Jeweller Recommendations for Choosing an Engagement Ring

Your heart is beating fast. Your stomach fills with butterflies. As you take a knee to ask for your partner’s hand in marriage, you wonder what expression they will be wearing on their face, and what it will mean for your future together. You hope for the best outcome, all the while trying not to entertain thoughts that you may be let down.

Proposing can be nerve-racking, and the last thing you want to worry about when declaring your love is whether you chose the right engagement ring. You want your partner to know that you took care and time in selecting the ring, just for them. This is all part and parcel of sharing in the perfect moment.

So, how can you ensure that you end up with a ring that complements and even elevates the special occasion? Besides buying from a trusted dealer of engagement rings Vancouver, which is recommended, you’ll also want to consider the following:

Study Up on The 4Cs

The 4Cs – Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat Weight – are the most important part of choosing a diamond. GIA created the 4C standard to evaluate the overall quality of a rock. This standard also makes comparing one diamond to another much easier.

Here is a summary of what the 4Cs mean and how this can help you choose a ring:

  • Cut: A diamond’s cut will determine how it interacts with light. This plays a role in its brightness, sparkle, and color flashes.
  • Color: The best diamonds are colorless, as they are much harder to find. Lower-grade diamonds have a brownish or light, yellowish color to them. Color is graded on a D to Z scale, with D representing the best quality diamond.
  • Clarity: An imperfect diamond may come with inclusions and blemishes that make it less valuable (or more affordable if you prefer to think of it that way). Grading for Clarity is rated on a scale from Flawless to Included.
  • Carat Weight: The greater the carat weight, the greater the size of the diamond. In most cases, diamonds with a greater carat weight are considered rarer. When all other factors are equal, the carat weight is usually the deciding factor in whether a diamond is more valuable than the others.

Determining which of the 4Cs is most important to you will help you arrive at a buying decision faster. It will help you eliminate some rocks from the running while homing in on the one that’s going to make your partner light up with delight.

Prioritizing a specific C can also help you manage your budget, and when shopping for engagement rings, cost is always a factor. We’ll look more at budget considerations a little later. First…

Familiarize Yourself with Styles and Trends

Getting acquainted with the various styles of rings as well as recent trends will help you find the right ring for the occasion faster. Just in case – here’s a reminder to keep your Google searches (or print materials like brochures, pamphlets, and magazines) private from your partner, unless you’re okay with ruining the big surprise.

These are the main styles to be aware of – modern, vintage, timeless, romantic, and Bohemian. Vintage rings have never gone out of style, and in some ways, they are more popular than ever. Vintage rings are often rich with history and romantic meaning.

Another ring type that has remained popular since medieval times is heart rings. Heart rings also tend to be a good choice for those who are on a tighter budget.

For period pieces, Art Deco and Art Nouveau style rings are quite trendy, and Bohemian rings are also worth a look, especially if you are looking for something a little more unconventional (after all, doesn’t love transcend all boundaries?).

Consider Your Budget

An engagement ring will be one of the most important purchases you will ever make in your relationship. The traditional advice of spending three month’s worth of your salary on an engagement ring very much applies, even today. If you haven’t saved up that amount yet, you may want to create a plan to set aside a percentage of your income each month.

The good news is that you likely have a good idea of how much three month’s worth of your salary adds up to already. There are no difficult calculations to be made. It’s simply a matter of identifying the budget, and then learning about the rings you can buy for that amount.

An experienced dealer can help you navigate these waters, especially if they strike you as unfamiliar and treacherous. If in doubt, always turn to the advice of a trusted expert.

Keep it Simple

As you’re searching for the ideal engagement ring, you may begin to feel loaded with information. It is well worth spending some time researching your options and taking the time to understand the engagement ring landscape, especially in considering your budget and your preferences (or your partner’s preferences, as the case may be).

With that in mind, you don’t need to go too far down the rabbit hole of bands, settings, side stones, and ring size to find a good fit. You can usually defer to expert guidance when it comes to these items, or even put them off until later.

If you’ve understood all the above, then you are armed with more information than most. There is no need to overcomplicate the search because what it comes down to is your partner. It’s about the special connection you share with them.

Also, note – it isn’t always about the cost of the ring or how amazing it looks. It can be about finding a token that represents your love.

Closing Remarks

Once you’ve chosen the right ring, the other details will tend to take care of themselves – where to propose, what to say, when to say it, and more. With the perfect ring securely tucked away in your pocket, you can rest assured knowing that your partner will respond as you hope they will to your proposal – with joy and excitement.

Best of luck with your engagement.

How You Can Feel Totally Empty Even if You Have it All

I am again aboard the Queen of Cowichan on the 10:10 to Nanaimo. I thought I had approached the passenger deck well before most had exited their vehicles, but apparently, this sailing had a few more walk-ons than normal, as the desks I would normally exploit were all occupied by others.

Has the 10:10 to Nanaimo grown in infamy? Because of my letters? Nah. But it’s fun to think I may have piqued a few curiosities. And this sailing is a little more like the first, with a few creatures of the night peeking out of their hiding holes and even opting to graze in my vicinity.

Fortunately (actually, I don’t know how fortunate this is), there are some woefully uncomfortable stools near electrical outlets, so I’m not forced to give up my writing habit (not that I would have anyway – I would have found another way).

***

My mission to empty my storage was successful on almost every level. I only required the assistance of one gifted organizer and one burly man (the organizer’s husband) to get the lion’s share of the work done in less than two hours. It was not a strenuous two hours either, though I can thank myself for staying consistent with exercise.

I was initially wondering whether I’d need more help, and who would be there to meet me at a reasonable hour to complete the task, but the team of three turned out to be a true power trio.

It seems, however, that even in situations where all the traffic lights magically turn green at exactly the right moment, things never go 100% as planned.

Case in point – we had to drive 31 minutes out of the way to the nearest landfill to do away with that cursed furniture. Of course, that meant more than 31 minutes back to the U-Haul corral, and those orange-wearing slicksters are sticklers for extra mileage since that’s where a good chunk of their change is made (besides insurance, I am told).

(But maybe there’s a good business lesson there.)

Costs were incurred, but I knew before beginning this mission that I would be able to recoup my costs (and even come out on top), by selling a couple of my guitars or unneeded electronics.

Plus, I freed up over $2,100 per year in storage fees, so the immediate costs are offset by future savings (even if I did end up spending about half of what I would normally spend on a move to get this project out of the way).

***

I feel like I understand Robin Williams a little better. I’m not Robin, and I have never occupied his body let alone his mind. I never met him while he was alive, and I never spoke with the man. But I can understand how having it all could still leave someone utterly depressed.

I don’t have it all, yet I don’t consider my accomplishments insignificant. I have usually reinforced this point by quoting glory days Bulls role-player Steve Kerr – “I scraped and clawed for everything I’ve got,” and even that lot could fit comfortably in a cardboard box.

It feels trite, even disrespectful, to say that I did not receive the attention, recognition, and love that I needed from my parents, but in the depths of my being it rings true.

I am not saying that my parents did not love me. I know they did, to the nth degree! I am not saying that they abused, mistreated, abandoned, or neglected me. They didn’t!

No part of me believes they should be held in contempt for their actions if they were ever forced to give an account.

I’m strictly speaking of my experience, in my world, how things occurred to me, as a sensitive child needing attention, recognition, and love.

The result is a gaping hole I cannot fill. I have attempted to do so with most things one can name, especially work, but also food, music, video games, and addictions more generally. And it’s entirely possible I’ll try more ways before this fight is over.

I know full well that even if I do manifest the things I want – a beautiful, 8,000 square-foot home, a model-gorgeous wife, a six-figure business, a kick-ass band that tours the world – that no ambition, no dream, no goal fulfilled can offer permanent relief. It’s an exercise in futility!

But what can one do except try? To balloon the size of their dreams, to wake up every day with delusions of grandeur, to become fully vulnerable once more to everything it will mean to embrace and chase their desires?

I don’t know – I am asking myself as much as I am asking rhetoric.

***

I am recognizing that most relationships, projects, businesses, and even life itself, seem to follow the same trajectory – a bell curve.

After an initial burst of excitement, a project gains momentum, continues to grow, and eventually reaches its peak. Then, if left untended to, it will begin a sure descent into oblivion, even if gradual.

This curve can unfold over months, years, or even decades, so it’s easier to observe in hindsight. It’s difficult if not impossible to pre-empt.

The only way to change the trajectory of anything set into motion, to prevent its peaking and ultimate descent, is to reinvest in the business continually. Usually, though, there is some hesitancy when it comes time to pour more time, energy, and resources into the project. Namely, not enough time, not enough energy, and/or not enough resources.

The only way to change the trajectory of anything set into motion, to prevent its peaking and ultimate descent, is to reinvest. Share on X

But if you beat the odds and somehow manage to keep reinvesting, the curve can continue to chart a hockey-stick growth path. If you don’t, well you already know… a parachute dive into hell (without a parachute).

From this, I gather two things:

  • When a karmic loop has closed, there is no turning back. When it’s done, it’s done, and it’s time to move on, even if it means starting from scratch. This can be an exhilarating process if you let it be.
  • If a project means the world to you, keep reinvesting in it, even if it hurts. Specifically, reinvest in the success of your partners, as Karmic Management suggests – employees, vendors, customers, and ultimately the world.

The reason I’m starting from scratch is because of the former – a karmic loop closed. But it’s an opportunity – an opportunity for Kaizen.

Advice for The Desperate Should Read This Way

Monthly sailings into Vancouver have by now become routine. But there are two key differences this time around. First, I’m meeting the bustling Queen of Oak Bay for the first time (on an early morning sailing no less), and while first impressions can be deceiving, so far, I’m inclined to say she is very agreeable.

Second, the cloudy, rainy weather of the former months almost seems like a dream staring out across clear horizons. Of course, we may yet experience a shorter wet season before finally embracing long summer days.

This weekend’s mission isn’t that much different from former trips into Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley. But besides attending a monthly gathering of the success-minded, I am Abbotsford-bound to clear out my storage unit.

There is no way I could have known that I would end up a nomad for 22 months and would therefore pay monthly dues for that duration on largely unusable clutter. Oh, there are more than a few guitars, electronics, valuables (with real value), and keepsakes stored in there too.

But the larger objects, what do we call them again…? Right, furniture. Sadly, these seem to hold close to no value in these “enlightened” times, and there is little point in me storing them at personal expense any longer.

If I had found a home within a few months of leaving Abbotsford, it wouldn’t have been any bother. But now it seems the objects have fashioned themselves into a weighty boat anchor drowning me in past regrets. It’s time to let go.

***

It took a while. But when I stopped to notice who I’ve become, the intention with which I now speak, and the determination with which I now act, I am truly beyond recognition. Especially compared to who I was pre-pandemic.

I may never be acknowledged for this. Very rarely have I found public recognition for private victories. But as I’ve said many times before, if you aren’t your greatest cheerleader and can show others what that means, how can you expect anyone else to do the same for you? And even if others shower you with praise, will you even be able to lap it up if you don’t first see yourself as worthy of the accolades?

In the last couple of months, the message has come across loud and clear – “Very soon, you won’t even remember what this moment felt like.” Of course, I considered such notions foolish, especially as I didn’t see much of anything changing around me.

Lottery spoils and deus ex machina are ponderings of the delusional, though we do fervently pray for them when things are looking dire.

Privately, I was suffering. It wasn’t a long stretch, but I spent a few days unable to buy fuel or food. I’ve learned to be peaceful and optimistic even in such scenarios, but failure, exhaustion, and circumstances were all conspiring to get the best of me. Only a saint or god would be able to maintain composure under such pressure.

Somehow, though, I’ve emerged the other end better. I can’t say that it was a surprise because this has happened before. Current circumstances mirror the events of 2014, another trying time that, in retrospect, resolved rather miraculously all on its own.

It has been said that if you change how you look at things, the things you look at change. This shift in mindset, attitude, perspective, whatever you want to call it… It seems to have more power to shift our lives than I have often given it credit for.

***

As I shared in a previous letter, there have been some important lessons in resiliency. Yet, this turned out to be how my mind was pigeonholing the situation, versus where spirit was wanting to lead me.

I have been reading Karmic Management, and it reminded me of something I had intuitively known and acted upon but could not have put into words 15 years ago. Within that short volume are treasures too many to expand upon here.

One such gem, however, is that our purpose in business is to make our partners successful. The book defines “partners” as our employees, vendors, customers, and ultimately the world.

When all your choices are guided by making others successful, says Karmic Management, you will never need to make another decision about anything. You will simply know, intuitively, what to do, how, and when.

The principle holds up well beyond the realm of business. For me, 2011 represents both the worst and best of times. But when I look back, I can see that I was attuned to this principle, especially as life was starting to get exciting again. I took friends out to lunch. I booked fun birthday parties for the family. I shared business opportunities with my connections. And boy oh boy did I reap the rewards.

***

With mounting challenges, it’s easy to think we’re supposed to figure out everything by our lonesome. After all, by now haven’t we become smarter, more resourceful, and better-connected individuals? Shouldn’t we know how to manifest a couple of thousand dollars out of thin air when we desperately need it? It should be easy!

Ask yourself this, and really ponder it – how many times has a famous author, expert, or “guru” attributed their escape from looming financial collapse to their smarts and cunning? How many times have they claimed to “get out of jail free” thanks to their brilliance?

Beware. When you’re hungry, tired, and sad, most of the inner strengths you think you possess will seem to fly right out the window. Even entrepreneurs will take a job at Tim Horton’s if they’re hungry enough.

I have no doubt Russell Brunson or Dan Kennedy has managed to surmount such challenges by launching a sales funnel or by writing a brilliant sales letter, at least once or twice. But so far, I cannot attest to the real-life applicability of such strategies.

Advice for desperate times should probably read more like this:

Do whatever you can. Call and email all your friends asking for money. Sell your car, guitars, and electronics. Downgrade your lifestyle. Move to a bachelor suite. Explore loans and credit. Sell off investments. Dig in couch crevices. Collect cans and bottles. Pick up gigs, contracts, or employment opportunities you think are below you and thought you would never return to (it’s okay, it’s temporary).

These actions are not the solution, and they may not get you out of the tunnel, but the universe, it seems, honors your actions anyway. Spirit will assist you and show you to the light if you hang in there long enough. It’s not about the actions. It’s about the willingness to take them.

And if you’ve still got time and energy left over after all that, and only then, take a gamble on your “bigger, better plan” – a business venture that might work, a YouTube channel that could go viral, an investment that could pay off, whatever.

Clean Slate Debrief: Thank You, Victoria!

Didn’t you have a great time at Clean Slate Victoria?

And if you couldn’t make it, don’t you wish you could have been there to see it all?

We wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who showed the slightest bit of interest in this unique upstart. You’re amazing!

But that’s not all… We’ve got a ton of goodies for you posted below, including photos, videos, PDFs, slides, and more. So, let’s get right to it.

Clean Slate… The Event That Almost Never Was

I had a vision for Clean Slate in July 2023 and began planning for it in September of the same month. Everything was going smoothly until the featured artist that I was hoping to bring into the fold decided that the event wasn’t for her.

By October, I had burned out completely, to the point where I didn’t want to get out of bed let alone go outside to do errands. I became a hermit.

Toward the end of November, we thought we had nailed down a venue. But the date that we were hoping to book in January wasn’t available. We started looking elsewhere because the venue informed us that they were getting booked up fast.

But the whole time, I did not stop planning for the event. I kept the conversations moving forward.

And somehow, against all odds, my vision became a reality on February 16, 2024.

We love you and we wish you all the best in your life, in your work, and in your creativity. Of course, we hope to see you at the next event, too!

Media

There’s an array of media we generated for and from the event. We’ve compiled it all to share it with you here. Enjoy!

Introduction Video

Here’s the introduction video from the event (we had some hiccups getting it to work on the night of the performance, but it works perfectly via YouTube).

Event Photos

Clean Slate Victoria February 16, 2024 show attendance Jody Lubin at Clean Slate David Andrew Wiebe at Clean Slate David Andrew Wiebe on stage at Clean Slate Friends at Clean Slate Jody Lubin performing on February 16, 2024 Friends at Victoria Event Centre Friends at Victoria Event Centre Friends at Victoria Event Centre Friends at Victoria Event Centre Friends at Victoria Event Centre Friends at Victoria Event Centre Friends at Victoria Event Centre David Andrew Wiebe with friends at Clean Slate David Andrew Wiebe with friends at Clean Slate

Event Videos





Clean Slate Merchandise

The Clean Slate merchandise was unfortunately delayed in transit, and we couldn’t share it with you at the event. But now everything is safely in our possession.

Clean Slate merchandise

If you’re in the Greater Vancouver area, I can set aside any of these items for you for the next time I see you (you can e-transfer me). Just let me know.

Or you can always order online.

Productivity, Performance & Profits Blackbook

I read from the first two chapters of the brand-new Productivity, Performance & Profits Blackbook at Clean Slate, and it was a BIG hit!

Productivity, Performance & Profits Blackbook

I have a few paperback copies in my possession, and I can set aside one for you for the next time I see you (you can e-transfer me). Just let me know.

Or you can always order online and get yourself a hardcover copy.

Makeshift Romance EP

Makeshift Romance EP by David Andrew Wiebe

My latest music release, Makeshift Romance EP is available everywhere. Click on the link below to listen to it on your favorite streaming site.

Makeshift Romance EP

The Misadventures of Axl Brunson

We launched four episodes of The Misadventures of Axl Brunson at Clean Slate. You can watch all of them below.

Episode 1: Axl Fails at Selling

Episode 2: Axl Fails at Getting a Date

Episode 3: Axl Fails at Working Out

Episode 4: Axl Fails at Living in Idaho

Slides

Here are the slides from the event (they include acknowledgements), in case you’d like to look them over:

Clean Slate Victoria Slides by David Andrew Wiebe on Scribd

Downloadable Form

I printed order forms and QR code sheets for the event in case you were interested in ordering anything from my catalog (which includes CDs, books, newsletters, courses, coaching programs, and merchandise).

I’ve upgraded this downloadable form to include graphics, descriptions, and links all in one! Enjoy.

Download the Order Form

Fresh Start Ultra Pack

You may have missed this at the event (I heard you were maybe out eating or dancing?), but there is an opportunity to look at it again.

I created a short video presentation to share the Fresh Start Ultra Pack with you. Enjoy.

Click here to learn more about the Fresh Start Ultra Pack

Acknowledgments

Thank you to Karlo, Lena, Brandon Phillips, Jody Lubin (and his band), The Deadly Hiyas, Patrikus, the Victoria Event Centre, and everyone who attended and supported the event!

Sponsors

We could not have done this without you! A much deserved “We’re not worthy!” goes out to our sponsors:

We're Not Worthy

Final Thoughts

Did Clean Slate Victoria deliver everything you hoped it would? Is there anything you’d like to see from us next time? What was the most memorable moment for you?

Leave a comment below and let us know.

People Pleasing is Robbing You of Your Destiny

Déjà vu. I am once again aboard the 10:10 to Nanaimo, the Queen of Cowichan my nighttime mistress. It’s mostly quiet aboard, and it appears there are fewer creatures of the night lurking about than last time.

My day began with a coaching call, one equally as impactful as the last three, if not more so. And the key takeaways were:

  1. It’s time to declutter. I’d already begun the process of selling some of my belongings, mostly as a stopgap. I did not know that I was intuitively following the guidance of GUS (God, Universe, Spirit). My coach told me it was time to release the attachment. I visited my storage unit in Abbotsford today, immediately recognizing that there were more things in there than I had remembered. I brought a few items with me to sell, give away, or throw away in Nanaimo.
  2. Redefine “worth” and “worthiness.” This will require some deep thinking. I only have a foggy idea of where to go with this, but one thing I do know is my previous definitions of worth and worthiness were flawed, incomplete, or otherwise unworkable.
  3. Support myself. No one else is going to do it for me. I must be willing to support myself first, careful not to give too much of my time or energy away to those who are all too willing to take, take, take, and take some more.
  4. Stop worrying about what other people will think. You’ll choose a partner. You’ll buy a course. You’ll book an event. It will blow up in your face. Others will think you’re nuts for making the decisions you make. But you’re the one who gets to lead the cleanup crew, so why worry about what people in the nosebleed section are whining about? Be true to yourself first.

***

They say when the teacher is ready the student appears. Today, having put to bed Alinka Rutkowska’s HOW I SOLD 80,000 Books, I intuitively chose Ching-Ning Chu’s Thick Face, Black Heart for my next reading, a volume recommended by the legend himself, Dan Kennedy.

It did not take long for me to see that this student was ready, and Chu was just the teacher I needed.

Recent challenges gave me pause. They had me questioning my worth and even my very existence. Why me? Why now? Why financial challenges, a problem I was supposed to have solved 10 years ago?

Opportunities kept presenting themselves but were missing follow-through. It left me scratching my head. I had laid the groundwork (I dug my wells before I got thirsty – in as many ways as I could) to avoid this very situation, yet seemingly the worst-case scenario was unfolding.

Says Chu:

I have seen many people grow old, but not graciously. Their eyes reflect pain and disillusionment. They have been beaten by life; they have so many broken dreams. The hope and expectation of youth have vanished – only death awaits.

But these lessons are necessary, offers Chu, because they prepare one for the greatness, they are fully capable of attaining.

Delving further into the book, I started to realize that I was not sufficiently detached from my situation to see the forest for the trees.

Not that one should not feel the pain but having felt the pain for long enough, one should not be afraid to become their greatest critic and take a more sobering look at the decisions they’ve made leading up to this point. And more importantly, to begin looking for solutions.

The lessons were probably inevitable, so there’s no point in debating semantics. But whether one decides to upgrade their mindset and carry on pursuing their dreams is a matter of choice. Will you rise again or wait for death?

After hardship, whether one decides to upgrade their mindset and carry on pursuing their dreams is a matter of choice. Share on X

***

One of the greatest pieces of wisdom that’s been passed down through the ages is Matthew 10:16:

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves.

The average person has figured out the latter part. They have not figured out the former. Yet, the serpent part comes first in the verse and the dove part second, suggesting that the first is more important.

If you’re sheep amid wolves, you are in imminent danger of being eaten. You do not have time enough to afford to be as harmless as a dove, though appearing that way may be to your advantage. If you want to negotiate your way out of certain death, you must also be as wise as a serpent.

This is a key lesson for all of life. You are either going to think for yourself or let others think for you. You are either going to be a creator or a consumer. You are either going to sell or be sold to. If you’re not on the right side of this equation, it should not come as any surprise that your dreams feel out of reach.

I am preaching to myself as much as anyone else. You can shoot the messenger, but if you did that, there would be no messages worth heeding.

***

I would love to continue diving deep with you, but very soon, the Queen will dock in Nanaimo, and I will be headed home for a much-deserved rest.

If you made it this far, I know you have the grit to keep fighting through life’s many obstacles. That means you should also be ready to make a deeper commitment to yourself. Not later, but today.

So, pick up your free copy of the Productivity, Performance & Profits Blackbook to affirm your worth. You can get it done, but you will need the book to illuminate the darker paths on your journey. Secure your copy today.

Nobody Wants You to Succeed (Not Even Your Mother)

It seems like a lifetime ago that I was aboard the Queen of Cowichan, but in calendar time it has only been a little over a month. The Queen and I have now become a little more familiar and comfortable with each other, and I like that the relationship is simple. She takes to the seas while I do some of my best writing.

Tonight, I am told I am going to be recognized for my accomplishments in Langley, thus the expenses paid trip across the ocean. And I can already hear you asking, “What accomplishments would those be, David?”

The simple truth is I don’t know. I may be recognized for something other than what I am going to acknowledge myself for here.

Either way, on February 16, at our live music and multimedia extravaganza called Clean Slate, I launched:

Music, writing, comedy. Three of my favorite avenues of creativity, plus a new offer. And it was not exactly a cakewalk to have that all done in time for the event, promote the event, and have it run smoothly save for a few minor glitches (if only in my eyes).

As much as an event is a one-off, I reserve judgment as to Clean Slate’s ultimate impact because the aftermath has yet to play out in full. Given that attendees were posting photos and videos days after the event should give me full license to bask in the afterglow, even if only for a fleeting moment.

Plus, you never know about creative endeavors. Sometimes they show promise out of the gate, sometimes not. But I have enough data to show that my book will have legs, especially with additional exposure. So far as the other creations are concerned, it remains to be seen, but I know they enjoyed some early attention.

There is much to reflect on, however, and it’s become clear that some viewed the entire venture as irresponsible and reckless. Let me say this is not the first time others have held that view of me and my actions (and probably not the last time), but not to worry – they are not frequent buyers of mine (have at them!).

I also have no intention of dwelling on what people outside of my inner circle think, as it’s unlikely it will help me, and I will not persuade them one way or another.

My best friend said to me, “If not this time, you would have done it another time and gotten the same lesson,” and that’s the perspective that resonates with me most. One way or another, GUS (God, Universe, Spirit) had a message and a lesson to deliver to me, and I was going to receive it, even if it was a year’s supply of Humble Pie and facepalm memes.

***

We don’t like to see others (well, loved ones anyway) fail. But even worse, we don’t like to see others succeed. We don’t wake up thinking to ourselves, “Gee, I sure hope Jessica wins / makes / earns a million dollars today.” And we’ll do nothing to help her in the first place unless we see there’s something in it for ourselves.

People succeed despite the crabs in a bucket sand trap, not to mention the people you’ve once called brothers and sisters who never had any intention of supporting you and never will.

I am not saying anything that can’t already be found in the annals of tomes I’ve consumed. Even your mother did not wake up today hoping that riches and fame would bum-rush you. She wishes you well, but not that well. Almost no one wishes you that well, and if they do, grab hold of them and don’t let go.

Remember this on your unconventional life journey, if that is the path you’ve chosen – actions always speak louder than words, and you need to beware of those whose actions don’t seem to line up with their words, especially when it comes to supporting you and your ventures.

It’s human nature, so there’s no point in arguing with it. But it’s well worth tattooing on your brain, lest you be hurt and disappointed for what is unfortunately criminally common.

***

Naturally, I sought advice from my mentor. I think he is one of many who deemed this entire venture irresponsible and reckless. Whatever his words, though, his actions show (and have always shown) that he is one of the good ones.

To summarize the conversation, he advised me to:

  1. Find a stable living situation. This has largely felt out of my hands for the last 21 months. Yet, I have a good support system now, and with the help of my friends, I know I can make this happen.
  2. Find a stable income. I have been in transition since January, and as the event neared and very little was coming through in terms of income or work, I turned my attention fully to the event. It was my baby and if I did not give it the attention it was screaming for, who knows what would have happened. But that part of the journey is over and I’m homing in on what I want to do to secure a part-time income.

He also suggested that I was young, and I could always go and be a digital nomad or take chances on crazy ventures and investments later.

Yes, perhaps I could take some time to stop and look around. Again, it’s not my favorite kind of pie, but at least it’s pie…

***

Isn’t there some part of you that feels like you’ve already earned everything you desire? Don’t you think you’re worthy?

There’s a difference between this and feeling entitled but sustain those feelings of worthiness for just a moment.

If you don’t on some level believe you’re deserving of what you want, you may never get it. The good news is you can flip that switch any time you want. The bad news is the number one thing that’s keeping you apart from what you want is feeling like you’re not good enough.

Look at the legions of deadpan nothings that have achieved fortune and fame on YouTube. It’s not about content, or for that matter quality content, friends. It’s about posting the dumbest doo-doo you can think of. Appealing to the lowest common denominator.

More to the point, in life, you can take chances. Or you can sit back and watch. Hope that someone will anoint you the artist, creator, or entrepreneur you want to be. Understand – this is unlikely, and if it happens at all, it will happen at a Tortoise’s pace.

Just look at the prospect of getting a medical doctorate. “Success” comes after eight years of intensive schooling, but then there’s another ladder to climb because you’ve got tuition debt to pay off. After that, another ladder to climb to become the most in-demand doctor at the hospital. And so on.

It’s up to you whether you take risks in life – calculated, moderate, reckless, or otherwise.

All I know is taking no risks has been a life of frustration and disappointment, and that appears the greater risk – a dark, lonely, unrewarding struggle.

***

When you’re out there taking chances, remember this – nobody wants your success. They all think you’re crazy.

And it’s not about fighting the facts. It’s about what you do with this information that matters.

You can hold steady to your goals and ambitions. You can stand your ground. Or you can admit defeat and give up. Neither is wrong, but if you’ve ever felt the call to something greater, it’s unlikely the burning fire of passion within will ever die completely. Even if you don’t feel it now, all that means is it’s bottled up. Uncorking that sucker may be akin to opening Pandora’s Box, but it’s still better than living in denial of your purpose.

If you’re not one of the crabs in a bucket, and you know you’re worthy, then I invite you to pick up your free copy of Productivity, Performance & Profits Blackbook. Isn’t it time you started filling your shelves with resources that can see you through your struggles onto something greater? Don’t die with your music still in you. Get started and stay started with the Productivity, Performance & Profits Blackbook.

My 3 Words for 2024

Don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Choose your three words instead. Says Chris Brogan.

Unbelievably, I have now been following this process since 2015. And what a ride it’s been!

Here I will take some space to reflect on my words from 2023 and share with you the words I’ve chosen for 2024.

I hope I chose right this time… (I say, looking as though I’m about to pull the lever on a high-stakes slot machine).

Reflecting on My 3 Words from 2023

Ease – I got to experience some ease as I was beginning year two of the Team, Management, and Leadership Program. With year one under my belt, I felt like less of a fish out of water. I also felt like I had more freedom to do what was required on my terms.

Yet, this sense of freedom and ease did not last long as I butted heads with leadership, and my old patterns of “grit it and bear it” showed up. I can see how that way of being only leads to burnout and it doesn’t work.

I felt like the number one thing I got out of the leadership program, though, was freedom of self-expression. I had to wade through some traumas to get to that point, mind you.

Ultimately, I didn’t feel at ease for most of 2023. It was a hard year – especially the final quarter in the leadership program. But from the outside looking in, I know I showed up at ease.

Laughter – Laughter did prove an important part of 2023, especially as I was recovering from burnout. Yet, I cannot say that it was a year full of laughter.

Train – This was the mystery word that I picked intuitively.

Throughout 2023, I coached and made an impact on many. My presentations on business plans and social media were received especially well, and some even called it the most useful training they’d received in the leadership program.

I also began investing more in my health – massages, workouts, supplements, and better nutrition. Perhaps this was the mercurial aspect of the word I could not have grasped when I originally selected it.

My 3 Words for 2024

Expansion – I recently heard Frederick Dodson say that none of us are meant to stay in any job for longer than five years. After that point, we tend to stagnate. Stagnation is shrinking. If we want to keep moving with the natural flow of the Universe, says Dodson, we need to keep expanding. Instead of staying comfortable, we should embrace change.

The message resonates with me. I’m not throwing caution to the wind, but I have already been making some big leaps, and I have no idea how they will pay off.

Logically, I feel the only way is up from here. Emotionally and physically, I’m scared out of my mind and not sleeping very well.

Surrender – 2023 was the year of surrender. So, why does it seem like the right word for 2024? I’m not quite sure, but I’m willing to follow my intuition on this one.

Receive – I’ve been put through the school of hard knocks and have earned a doctorate in that program. I’m ready to set that aside and begin receiving the goodness and blessings that surely await. I declare 2023 complete.

Past Reflections

2015 – Profit, Outreach, Expansion (planted some important seeds)
2016 – Flow, Create, Helpfulness (an unfocused year)
2017 – Adventure, Collaboration, Health (a challenging but awesome year)
2018 – War, Initiative, Connection (a year that started weak and ended strong)
2019 – Confidence, Breakthrough, Fulfillment (a year of intense personal growth)
2020 – Completion, Curation, Synthesize (a year to find my North Star)
2021 – Maximize, Optimize, Experiment (a breakthrough year in production, productivity, validation, team, and communication)
2022 – Intention, Recognition, Love (a year of upheaval and adventure)
2023 – Ease, Laughter, Train (a challenging, discouraging, frustrating year)

Final Thoughts

If you’re ready to make 2024 your breakthrough year, put me to work! I’m here to support you on your independent artistic journey in any way I can.

Closing the Chapter on 2023

Ready to let go of baggage from the year past? I know I am.

So, here I will share with you a process I’ve been using to close chapters since 2014.

Follow along, and don’t just read my answers. Open your journal, reflect, write down your thoughts, and surrender whatever needs to be surrendered. 2024 is coming at you fast, so don’t delay!

7 Questions to Close the Chapter on 2023

Though I ended up appropriating these as mine, these questions were originally crafted by Michael Hyatt. Thanks, Michael!

If the last year were a movie in your life, what would the genre be?

Sports drama. If you were a fly on the wall observing me in 2023, you would have seen me highly engaged in my leadership program, in working out, and in my business initiatives.

I don’t feel as though I won many battles, but I know I didn’t lose the war!

I remembered to take time off. I even enjoyed the early part of my summer in Penticton, BC. But I still encountered some issues with my health and burnout.

I slogged my way through and survived, though survival was never the goal. Thriving was. That means change is necessary and improvement is possible.

What were the two or three major themes that kept recurring?

  • Surrender. The top theme for the year was surrender. I also shared about this on Day 38 of my “Thinking Positively” experiment.
  • Health. In the early part of the year, most weeks, I went for a massage. In February, I began working out again. In September, I was prompted to take a closer look at my diet. I made big progress, and kept making meaningful tweaks along the way.

What did you accomplish this year that you are most proud of?

What do you feel you should have been acknowledged for but weren’t?

I was acknowledged for completing the Team, Management, and Leadership Program – Team 2, but I did not feel like there was sufficient acknowledgment. Plus, I would have liked to acknowledge others more.

What disappointments did you experience this past year?

  • My financial life. It doesn’t come as much of a surprise that it was a disappointment, considering I hardly made any changes until the end of the year. Still, it would have been nice to see more book and course sales.
  • My romantic life. Some close calls but the plane did not land.
  • My health. I did not expect to experience any major setbacks with my health. But I ended up with eye floaters in September. They are healing – very gradually.

What was missing from last year as you look back?

  • I did not have a permanent (or semi-permanent) residence.
  • I did not get to connect with as many people as I would have liked, for as long as I would have liked, as I was traveling.
  • I had plenty of support from fantastic people – but I didn’t have enough of it!

What were the major life-lessons you learned this past year?

  • Most people attempt to change their lives at the level of actions and thought. One of the most powerful ways to catalyze transformation, though, is by changing your life at the level of identity.
  • You can’t just have a product. You need a system to sell it.
  • You must advertise. Organic channels aren’t enough.

Past Reflections

If you’d like to see how things progressed to this point, here are my past reflections for your perusal:

Closing the Chapter on 2014
Closing the Chapter on 2015
Closing the Chapter on 2016
Closing the Chapter on 2017
Closing the Chapter on 2018
Closing the Chapter on 2019
Closing the Chapter on 2020
Closing the Chapter on 2021
Closing the Chapter on 2022

Final Thoughts

With that, I declare 2023 complete.

Let’s have an excellent 2024 together, alright? Let me know how you get on, and stick around for more inspiration.

4 Impactful Books I Read in 2023

“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” – Walt Disney

2023 was a chaotic year, but I still got some reading done. How about you?

Here are the books that made a difference for me this past year.

Reader Magnets by Nick Stephenson

Reader Magnets by Nick Stephenson

So, you’re a published author. But you’re not sure how to capitalize on the fact that your book is available on all the major retailers.

Trust me – even as someone who’s sold hundreds of his own books, I found this to be a tough nut to crack. I lacked proper strategy.

I have good news – author Nick Stephenson has figured it out for us. The search is over. Read his book, and you will be handed a brilliant and concise strategy on a platter.

Will you use it? That’s the only question that remains. And if you care about your book sales, the only logical next step to take is to get the book and devour it (it’s a short read).

I have already been experimenting with the strategy behind the scenes.

Learn more about Reader Magnets

Parallel Universes of Self by Frederick Dodson

Parallel Universes of Self by Frederick Dodson

If you’ve studied the Law of Attraction to any degree, no doubt you’ve got a good handle on the formula – ask for what you want, feel as though you already have it, and detach from outcomes.

Reality Creation, as author Frederick Dodson terms it, offers another valuable (if not definitive) point of entry into the subject.

This book uses metaphors you’ve never heard before, includes exercises too numerous to mention, and guides you through simple but effective techniques to support you in creating your desired reality.

In the last few years, there have been times when I’ve felt as though my life was out of control, and this book returned to me something I’d lost along the way – a sense of confidence about myself and the future I’m creating.

If I had not read this book, we may not have Clean Slate to look forward to.

Learn more about Parallel Universes of Self

You2 by Price Prichett

You2 by Price Prichett

Various pundits and gurus have You2 (You Squared) as one of their top books. So, did you think I was going to leave it alone? No way… when I heard this, I promptly ordered a copy for myself.

I think the book suffers from the same problem that Rich Dad Poor Dad does, namely that it pumps your tires and then leaves you to figure out the rest…

But it was still the right book, with the right message, at precisely the right time for me.

Its core message is that the potential is already within you to achieve your biggest goals and dreams. But to make a quantum leap from where you are to where you want to go, you’ll need to take a drastically different approach.

For me, that looked like walking away from one of my most lucrative contracts at the end of 2023.

Learn more about You2

Acres of Diamonds by Russell Conwell

Acres of Diamonds by Russell Conwell

Russell Conwell’s Acres of Diamonds was the author’s greatest hit, and history shows he was not shy in capitalizing on it (although it might be fairer to say he was requested to share the same message repeatedly, across the world).

Its core message is simple – you can achieve amazing things right where you are. You don’t need to move to a different city, earn a fancy title, or be the sharpest tool in the shed to earn a good income for yourself. Opportunities are everywhere! So, you may as well make the most of what you’ve got.

The speech, which later turned into an essay, and was then sold as a book, is a lesson unto itself – when you’ve found the right note, you should keep hitting it until the audience grows tired of it!

If it sounds interesting to you, you may also want to read my full report on it.

Learn more about Acres of Diamonds

More Impactful Books

You can find past reports here:

2022
2021
2020
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014

Final Thoughts

What books did you read in 2023? Did any of them make a difference for you? Do you have any recommendations for me?

I look forward to hearing from you. If you’re too shy to leave a comment, drop me a line.

Don’t Let 2024 Run You

The New Year is one of the few times in a year (if not the only time) people allow their minds to run wild with goals and dreams.

Goal setting is critical, and it should be taken to with vigor. What we’re about to delve into here, however, goes a little deeper than that.

I’ll cover goal setting on another occasion. You could even read the following title for now:

Setting Goals for Your Music Career

Today, we’re looking at:

Intention Setting and Habits

Kyle Cease suggests we don’t just want to look at what we plan to accomplish in 2024. We also need to set an intention for the year and consider the specific habits that will fulfill this intention.

Set an intention for the year and consider the specific habits that will fulfill this intention. Share on X

Otherwise, you’re in danger of letting 2024 run you (and who knows how that will go?). Don’t you want to be the one running 2024? Or wouldn’t you rather be in complete alignment with the Universe’s intention for your life?

So, listen to your inner self as well as the Universe. Contemplate. Meditate. Make note of what comes to you. Some things are sure to bubble to the surface.

If you feel it will make a difference, you can also reflect on past behaviors that lead to favorable results. Go to Starbucks, order a coffee, sit yourself down in front of your laptop, put your headphones (or earbuds) on, put on some music that gets you into flow, and direct your thoughts to past victories.

I recently did exactly this and even shared my reflections in blog form. These are golden.

You may not enjoy it, but I find the following music perfect for intentional thinking and reflection time:

Prompts to Guide Your Thinking

Some of you may sit yourself down in your favorite café as suggested, and still not have any idea what habits to cultivate in 2024. You may use the following prompts in your reflection time to zero in on meaningful answers:

  • What worked in 2023? What didn’t?
  • What is one thing that, if accomplished in 2024, would make you feel over the moon excited?
  • What challenges are you facing that you would like to resolve?
  • Can you recall any good habits you used to keep that you can re-adopt now?
  • What good habits did you keep during your most prosperous years?
  • What things haven’t you tried that you could try in 2024?
  • Uncommon results require uncommon effort. What is something you’re willing to do in 2024 that most people aren’t?

How David is Approaching 2024:

For illustration purposes only, here are some of the habits I’ve been inspired to take on in 2024:

  • Eat well. I established good habits from September onward in 2023. Keep to those habits. Drink smoothies. Take supplements. Eat vegan as much as possible.
  • Work out three to four times per week. I also established good workout habits in 2023. Keep to them and challenge limits.
  • Meditate for 20 to 50 minutes per day. I took heavily to meditation during my burnout, and it proved immensely beneficial. Keep going deeper.
  • Read a book per week. Reading a book per week is a habit I kept during my most prosperous years.
  • Document my income. Another prosperity habit. Write down all income sources on white paper with a blue pen.
  • Affirm income. Say, “I’m a money magnet. Thank you, thank you, thank you.” Say it whenever money comes in, no matter how small the amount.
  • Say “no” to toxic people. Some people will never appreciate me, my talents, skills, experience, or even worth. They will not add value to me, support me, or recognize me in any way. Those people are not worth my time.
  • Say “no” to toxic projects. See last point.
  • Process emails. Don’t fall behind.