I Declare This Phase of My Business Complete

I Declare This Phase of My Business Complete

It hadn’t even occurred to me.

Every six months, you should complete, end, finish. Whatever’s going on in your business, complete it, start over, and move on.

As these words were exiting a guest speaker’s mouth, I realized just how many incompletes I’d been harboring in my own business.

I still find myself thinking about podcast series I started but never finished, books I meant to write but never wrote, blog posts I started but left sitting on my hard drive.

I think about the explosive traffic I had in 2018. I think about the people who reached out to me from California, interested in collaborating or investing with me. I think about the deposit I made with an agency to book podcast interviews. Basically, nothing ever came of any of it.

The list goes on and on.

And despite how much I talk about completion in my own writing, I’ve found a niche in my life rife with incompletion – my business. I’m living in the past when I could be living in the present. I could be creating a future and living into it. Meanwhile, I’m still trying to fix something that happened back there. It robs me of the present.

So, I’m declaring this phase of my business complete.

It doesn’t mean I won’t be delivering on certain promises I’ve made. Flashes of Elation is still coming, and perhaps I can still book those podcast interviews.

But most things aren’t worth saving. I need to let go of everything else.

I need to let go of disappointments. I need to let go of whatever I haven’t done. Or I need to have a conversation to get it complete. To share with the world (probably in a podcast) what I’ve decided, even if it’s just to acknowledge what I haven’t done and have no intention of doing anymore.

I’m reminded of a Derek Sivers post, and in times like these, it brings me comfort, and even freedom.

Goals shape the present, not the future.

Goals you’ve been putting off are bad goals. If they are not moving you to action, they don’t serve a purpose.

There’s no need to remain loyal to past projects, goals, ambitions, or ideals. You can change your mind, and it’s okay.

Most of what has been sitting with me for longer than a month or two, I will probably never do. I probably couldn’t even tell you what it was.

Letting go of this baggage is freeing. It allows me to transition to the next phase of my transformed business.

Master This & You Will be a Productivity God

Master This & You Will be a Productivity God

Productivity tricks and hacks are of little worth if you don’t have one thing figured out already – your routine.

Your routine is bar none the best productivity tool at your disposal. If you have yet to recognize it as such, it’s time for closer examination.

Christian singer-songwriter Mike Murdock said:

The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.

The things you do, as well as the things you don’t do, speak volumes of what you will ultimately accomplish in this lifetime.

The things you do, as well as the things you don’t do, speak volumes of what you will ultimately accomplish in this lifetime. Click To Tweet

What to Include in Your Daily Routine

When it comes to forming an effective daily routine, you must triage mercilessly.

No matter who you are, and no matter what level you operate at, 20% of your effort creates 80% of your results.

This isn’t to say the other 80% is wasted effort, but it certainly pales in comparison to the 20% that’s creating all the results.

What this suggests is that you can assign a value to everything you do. If you aren’t sure what’s driving results, the Effectiveness Diagnostic is a tool worth utilizing, and one you should return to periodically.

Now, our tendency will always be to think in terms of work and work only.

But who’s to say Thursday night Netflix binges aren’t fueling you up, giving you the energy and inspiration, you need to engage in Friday meetings?

Productivity isn’t just about getting more done. At least not at a high level. It’s also about optimal performance – being able to bring your best self to everything you do.

Productivity is about optimal performance – bringing your best self to everything you do. Click To Tweet

If a specific activity gives you energy, and it contributes to all other areas of life – physical, relational, spiritual, and so on – then it’s worth keeping in your routine.

Keeping Accountable to Your Routine

If you scheduled in three workouts last week, and you followed through on all of them, then we know you’re making positive progress with regards to your health.

Three workouts aren’t going to change your life. But the results stack over time, and that’s the secret of all daily habits.

For instance, one daily blog post turns into 365 over the course of a year if you publish daily. And that’s 365 new opportunities to connect with your audience you didn’t have before.

Once you have a routine, you need to follow through on it. And oftentimes, that is the hardest part.

But you’ve also got to keep in mind that you’re the one making the rules. If your routine isn’t serving you, you’re serving it, and that’s the opposite of what systems are for.

Whenever something doesn’t work, instead of beating yourself up, acknowledge what didn’t work and put a new structure in place.

Whenever something doesn’t work, instead of beating yourself up, acknowledge what didn’t work and put a new structure in place. Click To Tweet

We think beating ourselves up harder and better will make the difference this time, when that is – in my observation – never the case. There is no breakthrough in behavioral modification.

The only breakthrough is in discovering what you don’t see right now (your blind spots). And that often requires an outside perspective.

The only breakthrough is in discovering what you don’t see right now. And that often requires an outside perspective. Click To Tweet

Iterating on Your Routine

The best routine is one that’s sustainable for a virtual eternity.

The best routine is one that’s sustainable for a virtual eternity. Click To Tweet

Many people try to do too much, and don’t share in responsibilities or delegate enough.

As result, their schedule is overloaded from the moment they begin Monday morning. If they were to take on one more project, their life would quickly turn to organized chaos.

First, unscheduled time isn’t a sin. Just as a blank canvas beckons, you can leave space in your life for spontaneity, and even have time available for a project you desire to take on.

Second, you need a mental model to determine what to say “yes” to and what to say “no” to. If you’re just getting started, then you will deal out your share of yesses, but as your project quiver grows, you’ll need to begin saying “no.”

And, to call it a mental model would be an exaggeration. What you need is a gut instinct. A primal response. “Hell yeah!” or “no.”

Stop saying “yes” to anything you’re less than stoked to take on.

More importantly, iterate on your routine as necessary. As noted, some routines may not be workable over the long haul. Closely examine whatever you’re giving your time to, and pay attention to whether it adds to your quality of life.

Closely examine whatever you’re giving your time to, and pay attention to whether it adds to your quality of life. Click To Tweet

Final Thoughts

Once you have your routine sorted out, you can begin implementing additional productivity hacks. Until then, it’s like trying to solve the entire puzzle when all you need to do is connect the first piece.

Self-mastery isn’t necessarily easy, and it does require discipline. But the benefits are enormous.

If you have a sustainable routine that you’ve been living by for more than a year, I can already guess with a fair bit of certainty that you have a fulfilling, happy, enjoyable life.

Routine may seem boring at first. But once you’ve experienced just how powerful it is, you’ll internalize and appreciate its value as you never have before.

Coming Soon… Live Q&As on Zoom

Coming Soon… Live Q&As on Zoom

As an entrepreneur and artist, I find sharing about everything to be a bit of a dilemma. How much do I share about what I’m up to and what’s coming next? Goals publicly stated and not fulfilled on can erode your confidence. CD Baby founder Derek Sivers even suggests keeping your goals to yourself.

But here’s something I felt to share:

Over the last week and a half or so, I either kept to a streamlined schedule, went to class (on the weekend), or did nothing. And I have always found these downtimes to be excellent for thinking and reflection.

One thing I realized in my reflections is the importance of creating a connection with my audience. Blog posts are fine. I like writing them. Some people like to read them. But with the sheer amount of blogging, I do; I know that even my most avid followers don’t get around to reading everything I produce.

And, even with podcasts and videos, the connection created can vary a lot depending on audience and engagement.

More to the point, though, I’ve realized that getting related is the foundation of all relationships. I’ve decided to create more opportunities for me to connect with you and for you to connect with me.

So, keep an eye open for additional updates regarding my live Q&As on Zoom. These will be free events, but the content will be exclusive to those who attend and members of Elite Players: All Access Pass. I can’t wait to be in the same virtual room with you.

Breaking the Toxic Patterns of Trying to be “Better” in Your Music Career

Breaking the Toxic Patterns of Trying to be “Better” in Your Music Career

This might fly in the face of a lot of things you’ve heard before. But you’re a creative mastermind, and a brilliant abstract thinker, so I trust you as a keeper of this knowledge.

What I learned from author Mark Manson (you might have heard of a little book called The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck), is that there’s a toxic pattern hidden in many personal development methodologies. And I can honestly say I’ve sometimes been caught in that toxic pattern!

Again, I know this is paradoxical because what are we talking about here if not self-betterment – strategies and tactics for a better music career? What does it mean to be a musician if improvement is subtracted from the equation? Nothing, really, because it’s our job to show up better than we did last time! And make no mistake – practicing your instrument or voice every day is a form of personal development!

What I got from Manson is that trying to be better all the time can be a depressing way to live. And even beyond the hype-based, rah-rah weekend conferences that light you up for a mere week before you crash and go back to “normal” life, there is something about being in constant pursuit of more that disagrees with one’s identity, spiritual path, and desire to be happy (which many have entirely written off).

One of the reasons for that is because it’s human nature to play the comparison game. “Look how much better they’re doing,” you say, recognizing just how far you must go to be at their level, whoever they are, and whatever they’ve accomplished. And I do mean to say you don’t have the context to even understand how or what they’ve accomplished, because you are not them.

Either way, the question is, can you be content with where you’re at? Can you enjoy the journey of kaizen, of being a little bit better today than you were yesterday, and staying in that process over the long haul?

Because the thing about every destination is, the journey is the longest part. If you don’t enjoy the journey, you’re not going to be much happier at the destination. You might experience a fleeting sense of relief or joy, maybe even victory or celebration, but it will be so brief compared to the long, hard road it took to get there, it will hardly feel worth it.

The thing about every destination is, the journey is the longest part. Click To Tweet

As hard as it might be to believe, every day can be a holiday. It takes some deep, intellectual work for this to sink in, but if you’re up for the challenge, have a read through Reality Transfuring, Steps I-V by Vadim Zeland and Joana Dobson. I don’t know what they were smoking or what planet they were sent from to write this work, but it can really open your eyes to the possibility of going through life with a carefree sense of joy and excitement.

Now, Bruce Lee said:

Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.

And his point is well-taken. Diamonds are forged under pressure. We all transform under pressure.

But I think what Zeland was saying is that even in challenge and difficulty, the events themselves are neutral, and we can make them mean whatever we want them to mean. You can go through any event in life with a sense of discovery.

What I learned from Manson is, instead of trying to be better, be curios. At some point, we all start to feel like we’ve seen it all, heard it all, or tried it all. But that can’t possibly be true when our lives don’t seem to be working at the level, we see others working. There’s always more to discover, more to learn. And sometimes it’s the simplest things.

In an interview with author Tim Ferriss, former CD Baby founder Derek Sivers said it was a profound discovery for him that women like sex. Like I said, the simplest realizations can sometimes alter your course for good.

Being curious is still personal development, but it’s a different approach. It’s coming from a place of humble discovery versus all-knowing arrogance.

How to Filter Out Distractions

How to Filter Out Distractions

Ambitious creatives and creators must learn to filter out distractions. It’s a survival skill.

Whenever you say “yes” to something, you’re saying “no” to something else. And vice versa.

The more yesses you give, the more commitments you will have to fulfill on.

And the more times you say “no,” the more you will leave space for what matters to you.

Sooner or later, as you continue to grow, opportunities are going to start showing up at your doorstep, wanted or not.

If you don’t learn how to control the flow of opportunity, and if you don’t have filters for sorting them out, you’re going to be swamped.

In a broader sense, Derek Sivers’ Hell Yeah or No filter works perfectly. Basically, it’s about only saying “yes” to things that excite you and bring you joy and saying “no” to all else.

Marie Kondo’s Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is a similar philosophy as applied to decluttering and organizing your home, but it’s just as applicable to opportunity.

But on a more granular level, it can be challenging to separate the wheat from the chaff.

So, here’s an example of how I control the flow of opportunity, especially as applied to email:

  • I welcome emails. That said, I set the expectation upfront that I may not answer for a week or two (which is generally the case).
  • If the sender doesn’t mention my name, I delete the message.
  • If the sender hasn’t demonstrated a clear understanding of who I am or what I do, I delete the message.
  • If the sender hasn’t identified the mutual benefit of the communication, I delete the message.
  • If the email is about guest posting or buying links and it’s coming from an SEO agency, I delete the message.
  • I actively unsubscribe from newsletters I never read.

Some of this may seem kind of harsh. But if I didn’t have these filters, guaranteed I would get swallowed up in tasks that neither excite me nor bring me joy.

It’s your time. You’ve got to guard it with your life because it is your life.

Create filters. Document them. Follow them. And put more stringent rules in place as necessary.

Create filters. Document them. Follow them. And put more stringent rules in place as necessary. Click To Tweet

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