It Doesn’t Matter

It doesn’t matter. 

The small things holding you back, they don’t matter. 

The little voice inside saying, “but what if they think…”

Regardless, of what you do and what happens, it doesn’t matter. 

The only reason it matters, is because you’re making it so. 

It doesn’t have to be that way. 

You choose how you want it to be. It’s your game. 

Play it your way. Because after all, it doesn’t matter. 

Write It Down to Gain Control

Sometimes life comes at us too fast. Everything is vying for our attention, from apps to people. And while at work, we go from one task to another. Pow, pow, pow— just knocking stuff out.

But this overstimulation can make you anxious. Next thing you know, you’re unable to focus. You’re frustrated. And down and down you go. Maybe you have an anxiety attack. Maybe you feel exhausted. Maybe you burn yourself out entirely. Either way, you’re heading in the wrong direction.

But what if you could slow everything down. What if you could gain control of what’s happening?

I have a trick.

Write it all down.

You see, when your phone rings while typing that email and an incoming slack message catches your attention, your focus is pulled in three different directions. It makes it tough to get anything done. And your mind is like an engine. And just like an engine every time you switch focus, you switch gears. You’re grinding them. And by the end of the day, you’re frazzled and your brain is mush.

So the first trick is to write down the task you’re working on. I recommend a sticky note. Even if it’s on your calendar. Write down the task, and stick it in front of you no matter what. What’s on that sticky note is the only thing you’re supposed to be working on. When you finish the task, toss it in the trash.

Next, write down everything you do. I do this in a journal. I know, it sounds a bit crazy, but it works. You literally write down everything you do. One day may take up pages. Doesn’t matter. And I mean everything. If you’re writing the email to Carl and the phone rings with your mom on the other line and you take that call, write down “Email to Carl” and “Phone call from Mom” as soon as those tasks are complete.

The idea here is to create space so you can get into a rhythm. Going from one task to the next without a break is hard. And sure, you can take breaks in between. But it’s the accumulation of small tasks that’ll get you. Not the big ones.

Writing soothes the mind. You’ll find your breath and balance between your work. And you’ll also gain a sense of control.

It’s Right Around the Corner

When you get down on yourself or find yourself in a rut, know that this too shall pass.

If you keep going, there’s something right around the corner. But you have to keep moving.

Most of the situations we find ourselves in are temporary. For the ones that aren’t, you have the power to get out of them. It’s all a mindset.

We’re never trapped. We only appear to be.

And when you move, do what you can to head in the right direction.

Sometimes any direction can be good depending on the situation you’re in. But trust yourself. You’ll know.

Get Clear About What You Want

For some it’s simple. They know exactly what they want. They communicate it, they work toward it and most of the time they achieve it.

For others, it can be more difficult. They honestly don’t know. It might be a complete blank or a bit blurry. But if they look hard enough, they’re honest with themselves, they’ll discover what they want.

It’s paramount to happiness. And it seems so simple. But ask yourself right now, what do you want? Is it crystal clear?

And this could be what you want out of your day, week, month or life.

It doesn’t have to be rock solid. It might be. But it doesn’t have to be.

It’s important that you know this. Because when it’s aligned with those around you, whether that’s your company or family, life gets into a rhythm. Things become easier. And your smallest efforts have a resounding impact.

You’ll achieve more, feel connected to yourself and those around you and above all, you’ll be a little happier.

So get clear on what you want. And don’t be afraid to let others know what it is. Your happiness might depend on it.

Do You Change or Are You the Changer?

Just because you see something happening, doesn’t mean you need to let it happen. You can be the catylst for change.

All too often I see people that complain about being treated a certain way, whether it’s in a business situation or in a personal one, yet they follow suit and treat others the same way.

If you don’t like people being mean to you, don’t be mean to others.

If you don’t like people leaving you hanging or canceling plans, do everything you can not to be this person.

Wishing for things to change vs. actually taking the actions necessary to create change are night and day.

Be the changer.

Use Streaks to Form & Break Habits

Early on I noticed creating a streak made things easier.

When it came to habits, I would think less. It was just there. It was nearly automated.

The power is in the streak, the consecutive number of days we’ve done something.

And this is the same whether it’s flossing teeth, meditating or even writing.

The problem is when we break the streak, we tell ourselves it’s just this one time. Then another day goes by, and we tell ourselves we’ll do double the work to catch up. And this goes on and on. Now what you have is a negative streak.

The good news is you get to break that. But you have to distinguish it. You have to think to yourself, I have a negative habit. I’m in the habit of not (fill in the blank).

Sure, looking at the positive is great, it’s better to go toward something than away from it. But when you find yourself in a negative rut. Look at the inverse of what you want to accomplish. That’s what you’re doing at the time. What’s it going to take to change your current state? What’s it going to take to create a positive habit that’s in line with what you want in life?

For instance, if you’re not exercising, you’re in the habit of just that, not exercising. You may have an incredible streak where you haven’t worked out in years. All it takes is one trip to the gym or even just a walk around the block to break this streak.

So when you find yourself having trouble forming a good habit or breaking a streak where you thought you had one, look at the inverse, define the negative habit and break the negative streak. Then flip it and start tracking the positive streak.

Become the Expert of You

You read about how to be better, live better. You hear from others on how to lose weight, be happier, smarter. There’s always a new book out or an article. 

But what do you actually know about you? Do you trust yourself? Do you know your breaking points?

Do you know what you should and shouldn’t eat?

Do you know how many hours you sleep a night and the optimal time to go to bed?

Do you know what makes you tired?

How about when you should exercise? 

Journal. Keep track of everything that’s a variable in your life. Know what slows you down and what gets you closer to what you want. 

You have a phone. You don’t need a pen and a nifty leather back journal. Just start taking notes. Little by little you’ll get the data you need to make better decisions about you. 

You’ll become an expert on you. 

Start by tracking what you eat, how long you sleep and how often you exercise. This is the foundation of you. Make it a habit. 

Because when you execute the basics, everything else falls in line. 

Taking Credit

Taking credit is a funny thing.

At first glance, it’s bragging. We want to have everyone acknowledge something. In most cases, this is how great we think we are based on some action.

“I called it.”

“You see that. I did that. I’m great.”

“All this is because of me.”

Hold back from pounding your chest. No one likes a braggart or a pompous ass. It makes you look weak and needy in any circumstance. If no one asks, don’t brag.

The only time you should boast about your accomplishments is if you’re in a job interview or looking for a raise during a review. Feel free to tell your boss what you’ve accomplished, how you’ve contributed, or what you’ve done. Take the credit.

But be careful. There’s a fine line between saying “here’s how I contributed and what I’ve done” vs. “I’m amazing because I ran half a marathon.”

Now, another thing about credit, don’t take it when it’s not yours to take. This is even worse, I dare say a cardinal sin. At a minimum share it, but don’t act like you did something when you didn’t. If it’s a colleague or your employee, give them the credit. It’s there’s. Be a leader. A strong one.

So how do you get credit from those around you?

Easy. Stop looking for it. Do your job, take the actions, focus on the process, the work and earn it. It naturally comes.

If you’re so desiring credit, something else is missing.

But when you do get acknowledged for something, just take the compliment and be humble.

Or as the great Walther Payton would say, “act like you’ve been there before.”

Practice the Process When You Can’t Write

You’re lost. You feel drained. You want to do something, but it seems like there’s a block. For some reason, you can’t. You can’t write. You can’t speak. You can barely think. You have no control over moving forward. There’s no momentum because there’s no movement.

Chances are you’re focusing on the wrong thing. You have your goal in mind. Your eye is on the prize. You’re more concerned with the end result. You’re not enjoying the process. This occurs for me if I’m not careful. If I take myself too seriously, I set an expectation for myself and begin to lose the enjoyment in what I’m doing. I concern myself with building a monument rather than laying a brick. The result is stagnation. Instead of laying bricks, I find something else to do and the monument I wanted to create is no closer to being complete.

My remedy is simple. Start. Start somewhere. In fact, this very post was me just starring at a screen, waiting for inspiration. I have on my calendar scheduled to write a blog post each morning. I’m supposed to sit at my computer for 30 minutes each morning from 8:30-9am and write. My goal is to build a habit. Once I have the habit, I’m driving traffic to my website, leading by example, wherein turn, my team members are also doing the same, writing every day. And if I write every day, maybe I’ll be able to pump out 1 or 2 decent posts per week. But I haven’t been sitting down to write. I’ve been dreading it, finding anything else to do other than put words to paper. But when you start, you commit.

The next step is to enjoy the process. Just let it flow. Type or write about anything. It doesn’t matter. I find it easiest to write about why I can’t write when I can’t write. The purpose is the process, not the goal. So as long as you’re still writing, you’re making progress via the process. You’re connecting your mind to your hands.

Get comfortable, knowing that it’s not going to be magical writing, don’t expect spell-binding words to flow from your fingertips. That’s too much pressure. Expect words to flow. That’s it. They don’t even have to make sense. Just get the words out. Don’t worry about anything else. They can be completely off-topic, tangent-oriented, senseless words, barely if at all, strung together—just do it.

What happens is organic. Logic tells you that everything that’s coming out is a waste of your time. Why? I won’t pretend to know or understand and since I’m writing this because I didn’t feel like writing, I’m not going to look it up. But it’s my belief that we’re programmed to want to make sense. Your subconscious will take over and begin making coherent thoughts, pumping ideas into your mind that you’ll add to your writing. They could be the most minute dots, speckled throughout your writing with your short 30-minute window or however long you want to take.

What’s the use?

Well, there are two ways to look at this:

1. You benefit by writing. In the process, you have to learn to enjoy it. So regardless of anything else, as long as you’ve written something, you’re getting better and getting closer. It’s all about practice. The more you practice, the better you get.

2. Go back over your writing days or even weeks later. Save it. No one’s going to read it unless you want them to. It may be an incoherent mess of words. But if you look closely, you’ll be able to see the dots where your subconscious took over during the process and began to make sense. In fact, I wrote this post in 2015 and it sat in my Evernote for 6 years before I published it.

So, to sum this up, it’s all about the process. It’s all just practice. So just start writing. It’ll come together. And then, keep writing. 😉