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.

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!

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

Live as if you know nothing at all – Keep the desire to know more alive

I never thought of using Twitter as a source of inspiration until my experience with WordPress University – #everydayinspiration. I’ve since made strides to consistently improve my writing – opening up tremendous opportunities for freelance work to help me grow as a writer.

My daily writing practice has helped me realize my current skills as a freelance writer. With ideas flooding in each day I will be building my platform to share much better content, articles, newsletters, to display my portfolio of work. So any suggestions on content, blog posts, newsletter ideas, and weekly feature ideas – please comment, message, or share your ideas with me!

“You study, study, study, and at the end, you are lucky enough to discover the greatest gift of education: that you know nothing at all.”

At first, this insulted me. What do you mean study to become educated to know nothing at all? I was naive. I took this at face value. I reflected on its’ true meaning which opened my eyes to the world of lifelong education even further. Life is full of energy. It contains powers far greater than our minds will ever conceive.

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing” – Socrates

Reflecting these past few months has helped me display the remarkable progress I’ve made in my life. I am confident saying my skills, passions, and purpose have become less self-centered to focus on helping as many people as possible in my short time here. After graduating with my Bachelors Degree I had so many questions on what was next – I still do. The beauty of all the recent growth, as well as personal development, is the joy I’ve found thinking about my life, future, plans, and goals. During this time I’ve identified my core values which I intend on living the rest of my life upon, expanding each to become the best possible form of that person.

The skills and experience I have gained are heavily praised by so many which I encounter each day including; family, friends, colleagues, strangers, and daily interactions. I often find that when I meet new people they feel inclined to mention how ‘wise’ I am for a young professional. Yet for some reason up until recently, my internal uncertainty had been eating at me from the inside out each day. This uncertainty led me on a journey of self-discovery, reflection, and understanding of my life’s purpose. I was certain – however – of my mission in life. My purpose is to no longer be ungrateful. To understand how blessed I truly am. To share this as often as I can. Help as many people as possible. Learn as much as I can and become the best person I can with the life I’ve been given.

“Those who look ONLY to the past or the present, are certain to miss the future” – John F. Kennedy

Here is a little context of my past – I underperformed in high school (to say the least). My grades were poor – so was my attitude. Through middle school life was on track, I did well in school, only to slowly spiral downhill after. I spent a majority of my time with questionable people, making questionable decisions. Is that why I have all these ‘questions’? I used to be in such a rush for everything in life. Never enjoying the moment nor satisfied when I reached the destination. That may be why yoga/meditation have become such a crucial part of my life today.

I neglected my physical, mental, spiritual, emotional health for years. I came to this realization after high school but didn’t learn immediately. Lucky for me was a chance to go back to school and begin a career in the Technology sector. My uncle is CEO of a company that changed my life. This opportunity balanced with a college education built a foundation of skills I will be forever grateful – yet uncertainty was still lingering around the corner. I suffered in the sense of suffocating my intelligence by not treating my body or mind the way they deserved.

I began to see correlating effects behind what I ate, what I read, what I wrote and their respective counterpart outcomes in my life. These came in the form of habits, routines, diet, fitness, nutrition, business, financial, and much more. I no longer escaped life through my vices. I visualized what my life would become and knew change when imperative to my growth.

Since graduating college with my Bachelor’s Degree, I’ve come to this fascinating realization it was only the beginning. My journey into lifelong education remains the foundation of my life along with my core values, principles, and habits. The more I learn, the more I realize what I don’t know. I develop new questions, immense and superior problems, harder challenges – this was my wake up call. Life is a combination of finding yourself while learning from your experiences (failures & successes). This philosophy helped me realize who I was becoming and how I needed to change that.

As I said – these past few months have brought clarity to my vision of the world. Hence this empowered enthusiasm, joy, and passion for putting 110% into life each day. I no longer feel restricted by the grasp of the influence the lives of others had on me.

“Live as if you know nothing at all, to keep the desire to know more alive.” – Unknown? – I wrote this in my journal one night, if anyone knows if this has been used before please message me,

The beauty of true wisdom lies within the knowledge we have to be humble and understand that we know nothing at all. Be the optimist – see the good in life – the bright side of things. We all experience negative emotions. Let them occur, try to begin viewing them in the light of opportunity. Bad things are going to happen, but there is a chance, somewhere somehow – something good will come from it. Enjoy the highs and respect the lows of life. Be proud and grateful of good moments and let the bad ones fade quietly and quickly.

This process of seeing what is right in the world changed my perspective on how I viewed others. I treat everyone in my life with the same level of respect. I remain humbled by each interaction. I am fortunate to be where I am, possess the skills I have – I remain blessed to be the person I am today. This constant reminder of appreciation, respect, and humility is what helps me to focus on what is truly important in my life. I’m not always perfect – I get frustrated, angry, or upset – until I remember what is important when it matters. To prevent a situation from escalating out of control. Be mindful of your environment and who may be influencing your life.

It is this level of humility which keeps me grounded when I need it most.  So, “you study, study, and study to find out life’s greatest gift of education, the wisdom of knowing nothing at all.” Good. The greatest gift we can leave this Earth with is never saying we wish we followed our dreams or did more. So many of us desire more out of lives. Don’t wait around. Life is nimble – stay on your toes, work hard and don’t sit around waiting for an opportunity – you’ll wake up wondering where it all went.

Writing and Thinking Space: My places to write

Where do you write?

Where do you produce your best writing?

Best thinking?

I’m back again this evening with your daily dose of ‘everyday inspiration’ encouraged by WordPress University. The question for today as I highlighted above is, “Where do you write?”

I write everywhere.

My bed in the morning and night. I begin expressing gratitude for what is great in my life and end each day with what amazing things have happened that day. This was inspired by the “Five Minute Journal“. A simple little journal with great powers of increasing happiness.

As I settle into Wilmington, North Carolina I feel fortunate to have space in the office at home where I sit each morning with a fresh cup of coffee to begin writing. Somewhere between 5:00 am and 6:30 am. I hand write three ‘Morning Pages‘ (sometimes I dread this, sometimes I am excited) as I’ve discussed in previous posts. This is not always enjoyable, especially when I am running on little sleep (often), but ALWAYS worth it.

Morning pages have shaped how I start my day. They clear the clutter in life. To express the negative and endless chatter of the mind. Writing morning pages in my office help; declutter my day, organize thoughts, ideas, concepts, plans, goals, strategize, and focus on what is important.

These help to get the mind into the ‘flow‘ of writing. I’ve gone 12 days in a row and have thirty-six pages consisting of; a lot of complaining, ranting, some good, some bad, frustrations, goals, objectives, ideas, projects, and more. This is my art. This exercises my mind to think about my life, family, friends, and make it real before I get overtaken by the day. It is important to note I write these each morning before looking at any technology. No TV, no media, no stimulation (except coffee or tea).

As a Writer, the hardest part of the job can be simply writing. This is a new part of my routine to get into a better state of mind to write. The creativity comes flying out of nowhere in my mind. It helps to surmount the ugly side of writing. The jumbled, mixed up thoughts and unfocused attention. As I continue to master my writing techniques and style, I’m very curious to see how the Morning Pages help me become better every day.

About my most recent writing space:

The office at home isn’t anything special. It includes a window which shines a ton of natural sun each morning (on clear days), plenty of space to stretch, exercise and move around as needed.

I keep books on my desk for inspiration (yes, I’ve read most of them). Most important is; my vision board, full-size world map and of course a fresh cup of coffee. My vision board is filled with my life aspirations, dreams and goals; mentors, leaders, role models, quotes, life goals, dreams, pictures of what I desire, and much more. A vision board helps me remember why I discipline myself and work so hard on myself. Why I say no to things which sound fun today but won’t contribute to my purpose. Don’t worry, I get out when I need it, I’m happy.

I look up each morning thinking about where I can go. Where do I want to travel? What do I want to see? Where could I live? What experiences could I have? Who do I want with me? Who would want to join me? Where I begin? More importantly, how am I going to get there? When am I going to go? I look up and see the world. The endless possibilities our fascinating planet has to offer. The map helps me dream. It aids the creative juices with forward-looking thinking. Possibility thinking. The idea of what exists in our world that I am missing. Travel is high on my list of life goals and I convince myself each day that if I keep doing what I am doing travel will become much more simple to justify. I don’t want to keep telling myself I want to travel, but… “I want to travel”. And write.

I dream of being a Travel Blogger or Writer.

Explore the world, meet fascinating people, and soak in unique experiences of other cultures and places on our planet. To write about the adventures, the experiences, cultures, and learn along the way. That is a big-picture purpose of my blog. A place to share my adventures and travel experiences with the world. Maybe the more I think about it and keep convincing myself it is real, it will actually happen…

As a writer, my best work doesn’t always come from the office. I’m notorious for heading to a local cafe for both Wifi and a change of scenery. I enjoy writing from new places, about new places.

Some days I will head to the beach, find a bench (yes I took the featured image above) or picnic table and spend some time writing outside. I find this soothing and very beneficial. I’m a nature and outdoor enthusiast so once my body is moving and I am physically outside my mind starts to flood with ideas and inspiration. This is critical for idea generation and to deeply ponder their possibility.

Cafe’s are probably my favorite. I will order my usual grande (medium) black iced coffee or a cappuccino, throw my Spotify writing playlist on and boom. I spice it up some days depending on the time and project. I will write for 5-10 minutes to get my mind right, then shift gears, set a timer and focus! This keeps me in the seat, focused, ready to attack the page. No distractions, interruptions or anything. Even the smallest distraction for me while focused writing can be a killer.

Lastly: Here are a few tips that have helped me avoid distraction while writing. This is why I imagine Authors do a lot of their writing between the hours of 10 pm and 5 am.

  1. Keep your phone on silent and put it away. Don’t even tempt yourself. It is not worth it and will be there when you are done.
  2. Set a timer. This helps me stay focused on the task at hand and disciplined to what I am working on.
  3. Close all unnecessary applications. Don’t be tempted to check an email or let your mind race to another task on your list.
  4. Kill the tabs. Don’t overwhelm yourself with countless tabs open in your browser. You’ll most likely need a browser open, so hide your Bookmarks bar and stay focused on what matters!

I hope you enjoyed my post. I’ve been working hard on my website and blog!

I encourage you to check my ‘Connect with meorContact page and submit a comment on what you think I should write about in an upcoming post. I will respond ASAP!

https://matthewwetmore.com/contact/

Inspirational Quote of the Day brought to you by Bruce Lee

It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.” – Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee was a legend in Martial Arts, a cultural icon and also became well-known for his philosophy catching fire later in his life.

I chose this quote today for #everydayinspiration. This comes from WordPress University. They send out daily recommendations for blog updates and to educate users on using WordPress. Today the prompt is to leverage a quote and create a post. Here is what I have for you.

Thank you Momentum, the ‘new tab’ productivity Chrome Store Extension for helping inspire productivity through stunning imagery, inspirational quotes, and the ability to keep a To-Do list of important tasks right on your browser each time you open a new tab. When I first learned of Momentum I took immediate action, told two of my close friends at the time because I knew how great it was. I use it daily without fail. Anyone who uses a desktop computer opens a new tab at some point each day. should have it installed for something better to look at than a blank page. Momentum is a productive way to stay on track, remind yourself of tasks for the day, week, or month to stay focused.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I get distracted researching quotes and incredible images they display. But that is sort of productive, right?

Hack away at the unessential, says Bruce Lee. What does that mean? To me, that means to hack away from unessential people. Unessential tasks such at mindless scrolling through Social Media. Hack away at what is distracting you from what you are here to get in life. Trust me I’ve had my fair share of unessential fatuity. Sometimes this happens for a short time, but most often it takes a major event to realize the unessential even exists.

Be mindful of your ‘unessential‘, stand guard of your mind and focus on the daily decrease, not the increase.

For me, I was caught up in unessential habits, routines, and disciplines which were not contributing any value to my life. I began to focus on the ‘daily decrease’ of bad habits such as sleeping in, not exercising, eating poorly, watching too much TV, Netflix, and not reading nearly enough.

What in your life do you consider to be unessential which could use improvement?

If you started small while ‘hacking away‘ each day at your ‘unessential‘, how do you think you would feel? Would it make your life better? We have all something unessential that is prohibiting us from reaching the next level. Don’t let your time escape you, start hacking away at the futile and push forward to success.