Today I begin day 1 of the “Your Turn Challenge,” a 7-day blogging challenge created by Winnie Kao, special projects lead for marketing / business guru Seth Godin. In short, the challenge is to “ship” a blog post every day for 7 days in a row, i.e. finish something and get it out to the world. Will it necessarily be “ready?” No. Will it be perfect? Of course not. Not possible. And not the point. The point is to ship.
I have always been a huge fan Seth Godin’s marketing prowess and how that informs his worldview. After all, I am a firm believer that life is marketing. I love the idea of this challenge – “forcing” us to write by creating a community that will hold each other accountable. Seth constantly stresses the importance of “shipping,” bringing to light the frustrating fact that so many of us have fabulous ideas that we never actualize because life gets in the way.
I feel like this challenge was created for people just like me. I know I have things to say. I’ve said them before – over wine with friends, on the phone with my brothers, etc. But I’ve never taken the time to crystallize my thoughts into viewpoints, and write those viewpoints down so I can see patterns in who I am and what I really stand for.
I’m coming up on my 10-year anniversary from Georgetown University this May– yikes! At Georgetown, I read and wrote A LOT. Choosing a less than typical career path coming out of Georgetown as a professional entertainer, I almost never am called upon to write long-form like this. Emails, yes of course, and I’m always reading articles that come across my inbox, but I regret to say that I have not been regularly engaging in the heavy-duty, feel-yourself-stretching reading and writing for 10 years now that was commonplace in college. Oy. Reading that hurts a little. So I welcome this challenge. One post in, and it already feels good. Thank you, Winnie, and thank you, Seth.
The timing of this challenge is fantastic… or maybe it’s horrible. Let me explain. I took much of this month off from my full time gig performing in Vegas to recharge my batteries, and to write anyway. I’ve flirted with the idea of taking a couple weeks off to recharge for a while now, but tendonitis injuries to my knee and arm pushed me over the edge to take the plunge and chill out a bit.
The dates of this challenge almost don’t seem “fair,” and by that I mean that I believe a large part of what Winnie was trying to do here is to have us deal with all of the distractions of life, but find a way to ship anyway. You’ll notice that Winnie did not tell us to pick a week that works for us and our schedule. She said—the challenge will be held Jan 19-25. What you’ve got going on is irrelevant!! :) For better or for worse, at the moment I don’t have to deal with many of those other aspects of “normal” life. Lucky me! Oh well… I didn’t pick the dates!
So of course the point of this 7-day-challenge is to provide a jumpstart. And the question, especially now for me in this bizarro reality of beautiful, relaxing Costa Rica, becomes how will I carry this momentum forward once the 7-day challenge is over? What changes will we (I) make to our (my) life to make “shipping” a priority? Well…
1) I have noticed that I am most productive in the morning – not only am I fresh, but I don’t have a million different people bugging me for stuff… a million different people that I love, bugging me about stuff that I love, but still! Because of this, I have decided to alter my regular weekday schedule in Las Vegas to hold appointments and calls until mid-morning, giving me time to write when I wake up. Fortunately I have a career in which I can set my own schedule and do this, with the proper discipline on my end.
I am fully aware that embracing the morning time for writing, meditation, and personal development is in NO way an original thought. But for me it marks a decisive change and worth noting here, so y’all can hold me accountable!
2) And maybe it’s because I’m a “Vegas guy,” but I’ve decided to “double down” on making writing a priority! I have decided that I will not check my email before my morning writing sessions are complete. For those reading this who know me, you know how difficult this will be for me. I am that guy who responds to your email in 7 seconds… like all the time.
I read somewhere (probably in Seth’s blog??) that almost everyone checks their email as soon as they wake up, mostly in bed on their cell phone (guilty!). This immediately puts us into reaction mode. We start our days off solving other people’s problems, and dealing with other people’s agendas. How much better would it be to start the day off with gratitude for the gift of another day, and put into the world what we choose? I couldn’t agree more, so I’m adding this stipulation to my writing sessions each morning.
Winnie created something wonderful here with this challenge. It makes you think… What could we do in our own lives that would enable us, and the people we are close to, to focus more on “shipping?” How can we keep the momentum going?
Learn more about the Your Turn Challenge at: http://yourturnchallenge.strikingly.com/