My husband and I spent this past weekend in Portland, Oregon, at the World Domination Summit hosted by Chris Guillebeau. As you might imagine, that's led to some interesting conversations back home (especially when we admit that we went last year, and we've decided to take our teenage daughters next summer). "World Domination? Isn't that a bit strong?" Not nearly as strong as the pull to lead a dull, conformist life. To us, world domination is about overcoming the resistance to lead a remarkable life in a conventional world. My friend Scott Dinsmore explained it this way, "In a world where most people encourage complacency, we need a sanctuary where people understand why all of us interested in living meaningful lives, do what we do. I go to belong. To be inspired. To find ideas I’d never discover on my own. To find people who hold me to a higher standard." That sums up my feelings pretty well. We come from all over the world. We're from different generations and backgrounds. We're focused on different types of projects. But we all have the same sparkle in our eyes. We believe in the power of community, the spirit of adventure, and the importance of service.
On Monday, June 25, I left Tool, Texas, at a few minutes before 6:00am. I arrived at my office at Port Royal during lunch and kicked off what's shaping up to be the most productive 10-day stretch of my working life. I would have never predicted it, and I didn't even realize it until I started preparing for my next Weekly Review. In fact, my previous experiences would have led me to think just the opposite: a period of burnout or sickness was likely. It's been intense on just about every front, and I've had very little rest. But just the opposite happened. And I think I know why.
At the start of the year, I made a decision to read LESS. I wanted to take more time to apply the principles in each book instead of immediately moving on to the next one. That was much harder than I anticipated. Especially since I gave up TV, reading became my preferred way to unwind and relax. But that conflicts with the intense focus required to completely digest and apply the what I read. So, I decided on a hybrid. My revised goal is to complete "net-outs" on 12 books this year, one a month. And then I'm free to read as much as I'd like, gleaming what I can and enjoying the time. I've also spent some time deciding which books were important enough to study as opposed to just reading through. "Turning Pro" by Steven Pressfield definitely makes the cut.
Do you ever have clarity so stark that it's hard to even put into words? That's how I feel about a project my husband and I will be leading at our church this summer. It brings together several seemingly separate values in an innovative way, and I'm so thankful we get to lead it. We're calling it "Startup Summer," and it's a 5-week course based on Chris Guillebeau's book, The $100 Startup. In today's economy, we have a choice. We can throw a temper tantrum about how unfair it is that the game has changed, or we can figure out how to play by the new rules. I choose option number two, and I hope everyone else does too. I believe it’s the only way we’ll turn things around.
Today's my 33rd birthday, and I've decided to celebrate it. I was terrified of my 30's, dreading every birthday for months ahead. My Nana had breast cancer at 32, and my Mom collapsed at 35 with what was eventually diagnosed as Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia. I had let each of those creep inside my head. Then, a few months ago, a new realization hit me. They're both doing fantastic today, so they'd both defeated whatever health curse I was fearing. Perhaps that strength was the legacy I should focus on. This last year has been a lot like that, so I wanted to share 14 big things I've learned from my 33 years of life.
Lately, I've been asking my tribe what they want me to write about. It started selfishly, knowing that I would be more likely to accomplish my goal of writing if I had a topic and at least an audience of one. What I didn't expect is that their requests would match so closely with what I'm passionate about. Two weeks ago, a friend asked how for suggestions on how to workout every day. I really enjoyed sharing the strategy I use and how you can easily apply it so that it works every time. Last night, another friend asked how I stay motivated in general. As he put it, "I seem to be able to do things other people won't do." My answer may surprise you.
For many years, I operated under the illusion that I could make good decisions on the fly and was simultaneously frustrated that I wasn't getting the results I was looking for. I never realized the two were connected. Cue the virtual 2x4 across my forehead. It easily ranks as one of my top 5 self truths. Let's break this down. First, we have to acknowledge that we don't often make rational, logical decisions. Instead, our decisions are heavily (even primarily) influenced by the design of the question itself. Disagree? Here are some examples . . .
More than anything, I am reminded about how easy it is to live in default mode. For me, that mode is primarily reactive, but easily justified to friends and family. It can sound like I'm still making good decisions, but there's a fallacy there. It typically doesn't represent conscious choices. Instead, it's an agreement to stay with the herd and follow the rules. It's almost completely fueled by fear of some sort. The scariest part is that it was so hard for me to recognize that I was living this way. Two weeks ago, it hit me. The feeling had been brewing for months or even years, but April 12 was different. It was as if I woke up with a new pair of glasses and could see clearly for the first time. I started a journey, without knowing how it would end. I made some progress, and then I stumbled. I failed at my first attempt and had 500+ miles of driving to reflect. I'm proud to say that I won the mental battle this time. And I think I'm stronger for it. I completed the one thing that I hadn't been able to do for myself, despite years of positive intent and hundreds of hours of thought and effort. I had to ask, "What made the difference this time?" Two things . . .
About two weeks ago, I called myself out. I realized I'd been living scared and mapped out a plan to get past it. I set a deadline for yesterday at 2:00pm, and I told people I'd pay them to hold me accountable. 16 people took me up on the offer. I just sent out $160 in payments, and it didn't feel good at all. It also doesn't feel good to miss a deadline, no matter the story. In case you're wondering, here's what happened.
I can't explain it, but I can feel it. There's a tremendous resistance when I try to make progress in certain directions. For several weeks, I was even aware enough to identify it, but it still blocked my progress. And then on Thursday, I awoke to a thunderous crack in that wall of resistance.