It’s that time of the year again, Groundhog Day Resolutions Review Day! For those of you just tuning in, this is one of my odd schemes to fix the tired old New Year’s Resolutions that never really seem to get done. The basic premise: Make resolutions on February 2nd instead of January 1st (we’re all too tired anyway), and then check in every month plus one day (3/3, 4/4, 5/5, and so forth).
To recap, here are my three main 2007 resolutions:
- Make Money from Writing and Making Stuff
- Build a Sustainable Social Network
- Sell a Product This Year
HOW DID PLANNED ACTIONS GO?
In last month’s report, I had noticed that I wasn’t making good progress on number 1 and 3. I attributed this to the lack of concrete deadlines, so I scheduled three tasks 7-14 days out. These were:
- Write a HUB statement (a form of marketing writing) and put it on my website, by May 14.
- Create a potential co-schemer list and call one person on it on May 16.
- Select and package the Emergent Task Planner for a printer on May 12.
There’s one task for each of the three resolutions. I only got one done: preparing the Emergent Task Planner for print. It’s ready, and now I am waiting on getting some information from a friend of mine on printing and fulfillment. I need to schedule a meeting and really start pushing on this. Again, the momentum has waned.
Why didn’t I get the HUB statement and or co-schemer list done? Well, work happened, and I think scheduling all three tasks in one week was actually too much. This time, I’m going to schedule just one at a time. What’s funny is that although these yearly resolutions are important to me, I apparently don’t want to think about them all the time. This makes me wonder if I have my priorities straight in the first place.
WHAT ABOUT UNPLANNED ACTIONS?
Although I only made minor progress on-purpose, a lot of rather interesting things did happen this month:
1. Deriving Income from Writing and Making Stuff
- I picked up some project work doing some research to clearly compare Adobe Flex to other environments like ASP.NET and PHP. Although we weren’t supposed to actually write the final copy, we DID have to do a lot of the thinking that leads up to it. This is very close to being paid for the writing itself. In fact, it’s better…it’s being paid to make sense out of complicated product lines, and that’s the kind of task I actually enjoy.
On a semi-related note, I was asked to consider making a presentation in Canada on information graphic and design. Although this isn’t writing, it IS different from straight production work. I think the common factor is that it’s creating content that’s at the core of this activity.
It increasingly feels that I’m on the verge of redefining my work identity, and that once I do this a lot of things will fall into place. I also think that I can rephrase this goal as create original content. 2. Build Sustaining Social Networks
- It has been an exhausting yet invigorating month. There was more speed dating, and more meeting of interesting people. There was more hanging out with people, including lessons in personal networking that seemed to indicate a turning point for me socially. I can’t remember a lot of what’s happened at the moment, but I do know that I’m more social now than I have ever been. I guess I’m getting used to it.
Also completely unplanned was the establishment of a World of Warcraft Business Networking Guild, or more accurately this was the excuse I had for getting back into the game. I’ve already met a few people through this, and the quality of interaction both in-game and in the forums is pretty cool. I’m looking forward to seeing how this develops further.
I’m continuing to be active in our local Friend’s Meetup, creating more local activity by being the person to suggest it. It’s surprisingly easy once I got over the expectation that I had to please everyone and settle for my 2%. By that I mean I expect a lower percentage of people to be really interested in what I’m doing. If I meet just one person who I am inspired or energized by, that is an enormous win.
I think I can say that at this point, I’m tied in with enough activities that I’m not in immediate danger of losing momentum. So long as I keep meeting people and making the effort to create positive community energy, something wonderful is increasingly likely to happen. The great thing is that the energy has already been set free, and is doing good things in the world. It’s a very pleasant thought. 3. Sell a Product
- I did get the Emergent Task Planner for Print designed and ready to deploy. I now have to push through the part I don’t know anything about.
Many people sent in ideas for how to make more money selling things, and I’ve lost track of a lot of them. One drawback of the increased social activity is that I’ve been losing track of who I’ve been talking to about which projects. I’m going to need to pull back and figure out a way to just focus on a few things at one time while keeping people in the loop. This blogs helps a bit with that, but I am starting to feel like I need a second layer of automation.
I did some print work for a company out in California related to their “Golden Ticket” recruiting campaign. I wasn’t doing any of the work related to their actual campaign, but I helped them out by converting their word document into something that looked a little more dynamic. It’s the first time I’ve actually used InDesign to lay out a book for print of any kind. And you know what? It’s a lot of fun. And now that I’ve had a taste of creating books and holding the result in my hand…wow. The mind boggles at the possibilities.
IT’S ALL RELATED
p>As I write up this month’s report, I’m struck by how intertwined all my resolutions seem to be. This is not surprising because they reflect important values in my life: creating original content, making things, learning how to be self-sufficient, and creating a feeling of community that’s important to me.
As I push on each of these things and reflect on them each month, I’m starting to feel a sense of satisfaction that I am making headway. The more headway I make, the clearer the path becomes, because I have the benefit of hindsight to see where I’ve come from. And as my experiences accumulate, I am starting to have faith that I will continue to have positive ones. This is not a feeling I anticipated I would have: I expected that the sense of accomplishment would arise from having done very concrete and countable things. I know that they will happen, because they’re within my ability to do so, but for the first time I think I am starting to understand what people mean by “The Journey is the Reward.” Before I understood this phrase as “deriving a benefit from the journey by maintaining a broad appreciation and perspective on the universe”. Now, I understand journey as a “state of being”…always moving, finding a rhythm within yourself and a connection with the people around you. It is about maintaining a dynamic equilibrium.
I’m going to choose three specific things to get done for the next three weeks, one task per week, each with a tangible result that can be seen or held in the hand.
- Get the ETP Printed, Dang It! June 13 is the day around which I will plan something.
- Put the HUB statement on the website. June 20th is the day to allocate time toward.
- Create some original content, like a booklet or number of thoughts, and sticking it up on Lulu.com or Blurb. June 27th is the allocated date.
As I’ve been fond of saying lately, getting the world to change is a lot easier if you’re doing something in it that leaves a mark or impression. At the stage I’m at now, the hardest part is just making a mark in the first place.