Hear Them Roar.

If you were stuck on a deserted island with two people, who would they be?

 

This is a classic question, usually asked to see how a person would prepare for the worst-case scenario (answer: Superman and an outboard motor). But in the world of business building and entrepreneurship, who are your “deserted island” companions?

 

I never like clicking on Facebook ads. Many of them were (and are) spam ads that capture emails for programs I’ll never use or want… But this one was different. Here was somebody touting the catchphrase “freedom in business and adventure in life”, and it grabbed me. Lately I had been seriously doubting my life-path as a retail drone, and knew innately that fate (or kismet, the cosmos, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster) had something else in mind for me. But what? Those who have worked in retail understand that “freedom” really isn’t an operational phrase, but rather a word used to describe the choice between several different kinds of ketchup in Aisle 10. Could there really be “freedom in business”? I was hooked. For once, I broke one of my cardinal social media rules, clicked on the ad, and entered my email.

 

Best decision ever.

 

I was introduced to Natalie Sisson and the Suitcase Entrepreneur through a Facebook ad, and started me on the course I am now on today. She definitely lives the kind of life I would love, and I would be proud to have her in my tribe.

 

The second person on my list would be the amazing Elizabeth Gilbert. Her book “Big Magic” was (and continues to be) an inspirational look into creativity and letting go of hindrances in life that prevent you from reaching your full potential. Before reading the book, I was set in an old mindset where creativity that enables a fulfilling life is not really found anywhere; one merely accepts what is in front of them, and fear keeps them from veering off into new and undiscovered areas. Challenging fear by embracing creativity and the unknown keeps me on an upward trend, and, while it may not be the easiest journey, it certainly is the most rewarding.

My tribe is effective, my tribe is powerful.

Hear them roar.

 

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 6

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It’s a Schedule, Dummy.

That’s what I told myself when I looked at the screen.

 

I had been blinking at the strange grouping of words and numbers in chronologically-arranged squares for 5 minutes, wondering what the heck I was going to do with them. My current job in retail schedules out for two weeks, and allows me only a minimal amount of time a day for doing things related to my personal business. So what’s a guy to do? He does the thing he fears the most: he creates a schedule and sticks with it.

 

For someone who likes productivity hacks and constantly believes in effective time use, I was a horrible example. Now it was time to face the music, and win at planning my day. So here goes: making a (slightly) educated guess that I can spare 4 hours a day towards building my business, here is an example of what I want my schedule to look like on a given day:

 

Hour 1:

  • 10 minutes: Inbox Zero. Read, categorize and respond to all emails.
  • 25 minutes: Find and schedule social media content and calendar.
  • 25 minutes: One Pomodoro for writing custom social media content.

Hour 2:

  • 25 minutes: One Pomodoro for a blog post.
  • 25 minutes: One Pomodoro for a separate blog post
  • 10 minute break. COFFEE.

Hour 3:

  • Whole hour: prep (and execute, on recording days) podcast content. If need be, schedule broadcast.

Hour 4:

  • 25 minutes: One Pomodoro for building online class(es)
  • 10 minutes: MORE COFFEE.
  • 25 minutes: The Home Stretch Hustle. Cold email clients, offer guest posts, etc.

 

 

 

And that’s it! It looks a lot more doable when you actually plan it on paper. I’m a HUGE fan of the Pomodoro Technique, and (as you can see) I utilize it to keep me focused.

 

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 5.

Superwhat?

You’ve seen it before. The obligatory “find yourself” scene in every superhero origin movie (Green Lantern DOES NOT COUNT), where the soon-to-be superhero shoots into space, runs away faster than a speeding bullet, or locks themselves in their room and refuses to accept the fact that the world is crumbing around them and that they are the only ones to save the world (I’m lookin’ at you, Marvel universe). They look deep into themselves to try and find meaning throughout it all, usually using a convincing mid-shot, dramatic music, and a cringed look on the actor’s face that makes me think they had too many tacos before shooting. Inevitably, they find their inner hero and save the day. And the girl.

 

While I’m not figuring out whether or not I can leap tall buildings in a single bound (I leave that to the professionals), I am figuring out what, exactly, my “superpower” is. To do that, let’s first define what our business and life-based “superpower” means.

 

Simply put, your “superpower” is the intersection of your “what”, “why” and “how”.

 

Wonderfully well-explained in Natalie Sisson’s Suitcase Entrepreneur, our “superpower/sweet spot” is the cross-section of three things:

  • What: Things we’re good at.
  • Why: Things we are passionate about.
  • How: Things we can do that people will pay us for.

 

Bring those together, and, in the middle, our “superpower” resides. So what are my “superpowers”?

 

Writing. Editing. Photography. Social media work. And making great Moroccan tagine, Asian kimchi, and a mean cheesecake…

 

I tried finding my superpower in three colleges; earning two degrees in the process. But they weren’t degrees in my superpower. It was the college degree program I dropped out of that gave me the most joy and fulfillment: journalism and writing. On the university newspaper staff, I had caffeine-fueled late night editing sessions, stories that needed to be written on the fly in time for press, and poking beyond my comfort zone to talk to people about touchy subjects. I look back and realized that writing changed my life, and no matter how tired I get, frustrated I become, or cynical I already may be, I will never escape the freedom and joy I derive out of pressing that “publish” button. Its that ability to put something down on paper or a keyboard and communicate it to the world that gets me excited every time I start writing. And, believe it or not, there happens to be a market for writers, editors, social media content creators, and people who make a mean cheesecake.

 

Only in this case, I’m taking the writing, and leaving the cheesecake.

Take that, Superman.

 

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Blog Challenge Day 4

A Dream to Build a Life On

What if. Those are two words that embody a dream, a vision, or a wish. They are a scary combination when not used properly, but have changed lives and improved mankind when used in a positive manner. “What if” has crafted human evolution for thousands of years, raised by our constant desire to peek around the corner and see if we can glimpse the edge of infinity.

 

And now I ask myself, “what if?”

 

What does a perfect day look like? Close your eyes and try to focus. Mull that question over and over: if you had unlimited resources, money in the bank, and frequent flier miles that would make any Fortune 500 CEO jealous, what would your perfect day look like from start to finish?

 

As a public service (and, because I want to brag a little), here’s my perfect day:


Its amazing how I don’t need an alarm anymore; I love to get up in the morning. Stretching and warming up, I set the coffee pot to a timer and jog out the door. I need to make it to the beach in 10 minutes for my morning routine, but I needn’t worry; my house is 5 minutes from the beach here in Hawaii.

 

I get there in plenty of time to say hi to the other attendees; we’ve been going as a group to the same beach for a while now. Then it begins; a 10-minute meditation session, followed by a exercise regimen that leaves me invigorated and ready for anything. Once we finish, its off to the breakfast wagon parked by the beach, and a healthy meal for all.

 

Now I’m back at my place, just in time for hot coffee. Taking a quick shower and changing clothes, I check my calendar to see which “office” I should use today: the spare room I’ve converted into an office/studio, or the back deck. As it turns out, its “studio” day. Firing up the Mac and blazing through my emails and notifications, I prep my show notes for the podcast recording I need to do today. However, “need” may be too strong a word; interviewing Sir Richard Branson for my podcast is hardly a “need”, and more of a “holy s*** I can’t believe I’m talking to Sir Richard Branson” moment…

 

The recording is done; the interview was amazing, Sir Richard was an awesome guest, and the podcast is sure to delight the listeners. I finish my other little jobs for the day (an article here, a blog post there, some guest posts) in a few hours, then its off to the trails. Today it’s a new trail through the mountains, and I’m pushing myself harder than I ever have. However, its not too hard; my constant stream (addiction?) of audiobooks keep me company until I reach the top.

 

As the day winds to a close and I prepare to meet friends for dinner in town, my phone chirps to remind me of something. I look at it and smile: its a reminder that my flight leaving for my home state and my monthly visit with family and friends leaves Honolulu tomorrow evening.

 

After all, even perfect days have red-eye flights.

 

This post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 3