Are you asking yourself the real questions?

RuPaul is right.

The struggle is real, and it will continue to be real.

So, I’ve started asking myself the following questions;

“What pain are you willing to sustain? What do you want to struggle for?”

These are questions created and addressed by Mark Manson.

This man actually asks the real questions and some of these questions are really hard.

The basics behind this is we often share what it is that we want.

The things we share are often about having the perfect life, but it doesn’t address what we are willing to do to get it.

You can read more about this in the blog post here, or buy his book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck here.

Recently, I’ve come into a transitional phase in my life.

One where I have to address “Who am I and what do I value?”

So far I’ve been answering this question based on past experiences and expectations outside of myself.

The truth is that some of the things I want to do might seem strange.

I recently got a job as a remote customer service person.

Basically like a call center for your home.

I’m excited for this because I’ll still get to help people, even though a lot of them may be angry.

Teaching middle school, heck, even kindergarten has prepared me for this.

Now, before you get all judge-y about call center jobs let me tell you a story.

It’s about three masons, putting a building together.

All three of them are doing the same job.

The first one had the mindset of, “I’m just laying some bricks.”

The second one said, “I’m making a building.”

The third one said, “I’m building a house of God.”

The difference between the three is this; the first one saw what he was doing as a job, the second one a career, and the third one saw what he was doing as his passion.

I want to reiterate that they were all doing the same type of work.

It’s about the mindset behind the work.

Angela Duckworth covers this in the chapter on Passion from her book Grit.

When we talk about passion, we see it as something outside of what we are already doing and it comes from a place of lack.

The place we should start with is what we already do, what we like to do, and how we can use those things we like to do.

Then, we can channel them into what we already do or find other places that those things would be helpful.

So when it comes to doing this new job…

The thing that most excites me is the combination of these things while helping people understand the fine print.

If you know me, you know I read EVERYTHING.

I get particular joy reading through health plans.

If someone is struggling with anything that requires combing through the fine print, I’ll go through and help them figure out if they are justified and what they can do.

So the pain I’m willing to sustain is to help people resolve issues with medical insurance jargon.

Do I think I will be building houses of God doing this? That remains to be seen.

I’m so pumped about this, though.

That may sound strange to some people, but I’m no longer basing my life on the opinions of others.

That’s how I lost myself in the first place, and now have to struggle with questions like this in my 30’s.

Of course I’m learning that doesn’t even matter because no matter what our age we are transitioning in one way or another.

What is it that you are willing to struggle for?

Until next time.



(Note: If this spoke to you or you know someone else who needs to hear that they should just let themselves enjoy the things they actually want to struggle through, give it a share. I am also not getting anything out of sharing Mark’s stuff. I just think he is asking the real questions and putting the unfiltered truth into the universe. Seriously, read his stuff. The same goes for Angela Duckworth.)

What is the meaning of self-discipline?

Have you ever tried to start doing something new, but find yourself in a cycle of excitement and then disappointment?

If you ever feel you lack self-discipline, hold on for this series on self-discipline.

Today I’m going to cover the meaning of self-discipline.

Let me first define self-discipline by explaining what self-discipline is not.

  • It’s not punitive.

When we think of the word discipline, more often than not it has a negative connotation.

Sometimes we feel like in order to be disciplined we have to punish ourselves or make ourselves suffer in some way.

This brings me to my next point.

  • Self-discipline is not linked to your morality (or it shouldn’t be).

If you mess up and fall of the wagon you are not a bad person.

This type of thinking is actually self-sabotaging.

Whether or not you choose to eat celery doesn’t determine the type of person you are.

The amount of time you spend in the gym versus sitting on the couch is not directly linked to whether or not you are a good or bad person.

  • Self-discipline is not shaming.

This is related to the morality point because those negative thoughts you have come from a place of shame.

While negative reinforcement can work, it will only work for a short period of time.

  • It’s not just sheer will power alone.

If you hate what you are trying to be disciplined about, when the going gets tough that’s when it stops.

If you are trying to do something out of self-loathing or because you want to be like someone else, that won’t work long term either.

One of our main motivations in life is to avoid pain.

So cultivating self-discipline cannot come from a place of punishment, self-hate, shame, envy or will power.

So what IS self-discipline?

Well, I am going to start with definitions from a couple of dictionaries.

I like using official text in my analyses so bear with me here.

The Mariam-Webster dictionary defines self-discipline as correction or regulation of oneself for the sake of improvement.

The Oxford Dictionary states that self-discipline is the ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it.

In order to accomplish either definition of self-discipline effectively is to start from a place of self-acceptance.

Self-acceptance isn’t just accepting the sunny side of yourself, but the dark side of the moon as well.

Then a continuation from a place of self-awareness.

What do you really want?

If it’s not running, forcing yourself to be a runner isn’t going to work long term.

Especially if you don’t just dislike running, but you hate it.

It’s okay, I’ve been there. I wanted to run a marathon at one point, but I came to the realization that I can’t stand running.

I found that I don’t really care to understand pace and all of the things that go into running effectively and with intention.

When I let go of running and just started dancing (setting up the PS4 camera again), I had more fun.

The one thing I consistently did growing up was play Dance Dance Revolution with my friends or doing a belly dancing class.

Because I am aware of this, I found a sustainable way for me to do cardio and enjoy doing cardio.

For some people it’s the opposite.

The point is you have to know where you stand with what you are trying to accomplish.

I am aware that I am a dancer, not a runner and I accept that.

If the weakness you want to improve requires an action you love doing you’ll stick to it a lot better.

There is a lot more I want to cover on this topic, so catch my next point on why self-discipline is important.

Until next time.


My Top 5 Goals for the Rest of This Year

Previously I wrote a blog post on 5 tips to set goals and the mindset required to achieve success. In this post, I share my personal goals for the rest of the year.

Previously I did a blog post on goal setting.

I gave 5 tips and the mindset necessary to set yourself up for success.

In this post, I want to share what my goals are for the rest of the year.

I went ahead and purchased a planner to help out with this process.

The planner I am using for this year is the Go Girl Planner.

What’s nice about this planner is that it is split into 3 sections.

The first section has to do with casting your vision, the second segment is a monthly planner, and the third is a weekly planner.

I decided to go with a weekly planner this time because daily planners get heavy and cumbersome.

Also, while I enjoy the ones that ask you to write daily affirmations and quote of the day and gratitude on every page, it becomes overwhelming and even more time consuming than helpful.

At least that was how it was when I used one of those types of planners while I was a teacher.

I have a little more time now, but the lesson learned is that I can spend time taking action in other places, but never, ever forget to express gratitude in some form or another.

In 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Cover recommends using a weekly planner for each area of your life instead of breaking it down day by day, minute by minute.

He shares an anecdote about how his son did it that way, and scheduled in a 15 minute block to break up with his girlfriend. Obviously, this took longer than 15 minutes and derailed his minute by minute plan for the rest of the day.

Anyway the steps in the first section of the planner is casting your vision.

Before I took pen to paper inside my planner, I used a notebook to think all of this stuff out because I knew my brain dump was not going to fit on this one tiny page. After I did that I followed the steps in the planner.

The steps in this section are casting your big life vision. Then, create 3 goals from the 7 areas of your life.

Then it takes it a step further, stating that sometimes we overestimate what we can accomplish within a year, so out of the 21 goals I wrote on the previous page…

I picked the 5 big ones that I am going to share here.

Goal #1: I am walking for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

The major action steps to make this happen that I chose are pick 3 specific times of day to walk, have my shoes ready by the door (with socks), set alerts on my phone, and pick safe spaces to walk. With the way things are right now, the last one is the most important to me.

Recently I adjusted this plan to simply start with 15 minutes of physical activity a day 5 times a week.

This came as a reevaluation of what I can accomplish right now.

This adjustment largely came because when I went outside to take out the trash it felt like a level of hell outside that I don’t think I can handle.

Walking up and down the stairs in my air-conditioned home for 15 minutes? I like that idea better.

On another note, this reminds me of a program I used to do from Nerd Fitness. The concept is that you treat exercise like a video game and you get experience points based on the type of activity. I think I may see if I can access my account there. If you like video games and want to become the next Aqua Man, but aren't sure how to get started? Hit up Nerd Fitness.

Goal #2: Make $4,000/month, and do so by 1 year from now.

This is kind of a big goal, but the plan is to replace and even exceed the amount of money I was making while teaching in the public school system.

The major action steps are to get my LLC for my proofreading business and my private studio, create streams of residual income through writing an eBook, implementing an effective internet marketing strategy, and making sure that I follow up with clients effectively.

I know there are other places where I can monetize things, but I think sticking to those for now would be good.

If you are looking to monetize your blog though, it appears that WordPress has webinars on Tuesdays addressing this specific topic.

Goal #3: Trust myself to let go of things, be responsible enough to break down and follow through with plans, and really trust myself to accept my positive and negative traits for what they are.

The timeline on on this goal is really the rest of my life, but this is something I think was worth putting in writing.

The major action steps for this goal are to meditate regularly, making sure that I am practicing patience while taking things in smaller chunks, follow my plans, and review and reflect on those plans regularly.

Goal #4: Pay off my Capital One card by the end of this year.

I’m going to come clean. I have 3 credit cards, all of them are close to maxed out. While getting all three of them paid off, it’s reasonable to say that paying the minimum on two and putting extra on the third one seems more feasible than throwing extra money at all 3 and hope I don’t go over budget throwing everything at them.

The action steps on this one are monitoring my subscriptions, i.e. where are they coming out of, assessing need vs. want when making purchases, and stay within my weekly allowance.

As I’ve gotten older, financial literacy/acquiring wealth have become increasingly important to me. In my late teens/early 20’s my eyes were bigger than my wallet.

Now I’m working towards the opposite direction, my wallet being bigger than my eyes.

That’s a strange way to put it, I know.

There is a lot of great literature out there on finances, but my favorite so far has been Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.

Goal #5: Take time to relax and engage in some form of play and/or connection everyday.

This one isn’t in SMART goal form, but letting go of being type A sometimes and doing relaxing activities is going to be a main goal of mine.

Brené Brown talks about the importance of play in her book The Gifts of Imperfection, and I believe Daring Greatly.

The major action steps here are to take time to draw, write, play with my cat, and make sure family movie night happens.

If you’ve been following my social media accounts, you’ll see that my cat and I have been enjoying the new recliner.

In my planner I have actually set everything in 30, 60, and 90 day cycles just to make sure that I have enough data on a goal to review and adjust depending on what it is.

I decided to share these things here because I wanted to show how I personally applied some of what I wrote in a previous blog post, but to also get a little accountability as I grow and evolve for the rest of the year.

I also hope having this knowledge will help you on your journey in some way.

Classically yours,