You are the genie in a lamp of self-imposed limitation. You are the star if you decide to shine. You are the one in a million clover. You are the well, deep and ready to quench a thirst. To do is to grant yourself the wish, and your wish is your command.
Affect What You Can
You can’t control the world, only your own reactions. But, don’t use this as an excuse for inaction. Influence. Move. Manipulate. Shift. Shine. Illuminate. Inspire. No, not control, but affect. Affect yourself. Then affect everything else. Affect everything you can.
Only Experience Makes an Expert
Read all the books, study all the wikis, and watch all the lectures you want. That will make you aware, which is great. But remember,
Write Your Bio Early
If you plan on doing anything important then do yourself a favor and write up a half-page bio. Trust me, you’ll save yourself a lot of time when you’re actually busy and are being asked for press and journalism information and need to decide what important life matters you want to submit in a couple of days or hours.
Avoid the tendency towards conviction. Being convinced by real numbers is as bad as being married to dogmatic belief. The solution? Be an unbound spirit. Stand on the ground of self affirmation and know your own values.
Becoming More Valuable – Weekly Goal Update
We are more than halfway through the week, so let’s talk about the goals I planned on Sunday.
My priority was to continue to keep increasing my value. I decided to focus on auditing the following traits:
- Actionability (May or may not be a real word)
After really looking at the way I log my time I realize that my activity falls short of being the best use of my time. Even this week I have spent time in banal conversations that could have been spent around quality opportunities and managing important projects.. I aim to measure 1/3 of my day as being actually progressive activity. For most of us that means that if you work 8 hours a day to use those 8 hours for work and absolutely nothing else. This also suggest that the work is the best investment of your time, not busy work or filling a space to make wage.
I run digital technology companies and like to focus on clients and industries in wellness and well being industries. Do I carry an aura of credibility and authority for my knowledge, skills, mission, and values? Part of this project is to create a high transparency, high accountability system to help instill the habits and actions I will use to improve myself, but it’s also to provide a window towards what I am actually doing. Make your value and experience obvious.
Value is a purely human judgement, so to be valuable I need to provide value to others. The old adage “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” comes to mind. If I can add something to a conversation with useful experiential knowledge, or at least well placed practiced wit, I contribute. If I can’t, I listen. If I have no business in that conversation or scenario, it’s a distraction and I walk away.
Actionability (still may not be a word)
I recommend you do anything to remove phrases like “how about this weather” from your vocabulary. The idea here is to work with highly actionable thoughts, plans, and speech. In conversation ask questions that dig deeper around the concepts and subjects of the conversation, and give responses that are direct and lead into follow up conversation. With plans be certain that there is a measurable follow through. And with your thoughts go from “why me” to “I can fix this by…” and from wondering to investigating.
To work these I took a block of time out to engage in new conversations online and at networking events following a very simple formula. Introduce an interest in a person and ask them about what interested me in them. Ask 2 or 3 intelligent questions as they responded. Craft a short sentence about how our conversation satisfied my interest. Offer a “pitch” about what I do segued from the context of our conversation. Offer to be of some service to them or ask them how I could be helpful to them. This doesn’t mean you have to try and sell something. In several of these conversations the service I offered was an opinion or an introduction.
Three days of this trained and instilled the habit.
Other marks to hit
I began training for the Black Man Running 5k. The week has been rainy but I got one good day of running 4.6 miles and 2 days of cycling to follow up.
To help learn more and promote my business community I have begun writing for Exit Event, a site focusing on startups and entrepreneurship in North Carolina. This puts me in front of many quality professionals and up and comers, as well as teaches me an incredible amount.
Finally I am innovating a product to turn a job I do fairly repetitively into a product to increase revenue. I will be launching this to select existing clients with my consultancy this week.
Thank you and please comment with opinions, experiences, and suggestions.
Enough is enough, when the right thing isn’t
Today I’m looking at systems, routines, and mindsets in my life and trying to determine when enough is enough, meaning have you gotten enough out of something to move on to the next step, or are you sticking around and wasting my time.
To start a habit, start small
A quick comment about starting habits. The most important thing is to start. The details matter but not if you never actually create the product.
Increasing Personal Value – Oct 28 2015
My goal is to bring in $1,000 more than expected this month as an experiment to test the limit of the value I can capture from myself and to gauge unused potential as measured by monetary value. The initial formula for this was to replace a diminishing habit with a beneficial one, do more high paying tasks by outsourcing my low paying ones, getting rid of one thing I am paying for, and get paid for one thing I already have or do.
Over the past couple of days I have been auditing myself and my life for “value thieves,” any thing I allow or invite to diminish my personal value. The list I identified includes
- An extra car we don’t need or use
- Unproductive conversations
- Distracting emails
- Poor Spending
- Bank Fees
This was the list of the ones that were easiest to collect. I feel fairly sure that these are not uncommon, so hopefully this forms a template for an actionable public audit. Cumulatively these have cost me about $800 this month, which is an huge obstacle to my personal value experiment.
Alternatively I also created a list of methods I had available to me to (legally) increase my value this week.
- Meaningful blogging and journalism
- Empty labor pipeline early
- Sell extra car
- Nap daily
Note that my measurement of value is not limited to finance but also to the number of people I can impact in a amount of time. I aim to research and write prolifically to become a source of educational and actionable information. As a technological consultant, it’s essentially providing my financial model to my social life to provide similar benefits.
So far my additional net income has gotten halfway to breaking even by having maintenance tasks replaced by high value work and being able to serve my clients well, but providing this labor is no way to become financially or socially wealthy. That being said, it’s a more certain and controllable way to reach my $1,000 goal than speculating the sale of my car, especially in conjunction with removing my value thieves.
5 Reasons We Don’t Take Action
I recently had a conversation with a young man who was referred to me as a career mentee. He is in college for computer science, with skills in programming embedded devices and an impressive passion for his projects. Despite the energy he had for the field, he expressed hesitation starting a career in it. I was a bit shocked. My first instinct was to question why. My second instinct was to lecture him about experience, opportunity, and whatnot. However, I began to reflect on his statement and realized this reluctance to commit is something I, and possibly many other entrepreneurs, still experience.
So what can keep someone from pursuing an opportunity in a career they are truly passionate and skilled in – arguably the “dream life”? A number of things can get in the way of us taking advantage of something we truly want or believe can launch us to where we want to go. Arbitrarily, I will name 5 that I identified while reflecting.
1) Believing you have to make the right choice first.
While speaking with this young man, he mentioned not knowing exactly what he wanted to do with his career, which is a normal condition in college. That uncertainty, however, should be no reason not to take action in some direction. This is commonly called “paralysis by analysis.” It would be like staring over a beach with a shovel, afraid to dig because you don’t know exactly where a piece of treasure might be. Meanwhile, that same time could be spent combing the sand over with a metal detector. By favoring a bias towards action, you increase your odds of stumbling upon your treasure – in this case, a career path – from zero percent to a fairly strong maybe.
2) Fear of getting stuck in a dead end.
This one goes hand-in-hand with the previous one except, rather than an uncertainty of where to start, it involves an uncertainty of where you’ll finish. Let me preface this by saying that one of the greatest career mistakes you can make is getting a whole lot of experience in the wrong thing. However, give a position some time, and if it doesn’t work out for you, it’s fairly easy to quit and take the industry experience with you to find a better fit. Don’t fall for the sunk cost fallacy that you need to stay somewhere to get back the investment you’ve already put in. Telling an employer, “I left after 6 months because it didn’t fulfill my career goals,” sounds a lot better than, “I did nothing for 2 years because I was paralyzed with fear.”
3) Doubt in one’s own skills.
Oftentimes, particularly in technology, an individual entering the career field might feel overwhelmed with what might be expected of them. The wake-up call I have for you is this: you will never grow unless you are a little bit underqualified for your position. Never stop looking for skills and education in your field, and I encourage taking a chance at getting paid to learn versus paying for the same. So long as your abilities aren’t exceptionally below your pay rate, you are probably looking at the best chance you have at refining the skills you want. Remember, while a realistic view of one’s skills is great, don’t let that become an unrealistic assessment of your potential.
4) Losing passion once money’s in the equation.
This is a hard one to address. A lot of people may have a chance to enter a career in something they are earnestly skilled and passionate about, but don’t want to risk losing that love once it becomes “work.” If this is the situation you’re in, you may be looking at the wrong career. It’s rare to find that one position that lets you live out your dream career scenario, so holding out for that offer is playing a lottery with bad odds. If you feel that this may be the case, it’s probably better to find it out sooner than later.
5) Excuses, excuses.
By definition, a job involves work, and getting ahead in a career will almost always involve working hard or working smart, and usually a bit of both. It always seems great to imagine yourself in your fantasy position earning a perfect salary with your retirement plan nested away…until you factor in the effort it takes to get there. Being face to face with the opportunity, it’s not uncommon to have second thoughts about committing to the work it takes to succeed. My answer to this is to just jump headlong into the cold water. From there you can choose to swim to deeper water or back to shore, but either way you’re forced to work. The hardest part is always getting started, so make that first commitment so there’s no room for excuses or laziness.
In conclusion, don’t hesitate to get started in your career. When in doubt, stay biased towards taking action and keeping momentum moving forward, rather than hesitantly staying still. While many questions arise along each given career path, train yourself to take action at opportunities, and almost any doubts or concerns you have will be figured out or dispelled early on.