I used to equate predictability and planning with being boring and uninspired. Nowadays, planning is integral for anything I do in the name of productivity. If I feel that if something is going to get me closer to my goals, then I need to lay out exactly how and why that is going to occur. No surprises when I fail, no surprises when I succeed. When my friends challenged me at the beginning of the year, the first thing I had to do was look at the finish line and figure out where I was going to step to get there on time. I did this three times, once with each of my challenges, so I could know where I needed to be on a monthly basis to be on track for getting to the finish line.
Max’s Great American Novel
Frank challenged me to write 60 pages of my novel, up from the 30 he initially challenged me to write. While this might seem daunting to some, I’ve always considered myself a writer. When I was a teacher, I was just a lesson plan writer that had to go out an execute. When I worked in the non-profit space, I had my first chance to write curriculum that other people would have to deliver. At Facebook, I was simply a technical writer who had the chance to lead people through my writings to make sure that they understood and were able to quickly grasp concepts with as little intervention as possible. At Pandora, I write to inspire action so that people can evangelize their latest products. I have always considered writing my bread and butter.
Unfortunately, creative writing was put on the backburner as I used that skill more professionally. While I do have many more writing tools in my arsenal and a few habits to support them, writing in the day never makes me want to write at night or on weekends. Getting challenged to find a way to fit 60 pages in this time is a great way to get me to grow into one of my favorite hobbies. With our reunion in July, I simply need to write 10 pages a month to get there. That doesn’t sound to bad, but the hard part to me often comes in finding the topic that will get me to want to squeeze out 60. Once I get to that concept, the floodgates will open and I am confident I can get to 60.
The first part of this plan is to find the story that I can write a novel about by the end of February. From there, I’ll need to establish monthly quotas for pages and character/set design. The page count is the only thing that is measured to contribute to the goal, but the story and the universe it takes place in (characters and setting) are what wills me to continue writing. I view them as equally important.
Maximo is helping. At scale, I want to give people the tools and confidence to achieve their own goals and help out in that way. Bestliv.es is my vehicle to allow people to enable themselves to get to their best lives. Its personal branding for everyone. This is important to me because of the rising role the internet plays in getting people hired. Today, if you want any job at a tech company, or any high ranking position outside of one, prepared to be googled. Prepared to have a variety of people scour your linkedin. All of your tweets may be looked at and used against you. Bestliv.es is a set of tools, strategies, and exercises to get people to take control of their online persona and present nothing other than the version of themselves that they want everyone to see. As the world moves more and more onto the internet, your first online impression will be more important (and valuable) than your first in-person impression. Statistically, more people will interact with you online than in person today (unless you intentionally abstain from ALL social media).
Steve challenged me to get three people to use these tools, follow these strategies, and complete these exercises to help them get to their best lives. For the month of February, I need to complete the model. This means I need to have a comprehensive plan for everyone to follow in a particular order that leaves people in a better place.
I am not doing a great job of taking advantage of my health benefits. For years now, I’ve had access to great dentists, doctors, therapists, and a lot more health specialists. When Josh challenged me to see a therapist, I immediately thought about how much access I have to teams of people who can make sure I’m healthy and how I have no made good use of that at all. While I could complete this challenge with one appointment, I want to extend it to my whole health. I don’t expect to get applause for taking care of myself, but I do appreciate people close to me letting me know when I’m not holding up my end of the bargain when it comes to living. This month, I plan on scheduling appointments with everyone I can see through my healthcare coverage at work. I figure that’s a good starting point for determining where my physical and mental health need lie and will guide me to the next steps.
That’s it. Those are the plans.