The Wheels Are Spinning

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The wheels are spinning. That was my first thought as I opened my eyes around 4:30am today. A Sunday. The Sunday before Christmas. A time that I told myself would be about rest and relaxation – and yet, I find myself compelled to do something – to be productive – to get “ahead of the game”.

Getting “ahead of the game” is something I’ve been working toward for years now. And sure, while you can be more prepared for what’s ahead – while you can feel better about the direction you’re headed, you’ll never, ever truly be “ahead of the game”. So while this idea plagues me – keeps me up at night and waking early in the morning, I’m self-aware that no amount of productivity and hustle will ever pave a road without obstacle.

Instead of fighting the wheels from spinning – instead of closing my eyes and going back to bed for another hour of rest, I inevitably always find myself waking up. But it’s not the waking up that I have a problem with – it’s what I’m doing with those few early waking moments that concerns me.

As a business owner – I immediately result to a “what needs to get done” kind of attitude. My early mornings are often spent sending off emails. Catching up on projects. Writing proposals. You get the idea.

I’ve lost track of what I’d really love to spent the first part of my day doing: Reading, writing, running…simply allowing myself a little (head)space to think and find solace in creating. This is because to often I (and we) ask ourselves, “What’s the point?” – and allow the answer to stifle the wheels from spinning.

What’s the point if anyone reads this? It’s not going to make me a bestselling author. What’s the point if I run right now? I’m still going to complain about the shape I’m in tomorrow. What’s the point of reading? Is it really going to make me any smarter or more creative?

The point is – there isn’t always a clear point. The point is that there’s something about the act of simply doing – of writing, reading, creating, exercising, breathing, that inherently has an effect on everything else in your life. Your level of stress – your ability to problem-solve, your confidence…

This morning I woke up and as the wheels began to spin I found myself thinking about all the work I needed to get done over the holiday break. All the emails – all the planning – all the thank you notes to write. It took literally 30 seconds for my heart to speed up and my tension level to rise. Then I grabbed my computer and a copy of Simon Sinek’s Start With Why - a book I’ve skimmed the past several months but haven’t had the chance (ahem, made the chance) to dive into. I wrote this and when I’m done I’ll enjoy a little coffee and read 100 pages. I haven’t and I’m not going to open my email, check Twitter, Instagram, or any of my other typical morning routines.

Of course, my brain is already asking, “What about tomorrow? Can you keep this routine up? What’s the point? Are you SURE there’s not something better you can do with your time?!”

Tomorrow will no doubt be a struggle to make time for what matters – just like today – just like this very moment as I write these words. Today, though, I’m not going to focus on getting ahead – I’m not going to focus on what I COULD be doing.

Today I’ll take one small step toward the bolder leap of what I know I should be.

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A Good Old Fashioned Look at Getting Shit Done.

Maybe I’m old fashioned.

I’ve had a job since I was 15. I started down the path of earning a paycheck with a summer stint bagging groceries at the local market. And ever since, I’ve earned everything that’s come my way.

I bought my first car from my mom for Kelly Bluebook value. I’ve paid the bills – paid the rent – bought two more cars, took out a mortgage, traveled around this fine country, and started a company all with my own two hands. My determination and my willingness to work hard – something that is vastly overlooked as a true skill in today’s day and age, is what’s led me to where I find myself today.

Through my life I’ve been building and creating – and I’ve barely slowed down. Sure, at times it has been demanding, exhausting, and outright frustrating. But its also been incredibly rewarding and fulfilling to see what one person can create if he’s willing to put in the time and effort. When he’s willing to, through all obstacles, continue putting one foot in front of the other.

I’m not entirely unique in possessing this work-ethic, but I’ve found in my experience that it’s more of an asset than I realized. Many of us aren’t willing to work hard and invest ourselves fully into our work. Maybe that’s because many of us have yet to discover work that truly does “matter”. Maybe it’s because many of us have the perspective that work will always be “just a job”.

I read something the other day that said, “Work at least as hard as you party”. It struck me as incredibly poignant. You would of course be willing to work tirelessly for that something you’d consider to be a “dream job”, right?

The question is, are you willing to work tirelessly to get there? Are you willing to hustle now for the promise of a more prosperous, fulfilling future? 

Those we admire and respect (maybe even envy) who have awesome jobs and are doing brilliant, amazing work didn’t simply arrive. They hustled. They grinded. They came in early. They stayed late. They asked questions and experimented and tried and failed. And you know what? They still haven’t arrived. The work ethic they possessed to get them to where they are is still just as critical to possess once you’ve achieved the success you’ve worked for.

Ask yourself this daily: Is today worth it? 

If it isn’t, find a way to pivot your focus. If it is, you know as well as I do that nothing can stand your way. Either way, keep moving forward. Keep working.

The life you want to create for yourself is forged through the triumphs, failures, high-fives, frustrated rants, and hard work that happens along the way.

How my blog stifled my passion for writing.

Nearly five years ago I started writing. Not necessarily writing for me. Writing for you. Five years ago I bought a domain, designed a pretty WordPress theme, and started writing about what I knew people wanted to read. Some of it I wanted to read myself, but a lot of it was to gain subscribers/followers/fans and build a platform for myself that allowed me to start my own company.

And It worked. If I hadn’t ever become a content creator – if I hadn’t ever put myself and my thoughts out there for the world, I know damn well I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Eventually, though, the song and dance of getting people to read, share, like, and follow you gets old. It gets old because you find yourself lost in a place that you never really wanted to be in. Writing becomes a chore – a means to an end toward a goal of gaining readers and making sales.

I eventually found myself contributing to the noise – instead of breaking through it. I’d spend 30 minutes writing and another hour editing, looking for the perfect picture to pair with the articulate, making sure there were easily sharable quotes so my 10,000 Twitter followers would share my wisdom with the world. It was so little about the actual writing and so much about the presentation. In short, it got old and I got bored.

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