Choices and Decisions

She explained that her kids hardly ever saw their father (her husband) because he had to work to support the family and that was just the way it was. She said it with a resigned, ignorant Midwestern pride born from an Industrial era.

I understand the need to work. I understand lean times and being forced to work more than one job. Those are tough decisions, but in most situations, it’s a CHOICE to not spend quality time developing a remarkable relationship with one’s children.

I often post pictures of my children that are accompanied with reflections because whether I’m flush with cash or working three jobs, my #1 choice is to be the best dad I can be. It’s the most important thing there is to me and I’m a very proud dad. Money has nothing to do with it.

It’s not your fault but it might be your responsibility. Certain periods of time can be challenging. Determining how to communicate or when or whether to communicate that to your children (your significant other, etc.) can be difficult. Always – part of that responsibility still involves nurturing the relationship.

One approach is to tell them a story. It starts with the story of someone (i.e. you) who wants to do something, but isn’t, hasn’t or can’t. Yet. The ongoing dialog is around the “yet” part.

Hate Writing or Love It? (and why?)

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Here is the question I want you to reply to.

You’re likely a person who doesn’t think they are a good writer and/or dislikes writing.

Or you’re a person who considers themselves a good writer and/or likes writing.

My question for you is WHICH do you associate, and WHO and/or WHY do you associate with either?

Here’s my answer and an example.

I like writing.

Here were a few positive influences along the way:

– My grandpa. I called him Pobby. He had a typewriter. He wrote stories and poems. He read them to me. Later in life after he passed, I found more of his writings and ramblings. Gold to me.

– Mrs. Clomon. She was my 5th grade teacher. She taught me to write a speech for a “black wax museum” project which ultimately landed me a spot on cable access T.V. In her class, we were asked to read our stories in front of the room. This was thrilling to me.

– Mr. Saling. He was the journalism teacher at Sam Barlow High School in Gresham, OR where i went to school my freshman and part of Sophomore year. He taught me the inverted pyramid writing structure. His program was a blast. He taught me to respect good writing.

– Mr. Bailey. He was my baseball coach at Comstock High School where I graduated. He helped to make writing cool because his passion for great authors was so infectious. To write or be a writer was like answering a loud and emphatic YES! to Jimi Hendrix in his song “Are You Experienced?” He introduced me to Walt Whitman. He listened to me read my first and earliest poems in between classes.

Robin Williams. After watching this scene from Dead Poets Society.

My response was wordy. Yours doesn’t have to be.

Please reply with your answer.

The reason I ask is because I am NOT seeing teachers model a passion for writing. Especially in the early grades. I am seeing teachers assign bullshit writing assignments that sap the morrow of life from our children. Then they grow up to say “I’m not a good writer.” or “I hate writing.” And that makes me sad.

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The Heart Of Your Project

I call everything a “project.”

The poinsettia project. It lasts three months. And ends with Manhattans and Santa Clause

The write every day at this blog project. It’s a project of commitment and turning something in every day.

The green juicing project. Just this week.

The freelance writing project at Upwork. Now through the new year.

I like “project” instead of “business” or “job” (until it becomes one).

Here’s why and here’s my point.

Every project big or small that “makes it” doesn’t start out a sure thing. It might not work. Our project isn’t born a great idea. Nothing is a great idea until it’s proven to be. That happens through the learning that occurs during the doing. The project doesn’t start with the biggest budget or the best marketing.

Here’s what it does start with… . It starts with the story of someone (i.e. you) who wants to do something, but isn’t, hasn’t or can’t. Yet.

Tell that story. It’s the heart of your project.

One Moment All The Time

Quitting comes at the cost of an unhappy life.

I quit when I learned a few marketing tricks and combined that with writing. I helped my clients sell their magical tactics, silver bullets, one-size-fits-all memberships, another webinar and more content consumption. That became my full time job.

In the process I quit BECOMING.

You don’t eat once every few days. You don’t speak once a week. Hunger and breathing are continuous. So is BECOMING. BECOMING is closer to hunger and breathing, but it’s subtle. It requires showing up every day to harness that hunger, breathing and BECOMING.

You might not be achieving what you want. You lack patience. Things didn’t happen overnight. You quit! You stopped showing up. You’re no longer on top of your BECOMING.

Here’s my message to you:

Right now – stop playing Angry Birds. Stop hitting up the Facebook feed. Skip the “Orange is the New Black” marathons. Say no to Wednesday’s beer league. Don’t hang out with your not-really-friends who complain about their life.

Start showing up for yourself – again. Return to your innocence. Start with the message you believe. Put it out there anyway you know how. If you’re reading this, I know you know how.

Every new discipline is one choice at a time. One moment all the time.

Stop Polishing Junk

Envision our Internet if our intent is to produce real and useful projects. Everything poured into authenticity and utility. Extending from our values and creates sustainable value. Not what your usual Facebook stream offers you. Like a huge chunk of photos with quotes over them. It’s junk, and it’s out there turning up at our doorstep. It might draw our eyes in. It’s fast to consume, and provokes an emotional response even faster.

There are spaces on the web full of irrelevant, redundant, unsolicited and low-value information. I see people making trash not look like trash, in order to sell more trash. I contributed to this pollution in the past. Not anymore.

Join me in doing what you’re afraid of doing, which is putting ourselves out there, creating a promise, showing up to do the extremely hard work that is unique to you. Let’s do that. Let’s stop polishing junk. Instead, build something.

How My Work Can Help You (Now)

My work comes from a place of passion, creativity, consciousness and concern.

My passion starts with the belief that in order to make a difference in your life, I first must make a difference in my own. I’m happiest when I’m making meaning, and engaged in the creative act, and because of my propensity to teach and collaborate, I do my best work when I’m working with you for a cause we both might share. It’s because I’m aware of just how like you I am, and how my story — however unique it is to my reality — is a universal one for all of us.

Have an opinion

The best thing about having an opinion is that it comes with disagreement. Especially when you share it with the first person outside of your circle. Facebook is great for this – a perfect place to start. You have at least one thing you need to say. With effort you can say it clearly and well and in a way that hasn’t been said before. You have one great blog post inside of you, You’re willing to update that post as you learn more and gain more insight. To me, it’s no longer surprising when I see someone choose to publish their opinions via photos, words, art or a combination. What’s surprising is when people don’t. We’re human. Tell a story… with a razor sharp opinion.

Not sure how? Need accountability, help and guidance to get started? Give me 45 minutes. I will teach you. Reply with your interest (or your opinion)

“Do. Or do not” -Yoda

Execute or it didn’t happen. The main premise of this riff is that “Do” is an absolute a habit and Eexecution means that I have already figured out what needs doing, and I’m doing it.

I’m drinking Tulsa mint tea. It’s raining. My kids are at their moms. My girlfriend is at Claddagh’s Oyster House in Prince Edward Island, CA.

I’m tired. I have two choices:

1. write this blog (do)
2. go to bed (do not)

That’s my mental attitude from now forth. Do or Do Not. Yoda said that.

To “Do” is an absolute a habit. I have to get up when I say I’ll get up. I have to go to bed when I say I’ll go to bed. I will make and keep promises to myself. Execution means that I have already figured out what needs doing and then doing it.

Reply to me, What does it take for you to do? If you’re not sure, here are a couple tips that are working for me.

Execution. Doing. Done. That’s what I’m looking for in myself. The do. This is a part of my personal manifesto. The first part of “Do” is to make a promise to myself:

My promise to myself is “I am a writer.” For this season, that looks (Do) as such – I get paid for freelance writing assignments and I write at this blog.

The second part of the “Do” is habits.

My secret for developing better habits – currently – is elimination. Eliminate distractions. Eliminate excuses. Eliminate “other” projects. It’s just writing. Writing is the project. Being a writer is the mission. I’m eliminating any weird hopes and discarding bad habits. Like a healthy digestive system, there’s a lot of elimination.

Last thing…

Sometimes I fall into being the “save someone all the time” person. Can you relate or identify that in your life?

I can. It’s some type of compensation for being the eldest boy of a mother who was never quite okay despite my best efforts. Saying “no” for me can be hard especially when I have my own challenges to deal with.I rather save someone else before do the work for myself.

As I’m growing out of this, I’m realizing more and more that the way I can help the world is to be very successful in what I do. That way I will better be able to marshal the resources and the network to bring even more value to bear on those causes that matter to me.

Reply with your thoughts. Share if it resonates. Encourage a friend or colleague to subscribe if you think it might help them.

Public Practice

Virginia shared my Ground of Being video with our group (below). I didn’t mind. I wouldn’t have recorded and uploaded to YouTube if so.

Can’t see it? You must be reading this in your email. Watch it here.

What surprises me is how dull this is. Not much expression. Is that how I really look when I talk? I know I speak to others with more excitement. Maybe that’s a detail I should have worked out for the better before recording. Maybe I’m always going to be my worst critic.

I’m not advocating you video yourselves. Or have a blog like I do. Or Facebook. Or start a four year career.

But if I was, I’d say DO IT. Why? Because public practice is far different than practice where no one can see. This blog of mine… phew … if I had a dollar for all the times I have cringed before posting! To this day, I ask myself why am I even doing this?

I’ll never have the perfect post. I’m not sure if I’ll ever do something here at this blog that is actually useful to you. How does posting to this blog translate into the income stream of my dreams?

The answer is I have no idea.

What I do know is that it’s easy to work out the details and memorize the angles when no one else is watching. Sometimes it even seems the right thing to do (because maybe in some cases it is).

But, here’s an important question you cannot duck if you ever do hope to find your way through the confusion. How you will do the real work of your life when people are watching?

We already know practice is important. Try public practice. Every single important thing we do is something we haven’t always been good at, and we probably feared it too.

As a senior in high school, I was afraid my girlfriend was going to dump me. I really liked her. I started writing in my journal the happenings from each of our encounters and dates. From age 19-22 I was out of school and unsure if I was ever going to get back in. I journaled daily to deal with the fear of a dream deferred. I’ve always had the tattered bits of paper to scribble upon – even if they stayed blank – because that’s where everything comes into recognition; it’s where life passes itself into meaning. This blog is my modern day journal.

What’s yours?

It’s not easy. It’s difficult. But it’s possible and that might make all the difference.

How To Be A Better Person By Complaining More – Right Now

I was drinking coffee and an everything bagel at the local Bagel Shop. I sat at the window watching the cars drive by. It was 6:45 a.m. I had my journal open but no plans to write a darn thing. I was preoccupied – irritated about a specific situation that was holding camp under my skin.

Yet I knew I needed to uncheck my mind. I wrote down my complaints & dislikes. It was the only way to possibly save my upcoming day and alleviate the frustration of the moment. Let it loose, I decided. The first three were so easy that I set out to write 10. They came quickly. The next two didn’t take long either. I came up with another four. I reread my list. Then affirmed them.

It helped. However, behind every complaint or dislike is a gratitude possibility. So I decided that for each item on my list, I’d write a gratitude solution. The hardest part was writing something I could actually believe. Pure mental and emotional labor! For all of yesterday, I had a new perspective about my dislikes. The internal dialog of complaints had been neutered.

This is what amazes me about my journal. Sometimes this blog too. (or both.) Out of all that could be written or shared, it’s one thing. What that one thing is, who knows?! I don’t even know. Until I do. I pass over it like unmarked snow. It seems more of a vocation than an act of creation.

Want to know my list of 10 complaints & dislikes with the gratitude? Reply to this email with your 10 and I’ll send back mine too. You’re invited to trade your thoughts about the experience.