Welcome to the 17th issue of Inward Ventures, my weekly share of what I’m working on and fiddling around with. I share thoughts and ideas I come across in my continuing quest for self-improvement, productivity, and education for myself and my coaching clients. I strive to excel in my writing, creativity, and, well… LIFE. Thanks for being here. Ok, let’s get down to brass tacks.
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Fact-checking, who knew?
“Learn how to separate the majors and the minors. A lot of people don't do well simply because they major in minor things.” ~ Jim Rohn
Before today, I would have attributed that above quote to Ray Reddick.* Thanks to Prof. Google, I was today years old when I learned that good ole Jim Rohn said it.
I really thought my *dad came up with that. I am now skeptical that he is the source of another maxim he often used “Big doors swing on little hinges.” He imparted that nugget about training and racing, but I’ve come to see how it nestles perfectly into, you guessed it, life in general.
I guess I could say I'm obsessed these days with Steven Pressfield. 😍
I recently devoured his classic, The War of Art. I’ve now moved onto his “Turning Pro,” which has become an experiential event. Experiential meaning: I’m not just sitting there, reading silently and still. It's a total-body immersive experience.
I'm flipping through pages, nodding my head in agreement, eyes widening as insights hit me. I’m highlighting passages, oftentimes snapping my kindle shut so I can fully digest what I just read, and then flipping back open to consume more.
Sometimes I stand up and read a passage aloud as I slowly walk around my office. Yeah, it's THAT good; check it out here.
But if you don't want to, that's okay because I'm gonna tell ya all ya need to know right now.
The littlest hinge
It all boils down to one word: COMMIT.
It doesn't matter your situation, what you're working on, be it an artistic endeavor, athletic event, career change, new diet, job search ~WHATEVER, man.
Decide to do whatever it is you've been THINKING about, and then do it.
Whether you're employed as a professional butcher, baker, or candlestick-maker, you don't have an option NOT to do your work. Well, I suppose you do, but you're not going to last very long, LOL. Whether you feel like it or not, you bake, butcher, or make candlesticks. Why? Because it’s your job, that’s why.
As an employee, you're obligated to show up at work and do what's needs to be done. That's that. Sometimes you like, maybe LOVE what you're doing, but even if you HATE IT, you do it. You get the job done. You don't wait for motivation to come along, “Oh! Today I feel like working.”
Your boss doesn't care how you FEEL about doing the project; he wants results. And so do you, even if that result is only getting the damn thing DONE.
Looking at my life, I can see where I've been successful and where I've failed. Glancing back, I ask: Did I commit? Where did I fully commit, where did I rely on EXTERNAL motivation? Where did I perform because it was part of WHO I was? Where did I do things only when I felt like it?
Athletes and Artists both train
I train like a professional.
I have no delusions about being a paid pro; that's not what I mean.
I show up every day and put the work in, whether I feel like it or not.
I have a coach and follow a program that has phases and cycles.
I know the intention of each day’s workout. I don’t train randomly.
I have specialized equipment and gear. I don’t guess my heart rate or use a wrist strap. I track it accurately with a chest strap.
I don't FIND the time to train; I make it instead. It is literally on my calendar.
I have 75 minutes blocked out in my calendar every day. While the actual TIME OF DAY may change, it always happens. Depending on the day, it's either strength or conditioning. Training can vary in intensity, adjusting for sleep and stress, but it always happens.
The same goes for my writing; I train.
I show up every day and put the work in, whether I feel like it or not.
I have an editor and accountability partners and a daily minimum word count.
I have a writing plan with a rough overall outline, my reader avatars, my north stars, and individual chapter overviews. I don’t write randomly.
I don’t FIND the time to write. It’s literally on my calendar.
I block out an hour for writing every day. Sometimes I write for longer stretches, but not usually. I might hit my daily word count quickly and end up punching out earlier, but errrr-day I park my butt at my mom's desk ~ and write.
When I have several client calls and meetings, that means pushing things around on my calendar to make it all fit. I have to be flexible. Maybe that means two short conditioning sessions instead of a long one and only hitting my minimum word count.
NB*: the one-word rule is only for emergencies/illness, and though I mocked it a few weeks ago, c’mon. WHO WRITES ONE FRIKKIN WORD?! ~ I had to invoke it a few times after the big ice storm here in Houston.
OMG, AILEEN, I don't have that kind of time!!
Yeah, I know; I completely get it. I never had the time to write like this either.
I was always busy, and when I wasn't, I wasn't in the mood to write [insert YOUR word here: not in the mood to STUDY, STICK TO THE NUTRITION PLAN, PAINT, READ, WORK ON THAT PROJECT, GO TO THE GYM]
I waited for the time to appear and for inspiration to strike. Y'know, wait around for the MUSE to show up, for the perfect day, person, or event to occur, and THEN I'd hit the literary bricks.
I clearly remember it was Nov 18th Nina's birthday. I was thinking about where I was at her age, 24. Just thinking, daydreaming.
Usually, I would stop there, at the thinking part.
This time was different. I started writing about it, rather than just THINKING.
I wrote faster and faster, with no editing or correcting as I went, noting:
my upcoming birthday, the FIVE ZERO, is coming soon in August 2021!
what I wanted by then, which was a book
why wasn't I consistent with my writing?
why was I successful with my athletics?
Years ago, I decided to commit as an athlete. I wasn't going to wait for nice weather; I would run in the rain. Or blistering heat. I would lift whether I felt like it or not. I hired coaches, developed plans, hit targets.
I couldn't stop working out bc I was on vacation. Marathon training plans go on for months. If I had allergies, oh well. Suck it up, buttercup. Short on time? That was an excuse of the past, for once I decided to commit, there was ALWAYS time.
My LACK of success with writing? Well, in addition to constantly destroying my work #sigh, I hadn't committed to it, to the identity of being a writer. I wrote when I felt like it.
I didn't write when I was sick—or traveling or busy. I wrote when I frikkin felt like it, which wasn’t often. And it showed.
Do you know who does that? An amateur.
A Professional writer? She parks her butt down, gets the words outta her brain, and onto the document. Whether she feels like it or not, she shows up.
That was not me. I was an amateur.
Which would be fine IF I DIDN’T SO BADLY WANT TO BE A PROFESSIONAL.
There's nothing wrong with not working out, not sticking to your diet, not painting, not finishing whatever the heck it is you're dragging your butt on. 💯Okay with that!
What’s wrong is WANTING the results of those things without the consistent effort that they require. I’ll adjust that: it’s not wrong to want them, it’s painful and nonproductive.
If you wish you had better relationships, look at your calendar. Are you making time to reach out?
If you wish you were in better shape, are you making time to meal prep? (which, in my opinion, is more important for body composition than exercise. In short, ya wanna look better, take charge of how you eat and drink. LIKE A BOSS. If ya want better health, physically and emotionally, workout out. If you're going to be an athlete, do both.)
If you don't want to put in that effort, that’s fine! Just know that dreaming about it is useless. Doing it only when you feel like it is useless.
How do I know all this?
I KNOW because I inflicted this pain upon myself for years.
I kept this "writing" thing of mine under wraps, afraid of the effort involved and what people might think. Foolishly, that I'd run out of ideas and that motivation wouldn't come.
It sounds ridiculous even to write it!
I’M AFRAID WRITING WILL BE TOO HARD (wah!) 😭
I MIGHT RUN OUT OF IDEAS 😱
SOMEONE MIGHT NOT LIKE WHAT I WRITE 💔
Instead of finding out whether or not that would happen, I just imagined all the worst-case scenarios and sat on my hands. And if/when I did write? I would destroy my efforts, thinking this is a POS; WHO TF would read this garbaggio? Instead of putting it out there to see if anyone actually WOULD read it, I avoided any pain by destroying it.
I’m grateful I had that moment back in November. I can’t say what incited it. I hadn’t read any Pressfield at that point.
It boils down to me once again, seeing the bullshit story I was telling myself, this is hard. I might be terrible at this. And people might not like it and deciding I was OVER THAT.
IDGAF, I’m going to do what has pulled at my heart since I was a child.
You know how we roll ‘round these parts by now. I tell a story, you think of how that story sounds an awful LOT like something YOU’VE got tucked away. My hope for you, dear reader, is that you have a moment.
A moment of clarity, followed by inspiration and then tah-dah! ACTION.
If you need help with this, the action part, the clarity part.. doesn’t matter. Email me or comment below, I’ll gladly respond in more detail.
As always, I promise I will do whatever I can to be there for you and to support you. HIT.ME.UP. I mean it! 🙌
Thanks for sharing and forwarding my posts and emailing me questions and little wins ~ you guys are the best! Keep the mail comin’!