Jay Shirley

Striving to be a man of gallantry and taste

December Challenge

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My November challenge was to write something of a mini-ebook. I wanted to work more on a continuous, larger than a blog post, piece of work that required daily writing. The topic itself was something I’m strongly interested in. I wrote about how to apply the behavioral economics, social psychology and established coaching principles in tech companies.

Since I’ve never written such a long document, I didn’t really know what to expect or even the best way to measure success. Writing around 500 words a day doesn’t seem to strain me, so I multiplied that by 30 days and came up with 15,000 words to write through the month.

I hit that goal with a week to spare! Then I spent the last holiday weekend working on formatting it as an ebook. This was a great experience for me and I really enjoyed it. I’m conflicted on what to do with the book now, in terms of time and effort. I’m quite busy now; I’m worried about how much time I will spend trying to release the book.

I have plenty of time to figure the time allocation out, though! I’ll be continuing to edit and revise the book as I do want it released sooner rather than later. I’m not putting a time table on it until I get it cleaned up more.

And what about December?

December is a little different, and something I’m tremendously uncomfortable doing and it isn’t glamorous at all. I feel profoundly blessed, happy and grateful for my life. My life hasn’t been easy but it has been mine. The last few years have shown me not only how lucky I am but how many wonderful and interesting things there are in the world.

I want to push the boundaries of what we, as humans know and what we’ve done. Doctorate candidates get to do this with their thesis, for those of us not in the academic world this involves something substantially larger than just a product. I love working on Daily Practice but in the end, it’s just a product.

I need a goal, a focal point, that is higher than a product and even higher than any startup. I need a beacon in which to move forward in my life. For the first time in my life I feel enough clarity in who I am and who I want to be to clearly find it on a map. But I need to define it, and that’s hard. It’s so hard it’s my December challenge.

My challenges must have a measure of progress and success. This is a bit nebulous, but I have something. I’m going to dedicate a minimum of 15 uninterrupted minutes each day in reflection and thought. This will be very hard for me. I couldn’t even build a napping habit! Fortunately for me, unlike naps reflection can be done at any point in the day.

What does success look like? A mission statement, first and foremost. Clearly identifying what I hope to achieve in my life, an outline of the skills required and some thoughts of the tactics. It’s not enough to list “What is my ultimate goal?”, I need to also answer “Why is this important enough?” and “How will I achieve this?”