This is the ‘business’ side of the show According To Whim and all its business off shoots. Pretty much a gathering place for forward motion of our grand plan.
That’s the description of our private newsgroup. Nathan may have written it just because it asked for a description of the group, but I want you to look at the last six words: forward motion of our grand plan.
That is what we tried to concentrate on in 2010, but without defining it as such. All told, we did pretty well, but we lost momentum somewhere along the way. I’m sure we can agree that one contributing factor was our inability to hold each other accountable. This year, accountability should really be job #1.
We’ve talked about accountability, and how it’s hard to keep someone accountable without punishing them in some way, which is probably not going to help the “forward motion of our grand plan.” So what’s the answer to this problem? Strangely, it lies within the person being held accountable.
When Nathan says to Chris, “How are you coming along with your writing?” Chris needs to be realistic about his response, and not dodgy. Is the writing current? If so, then good. If not, then why? Is there enough time to do it all? If not, then how to fix the issue. And if so, then why is he not using it wisely. One of the trickiest things about changing your time management habits is to realize that you really can’t do it all. So when you start thinking about a new project while the old projects are still in the works, the question should be is the project you’re thinking about taking on really important enough to change your priorities around, or is it a distraction from your real priorities?
When Chris asks Nathan about his financial goals for the year, Nathan also has to be realistic about his response, and not dodgy. One of the trickiest things about financial goals is realizing that spending habits have to change. It’s also realizing that the extra money you pay out to deplete your debt will eventually come back to you when you are paying less interest each month. So when you start to ask yourself if you can really afford to pay down credit cards at such an alarming rate, the question should really be do I not want to let go of the money because I’m seriously having trouble paying my bills, or is it because of an unwillingness to cut back in the luxury category?
What I mean to say, is that accountability starts with the self. Having an accountability partner is merely a way to remind yourself that you do have goals that you wish to achieve. Your partner can’t help you if you are filling your own thoughts with bullshit excuses.
A good goal does not lean toward impossible to achieve, but a good goal also forces you a little bit out of your comfort zone. “Comfort zone” is one of those phrases that makes Nathan cringe when I use it. I think it’s because it is hard to think of “comfort” as a bad thing. Humans are creatures of habit, and when we start a bad habit, we still become comfortable with it. It may be harming us in the long term, but we’re comfortable with it. It’s who we are. We sometimes even define ourselves by it. We sometimes even go so far as to ask others to accept us as we are, when we don’t even accept ourselves as we are. Chris has become too comfortable in his role as the guy who will one day be hugely successful, but is just working on it now. Nathan has become comfortable as that guy who is just in debt because, well, everybody is, it’s just a fact of life, and I like having stuff. Neither of these things is good for them long term, but bad habits can make you comfortable.
In a blog post I wrote about self publishing, I pointed out that as a society, we are starting to move away from the act of getting a second job and moving toward starting a part time business from home. While I think this is a good concept, I fear that many people who enter that arena don’t do so with an end goal of making that much money. It’s supplemental, because if I can make more working for myself, then why am I still working a job? The truth is that when you have the entrepreneurial spirit, you will always be trying to move in that direction and you will always have a grand plan. It will sometimes be a hobby, sometimes a business, and sometimes both, but the plan will always be there. I think sometimes we fight it, because we feel like when we’ve achieved what we’ve set out to achieve, we will no longer have anything to achieve. I think sometimes we fight it, because we realize that once we’ve achieved what we’ve set out to achieve that it will create even more for us to do. Whether we achieve it or not, we will always have a plan, so why fight against it?
Tomorrow da big day. The start of the first ten-weeks of the year (because our ten-weeks always start on Monday). Forward motion of our grand plan. We should not let our doubts and excuses get to us. And when our accountability partner asks you wut’s up, we should be realistic about wut is up.