How do we get this done?

I hear this question all the time at work. It’s a question that starts out with great intentions. But then everyone sits in a room, and no solution is offered.

This is the point where it gets frustrating. People start to get annoyed with one another.

They stop thinking about the problem itself and start thinking about the problems with other people.

This is the point where it starts being unproductive.

Once the focus shifts from the problem and possible solutions to problems with other people, the battle is lost.

I struggle with this on a daily basis.

I’m in a profession where we are constantly trying to solve more problems with fewer resources. Ten years ago we had 150 people to move a mountain, and now we only have 100.

How do we get this done?

The solution isn’t in a “right” answer. The solution is in a “collective” answer.

You get it done by working with each other, not against.

 

Photo: Flickr/Patrizio Cuscito

What would you do today if you could see tomorrow?

What would you do today if you could see into the future?

If you knew exactly what was going to happen tomorrow?

You can plan and articulate what you’d like to happen from the time you wake up tomorrow until the time you go to bed. But ultimately that’s a form of hoping.

Not to say you shouldn’t do those things, because I’m a believer in preparing, but who really knows, right?

Over the last few months I’ve come to realize that I’ve been running myself into the ground. I’ve been trying to accomplish so many things at once that I’m doing a lot of things with half-hearted effort.

This creates two problems:

1. It frustrates me because I’m not putting my heart and soul into everything I’m doing.

2. It leaves me with a half-hearted product.

If I knew exactly what was going to happen tomorrow I think I would change the way I prioritize things. But I can’t.

So what am I going to do?

I’m going to act like I know what’s going to happen tomorrow and then I’m no put myself in a position where I’m strung out and unsatisfied by my efforts for the day.

I’m going to focus on one thing at a time. And perform it to the best of my ability.

That’s what I’m going to do today. Because I know what will happen tomorrow if I don’t.

A New Chapter: Good Men Project

A few weeks ago I told you that I was working on a new book idea. Well, the first part of that book is complete and sitting around waiting for a little separation anxiety to subside.

Part 1, Draft 1, was complete at just over 60 pages or so. And once I’ve let it sit for a little while I’d be happy to share it with those of you on the email list. The cool thing about writing is that it gives you the chance to get lost in yourself. It gives you the chance to figure out where your intentions are, and if they aren’t true, then you won’t be able to fool anyone for more than a few seconds.

That’s why I like writing—it doesn’t give you the option of not telling the truth.

When I first started writing this book I knew I wanted to help people but I also knew I wanted to help me. And though it’s only one of five parts complete, it’s done that thus far.

So look for the beta copy in your email within the next couple of weeks. 🙂

If you still would like to get a copy of it and you aren’t on the list, join here and I’ll send you another book, for free.

Beta Reader Club

Now, for an announcement (if we are friends on FB then this probably won’t be a surprise). This week I took position at The Good Men Project as a sports editor. I’m really excited about it and am currently working on putting together a column. Having said that I haven’t been writing much on here as of late. I’ve been writing like crazy for Good Men. But now that I’m going to have a weekly column on GMP, I’ll be able to get back on schedule for this. It won’t be every day, and it may not be every week, but I think it may be twice a week.

I’ve been thinking about it, and I think one week I’ll put out the podcast and the next week I’ll put out a blog post. Seems reasonable.

Blogging up to this point has been an excellent experience for me and I’ve learned more bout how people read and ingest content than I ever thought possible. I can’t wait to see what the next year holds. Maybe the Huffington Post, or Yahoo! Sports—who knows?

Either way the major take-away for you all is this—I LOVE WRITING. I love writing all kinds of different stuff, and I’m doing what I’m doing in my spare time (my wife may be able to argue whether it’s spare time, or ALL of my time). As of this week I have an official position as an editor at a large media site, and it stemmed from one article that I poured my heart and soul into.

Anything is possible. Anything is reachable. It just tends to happen one step at a time and people often forget how important those steps are.

Photo: Flickr/Craig Sunter – Thanx 2 Million ;-))

Why Self-Publishing has really grabbed my attention

I don’t think it’s any secret that I’m a writer. At least in the sense that I put words on paper — and I do it often.

Writing was something I really enjoyed in school, at least after my fourth-grade portfolio. I loved writing short stories but I wasn’t so much into writing the research papers and the personal narratives…can you see the irony?

So far I’ve written three novels, but only one of them is available for sale (hopefully the second will be out fairly soon–if you want to be a beta reader then sign up for the newsletter and I’ll ship you a proof paperback copy free when it’s ready for beta readers :)). The funny thing is I published my first book, Golf, Life, and Everything Else in January of 2013 for the first time. It was mostly personal narratives dealing with experiences from the golf course.

I didn’t even know it was possible to put your book online. Much less do it for free and in under an hour if you have it formatted and ready to go. Little did I know I was about two years behind the power curve, at least to be considered a true early adopter. Which is fine, it’s still a great game to be in.

Within a couple of days I had an approved book available for sale on Amazon with a homemade cover and about 60 pages worth of writing that I was proud of, but I was also a bit nervous. What would people think of me?

There were two problems with this:

1. Nobody was going to find the book without a little help.

2. Even if they found it why would they want to buy it?

But what was cool was that I convinced a few family members to drop the mega bucks of $0.99 on book and they even left me a review or two. Within the first 48 hours I had sold about 15 copies, which was enough to get my book into the top 30,000 books or so on Amazon. I was pretty pumped.

Since then the book has managed to sell an average of about 25 copies per month. This number is chump change in the grand scheme of self-publishing, but what’s cool is that people are buying something I created. And I didn’t have to answer to anyone in the process of bringing it to the world.

Writing is like magic in the real world. It takes practice and practice in order to hone your craft. To make it seem easy. To astonish people as they turn the pages of your book. But the finished product, when done correctly, is so gratifying.

Ten years ago doing this without battling for a one in 100,000 spot at a publishing house was unthinkable. And it still carries a slight stigma, but nothing like it did a few years ago. And there are great writers who have been rejected by publishers absolutely killing it! Here are just a few of the names you should look at if you feel like there is a book waiting to be written humming around inside your brain.

Rocking Self-Publishing

David Gaughran

Self-Publishing Podcast (These dudes are productivity machines and their writing is superb.)

Joanna Penn

Steve Scott

I knew self-publishing was part of the long-term plan for this site when I started it last year. But over the last six months or so I’ve learned a lot and I am really excited about what’s coming in the future. For starters I will create a couple different imprints for non-fiction and fiction books.

I could go into more detail in this post about self-publishing, but I think you would be better served by checking out some of the links above. If you want to write with any level of seriousness, there is no better time to search out your author inside. You can create whatever you want and provide it to the world at the price you desire. And if it’s a good book, then people will buy it.

Enjoy!

Become a beta reader

What dreams may come…

Your dreams are your own. You should own them.

It’s been almost a year since I started blogging again.

When I started the first time it was about golf and I had no idea what I was doing—I just knew I wanted to write. At the time I was halfway through my first novel and felt stuck. There was little semblance of a plan, but it was filled with passion.

Within a few weeks of starting the golf blog a few friends and I started a sports blog. It was called “The Lazy Defense”. Again, we didn’t know what we were doing, but we wanted to do something fun. So we did.

Neither of those sites really amounted to much in and of themselves but without them I wouldn’t be here. So, for that alone, I am grateful.

Success comes in failures

Without those two adventures I don’t think I would have been able to finish my first book. And if I hadn’t of finished my first book then I wouldn’t have finished the second and the third.

Writing is about having the one of two things—either the confidence to keep going even when you think your writing is crap or having the ignorance to not care if it’s crap and keep writing anyway. I’m not sure which one took the lead, but I’d be willing to guess it was a Bonnie and Clyde combination of the two.

As I approach the one year mark I have been thinking about what’s happened in the world of writing for me. What positives I can carry forward. Because even though the catalyst for my writing has been tragedy over the last year, the product has been something I’d never have dreamed of.

Step one for me was starting this site. Really putting some time and effort into the structure and purpose of this blog so I could build a long lasting infrastructure for something that, hopefully, has helped someone along the way.

The salt of the Earth

Step two was getting people to read this blog. Because I can write all day long and claim that it’s just for me. And a big part of it is for me. But it’s no secret that writers want to be read.

I’m no different and I want as many people as possible to read what I write. It’s just how it is. So I started trying to follow the breadcrumbs and get readers.

This worked in a couple of ways. Facebook pages have been a huge source of readers for me, but you can only do so much with personal growth type stuff on Facebook.

So I also started trying to get articles published on other people’s sites. My first hit was Salt&Light, the blog written by Paul Sohn. A man who has worked incredibly hard and has seen some pretty good success, especially in the last year. To you, Paul, I want to say ‘Thank you’. Without your approval of my first guest post on the internet I don’t know where I’d be.

Shortly after that I got an article published on GenTwenty (Nicole Booz was also on my podcast last week). And by the end of November I had 8,000 twitter followers.

Now, I don’t say this to bring attention to my accomplishments, because they aren’t mine. They are yours. Without you all reading this site, none of this would have been possible.

A few good men

The things that happened after Thanksgiving of 2014 have been incredible. I had a long conversation with someone about what the next step would be. With his input I decided it was time to be a little bolder and start aiming high. So I submitted an article to The Goodmen Project. And a relationship was born. After that first article I was invited into the writers group on Facebook for GMP and since then I’ve written about six articles for the site. It’s amazing to me because that site gets about 2 million visitors per week!

I’ve also recorded and published seven episodes of The Old Soul Podcast, which is also mind blowing to me.

‘The Tajiman’

Just this morning I ordered four proof copies of my upcoming book, ‘The Tajiman’. Which is the story of an interpreter I met in Afghanistan who was 61 at the time I met him. He’d been a Pakistani immigrant who was a naturalized citizen of the United States and was the manager of a high end shoe store in New York City. After 9/11 and the recession that followed. Shafi found himself out of work in 2007.

With a sense of patriotism I can only imagine Shafi signed on to become a linguist during the war. What occurred over the next seven years of his life can only be described as legendary. Shafi was the interpreter for one CPT Will Swenson in 2009. CPT Swenson was the patrol leader for the patrol that produced Medal of Honor winner Dakota Meyer and eventually Swenson himself. This book is written as a novel, but many of the events are based on actual events, and the final transformation of Shafi from a shoe store manager into a Soldier in his own right, is 100% true.

Dreaming Big

This post is designed to show you that when you’re either willing to continue working on your dreams or too ignorant to quit, things will happen. They won’t always happen as you think they will, and, maybe more often, they go in an entirely different direction. But that’s what makes the journey so great.

If you have a dream that you put on the shelf for whatever reason. Pull it down, dust it off, and see what you can do today to make it happen. Maybe it’s writing. If it is, I’d love to hear from you. Maybe it’s qualifying for the U.S. Open in golf at Pebble Beach in 2019. (That’s another one of my dreams.) What ever it is, take a stab at it. You never know what might happen.

What dreams may come…

I don’t know what the next year will hold. But what I can tell you is that I have a plan for what I want to see happen. I have an idea of where I want things to go. And whether or not they follow that path I can’t be sure. But what I do know is that I’m ready to tackle whatever comes my way. And I think you should be too. After all, what are you going to do when the opportunity of a lifetime comes knocking at your door?

You better be ready to answer the call. It may be your only shot.

And it’s never too late.

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