The 27 Day Challenge of Excellence

The past couple of months have been somewhat of a roller-coaster ride for me. Really, I guess you could say that about 2013 in general, but things seemed to have come to a head in late August, early September.
I did some soul searching, which is never an easy thing (if you’re doing it right) and made some tough decisions, with some even tougher choices being the result.
For the last week or so, I’ve felt like I survived a free fall of sorts. A little broken, a lot bruised. Uncertain of my surroundings, a little scared (ok, maybe a lot), but still feeling that rush of adrenaline that comes when something huge has taken place.

Stumbling around in the dark is not the smart way to get where you are trying to go. You may get there, out of pure luck, but it’s better to have a light, and a map. Or at the very least, a compass.

This Challenge dropped into view, or maybe I stumbled upon it, but however the Universe brought it to me, I am thankful. For it is my map, my compass, my light.

The premise is that you make a list of habits you want to change – either bad habits you are trying to stop, or good habits you are trying to cultivate. Then, for the next 27 days, you focus on those habits, and by the end of the challenge period, you should have adopted them (or quit them, as the case may be).

It helps if you have a group of people who are working on their own habits, to help you through the rough spots, because, let’s face it, if you aren’t cheating yourself, there WILL be rough spots.

I sat down Sunday night and wrote out my list. There were 15 things I wanted to work on – some are hard, some seem like no-brainers, but I need to work on them anyway.

Then Monday I refined my list, and went to work on it. I didn’t do too badly for the first day, or the second day.

I’ve decided to share my list here. And at the end of the 27 days, I will write another post with my results, and my struggles throughout.

So, here is my list of habits that I am working on over the next 25 days (2 days are in the books already!):

1. Workout 6 days/week – 3 of those days have to be at 5AM
2. Get up at 5AM every day (Sunday can be 7AM)
3. Floss Teeth every night
4. Shower & Get dressed, including hair & makeup – whether I’m leaving the house or not!
5. Don’t buy anything I can’t afford to buy with cash
6. Minimum of 2 hours/day, 6 days /week of solid, focused work on BB
7. Write one blog post/day – can be personal or business – just write
8. No chips, no candy, no beer
9. Quit Smoking
10. Run minimum of 3 days/week
11. Listen to PD audio every day
12. Read minimum of one personal development book
13. Drink Shakeology every day

Stay tuned for my results!


The Writer Within

I love writers. They are, hands down, in my top three of the types of people I would surround myself with on a daily basis, if the opportunities presented themselves. I would rather communicate with the written word than with a verbal conversation at least 90% of the time. I feel like I’m so much more eloquent when writing, and can rarely present my thoughts and ideas effectively when having to speak them aloud. Perhaps that’s a throwback to spending more time with books than people during my childhood. Maybe I was never sufficiently socialized as a child. Or maybe I just don’t like the drama and affectations of people in the flesh. It’s a mystery, for sure.

Back to writers, though. I have friends whose pieces I’ve had the pleasure of reading this week. It amazes (and frustrates) me that their words seem to effortlessly take shape on the page, that they’ve managed to capture so effectively the thoughts that are streaming through my mind at a million miles per minute. Their words just seem to tumble out, forming the perfect bridge between my psyche and reality, and they leave me wondering how it is possible that they can so accurately harness what I’m feeling, without the benefit of a conversation, without “knowing” what I think I’m going through.

I’m jealous, angry even, that they have “stolen” my stories, and have put them to paper before I can even formulate the story myself. It makes me feel like nothing I write after them will be good enough, or will even feel original. To undertake the piece now, I would just be reiterating something someone else has already written, that they’ve written in such a way that no matter how I create my piece, it will seem to fall flat.

Even this is a struggle.

And it occurs to me that I’m being extremely self-centered.

They aren’t writing for me, or about me.

I am not the only person who has ever felt the things I’ve felt. Many of my experiences, while unique to me and my life, are not unique to the world around me. There are people here, in this space, who have experienced the hurts, the joys, the love, and the loneliness that I have experienced. Not in exactly the same way, and not by the same path that I’ve travelled, but the feelings are the same. And I’m filled with an overwhelming feeling of love and admiration for the writers that I know. They have been able to muddle through their thoughts, walls, and emotions and share a piece of themselves in a medium that has the space available for anyone who wishes to do the same.

There is relief in this thought.

I love writers. I love my friends who are writers, who, through their own courageous forays into pen and paper, continuously give me the drive to work through the onion of my own mind and soul, peeling back the layers a bit at a time. In time, I will be able to share myself the way others do, but there is no timeline.

I don’t have to rush to beat someone else to the story. I don’t have to feel like my time has slipped by for being relevant. I don’t have to create the writer within. She’s already there, and she’ll come out when she’s ready.