Special thanks to DJ, Ashley, Matty and Boris. I appreciate your feedback and support.
Standing in my kitchen, I chew on some chilled sweet potatoes. I roasted them yesterday then stuck them in the fridge for the night. They’re seasoned with salt, pepper and a touch of cinnamon.
They taste delicious.
The microwave clock reads 4:40 PM.
I recorded a podcast at the studio earlier. I also hosted six Zoom calls including three interviews for a client. I ran early this morning and just finished my last call: an hour meeting with Tracy and I’s financial advisor, Henk.
It’s been a long day.
As I munch on potatoes, Tracy works at the dining room table. I watch her as she laughs on a video call. Her company promoted her last week and she’s been in meetings late each day. They should tie her up for at least the next couple hours.
My first manuscript, The 5 Buckets, calls me from the guest room.
It’s been three weeks since I’ve looked at the project. The second revision was meaty and took most of January to complete. I ground through it like a dull food processor. Slicing words, cutting whole paragraphs then tossing in fresh stories took a lot out of me. After slogging my way to a completed dish, I sent it to the editor for a critique. She responded a week later:
You have done an incredible job on this revision! This has really come together. The addition of more personal details is wonderful, exactly what I was hoping for. You did great work re-organizing the content within your framework which has resulted in an even-more engaging read. It flows with good pacing and ends strong. The length of the manuscript and the degree you elaborate on things feels solid now. I think you fleshed things out just enough, and used a good amount of detail and examples to illustrate your points.
Her positive reinforcement threw me. I didn’t trust it and called her to discuss.
I shared how “I am beginning to hate the sound of my writing.” I can’t relate to it anymore. Plus, I’ve got the newsletter, the podcast and the community… not to mention my consulting work. I told her I wasn’t sure I could finish it. I wasn’t sure it was any good. It feels Frankensteinian.
She assured me my feelings were not unique. Many authors face the same thoughts when nearing a project’s end. She suggested I take a break and come back to the manuscript later.
So I did.
Now the clock reads 4:53 PM.
It’s pretty much end of day, I think.
I can walk Bernie… take a nap… read Julia or watch some TV.
Or I finish the book.
I gulp some kombucha and wash down another potato. Pondering my return to the chair and opening The 5 Buckets Google Doc makes me cringe. The idea of refining it further seems daunting. The fear of failure drapes over me like a weighted cloak.
Then again, I know I’ll finish it.
I have to. It’s a matter of time.
There’s just no chance I’m quitting now.
And I have no idea what I’m up against, really. I haven’t seen the thing in three weeks. I need to take inventory, sit down and give it a look.
Before heading to my office, I remember one of the first things I wrote about living with intention,
Don’t wait. Start small. Learn as you go.
Since the pandemic hit, my workspace resides in our guestroom. Being in the back of our home, I am shielded from neighborhood noise. It is a painfully quiet space. I hear occasional floor squeaks from the neighbors above, otherwise just thoughts and keyboard strokes.
Sitting at my desk, I pry open my laptop. The desk is small and tucked into the corner left of the entry. I sit on a short, wheeled stool. The kind a doctor might sit on during a physical. I bought it because I’ve always liked those stools.
I open the critique from my editor, Jennifer.
She suggests two main revisions to the manuscript:
Combine the first two chapters into one introductory chapter
Rework the conclusion of The Learning Bucket chapter
I begin by rereading the first few chapters.
I read about last year’s challenges and the retreat that served as a catalyst for the book and this newsletter. I read about coming up with The 5 Buckets Framework, the changes I went through and some lessons I learned.
Each sentence reminds me of the effort I put into it. I remember the time I spent trying to tell the story. I think about the care I put in to describe everything just right.
Feeling inspired and clear-minded, I move the beginning of chapter two to the middle of chapter one. Then I delete a section. And I delete another section. Then I rewrite the ending to The Learning Bucket chapter. After a few more minor changes, it reads well.
The clock flashes 5:18 PM.
In roughly twenty minutes, my revision is complete.
It took me three weeks to sit down for just twenty minutes of work.
I’m pumped and send the revision right back to Jennifer requesting a line edit.
I contact the designer and the publisher.
I tell Tracy, call my mom and shut my laptop.
I’m ready to wrap this thing.
Our perceptions are almost always more challenging than reality.
How about you?
Something seem daunting or out of reach?
Is failure draping over you like a weighted cloak?
Sit down and give it a look.
You might only need twenty minutes.
Gratitude is part of living an intentional life
Justin Welsh dropped by the Student of Intention pod last week. Justin has seen a ton of success as a sales leader and entrepreneur. Like all of us, he has his bad days too. He has days where he thinks everything is going poorly, he gets frustrated and he’s crappy to be around.
In this short clip, he speaks about the work he is doing to appreciate what’s going on in his life:
Like he mentions, this is a part of living an intentional life. And it takes a lot of work.
In this episode, we talk about creativity, audience building, panic attacks, therapy and time as the ultimate currency. Justin is vulnerable, transparent and super successful, making this a special discussion.
I recommend all things Justin Welsh and if you’re interested in building an online business, suggest checking out both his online courses.
Give the episode a listen on Apple, Spotify, YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts.
Don’t wait. Start small. Learn as…
Yep, guess I’m plastering the mantra all over this email today.
After taking Justin’s latest online course, I started posting on LinkedIn every day.
Normally, my engagement is relatively light.
Here’s an example of a typical post:
Then last week, this happens:
That’s 9000 more views and 2000 more likes.
I gained 300 LinkedIn followers and almost 100 email subscribers in a few days.
Wanna know a secret?
I almost didn’t post it because I thought it was too short.
And I’m not sharing because it’s some incredible accomplishment.
I’m sharing it because I want you to know that I have no idea what resonates with you.
And I don’t care.
I write this stuff because it feels right.
I do it because I know somewhere, someone at some point is going to feel me.
You are going to read something I write and it’s going to give you what you need to help you figure yourself out.
You read it and stop doubting yourself so much.
You read it and start loving yourself more.
You read it and do all the stuff you really wanna do.
You read it and you enjoy every tiny moment you get to experience.
You read it and you want to know more about this living with intention stuff.
If you’re feeling that way now, hit me up.
I’d love to hear from you.
Don’t wait. Start small. Learn as you go.