Go With Your Strengths

As I’m sitting here playing chess and continuing to win and get near the 1500 level, I’m cautious because this is historically where I max out. I get beat by better players.

So, I’m thinking of adapting my game a bit to make smarter moves.

But the truth is, I open pretty much the same way each time and try to get myself in a certain position. I also like to swap pieces because it just makes things simpler.

Than it occurred to me: Continue to go with my strengths. Go with what got me here and make small adjustments, rather than large ones. I have a system that works, why try to make massive changes because I’m on shaky ground.

Than I my brain went back to last Saturday night when I saw the most beautiful woman at a comedy show at the Bossanove Ballroom. I’d actually run into her earlier at the bathroom at Sizzle Pie, but I don’t think she remembered me.

During the event, she walked by me 3 or 4 times to get a drink or go to the bathroom. I felt I couldn’t say anything those times because it was during the show and we were in the front and I hate drawing attention to myself in that way.

No, the only way I would have been able to approach her would have been to walk over to her table before the show started and say, “Hi.”

But I didn’t. Once again, I felt gripped by fear. I mean, this is the kind of woman I want to be pursuing – a real beauty who I’m really taken by. It’d would’ve been great to take a shot and see if she’s a nice person and whether we have a vibe, but I’ll never know because I was paralyzed by the fear.

I had plenty of time to think about it. I talked to Matt about it tonight and he said he’d never done it, either. The COLD approach. Extremely hard for me to work with no props.

I can talk to anyone if there’s the slightest reason. I can make small talk about avocados or I can make sarcastic jokes at the bathroom.

Step 2 is what I call the crossover and that’s also hard – the move to get a phone # and to ask for a date.

Which brings me back to “Going with my strength.” I want to be in that position for often where I can pursue a beautiful woman with a little wind at my back. With confidence because there’s a “prop,” or something to talk about. I’m not good at cold starts.

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Running In Forest Park

10-15-15 54:57, 1st day back after mild sciatica the last 3 days from running.

10-10-15 56:32, hamstring hurt, still beat last time.

10-8-15: 58:38, 1st time back, combo of walking and running. Hope to get time back down under 45 minutes.

Dear Karen

I’m so sorry.

It broke my heart when you said, “I was looking forward to seeing you all day long.” Then I took it away. What an idiot I was. I was wrong to do that.

I wish I could’ve seen the damage I’d be doing in advance. I wish now I would’ve gone for a walk with you and just listened to you talk. It’s one of my favorite things to do – just listening to you talk about your day.

As the words were coming out of my mouth, I was thinking, “How is she ever going to trust me again?” I know trust is so important and here I was blowing it.

You’ve been all I’ve been thinking about since my fuck up. Matt told me how stupid I was and of course Jerry provides constant counsel, telling me, “A woman will only put up with so much, and then she is done.”

He also told me, “A faint heart never won a fair lady.”

I’m not giving up.

 

I Am Movitated By Fear

I’m motivated by fear.

I rarely take action unless fear is involved as a motivator.

Fear of getting trouble, fear of failing, fear of embarrassment, fear of letting a client down. The list goes on.

I’ve known this for a long time – that I was afraid of these things and that fear is the thing that’s motivated much of my success.

I’ve always thought that was such a negative thing – that I had to be pushed to the brink of getting in trouble, or being late, in order to get things done.

But now I see it differently. It’s a positive thing.

After all, it’s the way I’m wired.

Where The Fear Came From

When I was a kid, I was always fearful of something. It’s the way me and my sisters were raised. Mom was dominant. Mom was ruled by her own fears and Mom just wanted to take care of her kids and be a good parent.

But somewhere along the line, that crossed over into being very controlling. Mom ruled with an iron fist. “It’s my way or the highway,” was something we heard often.

“If you don’t like it, lump it.” Not really sure what it means to “lump it,” but as a kid I took it as another version of “my way or the highway.”

This is where the fear-motivation thing comes from for me.

I recall one story my Mom told me when I was older:

“When you were a child, we had some friends over and you were standing by the TV.  I told you ‘Don’t touch it,’ and you kept getting closer to the TV. I told you again, ‘Don’t you touch the television.’ And you did. You got in trouble and I spanked you.”

Weird, but that’s one of the stories that sticks with me. I have no active recollection of this actually happening. I only have the story my Mom shared with me.

But it makes sense – I like to push buttons. I like to push boundaries. Even at a young age, I was seeing what I could get away with and being defiant. I’m sure my younger self wanted to know, “Why can’t I touch the television?”

Fear Motivated Me In The Workplace

I’ve digressed.

Many times I rushed to work, so I wouldn’t be late so I wouldn’t get in trouble.

I followed the direction of my bosses and played by the rules they set because I didn’t want to get in trouble. On another level, I wanted to impress them. I wanted to be a loyal and big part of the team. I wanted to impress.

My Dad told me a story once when he met my boss in minor league baseball. My boss told him, “Mike’s great. He does anything we ask him to do.”

Great trait, great attitude. Sure I wanted to impress, move up and not disappoint. But mostly, I didn’t want to get in trouble. That’s the common fear that has motivated me through much of life, especially in business.

Does this sound sad to you?

It sounded sad to me for a long, long time. But as I search myself now for motivation to run my business, I realize it’s the fear that motivates me. It’s only when I’m up against a deadline or have made an appointment or said I would do something. These items are the only accountability I have.

I don’t have much discipline in this area.

Yet, I’ve been able to develop a business from literally scratch, from nothing. With no prior knowledge of SEO, reputation management, web design, or internet marketing, I’ve managed to create a six-figure business out of nothing.

So, why do I fret?

Because I can only grow it so far because no one is pushing me. There is no fear of getting in trouble. My back has got to be firmly planted against the wall before I act. My discipline is for so much shit, it’s laughable.

Using The Fear

So, now I’m wondering how I can use this fear of getting in trouble, of getting it wrong, and of failing to motivate me when I’m my own boss?

Should I go back to the grind of a 40 hour work week and do sales or get back into business? I swear without someone (a boss) standing over me holding my feet to the fire, little gets done.

Without someone I fear holding me accountable, I am barely able to act.

So, the question is: How do I continue to be an entrepreneur and have my ideas flourish? I could use some help either breaking free of the fear or finding a way to build it back into my life.

 

Implementing Shawn Achor’s TED Talk – 21 Days To Positive Thinking

I fell off a bit from repeating my affirmation 2x per day. When it comes down to it, I wasn’t able to mix it with enough emotion to really feel it.

I was nearly brought to tears while driving to Santa Monica. A though occurred, “I want to change people’s lives.” Not sure how yet, but it’s a clue.

10-2-15

In the mean time, training my mind to move to positive thoughts is important. Cindy reminded me of this video from Shawn Achor and so I’m going to give it a try here.

I’m grateful for:

  1. My health
  2. My dog Charlie
  3. Cloudy mornings that clear up around lunchtime

My 1 positive experience in the last 24 hours has been getting a new spreadsheet from Greg to make our autocomplete work easier. He’s been responsive and great to work with. I’m optimistic that our new mashup of terms and further randomizing our lists won’t leave a footprint and thus we’ll be able to manipulate Google autocomplete for more success.

I walked Charlie home from Les Schwab, 30 minutes at a brisk pace and will do the same when my car is ready.

I will meditate.

I emailed Dede Covert to thank her for past guidance she provided.

10-3-15

I’m grateful for:

  1. My clients who stick with me
  2. Perfect blue skies like today
  3. My intelligence

My positive experience in the last 24 hours was playing “Heads Up” with Tony last night and laughing hysterically. We topped out at 9 correct answers and we really hit our stride in the 70’s category. I don’t know that I could ever tire of that game, so much fun.

Today’s 30 minutes will be walking Charlie to the library and bank and later at the dog park. I’m still recovering from the pulled hamstring injury in my left leg. Would like to run through Forest Park and do yoga after I’m healed.

I completed 30+ minutes of meditation yesterday, set alarm clock for am instead of pm, so wound up doing 35 minutes before I realized something must be wrong. My mind was not still, but its ok. My intention was “Karen and California.” Asking for peace and answers.

After going to Barbara’s art social thing, I found out Dede switched to Google, which explains her not replying to my email. Funny thing is Bill switched to Gmail also. Makes me wonder if they met about it in advance.

10-4-15

Grateful for:

  1. Hot coffee on quiet mornings
  2. Good breakfasts
  3. Women

Positive experience: This just happened. I went to the garden to get some kale for breakfast. A frail cat meowed at me. I pet him and he didn’t freak out and run away. I wanted to feed him so went back inside and got some dog food. Walked back out to the garden, but the cat was gone. I think he/she’ll be back and I’ll feed him. I’ve never been a “cat” person, but why not? I had a weird feeling about this one. When I had Charlie smell my hand I’d pet the cat with, he dismissed it. Maybe they’d get along?

I’ll go the dog park today for exercise. Hamstring almost healed.

I didn’t meditate yesterday and I don’t recall a random act of kindness.

10-5-15

I just fed and hung out with Maxim, Barbara’s cat, while she’s away. I’m counting that as my random act of kindness.

I meditated last night just before bed around 1am, again asking for guidance on “Karen and California.” Karen hasn’t responded to multiple texts or email.

Grateful for:

  1. A friend like Matt who we can talk about anything with
  2. My oustanding hand eye coordination that lets me play and enjoy sports like softball, ping pong, racquetball, and tennis
  3. Tacos

Exercise continues to be limited to walking while my hamstring heals, but I did ride my bike to Barbara’s. I look forward to sweating again. Probably by next week.

My 1 positive experience the last 24 hours is communicating through Barbara to the siblings. I miss those reunions and guess I’ll always feel close to the Covert and Edmondson families.

10-7-15

I skipped yesterday. I wasn’t feeling very grateful. It occurred to me to post, but I didn’t. This is a theme in my life – overthinking, not taking action. I feel so good, when i “just do it,” yet sometimes I don’t.

My 1 positive experience yesterday was my phone call with Matt. He really called me out for what I did to Karen. Calling her from California, telling her how we should give it a shot and instilling her with confidence we were really going to try. Then making a date for last Wednesday only to back out at the last moment because I’m not sure if I want to stay in Portland or move to California. What a dick move. He let me have it. I feel like I need a relationship coach on some of this stuff, that was just idiotic. His advice, “Dude, you just gotta see her in person, put on a smile and fake it if you have to.”

This “fake it til you make it” phrase has recurred in my life. I hate it. But I get it. I really screwed up and appreciate his candor. Now, he says wait 2 weeks before making any further contact since she’s probably so badly hurt. I’m working on empathy, once again. It doesn’t come easy to me.

Grateful for (I’m doing these all related to my business):

  1. I get to sleep in pretty much every day, I don’t have to get up to an alarm
  2. I get to work from home and not suffer through traffic
  3. I set my own hours and have plenty of free time to explore anything that interests me

The random acts of kindness is tough. Some days I don’t see anyone, so I guess I’ll have to think and email people, but that feels a bit cheesy. I did flirt with the woman in front of me at the checkout line last night. Does that count?

No meditation. Dog park walk. I’m pretty much healed enough to try a run.

10-8-15

Finally ran/walked today through forest park. 58:38 time to the gate.

Grateful:

  1. My body allows me to run through Forest Park which i really enjoy
  2. Karen – despite our not being together right now and her ignoring me, I have seen what sex should and can be. I have seen what fun and connection should be.
  3. Jerry – we meet almost daily at the dog park.

I have not been meditating. I forgot.

And I continue to struggle with the random acts of kindness. I just don’t have many opportunities to do this.

My 1 positive experience is also escaping me. Yesterday was a tough day 🙂

10-10-15

I get it. This has been coming for a while, but I really understand how much I, by default, focus on negative thoughts and outcomes. In my work, especially. I focus on the few things I don’t like, rather than the many things I do like and benefit from. Those include:

  • Getting up whenever I want
  • Being able to work with whoever I want
  • Getting to help people with their business or reputation
  • Being able to work from anywhere in the world
  • Making a six figure income
  • Working 10-20 hours per week
  • Not having to get stuck in traffic, report to a boss, or play by someone else’s rules

I operate an internet marketing firm from my home. I built it from scratch, zero. I knew nothing when I started and now it supports me and allows me all the freedoms described above.

For most people I describe these points to, they’re like, “That sounds great!”

If I were to describe this same overview to myself back in 2008-2010 when I was lost, I would’ve jumped at the opportunity. I would’ve been like, “When do I start? How do I do that?!”

Yet, when I “think” about my work, I focus on:

  • I’m stuck in the house
  • I don’t have a social life
  • The work is boring
  • I waste time with a lot of clients

And I ruminate on those negatives, wishing I was doing something else, something that fulfilled me 100% of the time. The “work” I hear and read life coaches talking about all the time – the thing that “sets you on fire every morning when you get out of bed.”

I focus on those things I think I’m missing out.

I don’t know why I naturally focus on the glass being half empty, but it doesn’t matter where it came from. I am making a change. Right now, today.

And here’s what I’m going to try to do: Everytime I catch myself thinking about the negative side of things, I’m going to become a aware of what I’m doing and make a list of all the things I’m grateful for instead.

This is a practice and I believe it’s the way forward, to greater happiness, riches, and overall feeling better about my life.

I want to switch gears and share a dream I just had this morning. Of course, it was about a random woman. She was brunette. She had a great ass. I was hanging out with Shallcross and Little Beavis, in some public walkway, like a promenade. We were about to go somewhere.

A few women walked by and I had a little verbal interaction with one of them. It was friendly and fast, but by no means an invitation. Well, she walks by me and winds up 10-20 feet away.

Impulsively, I just shoot up from where I’m sitting. I go over to her and get real close like I’m just going to kiss her. She pulls away at first and I’m feeling like, “Oh shit, this could be really embarrassing.” But I remain in place, inches from her face.

She caves, saying, “So, this is how it’s going to be?”

At that, I kiss her. Slow at first, then more. She’s not even a great kisser, but it’s fun. I get my hands on her waist. I kiss her neck. Then I get a handful of her great ass. It felt amazing.

Next thing I know, it’s later and we’re hanging out, we’re lying down on a recliner or something, still in the same public promenade. She’s even more beautiful now and we’re laughing and smiling and cuddling. My friends are long gone.

I have to go, too. But I feel so good for taking a chance and making move. I never do that in real life with a woman. I’ve never done that in a dream. It felt empowering and I want to stop being afraid to take that chance.

I am a playful flirt. I like to tease. I’m going to get a woman I adore.

Now, back to my earlier point. I’m going to practice this new way of thinking, now that I’m aware of it. I’m going to try to practice focusing my thoughts on what I already have, instead of what I don’t have.

I’m going to try this a while and see how it works out. Starting now.

I’ll begin with Portland. I’ve been wrestling with a move to Southern California for a few weeks. What I don’t like about Portland is:

  • Hipsters
  • Hippies
  • Gray and wet much of the year
  • Snobby attitude
  • Feel like I don’t “fit in”

So, I can either make a change and move somewhere else, or I can focus instead on:

  • I have 3 houses here
  • I have made some good friends, like Tony, Josh, Isaac, Luke, Jerry, Barbara, Bill & Dede
  • I started a band and produced a CD here
  • I like my neighbors
  • I started my business here
  • It’s usually not too hot or too cold
  • I rarely need to drive
  • Most all of the things I need are within walking distance – bank, library, grocery
  • Bike paths are nearby and it’s easy to ride my bike to all of the above
  • A huge dog park is close by
  • I played for 5 softball teams this year

The list goes on. It feels a whole lot better thinking about these things then it does the things I don’t like.

I have a lot to be grateful for.

10-11-15

Grateful for:

  • Being chosen by my parents. Mom and Dad picked me. My birth mother put me up for adoption out of love. I wish I could thank her.
  • Catching up by phone with Michelle, she always returns my call. We get to share childhood memories and discuss why Mel never calls back 🙂
  • Little Charlie and to have had a dog like Luke, who taught me so much and had to be put down too soon.

10-18-15

It’s been a week since I’ve written but I’ve been seeing a change. Whenever my mind starts to go toward the negative, I stop and think about what I’m grateful for. It can just be a little thing, but the “switch” is the big difference.

I don’t know why I’ve historically dwelled on the negative. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I keep practicing to break that cycle, so as if Paul McCartney in Silly Love Songs, “cos here I go again…”

  • So grateful for Little Charlie. Every day I’m grateful my remaining dog is in my life to get up with, go out with and love.
  • Tony. To have a friend in the same neighborhood who’s my age and has similar values has been awesome. We’ve seen music together, comedy, and spent many nights at McMenamins watching sports and talking about life. Lately, “Heads Up” has been a hit. I’m grateful for Tony and that we met.
  • My neighbors. There are no assholes. Everyone near me is friendly and caring. If the shit ever hit the fan, I’m quite certain the people on my street would rally and work well together.

My positive experiences have been many over the last week. I’ve had good client meetings and calls. I’ve been clear about what I can and can’t do. I’ve hired new writers and developed new systems. I’ve been working more and enjoying it.

Last night, Tony and I saw Craig Gass and he was hilarious. The whole show was good. The bit I liked best was the long, long story about him and Gene Simmons.

Meditation continues to elude me and exercise has been hit or miss due to injury. I’m ready to get past that and into a steady routine.

 

Day 10

Like Kramer slapping down his money in the masturbation episode of Seinfeld, “I’m out.” Just couldn’t take it anymore. It was almost 2 weeks. Funny how that gets in your brain and today I gave in.

I bought a new computer so i can finally have audio and video recording access at my fingertips.

Brendan and I discussed making SEO/PPC/website videos. I’m going to find a way to record our phone calls on skype, so we can put them on Youtube and create an educational series. No one else is doing this and there’s a big need for it.