In the ongoing effort toward self-discovery and personal / professional re-invention I participated in a seven day experiment. We can always be learning and growing. I try to embrace my mistakes, not repeat them, and examine what caused my goofs and stumbles. I am a work in progress, and I like that. Nobody is perfect, and by experimenting I find I can take big leaps in my attempts to improve.
Each day this week I tackled eight simple tasks as part of a seven day challenge. Below is the list of what I did and a short explanation of how it impacted me:
1. Do a task each day that you know you should do but never seem to get around to (I chose recording and posting a video blog post each day).
2. Each day list one thing that you are grateful for in your life.
3. Journal a page a day about what is happening in your personal or professional life.
4. Every morning answer the question "wouldn't it be wonderful today if ________________ happened?"
5. Refer one person or promote their business in some way.
6. Do a physical workout every day.
7. Meditate or pray in a quiet place for ten minutes each day.
8. Watch a TED Talk video every day.
9. Write a handwritten note to someone daily.
This was a great exercise that forced me to think hard about many issues with which I struggle in my personal and professional life.
Some days it was hard to find the time to do each task (I do have work to do), but by being committed to getting this project done, I was able to succeed completing each task daily.
"Peace" is the word that comes to mind on day seven. While I cannot say I found an "ah ha" moment that instantly changed my life, the process allowed me to examine some of what I am doing.
Here is my take on each of the nine daily steps:
- Recording a short video daily was fun. I was also surprised how many people commented to me throughout the week about the format of talking to the camera while parked in my car. Many liked it, others I am not sure.... but in the end it got me to talk to the camera (not always in one take) and get more comfortable with the medium.
- Identifying what I am grateful for made me feel good when I reviewed the whole list (I am a fortunate guy). My wife and kids lead the list, but I also have amazing friends and family members who love me unconditionally. The city where we live is vibrant and exciting. My career is interesting and positively challenging. And my parents (who are both gone now) were the type of role models I can only hope I am for my kids.
- Journaling is always a good idea when you face difficulties in your life. Explaining to yourself how you think and feel about a given situation is paramount to accepting the realities of dealing with "stuff". The clarity I feel after venting to a notebook is amazing. Plus, but spilling the gory details to paper I am not burdening others with the drama, confusion, and random worries.
- Filling in the blank to "wouldn't it be wonderful if___________ happened?" allowed me to dream big for that day and beyond. I came up with some awesome stuff. While none of it happened this week, I chose things that could happen in my life. Dreaming big is important.
- While I try to refer or promote people all the time - the forced timeline made it difficult, as sometimes I felt that my effort were not really powerful enough. Tweeting someone's good thing was not enough to feel that I had really had an impact. This one is difficult, as it is easy to forget to make the people in our lives a priority.
- Getting to the gym daily was great. I often can find excuses to not get a workout, and I skip more days than I care admit. But this week I pushed myself to run a bit farther and feel the burn more intently. It was all good.
- Meditation and prayer is something I wish I did more regularly. Finding the quiet time was difficult, and with so many things going on in a life, it was hard to focus on what one issue I was seeking clarity. But in the end this was where the feeling of "peace" came from in my head. Realizing it is all good, and the bumps in my road are only distractions from my goals.
- The daily TED Talk video was inspiring. Oh, how we can all use more true thought leaders in our lives! Watching these videos on so many topics was powerful. Sting, Jessica Pettitt, Ray Kurtzweil, Larry Smith, Yves Morieux, Susan Cain, and Michael Porter all have so much to offer. I want to keep watching more TED talks and feel the vibe of ideas.
- I liked this one, as I write notes all the time anyway!!! A few days I had to think about whom to write (as sending a note still needs a purpose). I discovered there is always someone to whom we should say "Thank You". While some of these people should have received notes weeks or months ago, there is no statute of limitations on gratitude.
Feel free to use this format for yourself, or adapt it to meet your own situation. If you try the seven day challenge, let me know how it worked for you.
Have A Great Day