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My Journey To ‘Everyday, Awesome!’ [Journal]

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  • #21687

    Nathan
    Moderator

    Do you ever start a forum post, and ask yourself “how the fuck should I start this?”. Guess what, you and me are very much alike.

    For those that don’t know me, read my intro here.

    What you about to see is a documented journey full my thoughts, processes, and how I overcome challenges in my life to create a future thats fucking exciting. The goal is, that everyday, I look at what I have planned, and go “Awesome.”

    Like I said in my intro (you read that, yeah?):

    I’m here to share that with others my wins, losses, share what I have learnt along the way and support others. But I’m also here for that support when shit gets hard, be held accountable and learn from others.

    This is that in real time. Ask questions, challenge me, and if you are reading this in the future, learn from me.

    Shit will be real. I will fuck up…I will make an arse of myself…

    You will get it all. Everything that I do, and the results I get.

    Sometimes I might document specific things in a separate thread. For example, I’m doing the Focus Control Challenge here. But this will be my central journal where I will link to everything going on.

    What you can expect from me:

    • Weekly updates, likely on a Friday. This will be a good book end to the week, and allow me to regain my focus for the following week.
    • I will also do a monthly overview. I plan to take on 30 day challenges – either ones I set myself, or some of LifeOS’s challenges.

    That’s it.

    So feel free to ask questions, challenge me, or just read.

    I’ll see you around the forum.

    Nathan

    • This topic was modified 11 months ago by Nathan.
    #21689

    Leigh
    Keymaster

    The only thing I love more than seeing you succeed is seeing you fuckup 🙂

    That’s where all the juicy lessons are.

    Looking forward to watching how all this goes down.

    #21765

    Nathan
    Moderator

    Ok cool.

    It’s been an interesting start to April to say the least.

    Firstly I’m doing a digital declutter for the month of April. I recently read Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport (His other book, ‘Deep Work’ is also amazing) and he talks about a Digital Declutter. There are two parts to this.

    The Digital Declutter Process (what I’m doing now)

    • Put aside a thirty-day period during which you will take a break from optional technologies in your life.
    • During this thirty-day break, explore and rediscover activities and behaviors that you find satisfying and meaningful.
    • At the end of the break, reintroduce optional technologies into your life, starting from a blank slate. For each technology you reintroduce, determine what value it serves in your life and how specifically you will use it so as to maximize this value.

    The Minimalist Technology Screen (what I will be doing after this is done)
    To allow an optional technology back into your life at the end of the digital declutter, it must:

    • Serve something you deeply value (offering some benefit is not enough).
    • Be the best way to use technology to serve this value (if it’s not, replace it with something better).
    • Have a role in your life that is constrained with a standard operating procedure that specifies when and how you use it.

    How it’s going so far…

    Great. I’ve noticed a decrease in daily anxiety. Especially around social media. It’s really weird and you wouldn’t think it, but it was there. The constant need for a dopamine hit really plays a part in your day to day happiness.

    My day to day work requires me to use a computer so I’ve set strict rules regarding my digital use. I’ve noticed a lapse in that need for a dopamine hit however that I didn’t realise. Mainly around analytics. Not neccessary google analytics, but also data around tests I’m doing etc. Checking a live graph every 10 minutes doesn’t make a difference. To combat this I’ve put in rules of use when it comes to that software.

    Now I haven’t been doing this on willpower alone. I’ve been using an app called Freedom.to. It blocks website and apps that I specify during certain periods of the week. I’ve essentially bombed everything except for a gap on Friday (where I check analytics and work related FB stuff – and thats only on my desktop.) I can’t tell you how many times I caught myself subconsciously checking my phone, only to realise instagram is blocked. Crazy.

    The result has been that I have more free time during my personal time. This has resulted in being more present to my wife, more present and grateful to my surroundings. I’m painting more, meditating and I’m less stressed about random things.

    I’ll keep you posted about this. Let me know if you have questions.

    Moving forward:

    • Continue with meditation (see my focus control challenge to see how thats going)
    • Continue digital declutter – knuckle down on digital distractions.
    • Draw, paint or write everyday. This is something I haven’t been doing and it gives me a lot of joy.
    #21770

    Leigh
    Keymaster

    This sounds excellent, mate. I’ve been thinking about adding Digital Declutter challenge so I’m keen to see how this goes.

    Keep us updated.

    #21881

    Nathan
    Moderator

    Ok so the digital declutter is going really well. I’m really enjoying it and finding it freeing. The shackles of needing to check my phone in any available moment are being shaken off. I’ve replaced it with reading, writing, and painting, which has been fantastic.

    But it hasn’t been enough…

    This declutter, along with the focus control exercise I’m doing this month have been a powerful one-two punch combo.

    One big realisation is there is a lot of “clutter” in my life. Things that don’t contribute to what I want to create to my life, and especially things that deter me off the path.

    Digital was one big thing, but I realised it was a distraction more than anything. It was distracting me with the little things in my life that I wasn’t happy with and was ignoring. The focus control allowed me to see into that.

    These a daily habits, relationships (or in some case, lack of relationships), thought habits, and projects that take up mental space in my mind, but provide no great benefit. If feel it’s time to cut the fat.

    So what now, I’m not 100% sure. But I’m going to continue doing what I’m doing. Continue with the Digital Declutter, and continue with the Focus Control Meditation. Things will naturally come from that I feel.

    I’ve noticed that when my focus has been bought to something, again and again, I tend to do something about it. If I’m confronted with the discomfort of something, instead of hiding I can only acknowledge it and consciously do something about it.

    Here’s how I’ve approached these moments.

    • Realise I’m doing something I don’t really want to do
    • Ask myself what benefit do I get from this. Eg. Continual analytics checking – I get a sense of power at seeing the number go up by one.
    • Ok, what is a more constructive way to get a sense of power that takes me closer to my vision?
    • Do that.
    • Check-in with myself – does this sate my desire?
    • Refine.

    So I’m going to continue with this with no real goal or plan – the process will take care of a lot of it.

    However, I’m tempted to do the Insights course. While I do have a good idea of my purpose, I think I’ve detached myself over the last couple of months. I’ve been caught up in dealing with circumstances. Doing the insights course will recentre me and refocus me.

    I think it will be a powerful addition to what I’m doing right now.

    Actions moving forward:

    • Continue digital declutter
    • Continue focus control
    • Start Insights course – I’ll post up what I’ve done next Friday in the Insights course area. I’ll put a summary in this journal once I’ve completed the course.

    Cheers,

    Nat

     

    #22551

    Nathan
    Moderator

    Ok here is where I’m at

    Digital Declutter  (And the quest for power and connection)

    Going well. Seems more natural now. One thing I am noticing, and which causes me to reach for my phone, or feel compelled to go into my office and check my computer, is boredom.

    I’ve been thinking about this for the last week. I’ve been filling it with creativity (painting, drawing and writing) but there is more I want. Looking deeper, two things I want desire when I reach for the phone, is connection and a sense of power.

    I’ve been playing with this and how I can fulfill those desires without needing that digital interaction.

    The first is people. I’m a social guy. An extravert. Moving to a new city, I only know a limited amount of people (my brother and his partner). I don’t have a group of friends here, and I crave that human interaction and connection. So I’ve been getting myself out there.

    I went to a life drawing class and purposely introduced myself to as many people as I could. Instantly, I felt lighter and more energised. I loved it. I will be going back. My wife loved the renewed energy I had when I got home. I didn’t realised how flat I had been energetically.

    Even the little things like finding a local cafe I love and getting to know the staff and owner there has been great. If I have a spare hour or two, I’ve removed myself from the house and picked a spot to explore in this new city. It’s been good.

    I’m going to continue with this and find regular social activities I enjoy. Life drawing will continue, thats for sure.

    The other thing is power. Looking into it, I think getting back into a sport will help with this. I’ve always enjoyed physically exerting myself, and the sensation of overcoming a personal challenge has always left me with a sense of personal power. It will also be a great way to join a community and build my social network there (power & connection). I’m tempted to start rock-climbing (my bro wants to join too), but that won’t be for a couple of weeks. I’ll see what I can do in the meantime.

    Focus Control

    You can see the full details of this here.

    This has been a corner stone for the insights that I’ve been having over the last couple of weeks. Particularly writing down the thoughts that pop into my head. It’s been quite the catalyst.

    Insights Course.

    Started. You can see the details of my journey here.

    One of the biggest take aways I’m getting from this is the amount of “shoulds” in my life. I should want to do this, I should do this, I should choose this over this. But really what is happening is I’m deviating from what is true for me. And a lot of the time, I haven’t been conscious of this.

    I realised this when I started doing the 3rd part of the first exercise for the Insights Course. I stopped because I realised how much I was writing down in my perfect day that should be there, but really, when I asked “do i actually want this?” some part of me was saying “no”.

    I made the right choice taking on this course. I don’t have the answers at the moment, but I seem to be asking the right questions. I’m going to take my time however, I think if I try to blast through it I’m going to revert to old habits and “shoulds”.

    Stay tuned.

    Side Note:

    What do you want me to include in these entries? I’m writing this for you, and I am for myself. Is there a particular thing where you ask “How the hell did he come to that conclusion?”, or “What is you take on…?”. Ask. I’m happy to answer.

    #22561

    Leigh
    Keymaster

    Great to see your really engaging with the philosophy and understanding your core desires behind your actions. That’s huge. And even better that you’re putting it into action and finding alternate pathways to fulfilling your desire.

    Also great that the focus control challenge and Insight are both combining to give you a deeper understanding of what you want and where you’re going wrong.

    In terms of what you should write, the best way to approach this is to fill it with the lessons that you’ve learnt about your life – what’s going wrong, why it’s going wrong, and what you’ve found that fixes it. Write these lessons in a way that if you get stuck in the same situation again in the future, you will be able to find the answer to that problem by coming back here and reading it.

    The amount of incredible insights I’ve gotten from rereading old journals is incredible. Just little things that had made so much sense at the time of doing them but had slipped from my focus as I moved down my path… They just helped me get back on track again.

    If you write them in a way that your future self can learn and grow through, it’ll be a useful journal.

    #22663

    Nathan
    Moderator

    Ok, so to give some more context to where I’m at right now, what’s working and not working.

    Here’s the shit.

    • Recently moved from Armidale to Newcastle (5 hr drive). Been stressful.
    • Our new house is shit. Lots of stuff falling apart, not working, roach infestation, and a slow to respond landlord. More stress ensures and haven’t been able to fully settle in and relax. Most big stuff has been sorted and the rest we are slowly chipping away at it. Will move house again once 12 month lease is up if we don’t terminate the lease early.
    • My wife has a neck injury which results in chronic pain in her chest and arms. This is getting steadily worse, now to the point where she can’t work. I’m the sole financial provider. She’s taking the opportunity to focus on her studies.
    • We are in about 9k worth of debt. This is the result of the move, and some unexpected expenses due to Sasha’s injury. If it was one or the other, we wouldn’t be in debt, but we were hit with both at the same time.
    • With the move, I had to drop some clients in Armidale, which reduced my income. This meant, that until recently we didn’t have enough to pay back debt and pay bills (though this is sorted – more later)

    This is everything we are dealing with at the moment. Stress levels through the roof.

    The Good.

    • Managed to get a job here in town. The role is pretty sweet as a Senior Digital Marketing Account Manager. Great pay. Good part of town. Really cool company and the role has everything I like to do, and little of what I don’t like to do. I didn’t want to go back working for others, but in the meantime it is serving a purpose and covers the extra costs. It’s a short term solution, while I build a solid long term financial foundation. It was a relief to get. I start this Wednesday.
    • Sasha and I know what is going on with her injury. We are speaking to a specialist this Monday for actions we can take to fix the issues, and actions to reduce the impact of current nerve damage due to injury. Nervous about this. Potentially more money to spend, but now that I have the job, I’m not as anxious. ( And we do have private health insurance, however the spinal cover doesn’t kick in till Jan 2020)
    • We have a great support network here. We have a bunch of friends already in Newcastle. My brother and his partner are 20 minutes away. And my Mum, Dad and Sister are in Sydney, 90 minutes away. In Armidale we were a 6.5 hour drive from anyone, and our friends had moved away 6 months after they had finished Uni. This support has been invaluable.
    • Despite the house being shit, Newcastle is awesome. So much to do, and like minded people. It’s been fun so far.

    The build up and explosion.

    So as you can see, lots of shit has been going down in my life. I had thought I had it all handled. But no, slowly in the background shit was building and finally came out in an explosion of emotion.

    Me and my wife had a massive argument fuelled by raw emotion due to the build up over everything. This NEVER happens with us. We have disagreements, but we never throw words of venom at each other. I know I said some nasty nasty stuff that I regret big time.

    This happened around 6pm in the evening, and we didn’t talk for about 2 hours after that. Once the emotions had worn down, we talked again, realising all the undeserved hurt we had thrown at one another. She cried, I cried, and we got everything out on the table. It was like popping a cyst, and we talked into the early hours of the morning to get rid of the stuff that had been festering under the surface for both of us.

    I know for myself some of the things that I said came as a surprise for me. The fact was, I had been unconsciously numbing myself to it all, so I could deal with what had to be dealt with in the moment. The issue was, I never allowed myself to feel what I needed to feel in a productive way afterwards. I let it sit and fester until it exploded the way it did.

    I never want that to happen again.

    Something in the past that I’ve found really usual, and helps me deal with emotions that I would otherwise ignore, is Morning Pages. Morning pages is essentially a stream of conscious writing. Things come up that you wouldn’t have even thought were an issue. It is awesome, and very powerful. I’m going to start that habit again, and continue it. Particularly with all the shit going down, to be able to experience, and express my emotions, get stuff down on paper so I can process it, will be a massive help.

    I don’t really have much to add to this. I’ve been checking in with Sasha to see how she’s coping. She’s doing better. Despite the disgust I have at who I was with the argument, it has cleared the slate for both of us and we are closer as a result.

    Digital Declutter.

    I thought I’d include this for those interested.

    This has been going very well. My observation regarding the need for power and connection was spot on. I’ve had a number of moments where I’ve been sating those desires in a more productive way (hanging out with people, smashing out physical tasks), and it was like my phone didn’t exist. No urge to pull out my phone. Really cool and something i’ll continue to foster.

    I’ve got one more week of this, however, with a few minor changes, I can see myself continuing with this trend moving into the future.

    That’s it from me this week.

    • This reply was modified 10 months, 1 week ago by Nathan.
    #22668

    Leigh
    Keymaster

    Big week mate. Sorry to hear you had to have a blowup for everything to come out, but sometimes, it’s the best way.

    And great to hear you landed a job. Sounds perfect for you, combining your marketing skills and people skills in one.

    Keep it rolling. And keep us posted.

    #22818

    Nathan
    Moderator

    Forgive me forum for I have sinned, its been 2 weeks since my last confession.

    Yeah, these last two weeks have been hectic and I didn’t get around to posting last week. Here’s the deal…

    A New Job Role: Leaning Into My Edge 

    So the new company I’m working for kicks arse. A really fun and playful team. Everyone genuinely enjoys working there and with each other. It’s been a fun two weeks.

    It’s also been incredibly challenging.

    Have you ever jumped into something, and within a couple of hours you become present to the amount of stuff that needs to be done? You don’t know what exactly is going on? You don’t know where to start? Well that was me for the first 2 days of my roll.

    I was in complete overwhelm.

    My new role is to take on the current clients that the current senior account manager has. However, she isn’t leaving for another 4 months. This roll was meant to start in 3 months time, however, the Director on the company wanted to bring me on board to look at their Operating Procedures and give feedback to get them up to date. He knew the importance of Operating Procedures in a growing company, however, he hadn’t the time to maintain them properly. He wanted to use my previous experiences to come in look at them, and then figure out a system so that everything ran smoothly. I have 3 months to do it.

    “Yeah, no problem” I said naively.

    Yeah, he has over 260 difference operating procedures, most (if not all), are out of date or just not relevant any more. Well, fuck…instant overwhelm.

    Where do I start? How do I know the best course of action? Can I really do this? And 1000’s of other questions and doubts bouncing around my head.

    How did this play out? Sometimes I would sit at my computer, start one task, stop, try start another. Everything seemed to pull this way or that at my attention. If I wasn’t in that state of spinning my wheels, I was avoiding the situation and procrastinating. Not a good start to my first couple of days.

    How Did I Deal With The Overwhelm?

    Every morning I meditate on the train to work, and do my morning pages at a cafe before I head into work. Its a great little routine and I’m enjoying it greatly. I’ve been using the stream of conscious writing to get my thoughts down and make sense of it all. I’ve been focussing on something I have been dealing with whether it has been work, relationships or anything else, and just writing down my thoughts. Often I will prompt myself with questions to go a little deeper. Why do I feel this way? How did it come to this? What do I desire? Where can I be responsible? These questions prompt me to dig deeper, with no judgement. Often I get a sense of clarity and it sets me up powerfully for the morning.

    However the overwhelm still comes later in the day.

    I dealt with the sense of overwhelm pretty quickly. I would write down all the questions I had rattling around in my brain. Even just the act of writing this down, allowed me to see the answers to my own questions. And if I had any questions I couldn’t figure out for myself, I would ask someone else for help

    Asking for help has been a blessing in so many ways…I’ve gotten immediate answers to my questions, but also context around why they do things they way they do it. It’s also opened up conversation on how we can do things better in the company. Questions and asking for help have been incredibly liberating. So if you are one of those people who never asks for help, trust me, you are leaving so many opportunities on the table. It’s not a sign that you are weak, or you are not good enough, its an acknowledgement that you don’t know and are willing to learn and improve.

    Give it a go, ask for help.

    But writing down questions wasn’t the only thing that I did. I noticed that another way my overwhelm showed up, that was less obvious, was through procrastination, or doing tasks that really weren’t important. I noticed in one of my morning pages, that this was me in overwhelm and trying to avoid it. So here’s how I confronted it and beat it into submission.

    When I found myself in procrastination, I set aside 15 minutes of pure time to just do stream of conscious writing. With no interruption. This was incredibly powerful. My morning pages were a reflection on these moments, but that was done each morning. These periods of 15 minutes of writing were done when I was experiencing what I was experiencing then and now. I got to see what was really going on. It was incredibly powerful and often led to an acknowledgement of my desires and a clarity that helped to actually accomplish my goal. Often this lead to a “second wind” and I would smash out another couple of hours of work. Whereas, if I didn’t do that, those two hours would have been a period of overwhelm and procrastination – not a pleasant experience.

    These experiments have proved to be incredibly helpful to not only give me clarity in an otherwise overwhelming experience, but have allowed me to turn it around and be fun. By acknowledging my desires in those moments of frustration, I am able to make decisions that fulfil those desires as well as push me forward in my role.

    It’s been a fun experiment, that I’m going to continue playing with.

    Outside Of Work: Creating My Ideal Life

    With all the craziness of the workplace, the stream of conscious writing in moment has also allowed me to be present with desires that I can fulfil outside of the workplace too. This has lead to some experiments with morning routines, which I’m pretty happy with at the moment, and evening routines – which definitely have room for improvement.

    I’m slowly continuing the Insights course to flesh out my One Perfect Day. Even doing this has lead to some insights and things I’ve taken action upon. For example, I’m very creative and love painting. One of my things for this year I want to do is to get paid to do a mural. Well, the office I’m in is getting repainted. So I decided to be bold and asked if I can do a mural in the waiting room. The answer – oh hell yeah, that’d be awesome.

    So it looks like I’ll be getting paid to paint…pretty sweet.

    And ask a marketing dude, you can bet your arse I’ll be recording the whole process, using it as marketing material and marketing the shit out of myself so I can do more murals in the future. Haha.

    And if all goes well, maybe I can talk the Director, and clients into including Murals as part of their “rebranding”. Create my job as I would like it. Who knows if it will work, but hey, Newcastle is big on their murals, so you never know…

    Oh and @Leigh, with the men’s group, I’ve also got two guys interest (Jonno and Peter Hagerty), so if you know of anyone in Newy that wants to join what is looking to be a killer men’s group, let me know.

    Alrighty, thats me. Over and out.

    #22820

    Leigh
    Keymaster

    Thanks for the update, mate. Sounds like you’re stepping into a fun a crazy world.

    I have a slight understanding of what you’re going through because LifeOS is the same way. There’s SO much to be done and so little time to do it, I can often get caught trying to do everything, actually doing nothing, and then just ending up on Reddit again. It’s a fun game.

    That sounds like you have the makings of a great little Men’s Group there. I think you’ll have fun with it. Little Jealous, to be honest 🙂

    Good luck with the job moving forward. It sounds like a great environment to push and challenge yourself and it sounds like you’re with a good crew.

    Keep us posted on how things progress.

    #22866

    Nathan
    Moderator

    So I was asked a great question by @Jimmy within a series of PMs we had been sending each other. He asked:

    Is there anything right now in your life that you’re having difficulty handling?

    We yes, yes there is.

    • Overwhelmed with the job.
    • Frustration with finances.
    • Wife’s injury and ongoing chronic pain.

    Whilst I know that I can handle all of them. I also know that I can handle them better.

    Right now if I had to sum up how I feel, its like a can’t get a break. While logically, I can see that I’m a lot better financially that I was a month ago, and I’m slowly getting a hang of the job, there is still a large ass gap between where I am now, and where I want to be. I’m kind of caught up in that headspace.

    So let’s delve a little deeper.

    New Job

    What has been frustrating about this is they have thrown me into this role, with a vague sense of what they want me to do, and said Go! Unfortunately, there is no clear goal or target. Which is really frustrating me. I’ll be organising a meeting with the director to get some clarity, but there is still a lot to do. We will see. I will try lock down a weekly, or fortnightly meeting with him to make sure I’m on track. I think that will help.

    The other thing that has frustrated me is they wanted me to take on a particular client project. It is a more complex project, which is why they wanted me to take it on. To be honest, I’m comfortable taking on the project, I’ve done similar things before, however, there is a twist to how they usually do things which has really made things difficult.

    <rant>

    Firstly, the client is a friend of one of the senior staff at the company I’m working for. The staff member has taken it on themselves to essentially be the project manager (which is what I do), however, she has never done digital marketing before (she was originally a web developer). What this has resulted in is bunch of miscommunication, and frustration for both me and the client. I’m pissed because its my first project I’ve been a part of and I’ve been made to look incompetent at no fault of my own. Its also put a bad taste in the clients mouth. I resolved the issue by contacting the client directly, getting clear on what they actual wanted and getting it to them asap (turned out to be a 30 minute job instead of the hours I originally put in). Anyways, its resolved for now and I will be vigilant in make sure what I do is actually what the client wants. Sigh.

    </rant>

    So yeah, its been a bumpy first week or two, but I’m slowly pushing forward. The morning pages mentioned in my previous posts have helped a ton and allowed me to have a clearer head around things.

    Finances

    So I’m in a bit of debt. About 9K. It’s not much compared to others, however, I hate being in debt. I had planned to pay off about 1K this week, however, random medical expenses came up, so that didn’t happen. It’s no big deal, but the frustration and feeling of not getting ahead has crept in. A big pain in the arse. Had a good conversation with the wife, and we have a rough plan around budgeting and getting some extra income in the door. However, to add to it, the landlords being a pain, and not allowing us a room mate (we have a spare room thats not be used). That would get us a solid couple of hundred dollars a month extra coming in. We are keeping at it though.

    Wife’s chronic pain.

    This is something we have been dealing with for the last 4 years, but it’s worth mentioning. It’s always on our mind. We are slowly getting towards a conclusion with this, and seeing a doctor next week regarding surgery. The new nerve pain medication is working so far with no side affects. So thats a win. But this is something that has hindered our lifestyle, and put a holt on some of our goals for the last couple of years. I will be happy once it has been resolved and we can fuck it right off.

    So yeah, I’m in the moras right now, but I’m slooooowly pushing forward. And thats the important part of me. No matter what, so long as I’m pushing forward things will be resolved.

    The other thing is to push forward towards the One Perfect Day. I’ve set three years for that. I’m going to start making pointed actions in the near future to get closer to it.

    Alrighty I’m out. C&Cs are always welcome.

    Nat

     

    #22878

    Leigh
    Keymaster

    I’m sorry to hear about your wife. I’ve got friends dealing with nerve issues and it sounds incredibly frustrating. Hope the medication can help get everything under control and you guys can get your lives back on track.

    Also, hope everything goes well with the job. Dealing with office politics can really suck so hope you can get out of there asap and get your own stuff back up and running.

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