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365 Challenge: Day 361 – Tips

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Tips: (a) monetary gratuity for doing a good job, or (b) new segment sharing advice for writers on the ThisIsMyTruthNow blog

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Today is the 5-day countdown until the 365 Daily Challenge is complete. I’ve chosen tips as the word to discuss in my post because it will be one of the bigger segments on my blog in the coming weeks. I have a few other reveals in the next few days, but this is the first of the vision unfolding before our eyes… I’m not entirely certain how it’s going to come together, but I plan to spend the next two weeks mulling over the approach, style, and content I’d like to share. Along with last Sunday’s flashback word mentor, I want my website and blog to represent a big piece of who I am… someone who likes to help other people by sharing all that I’ve learned on my own journey. Through the 365 Daily Challenge, I often suggested tips or provided advice on a few topics. In the enhanced blog, I want it to be a more formal approach where I have a few different segments or arcs throughout the month.

A few of the areas I’m considering:

  • Tips for writers. While I’m a fairly new author, I have been writing for years either professionally in my business career or creatively in my personal time. Providing tips doesn’t imply I’m an expert… I’m certain my editor will concur with that statement! I have loads of mistakes in different drafts of my books as they’re being written. In the first published version of Watching Glass Shatter, it contained a bunch of grammatical and proofreading issues (all later corrected) because it’s hard to find your own mistakes after re-reading the same thing repeatedly. Once I brought in an outside editor, it was life-changing. And so… I look at tips as a way to share things I’ve learned, explanations on how I write, or thoughts on options for others to try. These tips could include things like: (1) how to build characters your readers can connect with, (2) what are filter words and how do you remove them from your novel, (3) what ways/tools can you use to find duplicate/repeated words in your drafts, (4) how do you use Twitter to find new readers, or (5) how do you build a timeline and outline before you begin writing without going crazy.
  • Tips for life. The world is a big place. Our education can be formal or informal. I’m often surprised at the types of things people don’t learn along the way, but probably should have. Things that help you build a stronger, happier, and more efficient life. Many of these things I was lucky enough to be taught throughout the path. Some I learned only after failing miserably along the way. And in a few small cases, it just came naturally to me. But that’s now how it happens for everyone else, nor do people truly get the ‘life education’ they should get early enough to make an impact. These tips could include things like: (1) how to manage your money when you’re first starting out after school, (2) how do you handle constructive criticism, (3) how to think for yourself and not just go with what others want, (4) what do you need to do to achieve a balanced day, or (5) why is it important to trace your ancestry?

Both of these items are only partially fleshed out, but I’m passionate about the necessity of these lessons and experiences at an early age / period in life. I spend a lot of time thinking inside my head about how much we all face the same issues, yet we fail to truly enact the change to make the future better. It usually comes down to not having built your life with these principles at an early enough stage. I’m far from perfect. I make mistakes all the time. But I have a strong foundation and easily find my way back to peace. I would love to share my approach with others in the hope it helps even just a few. I’m thinking through how to make this work on a blog — also always open to suggestions. I thought I’d share just a little in today’s post about how I see tips playing a bigger role on my blog in the future. Looking forward to everyone’s ideas and feedback.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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365 Challenge: Day 311 – Purpose

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Purpose: the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists

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This morning has been different, but I expected it to be. W needed to get back to work today, and with Ryder gone, it means I’m alone in the apartment for the first time. Between the silence, frequent memories and constant head shake when I realize I don’t need to give Ryder his pill, check the water bowls, let him outside or look for him between my feet as I wander around, I’m lost this morning. I felt it the most when I sat on the couch with a cup of coffee and began reading through overnight email. It’s part of the process and I understand it takes time to figure it all out. I question the purpose of taking away such a lovable member of my family too many years too early. Part of what I am struggling with today is the realization that my life will be different. When I left my corporate position over a year ago, I felt like I had less of a purpose than I did previously. I no longer needed to leave the apartment on a certain schedule, nor did I have a deliverable due to a boss or an organization to support. With Ryder gone, there’s one less thing I am responsible for, which has made me question my own purpose again.

It’s mostly in that no one truly needs me or my attention in the same way they did before. As an author, my deadlines are generally my own, which can be positive and negative. I still have milestones to reach, networking to do with fans and followers, and stories to tell, but they are because I want to and choose to focus on these tasks — not because someone tells me I have to do it, or because I am a caregiver. I’m not ready to pick up my second novel, Father Figure, and begin wading through the beta reader feedback I received last week; that is the next step on this book. I will not meet my February goal to have it with the publisher to begin their launch process, but that’s okay and I can re-adjust my schedule to fit what will work for me right now. There is one thing I can and need to do when it comes to fleshing out my purpose. And that’s the 365 Daily Challenge.

When I began this daily blog challenge on March 13th, 2017, it was 365 consecutive days to post a characteristic about myself, ending on March 12th, 2018. After a few months, the daily blog challenge evolved to include my connections with other people (author alerts and spotlights), interesting news about my novel, or lists that we could all debate. It seems the daily blog challenge will need to evolve once again, as I missed 5 consecutive days of blogging while supporting Ryder and grieving his loss. But I’m okay with the change and in no way do I feel like I didn’t follow the course I set for myself back when this started. As I thought about it over the weekend, it became clear how to pull this back together. I could double up posts, but in full disclosure, the next few days or weeks are going to be difficult to focus on strong, quality content; one post per day is quite enough. Thus, I’ve found a solution that works for me.

I’m going to extend the daily blog challenge by 5 days, which means it will now end on March 17, 2018. In a way, this is more ideal. This challenge was born out of all the major changes going on in my life at the time — leaving a job, publishing a book and turning 40. My 41st birthday is March 18, 2018. With the new end date being the day before my birthday, it’s a fitting way to end one year (plus 5 days!) of introspection into who I am. As I wind down in those last few weeks in March, I will reflect back through the year on this journey; everything from Ryder’s Rants to the Author Alerts, the lists of things that described who I am to the stories I’ve shared about my life. My goals are still front and center, and the extra five days provides me a way to jump into the next year of my life with so many positive changes and friendships. It also gives me a chance to work through my grief and find the best path for my future — to find my purpose.

Thank you to everyone for their support and guidance the last few days (and the last ten months)… and believing in me and this 365 Daily Challenge — plus five!

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

365 Challenge: Day 205 – Focus

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Focusa central point, as of attraction, attention, or activity

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I returned from vacation, ready to focus my efforts on key next steps. I asked myself this morning: what are they? Before I left on the trip, I planned my days very specifically to accomplish as much as possible on meeting my goals; however, it wasn’t the case for my days after the trip. I will need to spend part of today focused on choosing the short term goals for the next three months, as it’s important to keep myself on a path towards the ultimate end goals I’ve determined throughout the last year. At the same time, it’s a rather calm feeling to know that while I have several important things coming due before the end of the year, I also have the freedom to choose how to spend this time without feeling the intensity of past pressure.

Focus is important to me. I am driven by success and achievement. Without some boundaries around my key activities, I experience dissatisfaction and distraction. When I climb into bed at night, I want to know I did my best that day. My best could run the gamut from relaxing and reading to writing and marketing, but the point is always to know that I had a fair amount of direction set and a course to navigate. I started reading a new book called ‘Simply Does It’ by an author I met a few months ago via this blog: Melanie Mole. I completed 25% before bed last night and it was a great reminder of things we have been told for years but often forget. I’m going to make an effort to keep these ideals on the forefront for the next few days, as I pull together the details in support of my next quarter’s objectives. Life is not meant to be all work, nor is it meant to be all play. There’s a fine balance to it all, and I’m focused on finding my equilibrium. What about you… anyone focused on their journey and willing to share tips and ideas?

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 181 – Organized

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Organized: arranged in a systematic way

organized

As I poured my first cup of coffee this morning, my first real thought was that I seem to have forgotten in the last year how to stay organized. When I went into an office every day, I had an assistant (who was amazing!) and several tools to help me stay on top of everything. Now it’s just me! While I’m generally very good at remembering things to do and keeping lists, it’s really not the best solution to keep it all in my head, write on a few post-it notes or keep a running list in “Notes” on my iPhone. As I start moving forward with a writing career, it’s going to get even more complicated to properly track everything that I need and want to get done.

I’ve started doing some research to learn what the best tools are these days. I’m not focused just on things like a “to-do list tracker” or a “project schedule” app. I’m thinking more about “life tracking” tools, things like money, photos, videos, contact info, schedules, goals, books, movies, subscriptions, vacation spots, etc. It seems like a bit of overkill to keep track of all those things, but I think I need to get back to my roots at being more on top of this stuff. At least so I don’t feel like I’m wasting a few minutes each day trying to remember or locate everything. So… today’s post is more of a free-for-all. I’m gonna throw out a few ideas that I’m doing today, but I’d love to hear from everyone else about what they are using to keep track of all the stuff in life that tends to get a bit unwieldy. And maybe we can all learn some tips and tricks from one another if you also follow the comments in this particular post.

Here’s the key things I’ve got in place and that I want to change:

Things Working

  1. Goodreads tracks my reading: Read, Currently Reading, To Be Read (TBR), and then I have a “Top 12” Book Bucket List I update each month to keep me focused on the TBR.
  2. Quicken tracks all my financial accounts so I have a good send each morning where things stand, what bills I need to pay and forecasting what is in an account.
  3. My iPhone calendar tracks all my meetings or appointments. I block times whenever I have scheduled calls, dinner with friends, trips, etc. Even include reservations for hotels, flights and activities so it’s in 1 quick place if I need to see it.

 

Things With Possible Change Needed

  1. Photos. I have them in print albums, iPhone, laptop hard drive, back-up drives and the cloud. Where is the best place to keep them, to edit them and to back them up?
  2. Contact Info. I started with Yahoo back in 1997 when I got my first email address. I don’t like it, but that’s what everyone knows me by, so I stayed with it. I created a gmail email account, which I use occasionally. But where does everyone list things like address, birthday, phones, email, etc. about all their friends, acquaintances and family? Do you have reminders? Lately, Facebook tells me when someone’s important days are!
  3. To Do Lists… enough said… paper, task list, project plan or something else? I’m talking for everything, including what movies I want to see, what I need from the grocery store, blog post ideas, what errands I need to run…
  4. Writers – what marketing and tracking tools do you use for things like campaigns, followers, tasks, advertising, status on sales, character traits, plot issues/ideas, fans, key dates, where your book is selling, etc.
  5. Any other cool tools for other purposes?

 

Thanks in advanced for everyone’s shares today!

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 116 – Valuable

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Valuable: of great worth, importance or significance; beneficial

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Two phone calls in the last week have left me with a valuable reminder:

  • You don’t have to choose TODAY what you want to do for the rest of your life. You still have tomorrow to worry about the future. It’s not always about the end-game. It can also be about what’s next in your life — simply for the short-term.

I spoke about one of those two people in yesterday’s post when I mentioned a friend surprised me with an unplanned call to help fight the recent lack of motivation issues I’d experienced. She helped me realize I was valued for 15+ years in the business world and just needed to re-align my expectations of the future. And then my former boss and constant mentor was the second of those calls later that afternoon. While we only ever find time to chat every two months, it’s always valuable. She’s known me for nearly half my life and spares no hesitation nor filter when telling me what I fail to see myself. Yesterday’s advice focused on how no one can predict what they need to accomplish for the rest of their life without first laying the steps needed for a solid foundation. She told me that I seemed to have forgotten over the last few years to continue to build out the foundation of my life… and that I’m struggling right now because when I had suddenly stepped through what I interpreted was the final room of the blueprint, the doorway didn’t lead anywhere predetermined but instead into what felt like a vacuous hole.

I listened for a few minutes and tried to understand what she meant. And together, we found several explanations for what’s going on beneath the surface of my life. In a 15-year period, I consolidated a career that normally lasts about 40 years. I moved up the corporate ladder so many times that when I finished and left the company, in my mind, it felt like a retirement. Perhaps my mind recognized the end of one career as the end of my focus on the future. When I was 22 and graduated from college, I had absolutely no clue what to do with my professional life. But I spun that into 15+ years of great success. While my mind today is thinking that I’ve got a set-back where I’m 22 again, pondering what to do with the rest of my life, it’s completely forgetting that this is a totally different experience. It’s an opportunity, not a worry. And I don’t have to choose what I will do for the remainder of my time on Earth specifically TODAY.

Let me break it down… as I’m truly discovering this as I am typing out my post… in all its potential brilliance-cum-foolishness. I previously mapped out a career with my former boss and mentor. I told her what role I wanted to be in at what point in my career. I had formal plans. I had methods and tools and check-ins each year. I surpassed every goal I made. But I never planned what would happen after I hit the final goal of Senior Vice President. I just assumed it would all come together. I neglected it. I focused on other things. And then when I made SVP, I was thrilled and enjoyed it for two years. But now things have changed. And when I moved into the last room of the building… that last title/role I’d planned… and opened the door to the next step and room… it was empty. No food. No water. No shelter. No light. No warmth. No foundation. Therefore… no surprise that I feel the way I do.

But there’s hope, she says. “You were doing amazing things at 25 that normally take others in the business world twice as long to achieve. You would be valuable in any role, in any company, in any industry and in any profession. You’ve got an opportunity to have a whole second career. So build your blueprint.” And she is right. My value may always be something perceived differently by other people, but I know I am valuable enough to spend the time figuring it out. Because simply put: If I don’t, ain’t no one else gonna do it for me! All I lack is the motivation behind it all… and my motivation is ensuring I do not disappoint other people. The people closest to me have always known that. Both women I mentioned above volunteered to apply some pressure. Send frequent check-ins. Blast me for missing a deadline or producing a weak plan. Review my detailed content and steps. To provide the piece that’s missing from helping me execute on my future foundation and blueprint.

And since this 365 Daily Challenge is not just about me anymore… it’s about you too now… how do we do this together? How do we find the motivation and the desire and the ability to figure out the future when we’re no longer just out of school and pondering our options with a fail-safe built in to help guide us through the discovery and decision-making process. A few ideas:

  • Map out a rough plan. Don’t focus on the details. Mark the things you’d like to see happen over the next 1-2-5-10-20 years…
  • Find someone to hold you accountable. Not a boss. Not a spouse or partner. But someone who you can lean on without a current expectation of reciprocated love or required job duties.
  • Reward yourself. Don’t forget the smaller milestones build into amazing successful leaps.
  • Try things. Don’t focus on the perfect solution or a potential fear. Failure happens. But success comes in the strangest of places.
  • Breathe. Every time the fear or the concern creeps in… stronger… more powerful… stave it off with your confidence and brilliant hope. You know your value.

We all have valuable skills. We are all valuable. If someone looked at me right now without knowing anything about me… purely basing it on what I’m currently doing and achieving, it would be an eye-opening experience for me. But the greatest lesson I learned from my mentor today is that she’s going through the exact same thing. She retired less than two years ago and is just starting to realize that at 60, her life is still very open to more success. She believes she has another 25 years before anything serious happens or she moves on… why shouldn’t she have a plan for how to make it as valuable as possible? And if she’s thinking that at 60, why I am still dilly-dallying at 40?

SHE (in this case) = Whatever is holding you back!

Valuable. I want to be valuable again. And I think I can be. And I’m starting to figure that out in a roundabout way. My mentor who called me out on a few things today is valuable. My friend who called out of the blue to check on me is valuable. We are all valuable. But it means we have to focus on it. We have to cultivate it like any other living and breathing life form that requires basic care and attention. And in a post last week, I said I would be writing my plan, which I am actively working on in the background. But while I’m doing that, I leave you us with a few thoughts to consider:

  • What’s our next achievable professional goal? How far out is it? Do we have the steps in place? Whose help do we need?
  • Do we have 15 minutes set aside every day to focus on monitoring our progress? Uninterrupted. Focused. Questioning. Re-aligning. Pondering. If not, how are we going to fix it?
  • If we’re not happy with where things are, the only way to change it is to take action. So what’s stopping us?

 

RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • Today’s 365 Daily Challenge recommended blogger to know is Rae Longest @ Blogging807. I’ll probably be in trouble for highlighting her, as she is a very busy woman who doesn’t get to blog as often as she says she’d like to. But over the course of the last 3+ months since she and I began chatting, I’ve grown to respect her very much. It’s less about the content in her posts and more about the quality of her advice and feedback in her comments on other people’s posts. She’s provided a great amount of advice, thoughts, reflections, praise and constructive feedback to me on nearly every one of my 365 Daily Challenge posts. And I find everything she has to say valuable… it makes me think about what I’m doing and saying, ensuring I provide as much clarity and honesty in all that I do. She’s a remarkable woman and everyone should stop by to check out her personal site and her group site. Many thanks to you, Rae.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.