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What the fuck is going on, Chris?

I’m embarrassed to say that’s it’s been almost two whole months since I visited this website.

What started off as a very passionate project, somehow quickly became a lot of hard work.

No surprises there, right?

Launching a project is easy, keeping a project going is hard. Well, it’s not hard, it’s just work.

After a few drinks last night, I confided in Cara to help me figure out why I’ve not made any progress on this project in the past few months.

What the fuck is going on with me?

A few things:

  • I knew the first few letters would be easy compared to the rest, because they were my most concrete ideas at the time. It started off easy, and every week it got harder. Writing isn’t the hardest part, it’s making the ideas I write about make sense. What I’ve figured out is that there’s a lot more work required than just the ‘writing’.
  • I’ve put too much pressure on myself. Not just a weekly schedule, but my expectations of myself are too high. In terms of the quality of writing, I’m expecting every letter I write to be a hit, to be the best yet. But that’s not how it works. I know that to become a better writer I have to write, and that not everything I write will be my best writing.
  • I haven’t been writing enough. Why? It’s related to all the other points I’ve made here. As time has passed over this few months, with no movement, I’ve lost my confidence and I’ve been getting in my own way.
  • I forgot why I started this project in the first place. The big picture: I want to push myself to write more, so I can find new ideas, explore new topics, and eventually find a thread for a book. The reality is that I fell off my horse at the first hurdle (after 4 letters I stopped), and now I need to get back on. More about that here.
  • Every day that passed I felt more and more guilty that I wasn’t serving you, the reader. And every day that passed felt like I was moving further and further away from every getting back to this project. This is a classic case of overthinking and getting in my own way. I just need to open up my laptop and start writing again. I need to ‘reboot’ and start fresh.
  • I haven’t made the project a priority. Yip, I’ve got time scheduled in my diary for writing every week, I’ve even got a project schedule in Basecamp, with reminders and deadlines. But that’s not enough. I need to make it a priority in my life, and up until now I’ve let other less important things take that time instead. You can have all the productivity tools in the world, but they don’t do the work for you.

So what am I going to do about it?

Today is Sunday 5th May. I’ve cleared my whiteboard in my office to develop a new schedule for this project. I’m going to pretend this is a newspaper and I have to submit my column at the same time each week.

I’m going to plan out the next 6 topics for the letter and start the writing process. I know that I must do this. I want to write more, I want to write and publish books, and in order to do that I have to explore the ideas I have and find my way through this.

I also know that I need to push through this barrier – it’s exactly why I started this project in the first place. I’ve got no idea what it feels like to write a book, or to be a writer, and I’m not prepared to fail just because it got a little harder than I expected. Pushing through this challenge is what I need to get better.

So, here it is…my confession to you.

I hope you’ll stick with me and I’ll see you back in your inbox in a week with something new to think about.

DFTBA!

Chris.

Where’s letter V?

Well…I’ve taken a few weeks off from publishing a letter to spend more time on bringing a few thoughts and ideas together.

I’ve also been struggling to find a flow in a few topics that I’ve been writing about. I’ve been writing every day, but nothing feels quite ready for a letter. It’s frustrating, but it’s part of my process.

So, after 4 weeks of sending out a letter on a weekly basis, I’ve learned how much work I want to put into these letters, and maybe I won’t always been in a position to send a letter every single week.

That being said, I think there’s a little perfectionism going on here, and I’m putting too much pressure on myself. Thinking back to why I started this letter in the first place – I knew that I would have some challenges a long the way. That’s exactly why I started this project – to challenge myself to write more, and find out what I’m capable of.

This is my first major challenge, and I know that I need to break through it to get better.

What I’m saying is that I haven’t disappeared, I’m still thinking about this project and you every day.

Thanks for your support so far 🙂

DFTBA!

Chris.

Journaling challenge…

Maybe you’ve been trying to build the daily habit of journaling for a while, and you know that you can’t do it consistently without some accountability.

Perhaps you’ve already nailed the journaling habit and you’d like to join a community of others who think like you do…

…and maybe you enjoy a competitive environment and you want to put your money where your mouth is 😉

If so, I’d like to invite you to join my daily journaling challenge.

My book idea has been staring me in the face…

At the start of the year I committed to my good friend Stef that I would come up with a core idea for a book by March.

Part of the process to figure out what the book might be was to start these weekly letters. Something to push me to write with purpose each day.

Thanks to Cara for pointing out that my book idea has been staring me right in the face.

It’s these letters!

In July 2019, roughly six months after publishing my first letter, I will begin to revisit all of my letters and get them ready for a book.

I’d love to be in a position to publish my first book late 2019/early 2020.

Letter IV Published

Letter IV published on 23rd February.

This was a few days later than I hoped.

I really struggled with getting a structure around the topic, and that was mainly because I had more stories and tips than I could include in the letter.

I also wasn’t writing enough each day. It has been a pretty crazy few weeks between work and home life, and the impact of not taking time each day to write was starting to show.

Lesson: Keep up the habit of writing each day, and when it comes to writing and publishing a letter it will be easier.

Excerpt:

“Until you respect yourself, you won’t respect your time.

Therefore, how often you say no becomes the scorecard for how much respect you have for yourself.”

Letter III Published

Letter III published on 13th February 2019.

Excerpt:

“Six years ago, when I started my business, Mum was one of the first people to help and support me. She helped me with the bookkeeping and the admin. We all know it’s a necessary part of any business, but I’m rubbish at it. My mum, on the other hand, is not.

For a while it was fine. But we struggled as soon as there was financial pressure, and eventually we fell out. We reconciled only when my Step-Dad wrote a letter to me.

It was a low point for us both. I was sad. Mum was upset. Ugh. It was all my fault.

My relationship with Mum was deteriorating, and all because of something I had created.

It wasn’t just that I was making decisions that Mum wasn’t comfortable with, or that I was taking risks that Mum couldn’t understand. It wasn’t that the business was failing.

The real issue was that we weren’t communicating with each other in the best way.”

Letter II Published

Letter II published on 7th February 2019.

Excerpt:

“The first step towards becoming a world class communicator is to change your mindset and philosophy. You have to give up:

  • Trying to convince other people that you are right
  • Thinking you are better than other people
  • Trying to look smart or more clever than other people

In other words, we must be more humble with what we know and what we don’t.”

Letter I Published

Letter I published on 30th January 2019.

Excerpt:

“I was thinking…if I could go back and tell my 14 year-old self what I needed to do to fully embrace personal development as part of my life – to be more effective, to move a little faster, to be more clear about the journey – what advice would I give myself?”