104 Weeks

104 weeks. 2 years. That’s how long it’s been since I was handed a diploma and walked across the stage of Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Two years ago I was barely a college grad – and since then, in only two years, 104 weeks, since leaving the “classroom” classroom and stepping into the “life” classroom, I’ve done a whole hell of a lot.

  • I spent a year working for Tennessee’s largest advertising agency.
  • I started Life Without Pants – a blog about everything (and nothing) – not having a clue what it would be.
  • I sold my car and almost all of my furniture on Craigslist.
  • I quit that job and moved to Chicago with less than $2,000 to my name (and a lot of college debt).
  • I scrambled on Craigslist and found a job that kept me afloat for six months.
  • I earned my first paycheck as a freelancer.
  • I got fired from my day job.
  • I started my first business, turning my freelance gig into a full-time job.
  • I became debt-free.
  • I drank a lot of coffee, a few beers, and met a lot of amazing people in Chicago.
  • I made a lot of friends.
  • I lost a few.
  • I’ve spoken at and/or coordinated 10 different events in the past 6 months.
  • I got married.
  • Somewhere along the way I even managed to get into the almost religious habit of starting each week with inbox zero (quite possibly my most significant feat).
  • Now I’m packing things up to move BACK to Nashville, a little place where I spent the first 23 years of my life.
  • And two weeks ago I filed paperwork to start a new company (more on that soon).

In retrospect, these bullet points represent only the tip of the iceberg, but if nothing else, are the most significant of the past 104 weeks. And by now you’re probably saying, “Good for you Matt, but did I really just come here to read you talk about your own accomplishments”?!

I wouldn’t do that to you.

Through every single thing that’s happened in just these two short years. There’s been a lot of ‘life lessons’…

  • Some things WILL come and go.
  • Some relationships and friendships ARE NOT meant to be.
  • People have the ability to surprise you (for better or worse).
  • YOU have the ability to greatly impact other people without even knowing.
  • Some ideas sound great but will never come to surface.
  • But most importantly – you CANNOT be everywhere for everyone all the time or any of the time.

Life is about choices.

The mantra of doing ‘meaningful work’ passed down by my amigo Everett Bogue rings true in my mind every single day. The concept of ‘The Pleasing Disease‘ recently discussed by my good friend Nicole resonates with me regularly.

You’re going to want to do it all – you’re going to want to take on every great project and say yes to everyone.

But you can’t.

You won’t.

It took me a while to tap into what my ‘meaningful’ work really was. But I think I’ve finally started to figure it out – and since I have – my productivity has sky-rocketed.

Yes, that means some relationships have dwindled – I’ve left myself (and others) disappointed – and that’s something that I never want or intend to do – but while some have faded into the horizon, the one’s that matter most have become stronger than ever.

You don’t have to know the final destination of where you’re going – but you do need some direction.

You need to be heading toward something – and focusing on what it takes (or will take) to get there.

Figuring out what matters most

That focus and direction can (and will) change. I never thought I’d be doing any of the things I listed above two years ago – my focus and direction has shifted dramatically. But if you were to ask me today where I’m headed in the foreseeable future, I can tell you with confidence, and also cheers to the fact that I don’t have it all mapped out because I understand that everything is not within our power to control.

But the one thing you can always control are the choices you make.

Figuring out WHAT is important is 90% of the battle. The other 10% (implementation and action) is the easy part. The ‘not knowing what you want’ is what holds so many of us (myself included) back.

What matters most to you? Think about it, write it down, post it somewhere where you can see it every day – make sure you’re making time for those things – be it personal or professional – and commit to making time for what matters most, every single day.

So here’s to the last 104 weeks and the next 104 weeks ahead. It’s been incredible sharing some of my journey with all of you – learning SO MUCH from what you, my readers, are out there doing. I can’t wait to see where we’ll be two years from today…

(Photo Credit)