I just started a new project called Soul Searching Adventures. It’s wilderness survival training + personal development work + fun trips with awesome dudes. If you or someone you know might be interested I would be so grateful if you would forward them this email and invite them to apply for the next trip in April.
New Year: How I think about goals
Adee and I went to Burning Man for the first time a few years ago. The leaders in our “camp” were constantly reiterating the same phrase. Intention + attention = manifestation. I thought to myself, “Oh god here we start with the woo woo shit.”
Burning Man ended up being a pressure cooker for me to work towards some of my personal and relationship goals. One of them was to be more helpful to Adee physically. To protect her more, to make her feel more safe, to carry all the bags in from the truck without a second thought.
We talked about this and other goals we had on the first day in our RV. The rest of the week I had a ton of practice.
I usually wanted to ride my bike faster, because she’s slow and cautious as hell, but when I’d remember my goal I’d slow down and look back to check on her, staying closer to her.
I checked in on how she was feeling multiple times per day and if there was an opportunity to do something for her I did. Going to get her water or food, carrying something for her, etc.
I stayed open to that manifestation statement and realized what they were saying.
If we simply keep our attention (focus) on our intentions in life (goals) we tend to manifest (create/attract) most things we want.
In the past I had had this same goal, but it just never seemed to stay top of mind for me. By talking about it with Adee daily and also writing about this goal in my journal I was able to stay focused and make some meaningful and lasting progress on this goal.
How I’m using that model this year
My biggest intention this year is Responsibility. I now have a son. I have a wife that is sleep deprived. We have a business with 30 employees. I have a new project going on. I have more commitments than ever in my life.
I know that if I don’t have a system for staying on top of it, it will be really easy for me to drop the ball all over the place.
A couple years ago my business coach shared a practical way for me to keep my focus on my goals using Active Questions, a tool developed by a world class executive coach named Marshall Goldsmith.
Active questions begin with “Did I do my best to x?” where x is whatever your goal is. Each day in my Roam Research daily notes (journal) I ask myself a series of active questions such as:
Did I do my best to take responsibility for?
- The business
- Our finances
- Our home
Then I give myself a 1-5 rating on how I’m doing. Doing this keeps my focus on what matters, and the structure of the question takes the blame off of anyone else if I’m a 1 out of 5. It gives me greater ownership.
Is the world falling apart?
I guess it depends on what news sources you listen to. It’s definitely been on my mind a lot this year. There is so much chaos going on around us, and at times it has had a big effect on my sanity.
A couple things I read in The Art of Living by Epictitus have had a big impact on me:
In the book he says something to the effect of
“Stop looking for the newest teacher or sage. Become your own soul’s doctor. Be unmalleable by creating your own standards of living.”
I think this can be applied to what’s going around us right now.
Now more than ever I’m realizing that no one really knows what’s going on in the world. Everyone is trying to make sense of it for themselves.
It has taught me not to put too much stock in what any one person or institution says and to think for myself. To remain tentative knowing that what we believe right now is always subject to change.
Something to the effect of “control what you can control and surrender/let go of the rest.”
I’m personally not planning on being a political activist anytime soon. So I have no direct influence on anything politics. All I really have control over is my own internal state and my actions.
I keep reminding myself that spending any amount of time and energy in fear of what might happen is futile. I can use a little bit of fear to prepare myself and my family, but anything beyond that is wasted. Then I can focus entirely on staying centered myself.
On that note, I’ve listened to this YouTube video by Elena Brower over a dozen times since Covid started. A mantra I got from it is that “There is a place within you that is always at peace. Always at rest.” It reminds me that I can tap into inner peace at any time.
Physical movement stuff
I watched this incredible video by Ido Portal years ago and one line stuck out to me and has stuck with me ever since: As humans we deeply desire the constant development of movement complexity. I think that means we want to challenge ourselves physically and learn new skills.
I’ve gotten obsessed with rock climbing lately, and it has been so invigorating for me. I focus a lot of my energy on learning new cerebral skills like writing, leading, marketing, podcasting, etc. and at times have neglected the physical side of my life. Putting just as much energy into my physical life lately has been so fulfilling and fun.
Parenting and relationships
This is going to sound so cliche. Becoming a parent has been one of the most challenging and amazing experiences of my entire life. The joy and love part comes easy. The challenge, tension and conflict is uncomfortable.
I have my wife to thank for so much of the growth and progress we’ve made in our relationship.
Something that has been helping me a ton lately is a focus on “generosity,” and I think anyone in ANY relationship can benefit from this.
I read an article titled The Power of (Ridiculous) Generosity by John Wineland
In it he says
“Generosity is the foundational principle of spiritual intimacy and yet, the predominant problem in relationships today is the pernicious and often self-justified lack of unconditional giving.”
For much of my relationship I’ve unconsciously expected everything to be split 50/50.
This has led to me “keeping score” of who is doing what tasks around the house or otherwise and probably miscalculating this more often than not (giving myself much more credit than her).
What I’m trying to do is notice that tendency, let go of those thoughts and instead be as generous as possible with my time, attention, and energy. I have a long way to go, but I try to ask myself how I can make Adee’s life easier. How I can make her day go a little more smoothly. How I can take more off of her plate.”
My dad embodies this so well. He is SO helpful to my mom at all times without her even having to ask.
When I asked him what goes on in his mind that causes him to be this way he said, “I genuinely just feel like she’s always doing more than me. I always tell myself that I’m just playing catch up.”
That’s the attitude I’m trying to adopt.
Wanna join a 90 day challenge with me?
One of my favorite new rituals each new year is to take on a 90 day challenge (or multiple).
Last year I committed to doing 3 solo podcasts per week for 90 days. As a result I blasted through some serious fear of failure and embarrassment around doing them, and I became so much better at podcasting.
This year Adee, my sister Chavanne and I decided to do a 90 day challenge to track our food daily. We told a few friends who told a few friends and now we have 15-20 people doing a challenge of their own.
I’m also sending out 1 email like this every week for at least 90 days in a little writing accountability group.
Some things I love about this:
It’s immersive – doing a lot of anything consistently makes you better really really quickly
It provides a high level of accountability – it is so much more likely that you’ll stick to something if you’re on the hook with others in your life
It’s fun – it’s just a great time to push and encourage each other and also talk a lot of shit.
Lastly we usually add some sort of consequence to make it more “sticky.” If I miss a day of tracking I have to do 250 burpees, and if I miss writing I have to buy the entire group a fancy dinner.
I’d love you to join me on the 90 day challenge this year. If you’re in just respond to this email telling me what you’re committing to, how often, and what your consequence is if you miss.