, eating well/paleo, writing, hours at work, reading and counseling.
How do I feel like I failed? I only did “serious” mobilizing 10 out of 30 days this month. In the same way that I feel I need to focus more on diet and nutrition to improve my overall health (versus exercising more), I believe that I need to focus on mobilizing effectively to improve my athletic performance. My knee needs targeted help, so do my shoulders. They aren’t going to magically get better all on their own, so I need to show them some love. More than 10 days of love per month.
I have not been writing everyday. I have barely been writing at all. I wrote 14 out of 30 days. Not terrible, but not good. It sucks, actually. I feel so disappointed. It’s physically more difficult to sit and write. Not writing for 20 minutes a day, letting it slip for multiple days at a time, makes it infinitely more challenging to get ideas out in a way that flows. Writing for smaller chunks of time on a regular basis allows me to review what I have written recently and begin to play with ideas that intrigue me. The process of work and play come out. The editing process begins to unfold, structure and substance begin to arise and that feels awesome. Saying to myself that I will post to It’s All in the Blanket only twice a month is a terrible idea. It is nowhere near enough to motivate me to write everyday. However, maybe what I was posting would be well crafted and “deep” if I did write everyday in between those posts… That being said, I have a huge list of topics I would love to write about, so posting twice a month really doesn’t cut it.
Bottom line: I feel like I’ve failed as far as writing throughout April. SOoooo, I signed up for Leo Babauta’s Sea of Change program this month! May = Writing Month! I’m getting back on the horse. Leo is sending out accountability emails and writing prompts for the month of May. Let’s start fucking shit up! It’s also Bike to Work Month and National Masturbation and Radical Self-Love Month. I have BIG goals surrounding all of these things! May is going to be very exciting! Are you ready!?
Mobilizing and writing are where I can feel the disappointment most acutely. Overall, I feel like I haven’t measured things as much as I was aiming to. It makes me feel like a failure, not being able to fill out my measurable goals sheet for April. My conclusion is that I took on too much. I bit off more than I could chew. I have more specific measurements, I can get numbers for almost every category, but I’m not particularly impressed in my level of involvement in any of them.
The way I am trying to change my attitude towards jeans is similar to how I want to rephrase my attitude towards goals this month. In the last month, I have found every single pair of pants that I own are ripped. I have had most of them for over 3 years. Finding new jeans is hardly ever an enjoyable experience. Since beginning CrossFit, my body has changed a lot and I am still adjusting. I find that most jeans are made for skinny people or people without muscles. Pants tend to be too tight in the thighs and butt. I have endless ideas for making sexy clothes for fit and curvy people, just another business idea kicking around. So during my quest to find new jeans, I realized I would feel really shitty about myself and my brain would get stuck on repeat “What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with my body? Why don’t these pants fit perfectly!?” This is bullshit.
I hit the pause button as much as I can. I hit pause, take a breath, and then say to myself “Bitch, please! What the fuck is wrong with these jeans?!” The therapist I have talked to since 2004, Tonja, has told me that I should practice thought-stopping. A practice that I am not very good at. So, here I am, practicing. Notice that son-of-a-bitch thought that makes you feel bad → stop it. Then replace it with positive one. It’s good to have a go-to thought to replace any negative thought with. The Jeans Quest auto-replacement thought is: What is wrong with these jeans?
To bring this analogy full circle, what I am trying to accomplish is the following: instead of asking myself “what is wrong with me? Why did I not accomplish all 54 million goals on my list this month?” I am attempting to reframe my thinking with thoughts such as “What stopped me from accomplishing my goals this month? What’s wrong with the goal? How can I take a step back and set myself up for success next time? What’s wrong with this system?” This is the only way I can stay motivated for the coming month. I can approach new goals today because I know the weakness was lack of focus and making goals that were too big. How will I do better in May? I am going to focus on writing.
And guess what? I found AWESOME jeans. They don’t only fit, they feel and look amazing. People tell me so. I love them. Here’s a major plug: CrossFit girls, drop the $$$, Lucky Brand has jeans that are bangin’! They fit and flatter my curvy muscles and are delicious feeling. Try on a pair of these pants and then celebrate your bad self with a mimosa. Jeans aren’t worth crying over (which I have done). Thank You Lucky Brand, Thank You Tonja – cheers to living boldly! Love, Strength, and Vigor, Baby Cakes.
Our discussion over tea and chocolate continued into the afternoon. Here is what we covered.
Making declarations and logging progress as a way of holding yourself accountable. Leo made the excellent point that telling other people about your goals is a great way to start holding yourself accountable. You can go as far as asking someone to track your progress with you, or keep it as simple as sharing your projects with someone. If you know that even just one other person will be following up with you, you increase your chances of sticking to your word. There are many ways to go about this, many of which I have discussed with Stevo and written about here on my blog. Habit change is a tricky thing and everyone knows we get by with a little help from our friends.
When we experience hope and fear it is because we are attached to outcomes. When Leo said this, I had an “Ah ha!” moment. It seems so simple, but I don’t normally think about my hopes and fears this way. I feel that it is a good reminder of the stories that we are telling ourselves and how we often embellish the outcomes before they have happened. It is refreshing to step back and ask ourselves what we fear about a particular outcome or why we are hoping for something. Then take it one step further and realize we will be OK regardless of what happens.
5 word business plan. An “ah ha!” moment wrapped into a gold nugget right here. This is what my post “Confused? Contribute!” is all about! A simple 5 word business plan. Here it is: How Can I Help You? Run with this.
Whisper marketing. If I haven’t yet mentioned BlogcastFM one hundred times, let me continue to work towards that number. Leo and Jesse both spoke to marketing and getting the word out about what they do. They both prefer to practice gentler kinds of advertising, relying mostly on word of mouth and slow community building techniques. The reason I bring up BlogcastFM is because that is immediately what came to mind when they said “whisper” marketing. Srini, the co-founder and host of the show, asks all his interviewees how they stand out in a world with so much noise. Well, it isn’t by talking louder.
How to title blog posts. Leo has blogging down to an art. He’s very good at what he does and that’s why I attended this event. Here are some bread and butter techniques for titling your blog. First, your title must convey a benefit. Second, it must instill curiosity. Do this in 5 words or less if you can. Some things to think about: Why is what you are writing about a problem? Why should your readers care? Give them a reason! What is the solution? Make sure you include an actionable item to effectively close the post. This builds attention and trust.
Post regularly. From my understanding, it matters less how often, just keep it regular. Once a week, once a month, 4 times a year…
Give away your secrets! Making yourself vulnerable and sharing deepens your relationship to readers by building trust and providing resources. Leo really drove this one home and I think it is a special edge to any blogger. It’s scary to share ourselves with the world. It shows when we do. Really amazing things happen when you share things with others.
The tea and chocolate were incredible and the company was awesome. I have a lot of work ahead of me and attending Mindful+Entrepreneur is motivating me to get my ass in gear. Cheers to taking it to the next level!
P.S. To make it really clear – What is a problem that you have? You are trying to improve your blog but you don’t know how. What’s the solution? Simple homework: post regularly. Make a schedule. Right now.