Archive for the ‘Launch your Adventure’ Category

SOS-What_Time_Is_ItDo you know what time is best for you?

I guess it depends on what I’m talking about.  The best time to sleep?  The best time to talk with me?  The best time for me to focus and work?  The best time for me to relax and cut up?  Those might all vary to a greater or lesser degree.

Let me start with the main intention.  When is your best time to get the most important things in your day done?  For me, the early morning is my time of focus and when I feel the most alert and thoughtful.  Also for me, my day job isn’t where my passion, focus, and interests are.  I am currently working so that I can live and provide.  My work is not exactly aligned with my greatest desires.  I’m going to hazard a guess that this is true for many of you too.

If you are in my boat (or one like it), your time of focus is very limited.  I have maybe 2 hours before I go to work and about 5 hours afterwards that aren’t taken up by mundane activities like eating, commuting, or sleeping.  Of those, just the 2 morning hours are best for me to focus.  My other 5 are used for social activity, commitments made, and available family time.  This is all not counting weekends, the game changes there and maybe that’s a whole different topic for discussion.

Whatever you determine to be the time that’s good for you.  My question is – is it good for you time?  What are you doing with those times?  For example there is a well known public speaker named Dennis Waitley who says that he wrote his book and developed his life philosophy and thoughts during what he called “prime time.”  Prime time for him was in the evening when friends and family were locked in to the television.  And action taken little and often produced a new adventure for him.  It may not take all your time, it may not have to be every day.  But that directed focus ratcheting things forward will have it’s results.

Maybe you haven’t even realized that you have that little actual time in your day to focus on things that matter to you.  But if you want to accomplish a task, have a conversation, or – and this is a lost art – simply take some time to think about things.  Your life, your plans, your situation.  Use that time when you are at the top of your game.  However if you don’t know when that is, you will not be able to put it to use.

So if you don’t know if you’re an early bird or a night owl try them both out and see which one works best for you.  For me, as I said, it’s the morning, so if you send me a message late at night, you can expect a response in the morning when you get up.  Hey, now we could drift into talking about time shifting, but I’ll save that for another time.

So do you already know what time is good for you?  Are you going to have to figure it out?  Let me know how that goes for you and how you could tell which was best.  OK?

sliding-scaredHave you ever wondered why you don’t go after the things that you want?  Could it be that you’re just afraid?

John Wayne said, “Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway.”

Fear can paralyze, but it doesn’t have to.  Action while facing fear is courageous.  So  how do you do that?  How do you act when being frozen?

Some people just lash out, any movement just to break the grip of fear.  You’ve seen this in funny videos when people lurch and wiggle in all sorts of uncontrollable ways as their body tries to process through the fear.  It looks funny after the fact, but it’s deadly serious when breaking out of that frozen fear response.

For those with a little more analytical mind, there is always reasoning through fear.  Recognizing that what you’re facing isn’t as lethal or final.  And knowing that fear is not unexpected.  Here’s how Mark Twain put it, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.  Except a creature be part coward it is not a compliment to say it is brave.”  If you aren’t facing fear, year really can’t be called brave – now that’s something to, well, give you courage!

Bringing this down to a personal point.  I’ve been wrestling with this blog for a long time and very early this morning I asked myself, “What is it you are afraid of with writing to the blog?”  There were a few answers, but one that stuck out was that I was afraid that I’d just say the same thing over and over again.  Then I asked myself two questions:

  1. Is it so bad to repeat a message – if it’s a good one?  Repetition is how we learn and master.
  2. How could you avoid doing that?

So the first one is an example of an unfounded fear.  When you look at it, it kind of evaporates.  So let’s say at the end of the year, either in December or January, you wrote yet another blog post about wrapping things up, reviewing what’s been done, new beginnings, setting goals, and fresh starts?  Is that so bad?  (OK, now don’t go looking in my blog archives – because that’s exactly what you’ll find! ) I already did it!  So my fear has been realized, is it the end of the world?  Who cares really?  If it’s where me head is – and it’s getting there again as the year runs down.  That fear is unfounded and once faced down, diminishes and becomes a nag, or even nothing at all.

Then there’s #2.  This is a legitimate fear of mine.  Repeating stories I’ve already told makes me feel foolish.  But sometimes people haven’t heard the stories.  They’re new to them, if old and boring to me – since I keep telling them.  But if it bothers me, it bothers me.  What can be done?  Well I came up with a solution.  Technology.  What?  Shocking, I know.  Evernote is my friend.  It’s a place to just keep track and store anything from anywhere in the cyber universe.  And I just finished archiving everything I’ve ever said in this blog.  The beauty?  It’s all locally searchable.  So when I have an idea for a blog post I can search through my old posts quickly, without having to reread each one and see if I’ve used a word or phrase like the one stuck in my head before.  If not, I can blog away with my new found courage.

Facing your fears is a great way to actually move ahead on your voyage.  In fact, it is really the test of your mettle, your virtue.  I like the way C.S. Lewis puts it, “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.”

So take the opportunity to put your courage to the test and exert your virtue.  Whenever I think of courage I think of this song that I came across.  I’m always the last to discover songs, so this is probably some pub tune from the mid 18th century and I’d be none the wiser…

This song puts some wind in my sails – check it out:

Hmm, things seem a bit dusty around here. Better spruce the place up. I’ve told a few more people about this little Shangri-La of a blog. Don’t you have to clean up before company comes? It seems to make more sense to me to clean up after they leave. But in this crazy world you end up having to do both.

I’m one article shy of posting out my first Set of Sail Newsletter. I already have 5 subscribers! (2 are me (for testing), 2 are family members (do family member have to support your crazy schemes? Sorta?) – and one is Lisa from school, shout out her!).

I’ve set the deadline to get issue one out by the end of the month. I’m thinking a little advertising might be in order. Maybe I should hire Darrin Stevens from McMann and Tate…

I decided to NOT clean up, so my scattered thoughts and schemes are still out here for all to see. The pieces of this tale of adventure are posted for all to see. It’s OK, you can chuckle if you want to.

The year is at an end. 2010 is in the books. What was done, is done. Any achievements are completed. Any unfulfilled dreams have to be moved forward to 2011’s list or left behind as “what might have been’s” or as anchors tying you down. (Have you ever thought of unfulfilled dreams as things that you should’ve dumped long ago to make room for what matters?? Think about it now…)

I’m not as prepared for the new year as I’d like to be. But you know what? Time marches steadily forward – ready or not. There’s nothing special about starting over on January 1st. Well, other than the fact that there are thousands of people starting along side of you. It’s a massive launch from shore. But there are so many vessels that aren’t sea worthy and their captains swim back to shore while the water’s still shallow. Others wander around in the bay and never make it out to sea. There’s nothing wrong with taking a little more time and starting out a little late, but in a condition to persevere.

On the other hand, there is always the adveturer’s option. Launch out. And with what you have on board and the inventory of your wit and skill you make due with what you have. You navigate while on board. You adjust, adapt, and overcome.

I, for one, will be trying a little of that this year. There were some projects I wanted to start in the new year, but it’s here already. I also had a few “paperclip” activities I wanted to have rolling right along by now. But I got sick for a few days (oh, it was a nasty bug..!), and I’ve dropped my habits. But I can pick them up in one day – how hard is it to move a paperclip once again? It’s not.

So I start the new year a little disorganized, but the ship is underway. A new year. A new beginning. There’s much to see out there on the horizon. The only way to get to it is to … launch out.

What are you doing? Are you taking that first step? Are you gathering a few last minute supplies? Comment about it in this post. I’d love to know what others are up to in the voyage of your life.

Happy 2011 to you! God willing we won’t be the same this time next year.

This is an illustration from a book I read. Illustrations have a lasting effect and help us to cement a concept into our brains so we can retain in for a long, long time. The principle is a combination of “get up and do something” and “it’s really hard to keep at it.”

Here’s the basic premise – try this challenge: Pick an activity to engage in. Make it a relatively small or insignificant one. For example, decide to pick up a piece of clutter and put it in it’s place. Or how about emptying a trash can, or doing one push-up, or even moving a paper clip from one location on a desk to another. Once you’ve decided on a task, see how many days in a row you can consistently complete that tiny task. It sounds easy, but try it and you might find it’s harder to remember, or to rationalize why you’re persisting.

You see, for me it’s the starting that’s the problem so I haven’t even faced the persistence issue yet! But I have decided that there are a few things that, no matter how senseless they seem, I’m going to endeavor to do and track my progress. Don’t worry, I’ll update you on how it’s going. Consider it a practice run to launching out.

Why don’t you try it yourself? Let me know if you can pick something minuscule to do, and then tell me your record for how many days (or time periods if you are doing it weekly or hourly or whatever you decide) in a row that you can keep it up. I’d be curious to see what kind of records can be made and broken.

I’ve read and read about the need to set goals, to make a plan – to chart a course even!

Is it really necessary though? I wonder. When you learned to walk, did you sit down and map it out? “First I’ll just get some leg strength by standing there holding on to the coffee table. Then I’ll try to move over and slide along the edge of the couch. I’ll do a little bit of ‘free standing’, and finally I’ll take a step when mommy notices and crouches down and holds out her arms.” Maybe you’re too young to remember if you did or not.

How about learning to ride a bike? Did you sit down and map out your 90 day strategy? Or did you see others out there having fun, look at the bike propped up in the shed and decide you were going to figure it out. You dabbled a little around the yard and in the driveway. You probably had some nasty falls there at the beginning. But you just went out and did it. There was no Gantt chart, you didn’t have staff meetings. You wanted the “freedom ride” experience, so you got on your bad little cycle and peddled away! (And if you’re around my age, you probably did it without a helmet or elbow pads! Amazing lack of planning there…)

So what do you want to do? Are you holding back because of a lack of a plan? I have talked a lot about my sailing metaphor for life direction. But you know what? Sometimes you just “take the boat out for a spin.” If your not careful, that can lead to memorable adventures. Some memories you just have to laugh about later – after their over, but some that are treasured thoughts that last a lifetime.

I am trying to get organized around here.  There needs to be places to stow things away as well as shelves to set things out for display.  Now that I have the podcast episodes coming out fairly regularly, I didn’t want to mess up the main stream with random and mundane musings.  So I set up a log; appropriately titled the Captain’s Log (would you use a semi colon there?  A comma just didn’t look right… anyway).

I’ve been looking for a place to just enter a quick note that is public enough that I feel that I’m accountable to the wide open Internet, but out of the way enough that it’s not bothering anybody.  Talk about schizophrenic goals!  I’ve tried other things: dedicated sites, third party hosting, and even software in the cloud.  None of these seemed to work.  And since Set of Sail is themed on helping a community to “journal the journey” together, why not put my journey out there as ‘Exhibit 1’?

Well that’s the idea behind this anyway.  Maybe I’m making too big of a deal about this.  Now if only I can get Posterous to recognize this setup I’ll be rockin’.

One of the biggest challenges with making a significant change is the committing to do it.  If you are like me, there are things you think you ought to do or things you think would be good for you to do.  Most of these tasks or ideas become wistful dreams.  They are never acted upon and often forgotten until one day when you see that someone else has done what you wanted to do and you say to yourself, “Oh, I was going to do that – they stole my idea!”

Can an idea even be stolen?  Think about that for a moment.  You can share ideas with others.  But whether or not you act on that notion and whether or not someone else does are completely independent of each other.  Neither of you could act, or both of you could.  Here’s where many people get tripped up.  They think that if they don’t tell other people about what they intend to do, then no one will ever think about it.

This just isn’t what actually happens.  In real life, people think similar thoughts and come up with similar ideas all the time.  (Many of our ideas aren’t original with us, remember?)

So how can you combat this?  If we aren’t going to act on a desire, decision, or idea then it really doesn’t matter.  But if you are going to act – keeping things to yourself really won’t matter.  Yes I am aware of the voice in your head telling you that if you share your brilliant idea that somebody else will take it.  I say let them take it, then you will actually have to act to take it back.

This actually happened to me recently.  I was thinking about what I wanted to share in this blog, and I mentioned to someone about this great book that I wanted to read with like minded people and share ideas from.  You know what he did.  He has started working through that very book on his podcast.

And he’s doing a great job!  So what do I do?  Whine about it?  Say he stole my idea?  Absolutely NOT!  In fact since he’s doing that I’ve made more progress here than I have in three or four years!  And next week I’m going to try very hard to move to an audio format.  Yes, I am sharing another idea.  I’m going to evolve this into a podcast.

I would’ve never thought of doing that unless I heard how possible it was by listening to my idea being executed already.  It’s motivating.  And who says we can’t do the exact same thing?  I could even comment on his comments!  The point is that putting the idea out there challenges me to either do something with it or get it into the hands of someone who will.  And if I think that I’m the only one who could take an idea forward, then my thinking is rather small.

And from these events, I have come out and committed to getting this podcast up and going.  Could somebody else take that idea?  Don’t you know that there are already tons of podcasts out there already?  It just doesn’t matter.  What does matter is that I’m going to make the commitment.

I would love it if you followed along to see what happens here.

Multi-tasking … it almost sounds like a super-power, like telekinesis or water-breathing.  However recently I’ve started seeing blog posts and articles about how it might not be all that it’s cracked up to be.  This idea has come home to me recently as I’ve been trying to organize my online life / presence / identity.  You see, I have many different interests: online business, seeking to be the best I can be, to encourage others to get out of the rut and see their potential, religious considerations of all kinds, political punditry and opinions, desire to be a better father / husband / friend… the list could be much longer.  These are all areas that I’ve participated in forums and different online endeavors under a number of different labels and names.

But it seems that lately I’ve had a hard time keeping track.  It has been suggested to me to just pull it all together under one banner – just me.  However this doesn’t always work.  If I were to include my pointed partisanship or my radical religiosity it might make clients and business partners nervous (why?  Apparently having differing opinions can make people think you don’t like them as a person or that you can’t work, or co-exist even, with people who see things differently than you… I guess that’s a popular notion, I don’t know).

So I am left trying to identify some personal boundaries.  However in this I have decided to try to consolidate where I can.  Therefore, even though I’ve only just begun my efforts to share here at Set of Sail, I’m going to be broadening my focus a bit and include some things from a more personal blog.  This is going to become the home of many of my musings.  So it might be less focused than I first envisioned.  But that also means that it will probably get a little less tightly wound.  Using my nautical theme – I’ve decided to put out a few deck chairs, relax and put my feet up on the railing a while.  I hope you won’t mind – and if I get off track a bit, please don’t be offended.  If you do, there really isn’t much I can do about it.  Getting offended is your choice; for my part I’ll try not to be offensive.  I think I am generally unoffensive but I’m sure your mileage may vary.

So consider this a warning.  Also a bit of an announcement.  This is to hold me accountable.  Expect my next post to have some multi-media spice added to it.  Yup, I’m gonna try to go all podcast on you.  I’ve been thinking about this for a few weeks, and I’ve been mulling around ideas in my head for longer than that.   So the challenge will be to go from dream to action and really put something out there.  I should probably say something here about having the courage to not be intimidated by the fact that it may not be superb, but that would only be for me to convince myself that I’m ready.

Well I’m not ready, but I’m just committing to go and grow along the way.  You want to come along?  I hope you get something out of it, because that would be my greatest reward.

You’ll be hearing from me (literally) soon!!  (… yikes.)