Strategy Without Execution = Death

Writing is hard.

The lessons I’ve learned haven’t come with ease. I’ve overcommitted and underdelivered, a sure recipe for failure with clients who rely on you to produce. The hard lesson of entrepreneurship or any solo business venture; failure is inevitable and you’re responsible for ALL of the work.

I’m happy. I get to write blogs, articles, network with new, like-minded professionals who share the same mission: Produce remarkable content, grow their business, share their story with more people, and of course, generate more revenue!

What about when someone needs a well-written 1,500 word SEO optimized blog post on an unfamiliar topic? You need to do research, craft an outline, write a draft, edit the draft, format, add internal/external links, insert quotes, oh wait, shit. I forgot an image. Search for an image – 20 minutes later – you find one you like!

A headline, crap! Wait, what is the purpose of this post? Why did I write this? Why is my client’s audience interested in this?  Does it make sense? Does it flow? Ah!

See, I enjoy this sensation. The slight stress promotes creativity for me to think on my feet and make decisions. It forces me to write, no matter what.

Should I write a blog post about what goes through my head under the pressure of a tight deadline? What about the editing process? How do you handle writing about projects which you aren’t an expert in?

My point? I can talk a big game and over back it up but sometimes I don’t. I’m not perfect, but I’m working on it. Learn how to execute on your strategy and anything is possible. I’m always working on mine.

Reaping the Harvest of the Fall – Daily Recap

I rarely post on Facebook.

Last night after a remarkable day I felt I had a lot to share.

Some of the highlights include;

  1. Woke up at 5:30AM, made my bed and wrote my 5 Minute Journal (small wins)
  2. Ate a healthy breakfast and wrote two blog articles for current clients before noon.
  3. Quick 30-minute workout to boost my energy which fueled my crazy afternoon!
  4. A successful interview for a short-term contract project which I am excited about.
  5. Two hours later – phone call with an offer for the job =) woohoo!
  6. Strategy call with a Business Partner related to our prospective marketing agency
  7. Wrote 1,000 words on a potential business plan, 1,000 words of a book I’m working on.
  8. Saw Brandon Stanton, Author of “Humans of New York” speak at UNC-W about life lessons, personal development, and leadership. His story was remarkable to hear in person.
  9. Finished my day with a healthy dinner, wrote my “morning pages” at 10-11PM, and ran 2 miles with a friend to calm down my mind and prepare for bed.
  10. Time to reflect. I MADE time to reflect on my day, recall the memories, emotions, and experiences. I want to remember them as vividly as possible.

Today the momentum has continued nicely and productivity is at an all-time high. Momentum is critical to accomplishing major projects. A consistent effort towards specific goals is vital. Make sure you make progress every day.

I woke up at 6AM this morning again. Sure, I’m a little tired today, but you cannot rest in times of greatness. That’s when you need to be humble and remember what it took to get to where you are today. When you start seeing results and making progress, wonderful things will happen.

The seasons are a great analogy for life. Plant the seeds in the spring, water them in the summer and reap the harvest in the fall. Right now, I’m grateful for the seeds I’ve nurtured over the last six months, for all the blessings that continue to find me.

Point is – the fear I had of taking major risks to drastically change my life, was purely fear. I’m one day closer to a life that I desire to live and work which I want to do for the rest of my life than I ever have been. We all strive for self-awareness, and it is the most powerful asset you could ever possess or obtain.


Original Facebook post – 9/26/2017 around 10PM EST



I don’t share much on Facebook and am working on growing my blog as a place to share interesting content and experiences in my life. I was fortunate to learn about Brandon Stanton, Founder of Humans of New York this evening at UNC-W. I’m sure you’ve seen his images and read his stories at some point in the depths of the internet.

His stories are of the lives of strangers, but more importantly the power of listening to someone and allowing them to talk about things that are often uncomfortable to discuss.

The journey of his life as an artist is one I’ll never forget and I highly recommend his blog.

Today was an amazing day. One of those days where you feel a small sense of reward for the consistent hard work we put in each and every day. I just want to say no matter what you love to do, go 110% in on that ONE thing and pursue with all that you have.

On a completely unrelated note since I’m tired, today was the 2nd day in September that someone said, “You remind me of Tony Robbins”, or “you should be a motivational speaker”. I only enjoy helping people become better, and love the reference of course.

I love being able to think in someone else’s shoes and see things from their perspective. If I can help even in a small way, I feel a sense of accomplishment. I’ve been through and continue to go through my own problems.

The day I began listening to understand instead of respond, was the day I changed my entire belief system and put my life into perspective.

What a great day.

The Law of Attraction Strikes Again…

What is a coincidence?

I’m a firm believer in “The Law of Attraction”, and the idea that what you choose to think about is what you will become. This isn’t strictly positive thinking to help refrain from negativity, we all have that. With that said, I realized that I used to focus on things that were not constructive to the growth of my life. I needed to focus on things that I could control instead of complaining about my problems. I created my problems for myself.

Where I spent my time and who I spent it with was defining the person I was becoming. This wasn’t all bad, but much of my life was controlled by habits and routines that I couldn’t even explain. All I knew at the time is that change was necessary to make even the smallest of progress.

I want to share this story because for reasons which are inexplicable to me at the moment. People and ideas continue to come to me as I focus more and more attention on the problems, as well as potential ideas that I have in my life. I had a very unique experience over the weekend and I feel that sharing it may provide some value.

I’ll do my best to keep it brief.

My financial situation has been rather interesting since I left my job, moved to NC, and started a business as a Freelance Writer. Of course, I knew this transition would not be easy. I left a lucrative field in a thriving market to pursue a passion project… what in the hell was I thinking? The answer to that I’m still not sure, maybe I’ll go back soon…

Anyway – I sat at a local coffee shop running through my finances, debts, student loans, credit cards, etc… As someone who didn’t grow up wealthy, I’m sure you understand this is not a “fun” thing to do. It is necessary, however, in order to find ways to make the changes to improve my life. I made some phone calls, texted some friends, and decided that a Financial Advisor is a great option to help me with this decision.

But wait, what business does a Financial Advisor have with an in-debt 24-year-old college graduate? Not much…

I was fired up, ready to tackle the financial elephant of my life and take control. After finishing up my 2nd coffee and some work for the day, I headed to a driving range to clear my mind, hit some balls, and think about what I could do.

I happened to strike up a conversation with a guy on the range as I walked up, not unusual for me, but odd at first nonetheless. After a little small talk and some “closest to the pin” games, we talked business. Let’s call him Jim (his name wasn’t Jim).

Jim turns out to be a retired Financial Advisor who consulted for major organizations for over 25 years. Jim took a liking to me and since I had all of these major questions on my mind, I pitched him. A 30-second overview of my life, financial situation, and major life goals. I saw no value in holding back, who knows if I’ll see Jim again. Though I’m hopeful our paths will cross again.

The only way I can describe such an experience is divine timing. I trust that everything in life that happens to us happens for a reason. Today, I’m confident in saying that I have a goal plan to tackle my finances and focus on my business with a clear mind.

The poor decisions I have made and adversity I have faced have gotten me here today. I now realize the importance of seeing opportunity in adversity. Be mindful of your decisions, they will shape who you become, and there is a reason you are where you are today.

Why a CONSISTENT Morning Routine is Essential

What are your morning rituals?

Human beings are capable of remarkable achievement in life if we CHOOSE to MAKE time for what matters in our lives. The choices we make define us, which starts each morning that we pull our tired bodies out of bed to start the day. I get it, you’re probably saying “I’m not a morning person”, or “I need my sleep”, and I understand. I also believe that you don’t NEED to consider yourself a “morning person” to achieve better results in life – be it professional or personal growth.

Below are a few morning rituals to help find joy before anything could possibly go wrong in your day. Things always go wrong, prepare for them and do something important before it gets the best of you.

  • Exercise (fuel my body)
  • Reading (stimulate my mind)
  • Writing (organize thoughts and empty the mind of all morning clutter)
  • Studying (a desirable hobby, skill, or important daily practice you are learning)
  • Meditation (practice gratitude, appreciation, and mindfulness)
  • Practice creativity (creative writing, learn an instrument, drawing, painting, etc…)
  • Prepare breakfast for your family (I’m certain your kids will love you)
  • Tell your family members you love them (genuinely)
  • What brings you joy? What can you practice for 15-30 minutes that would make your day a PERSONAL success? Do that one thing. Put a smile on your face and keep it with you all day.
  • I hope you see my point…

Find a REASON to wake up early. Many people say “I don’t have time”, or “I’m too busy”, when in reality that often means – “I don’t care enough to make the time”. Turn your morning into something you look forward to doing something you love.

Before I share a few of my morning rituals, I want to share how much this morning practice has changed my life.

I found this guy JustinGuitar who teaches guitar online and decided I was going to practice every morning for fifteen minutes. Over one year later I can play more than I ever had imagined. Next, I wanted to start writing but wasn’t sure where to start. I loved writing and applied this same practice to creating 30 minutes of time every morning to free-write about a wide variety of topics. Sometimes freewriting, creative writing, stories, chapters of a book I’m working on, etc…

Recently I’ve been using my early morning study to learn HTML, CSS, and WordPress. My goal is to build expert level skills in web development and design to expand my skills as a Freelance Writer.

The driving factor for learning these skills is Automattic, an insightful company which strives to power over 50% of the websites on the Internet (28% now I believe). I’m pursuing a position as a #HappinessEngineer, which is the first line of customer support for all things WordPress and other Automattic products. This is a company I’ve been following since hearing a Tim Ferriss podcast (shocking) and I was fascinated ever since. It is a dream opportunity that I feel well-qualified and ready for. Maybe they’ll hire me…

I had a realization through my education that I could basically learn any skill or hobby I desired in a short period of time if I focused on one specific task each morning. I’m not saying you’ll be an expert, but I am saying the power of a consistent morning routine making time for important things to your life is vital to happiness. Maybe you make time after work, or at lunch, which is great. I use the morning because I love my solitude and alone time. I think, reflect, and analyze important aspects of life to find areas for which I can improve.

Here are five things I do each morning to put a smile on my face and crush each day. This doesn’t ALWAYS work out, I fail a lot, unfortunately, but it is always my way of looking at uncertainty in the face and saying “NOT TODAY!” I know that when things are going bad, I can look forward to the morning because I’m grateful to have another day closer to achieving my dreams.

  1. Wake up at 5:30-6 AM and make my bed
  2. Write a 5-Minute Journal and find things to be grateful for in my life.
  3. Brew a cup of coffee or tea (tea if I’ve been overdoing it on caffeine).
  4. 10 push-ups, sit-ups, and air-squats OR 10-15 minutes of a yoga sequence, typically Vinyasa to warm my body and stretch muscles.
  5. 10 Minute Meditation and write my 3 long-hand “Morning Pages” inspired by Tim Ferriss.

So I ask you, what do you do each morning? Do you lie in bed dreading the thought of leaving the comfort of your sheets? Or do you attack the day, do something you love, be grateful for what you have and CRUSH the day with a smile?

A smile, positive attitude, and optimism CAN change your life. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise and go crush the day!

10 Quotes of Inspiration

What is it that inspires you?

Each day I wake up and find inspiration through practicing gratitude and appreciation and looking at what is right in my life. I read, write, and learn each day to remember that life is a marathon and not a sprint. I could certainly use more patience than I have now.

I come across a ton of quotes that I store in my journal each day. Below is a list of my top ten most recent inspirational quotes.

What are your favorite quotes?

Enjoy! Please like, share, and comment below!

  1. “Being a giver doesn’t require extraordinary acts of sacrifice. It just involves a focus on acting in the interests of others” Adam Grant, Author of “Give and Take” and “Option B”
  2. “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”Walt Disney
  3. “Those that are a friend to themselves are sure to be a friend to all” Seneca
  4. “It’s not that I’m smart. It’s that I stay with problems longer.” – Albert Einstein
  5.  “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost how” – Victor Frankl
  6.  “On their deathbeds, people don’t think about their work or their life experiences or the items remaining on their to-do list. They think about love and family.” Rick Rubin
  7.  “If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us” Herman Hesse
  8. “It means much not to be spoiled by intimacy with riches; and he is truly great who is poor amidst riches”Seneca
  9. “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals” – J. K. Rowling
  10. “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them” – John F. Kennedy

 

How Nature and Overcoming the “Bad Days” are Connected

We all have those days. You know, the nights where you told yourself you’d be in bed by 10 PM only to lie sleepless until well past 1 AM. That was how my day went today.

I plan to wake up at 5:30 every morning of my life. This is the only way I know to create true personal time. Whether you write, play guitar, exercise, read, or whatever. The early morning hours before most of America is awake have proven to be my BEST times of the day. Maybe you are the same.

But… today was different. This was no ordinary day. I’ve been in NC for around two months. I can count on ONE hand the number of times I’ve slept past 7 AM.

It’s four, well now five.

Today – it was 9:30 AM. What in the hell happened? I could’ve stayed negative and dreaded doing anything, watched TV and sat on my ass all day.

Instead what I did, was start my day as if it were 5:30 AM after taking care of pressing obligations for the day. I exercised, ate a healthy breakfast, meditated, wrote my journal and morning pages, and read for 15 minutes.

See, for most of you, this isn’t a problem. For me, however, my off-days crush me. I feel defeated and vulnerable. These aren’t good feelings.

Exercise is the FIRST way I combat any signs of mental overwhelm or anxiety. Second, it is to write. I write every morning. I consider this my mental therapy. I get my cluttered morning thoughts onto paper and organize my day. Therapy one day, goal setting the next – this writing organizes my day and adds structure to a life where most of us are highly over stimulated.

Why did I choose this photo?

For one, I made a commitment to write, schedule, or publish a blog every day. I wasn’t sure what to write about today so I figured I’d pick a nice photo.

Secondly, this photo was a great day and it reminded me of how much I love nature.

I spent a portion of my afternoon today walking through this amazing park near me to clear my mind. Again, today was NOT my day. I walked with no music or audio book for the first few minutes to connect with nature.

From the trees, birds, and insects to the children and families playing in the playground laughing. Walking amongst Mossy Oaks and large Pines while soaking in the sun and enjoying the fresh air. It is intoxicating!

Sometimes – all we need is some exercise, fresh air, to bring us back to our prime. Our best self.

Final Thoughts

Before I head to bed for the evening and get some MUCH NEEDED rest, I want to share something.

I listen to an audio book everywhere that I go. In my car, walking or running around my neighborhood, folding laundry, basically anytime I can or find myself idle.

This lifted my spirits and changed my mood. I was uplifted by a new sense of wonder and possibility. The sun, the air, and nature helped me overcome one of my least productive days since I’ve lived in North Carolina.

Audio books have changed my life and inspired me in more ways that I can begin to describe. Instead of watching TV or playing a video game, try to find more constructive ways to be inspired. Throw on some headphones, go for a walk, while getting lost in an amazing audio book. I never regret learning, but I always regret the hours of my life spent binge watching a show or plain sitting on my ass.

Here are a few in my library:

How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson

The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg

For you fiction lovers:

The Absent Mind, by Eric Rill

The Cold Dish, by Craig Johnson

I started my blog because…

I started my blog because…

I always wanted a blog, and the more time I invested in my own journey to self-discovery, the more I realized that so many people are struggling with the same problem all over the world.

What is my purpose? What are my strengths? What are my dreams?

I wanted a place to share my experiences while acting as my support system through this journey into a new phase of my life. This new phase of my life was one I was embarking to make massive changes in my life to become a better person and no longer take advantage of the blessings I’ve been given.

I woke up one day realizing that my life was the product of other peoples dreams. Never what I aspired towards or dreamt of. When I started thinking from my heart and dreaming of what my life’s purpose is, I realized that major changes needed to be made. None of which have been easy. The process of setting small goals to improve my lifestyle and change habits that were limiting the growth of my life.

For me – joy, happiness, passion, and achievement play a crucial role towards those goals. Great satisfaction was achieved when I sold my TV months ago and began the habit of reading a lot, every day. I started to read and write for thirty minutes each before I would get to the office. This was a small but drastic change in my life. I found a new level of passion for writing. I realized the impact it has on the quality of my life, my relationships, and enjoyment I had each day. Though I’ve changed many other habits during this time, these are the two that have helped me become the person I am today.

When I write, I feel closer to achieving my dreams and fulfilling my purpose in life. After all, jumping into a career as a Freelance Writer from a few software sales jobs into the easiest transition or the wisest decision at the time. I’m still struggling each day. When I don’t write, I don’t feel myself, and that is when I confirmed any doubt. I made the right decision and will succeed at this. I have no choice.

Where to begin?

I knew little about professional writing before deciding to make a career of it. I had never written professional copy, ads, blog content (except my own), articles, but knew writing had a special place for me. As I continue to develop my skills as a writer, the process of mastering learning alone keeps my hand moving and head in the books as often as I can.

Clarity entered my life and memories became more clear the more I wrote.  I became more curious about the world around me more than I ever had in the past.

I started practicing…

I found this book called “How to be a Writer, by Barbara Baig and at first wasn’t sure what to expect of it. I didn’t know her but knew that if I ever wanted to achieve ANYTHING as a writer, I needed to practice. Also, going to a university or college to take a course is not an option, so I decided to educate myself through diligent research and learning from accomplished professors and authors alike. As I flipped through the pages it became clear I had made the right choice.

Barbara’s book aided me to cultivate a disciplined daily writing practice. After all, the most important aspect of being a writer, is, of course, writing. Her book inspired me to search into what she calls the creative and content mind to expand my capabilities as a writer. Some of these practices include; creativity, memory, observation, imagination, curiosity, and using the subconscious mind. Instead of only writing when times were tough, I began to practice and is what I credit for me writing this today.

So how are things going so far?

Freelance writing has taught me a lot about myself in a few short months.

Here’s a short list of some of the writing topics and lessons I’ve learned thus far:

  • SEO and Keywords
  • Social Media Management
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Copywriting
  • Email Marketing
  • Advertisements
  • Blog Posts
  • Article/Magazine Content
  • Newsletters
  • Press Releases
  • Copywriting
  • Image editing/resizing
  • How to create Infographics
  • Basics of HTML/CSS
  • WordPress Customization

Let alone the time and effort spent on courses, books, and other resources to continue my efforts towards writing mastery.

Are you a writer? What is the purpose of your blog? What recommendations do you have for a new freelance writer expanding his business and portfolio?

I started this blog to be a catalyst for change while expanding my presence as a writer, blogger, author, and life enthusiast. To show those who are unsure that it is possible to change careers and succeed doing what you love. A place to share my journey into a career as a professional writer. Succeeding as a freelance writer is similar to that of an independent business owner or Entrepreneur. It is draining to handle pitching to new clients, manage current projects, meet deadlines, update websites, and handle all business matters all at once. I couldn’t be happier. I love the grind.

Lifestyle Writing

Lifestyle writing is exciting to me because it allows me to share with you the push and pull of life. The surface of my writing career has hardly been scratched and some days I wonder why I do it at all. For many of us, myself included, life isn’t easy. We take risks and then question every move we make wondering if it is the right one.

I end this post with a quote from Seneca inspired by my role model and Author, Tim Ferris. As Seneca wrote in his Moral Letters to Lucilius, “Therefore, we should decide what we wish, and abide by the decision.” “It is bothersome always to be beginning life”. This should have been proposed to me years ago, maybe I would’ve listened.

“A jack of all trades, master of none” is the mantra I’ve been proclaimed to live by for years. I’d master one thing for a short time and when a new idea came to my mind, completely shift gears and focus on something else. I wouldn’t push past the barriers of discomfort and drive towards new possibilities. I’d stick within my comfort zone of a subject and that was all.

You know what I think? I think my youth’s ignorance taught me a lesson. A lesson that I’ll remember for my entire life. A lesson of respect and appreciation for another’s way of thinking. A lesson to always remember in the end – the more wisdom and knowledge we have, the less we actually know.