Day 2 of 2015

The first day of the year is always full of hope.  Day 2 is equally full of hope but it starts to get a little real as well.  This morning I started to think what can I do to support my goals.  I want to have better focus and create something awesome.
First thing I see in my inbox this morning was Ben Huberman’s article Make 2015 a Great Blogging Year.  I read it and I feel the power and support surge through my mind.  Why wouldn’t WordPress be the perfect place to look for support and encouragement?  Everyday we need support and encouragement and ironically it’s just a website away.
Something I have heard a lot is that you need to set time aside to do this thing you love.  The thing that I take away from this is you have to bring it down to the most basic components.  Many times people say there’s a shortcoming due to a lack of time.  Setting aside time is the easiest thing to do but we often don’t slice out the small amount of time that’s need to make ourselves happy.
Nothing inspires more than learning something new.  Ben mentions a Blogging 101 course that WordPress is going to offer.  I’m going to sign up for the 4 week course.  The course description talks about some pretty crucial pieces that I know I need to work on for successful.  I’ve always joked about how I wasn’t an English major in college but in today’s world I see how I need to improve my writing skills.
Something else I was thinking this morning is developing my skill at building a gratitude List.  I’ve been working on being more positive and nothing helps like a gratitude list.  I started doing it last year but I got away from it.  This year I’m going to renew that effort and try to find 2 or 3 things each day that I’m grateful for in my life.  It all starts with I’m grateful for…
I also believe that I need to read more.  Reading helps focus and calm the mind.  I’ve done it some but again I fell out of the habit.  Reading a blog post is the easiest thing to do.  Reading a blog post can take 15 minutes and give you inspiration and support.  I don’t know about you but I have a curious nature.  This would only feed and support this natural state for me.

Random Rant
Something else I wanted to bring up and put out there into the internet is when we shop do we support American businesses.  Do you think about where a product is made?  I’ve thought more about that lately.  One of the things I’ve seen is that most Americans have this disposable attitude.  When I say disposable attitude I’m referring to buying the cheapest version of a product.  This means it wears out quickly and you end up throwing it in the trash.  It sounds pretty hippy dippy but we can see how this has changed the face of our nation.  So many companies have relocated their manufacturing overseas.  I understand that we’re living in a global market but we’re upside down when it comes to what we import vs what’s being exported.
Do you look for the Made in tag/label?  Again I’m curious by nature so I’ve been looking for the Made in information for years.  I’m sure you can list the top 5 countries that would be found.  I don’t want to take the negative attitude that it’s a conspiracy or anything so drastic.  I want to urge you to think about how buying something as crazy as your underwear could impact people here in the USA.
So funny story I thought to myself last month.  How easy would it be to find underwear made here in the USA?  WOW it was slightly more difficult than one might imagine.  I did find some companies making underwear here in the US after using Google to search the web.
The somewhat shocking thing was the cost.  A pair of underwear made here in the US cost about $25 PER PAIR.  I’m sure that would be jaw dropping to most Americans.  Unless you’re a person who buys high-end underwear because they are “made by” a particular designer that’s a lot of money for a pair of plain white briefs.  If you go to Amazon and search for Hanes underwear you’ll see a 7 pack of plain white briefs for $15.
At one time the US had all kinds of fabric mills producing fabric and clothing.  Yeah, not so much today.  Most of those buildings I imagine are sitting empty and rat infested.  As Americans we’ve become comfortable with buying the cheapest version of a product.  The thing we don’t think about is how each time we buy something made overseas there are hundreds of people doing the same thing. The effect is that these companies or plants move their manufacturing overseas and close down the plant here in the US.  The piece we follow through on is downstream this means people are out of work and on unemployment.  I’ve had family members in this situation as many of you reading this have as well.
What are your thoughts on this issue?  Leave me a comment and share your thoughts.
Gratitude List:
  1. I’m grateful for a supportive group of friends (to long to list).
  2. I’m grateful for others out there who are sharing their stories.
  3. I’m grateful to live in San Francisco and all its beauty.

It’s a time to reflect and renew your passions

Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge

Well it’s January 1st 2015 and I’m thinking about how 2014 went.  2014 was a great year.  I was reminded this morning of how I’ve done a lot of great things and I HAVE been successful!

Today I’m out hiking with my friend Susan in the area of Ocean Beach and the Presidio.  The views were amazing.  It’s also a good reminder that I live in one of the most amazing cities in THE WORLD.  People travel to San Francisco from all over the world.  We have views that are breathtaking and even more are the views of the Pacific ocean.
This last year I had my contract extended twice.  So I’ve been successful with work.  The first extension was when the project I was working on hit a snag and it was going to take longer. The second extension came when I was finishing the first project and another manager wanted to bring me in to work on another project.  I mean if they didn’t like me they wouldn’t keep me around, right?
I met a wonderful person and we’ve been dating now for 5 months.  That’s a HUGE deal for me.  I’ve not been very successful in dating and this relationship is based on truths and honesty.  No one is claiming to be perfect and we own up to our shortcomings.  Everything is open for discussion which has made for a great relationship.
Over the past year I’ve kept my weight in check which has been a concern.  I’ve watched what I was eating but not as diligent as I had been.  I have been going to the gym over the past year so that’s helped.  I’m by no means a gym bunny.  Nor do I have a strict routine that I just HAVE to follow.  I would still far rather sit on my ass and watch television but I’m working to balance that with doing something physically exerting.
I’ve become far more connected with myself.  I know more regarding who I am, what I want  and where I want to go with my life.  I worked on being more positive.  I knew that being negative wasn’t going to attract a healthy friendship or relationship.  I’ve always thought I knew what I wanted.  What you want needs to be specific.  I had always had a bigger/larger/broad picture and that’s helpful to get you started but it’s like looking at the planet and saying “I want to live there.”  As for where I want to go it’s about a forward motion.  I want to be something more and do something more.
So what do I want to do in 2015 to move forward and make a better life?
Lets run it down ..
  1. I want to make an exercise routine for me.
  2. I want to blog on a regular basis.
  3. I want on developing my positive attitude.
Making an exercise routine specifically for myself shouldn’t be horribly difficult, right?  The great thing about the information age is that you can Google any subject.  You’ll have several options and you can cherry pick what exactly what you want.  An Exercise routine is nothing something I have ever thought I would need or use.
Blogging is something that I think will help me in many ways.  I need to improve my writing.  I think most to all people need to improve their writing skills.  It’s something we learn in grade school but most of us never really work to improve the skill.  For me it also it helps me build a better world.  There are some people that blog some dribble but I’ve been thinking that i want to ask people to think beyond the dribble of our daily lives.
Having a positive attitude is not even nearly as easy as it sounds.  I’ve been getting motivational emails daily.  I’ve also been reading a book regarding building a “Buddha Brain.”  So I want to do this more and really focus on reading the book.  This will also require some additional research but I don’t believe that’s going to be that painful.  Maybe I’ll become a Buddhist.  That my friends would send my family over the deep end. People in Ohio don’t really believe in Buddhism.  Buddhism to them is ‘hippy dippy’ and not ‘the christian way.’  Funny right because it’s NOT CHRISTIAN!
So this is my focus for 2015.  This is what I’m going to work on in 2015.  This is my list of New Years resolutions.
I welcome your feedback.  Ask me your questions and point out my faults.  I see this as a way to grow for this most part.

Happy New Years to all that read this!

Getting back on the horse and focusing

It’s been a while since I’ve written a post and it’s so easy to get out of the habit.  I can blame all kinds of things that are going on in my life but honestly I have no excuse.  I’ve watched FAR too much television for there to be any excuse.

So I’ve been on this journey where I would like to have my own business and find work that I love.  Now that being said I read something last week that said NO job is perfect every day.  I think that’s important to keep in mind and I think that’s something I can completely get behind.  No job is perfect because something occasionally goes wrong.

So in order to do this one must take many small steps.  Action is what will make this happen.  I’ve seen it and read it but now is the time to implement this!  So as part of that is setting up some goals.  Goals help drive you in a direction.  They are like a personal mission statement.

Goals:

  1. Make money by working from my laptop
  2. Explore the world
  3. Make a difference in the world by sharing my knowledge and the surplus in my life with other people.

So I want to be able to work remotely.  I want to be able to work from my laptop.  I want to add value to businesses and people’s lives.  So with the ideas I have and the help of people that I currently know I can start small and develop some different ideas that should create some income on a monthly basis.

Working remotely means virtual businesses or potentially traveling to a business’s location.  Those are both options and skills I have used and developed over the past 20 years of working.  I’ve also made plenty of connections that support that kind of work.  This will take work and I’m not going into this blind.  I fully expect that I will need to develop this slowly.

In order to get started…

Thinking ahead I can see one thing being critical and that’s doing debt reduction.  We all have debt and some of us are increasing that debt instead of reducing it.  I’ve been on both sides of the fence at different times of my life.  I think we can all agree though that having fewer bills to pay on a monthly basis is far easier on life in general.

So the main debt that I need to focus on is credit cards.  Credit cards can be great and help you if used right.  By using a credit card you can earn points towards all kinds of services, merchandise and travel.

A side effect to paying down my credit card debt will be an increase in my credit score.  Your credit score drives so many different big ticket purchases that require a loan.  A higher credit score means a lower interest rate many times.  That is a side effect that will be a HUGE plus in life.

One expense I can be thankful isn’t big in my life is the cost of an automobile.  Currently I don’t have a car payment because I don’t have a car.  So that’s a large debt that many people have in their lives.  Here in San Francisco I can get around easily by taking public transportation or by using CityCarShare, Zipcar, taxis, Uber or Lyft. It’s all about your schedule and how long you have to get between point A & B.

At some point I wouldn’t mind having a car but the thing I have to keep in mind is that unless a car is my main source of income I don’t need that expense here in this city.  If I lived in a different city it would definitely be a different situation.

Analysis Paralysis

So many people get caught up thinking about all the things that they need to do.  The truth for me and many others is that you just need to put one foot in front of another and start doing something about my goals.

This past weekend I was working on one of my small side projects and I found that there was some money I was owed.  There was some tax information that needed to be updated but after a short email exchange it’s been resolved.  The take away from that … I MADE MONEY!

OK it wasn’t a huge amount of money but it was something and it paid for my investment.  So now I have motivation to more with this project.  Additionally I know that there is potential income as a result of my actions.  That’s hugely important at this phase because in my mind income equals success.

What’s next?

The next step for me is to invest a little more time into that project that produced some money of course.  Potentially I could make more money and more money means more success.  More success will also drive all those feelings empowerment that help us lead happy lives.

I have a second micro-business that I’ve already done which I know can generate money.  Again money equals success in this case.  Sadly I lost my focus and stopped supporting it.  With no support it can’t succeed.  This week I’m going to support that micro-business and bring home another win for the team.

Both of these micro businesses can be done from anywhere and support my first two goals.  If it supports my goals and it empowers me to do more/better then I need to do it more, right!  The other good thing is that the extra money I make can also go to the support goal of reducing debt.

WIN WIN!

Looking to the future

So what does my future look like?  Most of the time I try to focus on being in the present.  Now I want to think about my future.  This is a difficult task.  I think about the future in big grand terms or general terms.  The focus on details is crucial and important.

Just like a business you can’t grow unless you have goals.  A business will have short and long-term goals.  Like a business you need personal short and long-term goals.  You need be forward-looking in life with direction to set these goals.  I saw this phrase on Facebook recently and it really resonated with me.

The most dangerous phrase in the language is “we’ve always done it this way.”

This is something I’ve heard many times in life.  I’ve heard various people say this and I’ve seen the results of it time after time.  The thing that it indicates normally is that the person/group/company doesn’t think outside the box.  They don’t thinking in what I would call solution based.  I’ve always been a big picture kind of guy myself.  Why or how did I get this way?  It sure wasn’t taught at home during my childhood.  Unless you count the times where as a family we had to make ends meet when we didn’t have much.  I guess that’s one way I learned it.

So what are some of the things I want?

Well there are the basics that everyone wants.

  1. Love
  2. Respect
  3. Money
  4. Home
  5. Retirement (sooner please rather than later)

I need to focus on how I get there.  Each person has a different idea of what this looks like. Now I’m trying to define this for myself.  The question is what do these things mean to me?  Respect is really vague.  So what does it mean?  That’s more about how you’re treated.  You have to ask for and demand it at times.  You don’t have to be rich, glamorous, tall, thin, have great hair or the whitest teeth to be respected.

I’m going to build a page to start putting down what I want.  I think this will help me quantifying or qualify what I want in the future.  I’ll be able to start with something generic and through refinement get to a more specific detail.  I can also use of some images to define what I want in life.

I keep telling myself it shouldn’t be that difficult. I feel like some of my items are superficial but I imagine if I had it then there would be something else.  Does that mean there are stages of desire?  I imagine that concept is pretty true.  There’s always stages in your life, right?

Leave a suggestion in the comments below.  What kind of tools do you think will help? How can I figure out what I truly want in the future?  Tell me about my bad grammar or just leave a polite supporting message.  It’s all good in the grand scheme of life.

I’m grateful for …

  1. I’m grateful for Susan letting me use her car so I can get to work and then later get to Orchestra rehearsal.
  2. I’m grateful that I got to go on a whale watching cruise this past weekend.
  3. I’m grateful that the weather is warming up.

I’m curious about …

  1. I’m curious about how to create passive income for future success.
  2. I’m curious about the effects of the drought here in California.
  3. I’m curious about what my future holds.

I’m surprised by …

  1. I’m surprised by how much I really want a car.
  2. I’m surprised by how close whales will get to the shore
  3. I’m surprised by how much my mind wonders.

How can I keep focus?

So in life we have so many distractions every day it seems.  If you’re someone like me I sometimes go find distractions to keep myself busy.  I find that I’m sometimes my own worst enemy when it comes to this lack of focus.  So now I’m asking myself more and more about why I’m doing this to myself and how to break out of the cycle.

Lets tear apart my day to see how I’m spending my time.

Time

Task

Duration

6:30 AM Get up, get shower, get dressed 30 minutes
7:00 AM Pack up lunch and get ready to leave 15 minutes
7:15: AM Get on bus to head to work 1.5 hours
8:50 AM Work 8 hours
5:00 PM Head to gym (walk, train, walk, change) 45 minutes
6:00 PM Work out 1.5 hours
7:15 PM Commute home 1 hour
8:30 – 9:00 PM The time I get home

That is how my schedule looks on the days I go to the gym or exercise.  So that would be Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  Tonight I’m also going to an orchestra rehearsal which run till 9:30.  After that I’ll drive home which should get me in around 10:30 PM.

OK so that leaves between 9 and 11 PM on the weeknights that I go to the gym.  Friday’s I’ve been working from home and my evenings aren’t structured.  When I say my evenings aren’t structured what I’m really saying is that it’s free time and I go out.  Saturday and Sunday are free and I schedule them as I find things to do.  So I really only have 2 days that I don’t have about 11 to 12 hours of the day committed.

So I find myself getting emotional over this because I feel like life somewhat out of control.  I have to remember it’s not out of control.  I’m doing more than most people.  I’ve had people say ‘You’re always on the move doing something.’  Of course they say that based on what they see on my Facebook account.  Looking at the schedule above though I am pretty busy.

So I think the lesson I need to take away after writing this down is I need to treat myself with as much positive encouragement and praise for the work I am doing.  So I’m doing a good job.  Next something I should do is work on posting my accomplishments to my blog.  Writing blog post about what I’m accomplishing and doing helps make all the things I do more tangible.  I think we can all agree that having tangible accomplishments is a good thing.  While writing my blog post I need to narrow down some what of what I’m looking to do in the future.  There are so many great ideas and things I want to do.  Now I need to go through that list and narrow it down.  Prioritize the list and see if there are any multiples.

Let’s review my next steps:

  1. Praise and encourage myself!
  2. Write my blog post!
  3. List out these things that I want to do.
  4. Prioritize my list

It may seem silly but I feel better already.  This reminds me of two things.  First is the Kiss principle (Keep It Simple Stupid).  Don’t let it overwhelm me.  Write it down and really see what you’re dealing with before jumping to conclusions.  Second is to set up SMART goals (Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Timely).  So if I keep it simple and great SMART goals for myself then I’ll be successful.

What’s my next step?

First I’m going to write my next post.  I find it amazing and fulfilling to write these post.  I’m able to process so many feelings and thoughts.  It’s not import if anyone else reads it.  Most import is that it’s helping me get my own feelings and thoughts together and allow me to move forward.

Second I am going to make a list of the things I am telling myself I want to do.  I am guessing that there will be some very common themes.  From that I think I can categorize them and then start to put a priority to them.  This isn’t about the future.  It is about today.  What can I do today.  What would have the biggest impact today.  I need to focus on the present day and what I can do or what is important to me.

Third is something I almost forget to acknowledge.  I need to continue my focus on the positive by stating the things I’m grateful for in my life.  Seeing the positive people and events in my life are extremely important.

I’m grateful for:

  1. My friends who are there to support me.
  2. My workout partner who keeps me focused on exercising.
  3. Music and the fact that I am able to play my tuba.

I’m curious about:

  1. How difficult would it be to moving to a foreign country?
  2. Why haven’t I felts like I have roots in a city?
  3. What is my friend Bob up to?

I’m surprised by:

  1. People’s instability, never fails to surprise me.
  2. How involved people are in soccer.
  3. How busy I am on weekdays.

Unexpected surprises and delights

Today I attended a meeting at there was a guest speaker talking about changing peoples behaviors.  There was a lot of things that I saw in the presentation that I thought really applied to my daily life.  It’s funny how you can start to pick up things like this when you pay attention or are looking for them in everyday life.

One of the things that was discussed was really looking for an creating opportunities for Unexpected Surprises or delights in life.  I don’t know about you but I can tend to focus on the negative a little too much.  So if you start to create rewards for your small victories and celebrate then it brings a certain level of positive vibes into your life.

So I talked about being grateful before but he brought up 2 more things that would help in this positive outlook on life.  1) What are you curious about?  2) What surprised you today?  WOW that makes total sense because I actually find myself being curious and surprised by things going on around me.  Oh he limited his to only 3 since there were these other questions.

I’m grateful for…

  1. I’m grateful for my coworkers who gave me a ride to out off site meeting today.
  2. I’m grateful for apps that track buses so I know how long it will be before the next bus.
  3. I’m grateful for speakers with a relevant and good message at meetings.

I’m curious about …

  1. I’m curious why sometimes it seems like my battery depletes faster
  2. I’m curious why people eat vegan stuff…
  3. I’m curious how or why some people are ambivalent about life

I’m surprised by ….

  1. I’m surprised that the temperatures are so different between my home and work.
  2. I’m surprised at how different I can feel after having a single date.
  3. I’m surprised that I lasted 30 minutes on this new exercise machine at the gym!

What do I want in life?

So one of the things I’m trying to sort out now is what’s next?  Sometimes in life that’s not a difficult question.  A lot of the time you’re either happy or unhappy and that drives the choice.  At this point in life I’m kind of complacent and that’s not a happy feeling for me.  I like a forward motion in my life.

Currently I have a contract job till October.  That’s good because I have time to search for my next job.  I need A job so that’s not really a question.  So I’m asking myself do I search exclusively for another contract job or a full-time position that will have benefits and a stable paycheck.  There’s part of me that is a realist and says I may not have this luxury.  I may need to take what I can get.  The nice thing is, knowing when the end is coming I am able to start looking now.

So, I don’t think that really answers the bigger question.  What do I want in life.  It’s a question that puzzles me in some regards.  I am normally trying to advance in some way.  At this point I don’t feel that I need to advance.  It also feels like there are some smaller more attainable goals that need to put in place.  These goals are potentially what is missing from my life.  The problem I am now faced with is are these goals what I want?  Wait, we’re right back to the question “what do I want in life?”

So that’s where I stand today.  I need to start a running list of goals or maybe I should call them desires. Oh lord maybe I just came up with another list that I need to start with first.  Then, from that list write a list of goals.  What else goes with goals but priorities. So desires, goals and then priorities.  Well that sounds like a good place to start.

Oh so my first goal is to write a post every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  I’ll try to collect my accomplishments and add them into my post.   Some of my updates will get posted on Facebook.  So check back and see where I am with my list and goals.  Please leave your comments or questions.  I want to hear from you.  I don’t believe I know everything and I may need help staying focused.  So a little helpful advice from time to time is great.

What am I grateful for today?

  1. I’m grateful for great friends (Scott, Susan and Sarah to name a few) that make me smile at the mere mention of their name.
  2. I’m grateful to know my friend Kimberly who’s worlds different but could be a better friend.
  3. I’m grateful for eye sight because there are so many beautiful things to see in the world not the least of which is a blue sky.
  4. I’m grateful that I get to meet amazing people (Beth) at work and weave them into the fabric of my daily activities.
  5. I’m grateful for the ability to write this and know that my friends and other will support me.