I get distracted pretty easily when I sit down to write.
Sometimes it’s ESPN.com or the newest social media craze that borrows my attention – but other times, I’m actually distracted by my own blog. I go back and re-read things that I’ve posted before.
While there is a hint of narcissism surrounding this counter-productive ritual, it usually stems from stupidity. I start asking myself a simple question: “Haven’t I already written this post?”
When I started writing this blog entry, I had that exact question creep its way into my brain.
Cue the self-absorbed distraction…
I started off by entertaining myself with a post about my son’s constipation….then, I read an inspirational blog about “stumbling upwards.” After that, I found the blog entry I was looking for, a post that I wrote just over a year ago: “Finally Time to Define Retirement.“
When I finished reading 764-word narrative, I began to get upset.
Here is the premise of the post: I was between jobs, and I took on an expanded role on the home front. I called myself a retired stay-at-home dad who was trying to turn the traditional life diagram upside down. I was doing a little marketing/communication consulting and contemplating a new adventure in real estate.
I loved life.
– I spend time with my son;
– I only engage clients that I genuinely love working with;
– I focus on my 55/55 life list, and
– I write.
Am I getting rich? Nope.
Do I love getting up every morning? Absolutely.
I love being in control, and I love planning the next adventure.
After reading these words, I tucked my lips and tried not break down. I started to get upset, because I wasn’t doing any of those things now. In just over a year, I stumbled back into the status quo – running on the hamster wheel of bullsh.
I am spending less time with my son (and now my newborn daughter), because I’m working with a handful of clients in order to simply make a buck. I like all my clients well enough, but I don’t “genuinely love” working with each and everyone of them. (I DO have some clients who I love working with, but it just takes one or two to leave a stain on your portfolio.)
Am I focusing on my Life List? Nope.
Writing? Hahaha…this will be my fifth blog post in the last four months.
As I write these words, my tear-filled eyes are replaced by extreme nausea. The “hamster wheel” makes me want to throw up, and chasing the almighty dollar actually makes me throw up in my mouth.
I’m in a bad place.
I’m not being true to myself.
I’m not using the gifts God bestowed on me.
I’m not doing what I love.
That’s the tragic news, BUT there is a silver lining of hope. I’ve taken control of my life before, and I’ve already promised myself that I’d do it again.
– – –
Before I lay out my game plan moving forward – applying the necessary leverage to re-create the life I desperately crave – I wanted to give you a snapshot of my recent projects. Here are a several grenades that I’ve been juggling over the last 4 months, which includes the creation of a new marketing firm called Open Mouth Communications.
I’ve developed web sites…
I’ve spearheaded marketing campaigns….
I’ve coordinated events…
I’ve sold houses…
I’m not sharing all of this with you looking for an “atta boy.” I’m begging for you to chastise me for turning my priority list into a knock-knock joke.
ME: “Knock. Knock.”
YOU: “Who’s there?”
ME: “Nevermind…I have to get back to work!”
– – –
I’m a firm believer that it’s counter-productive to dwell on an obvious problem. It’s a lot more productive to start looking for the solution.
That’s what I’m determined to do.
In order to start identifying the solution, I reminded myself of the eight life facets that I’ve written about before AND the order they need to be in so I can live a bold and adventurous life:
• Physical (health)
Confession: My priority list has NOT looked like this over the last 120 days. Work and money have crept their way to the top of the list, and that’s a recipe for an unsustainable death spiral.
Time to focus on the solution!
The good news…there are some slight modifications that I can do to rearrange my priorities & put “Spiritual” and “Family” back in the limelight:
• AMEN: Have more open dialogue with God. That could mean reading my Bible, praying or just reflecting on the things that I’m grateful for. Right now, these things are buried under my To Do List. It’s tragic to say, but there are some days when I don’t ever get to them.
– GAME PLAN: Focus on this first thing in the morning and during my daily “transitions” – those moments when I’d normally tune into sports radio or update a client’s Twitter account.
• TECHNOLOGICAL PROBLEMS: Stop allowing my computer and/or cell phone distract me from family time. There isn’t a phone call or e-mail that can’t wait until my kids are tucked in bed. I have to stop saying “I need to take this call” during dinner or an impromptu game of baseball with my son.
– GAME PLAN: Leave those electronic distractions (aka time suckers) in the car.
• ON THE SCHEDULE: Stop letting other people/clients run me like a dog, and dictate when I have to be somewhere or do something. When I’m not in control of my schedule – my family feels the brunt of it.
– GAME PLAN: Constantly remind myself that my family comes first. Dinner with my parents should never be canceled or rescheduled to show a house or submit a web site proposal. I shouldn’t miss a gathering at my sister’s house because a client forgot about a deadline and needs something by the next morning.
– – –
I know it seems silly, but I honestly feel like if I make these three simple tweaks – my priority list will be back in alignment in no time at all.
Then, it’s time to write.
I’m not sure where writing falls in my list of life facets. I guess it can fit under each umbrella to a certain degree. What I DO know:
– It’s what I love to do, and
– The fact that I’m not doing it everyday is a travesty!
There is nothing like spending a couple of hours turning words into a creative thought. It makes me feel alive. It excites me. It makes me feel like I’m doing what God has charged me to do.
– GAME PLAN: Write everyday (even if it’s for 15 minutes)…read everyday (this is important because if I’m reading something, it means my To Do List is not being an albatross)…submit a book proposal by the end of September – it’s time for me to write my “Live the List” book.
– – –
So…why in the world am I rambling on and on about this?
Answer: I’m applying leverage.
I’m not going to ask anyone to be my accountability coach, like I’ve done before – but I’m hoping if you’re reading this blog, you’ll ask me about my game plan(s) from time to time. If you’re a true friend – I’m hoping you’ll kick me in the tail if I’m not writing on a daily basis.
You know what…I should write a blog post dedicated to applying leverage…
Wait…I already HAVE!
Cue the self-absorbed distraction of reading past blog posts….
Here is an excerpt from a previous entry that explains everything:
When I was training for my first marathon, I told anyone and everyone exactly what I was doing. I was telling people in order to keep leverage on myself – I felt like the more people I told, the bigger idiot I would appear to be if I didn’t actually follow through and do it.
“I HAVE to keep going,” I would tell myself on those brutal 18-mile training runs. “I’ve already told half of Fort Worth that I was going to run this thing!”
The purpose of this blog post is to apply that same leverage.