The Process

Today, I was reading the Pittsburgh Tribune Reviews’ Pirates Blog. The theme of this week’s blog post was about what Andrew McCutchen describes as, “The Process.”

The process is not a new term.  You’ll always hear professionals in almost any field use a similar word to mean the same thing.  “The Process,” means you’re doing the little things that most people don’t do and never notice, every single day.  You’re doing them day-in and day-out. Rain or shine.

You’re not focusing on the daily outcomes because you’re a professional.  You’re in this for the long haul.  You’re decision to continue to wakeup and repeat these tasks is not decided by today’s outcome or the next.  You realize that success does not come over night.  Success only happens when you stick with the process.

It doesn’t matter if you’re hitting baseballs, writing books, acting in plays, playing music, investing in stocks, or building a house. Your process, your method, or your routine is what allows you to reach your goal.

Here’s the thing.  If you don’t enjoy the process, then you’ll never achieve what you want in life.  That’s the thing a lot of people miss.  Everyone wants to be ball players or millionaire stock traders, or Academy Award winning actors, but most people don’t want to make the sacrifices when no one is watching.  They just want to accept the award when all the lights are on them.

I have news for you. No awards are won at the ceremony.


Source: Andrew McCutchen Interview

Daily goal reading

The other day, Daymond John, the creator of FUBU and a Shark Tank Investor, posted an Instagram photo about his habit of daily goal reading.  This is the second time I’ve heard about this habit in the past week.  I’ve heard a version of it before. In the Pick Four notebook that I’ve been using to create my goals for the past few years, there is a section where you try to list out all of your goals. For the past two weeks, I’ve been listening to Brian Tracy’s, The Psychology of Selling. Brian talks about a successful salesman who also completes this goal reading habit every day and attributes most of his success to this daily habit.

That’s why I’ve decided to start this daily habit.  I tend to write out a lot of goals in my Pick Four notebook and then concentrate on only those four goals for the next twelve weeks.  Then I never go back to reread my list of goals until I revisit them when I start a new Pick Four notebook.  This habit will allow me to see the bigger picture of what I not only want to accomplish in the short term but also what I want to accomplish in the next 10, 20, and 30 years.

Yesterday, I found an old notebook in my nightstand my wife bought me after she graduated from college.  On the first page she wrote me a note about why she bought me this notebook. I reread it today.  The note was about the both of us working together to achieve our goals.  It’s fitting that this notebook will be the place where I do just that thing. I’ll write down everything I hope to achieve for my career, financial, family, and personally. Then I’ll spend some time each night before bed reading each of the goals I want to achieve.

 

WAKE UP!

Quote of the Day:

“The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it.”

– Chinese Proverb


 

A video posted by therock (@therock) on Feb 6, 2016 at 2:58pm PST

 

This weekend, I saw the above Instagram video of The Rock lifting weights and in the description he talked about his 2016 filming schedule.  He’s booked for 12 months.  He needs to wake up at 4 am everyday to get everything accomplished, plus his daily workouts, so he continues to look like The Rock.

That picture made me think about what I’m doing with my time.  I need to get a better handle on my hours, especially, my morning and evening routines so I can accomplish everything I need to get done.  That’s why my one month goal is to build the habit of waking up everyday at four in the morning, even on the weekends when I feel like I don’t accomplish much of anything.  Waking up early on the weekend is important because after my kids wake up my day are usually consumed by them and housework. This is great but if I want to accomplish any other type of work then those early morning hours are the only time I’ll have to concentrate. It would allow me to complete some work and fit in a workout before my kids wake up. During the week, it would give me enough time to accomplish the majority of my goals before going to work.

This will be a gradual habit I’ll build on during the month of February and into March. Each week, I’ll want to increase my wake up time by fifteen minutes.  This week my goal is to wake up each day right at five in the morning and cut out a bad habit of waking up at five but then mindlessly scrolling through social media for a half hour.  That’s a half hour I could have spent writing, coding, completing my other goals, or getting started with the rest of my day.

To start waking up at four in the morning, I’ll need to correct my nightly routine so I can get at least seven hours of sleep.  Most nights I try to clean the kitchen, pick most of my kids toys, and prep the coffee before bed.  Some days I get to this but most nights I do not.   This week I want to make it a point to complete those things and get into bed by ten o’clock.  I don’t have to necessarily go to sleep but I want to turn off all my electronics, update my Pick Four notebook, write in my log book and then read a book until I fall asleep.

I won’t hit my goal of waking up at four in the morning by the end of February.  The week of February 29th, I’ll begin my first day of waking up at four-fifteen, but I’ll be on my way to waking up at four in the first full week of March.  Then I’ll have the time necessary to complete more than most people do by nine o’clock in the morning.

BIG Goal: Publish a book

BIG Goal: Publish a book

I made the same goal last year and I began working on two book ideas. This year I’m going to publish at least one of them. The book I want to complete is a book of life lessons titled, Dad’s Life Lessons.

It will contain about ten – twenty lessons with a picture I’ve taken for each one. Then I’ll to write a few paragraphs about each lesson about why it’s important.

In the end I want to print two copies for my kids and place one in each of their rooms.

Why?

A number of times, I’ve written about losing my father.  It’s made me think about what my kids would know about me if I passed away today.  I don’t have anything written down for them, other than this blog and my notebooks. Most of that writing isn’t really geared towards them.  They would only know me from pictures, videos, and what others would tell them.  I want this book to explain to them what I think is important, how to live your life, and what I wish for them in the future.

Each lesson will be something I’ve actually said to them.  They’ll be a mixture of both funny and serious. I hope one day they’ll read this book and it will help them understand what this crazy thing called, life, is all about.  I hope it will make them laugh, think, and one day share the advice with their children and the other people they love.

I also hope I’m around to see it happen and we can talk about the book.  I hope they never have to use this book as their only resource to find out what kind of man their father was when they were too young to know me.

If that is the case, then at least I’ll know they have this book that contains a little bit of what I want them to know.

That’s why I’ll be publishing this book by the end of the year.

BIG Goal: Complete Free Code Camp

BIG Goal: Complete Free Code Camp

I’ve done a lot of coding in my career in a number of different languages. The problem with skipping from language to language is that I never felt like I knew anything. I also never learned how to develop the full stack.

Learning the full stack is what I’m interested in starting this year. I want complete projects and write about what I learned.

My goal is to complete a part of Free Code Camp every day. I don’t know if I’ll be able to complete all of Free Code Camp, in a year, while only working on it during my nights and weekends. I think I can complete the tutorials and projects but I won’t be able to complete the 800 hours of nonprofit projects.

Though that’s not really the point. The point is to create the habit of coding every day and using it to help build my trail.

Photo Credit: freeCodeCamp

BIG Goal: Get involved in a community

BIG Goal: Get involved in a community

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  Live the life you have imagined.”

– Henry David Thoreau

Last year, I got more involved in my local Toastmasters clubs. I joined two clubs, gave a number of speeches, became officier, spoke at the Toastmasters District 13 Fall Conference, completed my Competent Communication and Competent Leadership Awards, and I met a lot of new people, but it’s not the community I thought I’d originally get involved in when I was trying to complete a similar goal last year.

During the past year, I wanted to get more involved in the local startup/tech scene in Pittsburgh but with two young children I found it difficult to attend local meetups after work.  I didn’t have the time plus I wanted to be home with my kids after being gone all day at work.

It’s funny how I still ended up getting involved in a community.  I’m still involved in Toastmasters but I need to think about how much I want to do.  I’m thinking about cutting back.  I’m an officier in one club, involved with the leadership team in another club, started the process of mentoring a new club, I’m mentoring two fellow Toastmasters, and my one club just asked me to be their next club president. That feels like too much involvement.

It’s not a bad thing. I can complete this goal with continuing my work with Toastmasters but I’m conflicted.  I want to continue to see what’s out there.  I’m involved with a few organizations and I want to try out all them.  There are a lot of opportunities and areas of interest. Toastmasters, Free Code Camp, local Pittsburgh Startup/Tech/Entreprenuership community, Meetups, Nonprofits, charity, running groups, or something I create.

I really want to get involved in my community.  I want to connect to like minded people. Today, that doesn’t mean I have to talk to the people where I live.  I can connect with anyone, anywhere. We’ve all been given the opportunity to connect with people of almost any interest. We only need to decide.

This year, my goal is to get involved in a community and  become a contributing member so I can continue to add to my trail. 

BIG Goal: Create a side hustle

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Almost every year, it seems like I have a goal about creating a side hustle or extra descretionary income.  Every year, it gets put on the backburner because something else takes precedence or I act like the new goal is more important.  That’s because it was probably easier, not more important.  This goal isn’t easy.  Sitting her thinking about it seeems like a lot more work than giving a speech every day, sticking to a budget, or writing this blog post because those things can be accomplished, atleast poorly by simple completing certain tasks I’ve done before.

I’ve never started a side hustle which makes it scary.  It’s a bridge I’ve been reluctant to cross because of all the hard questions you need to answer.

What should I do?

Who are my customers?

Will they pay me?

What should I charge?

Trying to answer the first question is why this question is difficult for me.

In my career I’ve mostly focused on completing analysis, quantitative and fundamental analysis, for investments, products, or business units. I feel like a freelancer most of the time.  I love doing the work like writing this blog, creating an analysis, working with code, and then either writing or talking about what I’ve achieved or trying to achieve.

Then there is also the matter or money. I’m one of those people who wants to do everything on their own.  

Whenever I tell people about my goal of publishing a blog post everyday.  The first thing most people ask me about is money: adwords, comments, and things like that.  This blog isn’t about making me an income.  I do it because I felt like I needed to write.  Hopefully, someone finds these posts helpful or interesting but it’s also for me.  I’ve found that writing this blog is a great way for me to think about what I’m working on.  Not all those thoughts get published but a lot of them make it on this blog.  

Eventually, though I hope this blog leads to money. Not from sponsorship or adword  revenue but from being the place where my trail is located.  I hope people come here to see what I’m working on and realize that we should work together.

The questions about money and this blog are similar to this goal.  Do I choose a side hustle I could start earning money today or something that may take some time to grow? It’s an important question and it depends on your current goals.  

For me, I think I know the answer.  The main reason I want to start a side hustle is to earn some extra income and diversify my earnings.  For better or for worse, that’s what I want out of this goal and it’s how I’ll focus my efforts this year.

By the end of this year, I want to have a profitable side hustle up and running at least sometime during the year.  I’m not saying this is going to be a long term business but I want to finally cross this bridge and achieve this goal.  I want to create the habit of starting projects that evenutally make money.

This is the year, I quit worrying about planning and preparing.  I’ve done plenty of that. There is always a reason not to do something. This is the year I start what I want to achieve. 

Similar to the quote above, this is the year I decide to be the person I want to be.