138 FS Goals and Year Planning

00:00
Download MP3

The panelists discuss goals and how they plan for the year ahead.

Transcript

[This episode is brought to you by Audible. Audible is the first place I go to keep my business skills sharp. They offer over 150,000 books on business, finance, planning and much more. They also have a great selection of fiction that keeps me entertained when I'm just not up for some serious content. I love it because I can buy a book, download it to my iPhone, and listen while running errands or at the gym. Get your free trial at freelancersshow.com/audible] **[This episode is brought to you by Code School. Code School offers interactive online courses in Ruby, JavaScript, HTML, CSS and iOS. Their courses are fun and interesting and include exercises for the student. To level up your development skills, go to freelancersshow.com/codeschool]****[This episode is brought to you by ProXPN. If you are out and about on public Wi-Fi, you never know who might be listening. With ProXPN, you no longer have to worry. ProXPN is a VPN solution which sends all of your traffic over a secure connection to one of their servers around the world. To sign up, go to ProXPN.com and use the promo code tmtcs (short for teach me to code screencasts) to get 10% off for life]****CHUCK: Hey everybody and welcome to episode 138 of the Freelancers’ Show. This week on our panel we have Eric Davis. ERIC: Hello. CHUCK: Reuven Lerner. REUVEN: Hi everyone. CHUCK: I’m Charles Max Wood from DevChat.tv. Before we go in too far I know that some segment of our audience are programmers, and I’m pulling together a remote conference for JavaScript developers. If you are interested, you can go to jsremoteconf.com and get information and sign up. It’s going to be online so no matter where you are, we are there. This week, in fact, it’s kind of apropos a little bit to our topic. We are going to be talking about planning and goals for the next year, and this is one of things I’m working on for next year. I’m curious – what do you guys do to plan out your year? Or do you plan a year in advance? ERIC: I’ve been doing bunch of things. This year I think I found something that works good for me, but this is the first year I’ve really done it. In the past, I would set like, “What’s my goal for next year?” Maybe income, or for a while there I had income from products, or I’ll write a book. It’s kind of a big milestone, and for me, I found those didn’t really worked good. The whole point is to motivate yourself to move forward toward this thing, and every time I procrastinated, I’m like, “Oh, it’s February. I’ve time; I don’t really in the start on this” and then near the end of the year I would be like, “Oh shoot, it’s November now; I need to start writing this book to get it out.” And so the whole the motivation of having that big thing at the end of the year never worked for me and I always beat myself up about it. It might work for some people. So this year what I did – let me actually go over to it. Actually, at the top of my to do list, which is just a text file, I’ve 3 systems that I actually want to work on. It’s unnecessary I want them done by the end of the year, but I want to start building and improving this. Every day and then every week when I do a weekly review, I can see like, “Okay, here are the systems; let’s make sure the stuff I’m doing from day to day are actually building towards these systems.” And that’s actually worked pretty good. I mean, there are two of them I’ve done good; one is exercise every day and one is write every day and I’ve actually done that every single day this year except for a couple of day, which I missed. In the third one, it’s more of a longer term one, but it’s November right now; I feel I’ve done a lot more this year than I’ve any other year as far as I got progressed towards stuff. Another thing that I did is kind of related to the systems that I’ve built kind of – I think it’s seven daily habits that I would do every day consistently. I think one of them I’ve been doing – I’ve a 270-day streak on and so the nice thing about that sort of idea is I can look back at the very end of this year and be like, “Okay, here is actually measureable progress of what I’ve done over the last year.” They might not be big things, they might not be my life has completely changed, but it’s I can see the incremental growth that I’ve done. And I think for me, that works better. That’s more of a motivator I can kind of keep doing a daily action for. CHUCK: Oh very nice. What about you Reuven? REUVEN:**I’m not so good at planning but [chuckles] I’ve started – I’ve been doing a lot of thinking in the last few months basically since finishing the PhD. I thought, “Okay, well what do I want to do with my time? What do I want to change in terms of my consulting business?” I’ve already started changing a bunch of things, and I would say next year I really want to start cementing it. I would say, I can divide it into three different parts, maybe. One would be marketing, that I really realize I need to be marketing myself better and differently. I’ve gotten good responses in general when I do blogging, which is nice, so I need to do that more often. I mean, Eric is very impressive in how often he writes. I know when I was blogging very regularly, I was really enjoying it and even starting to see the fruits of my labor and then I just broke it off. But I also saw a lot of benefits from doing some email courses; I’ve done one already and so I wanted to do some more of those. I keep getting intrigued by the whole idea of drip marketing. Once again, Eric, you have this thing about what it’s to work with me that I think is just fantastic. I think having something that that’s something longer term than just a few days would be really good. That’s improving marketing but I’ve also done something in terms of products, that it’s really time for me to start moving into products. I’ve got my eBook that I’m slowly but surely finishing up. Hopefully by the time this comes out, the book will be done and I’ll be doing the videos for those packages. I’ll hopefully do another e-book, maybe just some online courses and some courses on my own as opposed to with the training company. In terms of services, I keep thinking maybe I can productize some of my services, but I don’t see anything hugely different in what I’m offering people, except maybe just sort of being smarter about the first few things: how I market it and what products I’m offering. But I don’t have a concrete plan; these are just things that I’ve slowly but surely been moving toward. I definitely feel I’m spending more time doing these things and doing the right things; it’s just going to be some time before I see the payoff.**CHUCK: Very nice. It’s really interesting – you guys kind of thumbnailed out some big picture things and I how you, Eric, broke things down into “I’m going to be doing this every day.” I’ve kind of approached things from kind of a similar standpoint in the sense that I’ve some kind of big rocks that I want to put into my year, so I want to be able to speak a little bit more, just go out and speak at conferences. I’ve not actually really been impressed with my ability to speak, and so one of the things that’s on my list is to go to the SCORRE Conference – that’s S-C-O-R-R-E. Basically, it’s a week-long training on speaking and I’m really excited to get that stuff going and so I kind of can break this down. Where a lot of this comes from – I need to back up a little bit – is that I really had several people from several sources either directly speaking to me or on podcasts or other venues that I listened to or went to, talking about finding that core, that thing that drives you, and I realized that mainly what I want to do is I want to be able to empower people. I want to be able to help people, and mostly it’s around either programming or podcasting – mostly programmers actually –and just find ways to open doors for them, or help them realize what their potential is, or things that. Speaking, for me, is a good way to – I think I’ve some messages that I can share that can help people that way. And so that’s where the speaking comes in. That’s also where some of the other projects I’m working on come in, the JS Remote conf that I mentioned earlier, and RailsClips which is a video series that I keep postponing. RailsClips is about teaching people technical skills that will allow them to do better in their career, solve problems at work, make their lives easier all of that stuff. The speaking fits in nicely there and the conference fits in there, and then I also have a product that I want to put out there that will help podcasting kind of take off a little bit more, and that’s FeedWrench. I’ve been kind of selling it as a feed burner replacement but what it really is is it’s a system that will allow you to track and systematize to certain degree the engagement for your podcast and provide things reports for sponsors and things that so that you can give them real numbers and help them understand what the benefit is for sponsoring your show or things that. I’ve these ideas of things that I want to do to help people, so those are kind of a big rocks in there. I’ve been breaking it down into, “Okay, what do I need to do in order to make these things realities in the way that I want over the course of the year?” And so the conference, I’m working on that a lot now because it’s in February, but I’m planning on doing another one or two at least next year for other audiences – maybe for this audience and for the Ruby audience, so I’ve ideas for that. And then just gather information and find out what people really need and then be able to address those either by speaking or proving products or webinars or whatever it is to do that, and then I can break it down and figure out what I need. For example with Rails Clips, it’s not just the videos, but through the marketing, I’m looking at doing things webinars that are going to help people out and stuff that. And sure, I get attention and I get benefit from it, but at the same time it’s a way for me to give to the people who are supporting the shows and let them really gain from the effort that I’m putting forward and not necessarily give back to me in money all the time – just in appreciation, or their attention. I can go into more details about the stuff that I’m kind of planning out and I need to actually sit down and write it down, but those are kind of the big things from my 2015. ERIC: I think there is one thing James Altucher – I can’t pronounce people’s names. He has written a lot of books, and one thing I really got of his stuff was he also has a lot of the focus mine with daily stuff, what you do every day actually is what builds who you are and your life. But he says he focuses on four areas every day: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual, which is kind of interesting. I mean, you can take that to be whatever they mean to you; I’m not religious, so spiritual to me means something different from Chuck, and physical to me is going to mean something different to someone else. But what’s interesting is throughout his writing, he talks about how he makes it so every day he is doing some kind of task that or he is working towards some goal, but it’s not just one goal –. Chuck, you’re talking about making a lot of business ones, but the business ones are to support someone else. You could almost say that you have a spiritual goal of you want to empower the different audiences you talked about, and so it kind of takes it outside of just this one area of your life and kind of make some of it more widespread, so it’s not just “Oh I’m working on this.” It’s like, “No, this is actually what you live and breathe.” CHUCK: Yeah exactly, and that’s really what it comes down to for me. I don’t necessarily the term “calling” or whatever, but it’s where I choose to serve. It really is – it ties directly into who I’m and how I see myself in not just the business sense, but in a spiritual sense too, so I think that’s interesting. I wonder a little bit though – do you have designs, Eric to do things in awful areas every day? ERIC: Not yet. Like I said, it’s on my to-do list. It’s one of those I’ve been reviewing and thinking about. Like I said, I’ve stuff for exercise; I’ve stuff for mental; I’m working on stuff from spiritual, and so it’s I’m building towards it. I’m trying to look at the habits I want to do with the habits that I hear that a successful writer or a successful entrepreneur has. And I try to, “Would this fit into my life? Would it fit into what I believe in?” But I haven’t actually really sat down and slotted things into the different areas yet, but it is something I’m looking at. CHUCK: The reason I asked is because it seems to play a little bit into the idea of work-life balance – not in the sense of work-life balance that I tend to embrace. I feel work-life balance is having the right, ebbing flow, and if you don’t let it know ebb in certain areas, you can flow into others, then you have a solid work-life balance. I think a lot of people have this mythical work-life balance where it’s like, “If I spend three hours/day on business, two hours/day on physical, one hour/day with my family and two hours a day with this, then have the perfect balance every day and blah blah blah. ERIC: Right. It’s the idea of what balance actually means, and that you are not leaning too far one way versus equality – you don’t have an equal work and you have equal life. And I feel the same way; work-life balance can be different for different people at different times. It’s how you feel happy with how your commitments are for everything. CHUCK: I’m kind of curious – have you done this for past years, either of you guys? REUVEN:**No, I mean [chuckles] well, for many, many years I kept saying, “Boy, as soon as I finish the PhD, I’ve so many things I want to do” Now I feel freed, I’m like, “Wow, now I really can pursue it.” Just in last two months, I’ve done this eBook and I’ve got 2 small sites that I’ve put up and I just feel so excited that I’m working on new and different things. But I think it does seem very smart to sit down because there is not infinite time. It seems very smart to sit down and I say, “Okay, what am I going to concentrate on in the next year that I can really accomplish?” But really I’ve never ever done this sort of planning other than aspiring to be able to do these things at all.**CHUCK: How about you Eric? ERIC: Like I said, the way I’m doing it this year where it’s more focused on habits and systems and behaviors versus achievements, that’s new to me this year. Even before I started my business, I had kind of the annual goals and I used to do what a lot of the personal development stuff talks about where you break down your annual goals into quarterly goals, and then monthly goals. Then each week make sure that you have stuff to fulfil, and I’ve done that. Like I said, that’s why I know that kind of formulation doesn’t work for me, but I’ve always been very long-term, long planning, goal-focused. Like in college, I had goals of I want to start a business, I want to become a millionaire, I want to –. And they’re not just something vague stuff; it was pretty specific. I didn’t knew what I was doing, which is why a lot of them didn’t worked, or once I kind of achieved some of my – I realized I didn’t really want it, but I’ve always had that kind of focus. CHUCK: That’s interesting. I’m really curious because I’m a little bit worried that I’m going to pick something for this year and then I’m going to be scrambling to meet my goals at the end of the year. ERIC: Right, and I mean, it’s hard. The hard part I had was I would want to pick something large enough that I would feel it actually was an accomplishment, but most of the time those large things – I said minute ago, I had no clue how to get there or what it actually entails. A couple of years back, my goals was, I want to build SaaS product and have it reached 50% of my revenue, so product revenue. I dint know how to - I knew how you physically build a SaaS product but I didn’t knew how to build a SaaS business. I dint knew how to market a product and in hindsight, looking back, it was very immature; I wasn’t ready to do that goa. Even if I broke it down, this next month, I need to start writing a software and start a blog for it. It’s really, really hard to plot your end state and work your way backwards to where you are now and know this is the path you going to get go. There are a lot of speed bumps; there are a lot of failures along the way. CHUCK: So does it make more sense then to look at some of the habits that you can start and then kind of extrapolate where you can wind up, or do you want to pick things that you think you might fail at? I don’t know. ERIC:**I think it depends on yourself; I think you should get both a try. The habits, I talked about this on twitter yesterday, I was just chatting. I’ll even up my [inaudible 16:10] like, I never did yoga before this year, and just on a whim I started doing it. As of right now, I’m up to 283 days of it in a streak. I’ve been doing writing, but my writing is been in spurts and stops. I wrote a book but then I wouldn’t write for six months afterwards, and now I’ve 274 days of writing every day. It’s not am writing the book all those days are accumulating there, but it’s the habit of writing, getting over the fear of it. It’s knowing that I could sit down and if I’ve to write something, I can do it. And so building that confidence, building that habit and kind of practicing on it that’s kind of helped me reinforce – I know how to write, I know how to exercise, I know how to do this stuff and I can do that. If I had, say, a book deal come my way, I can say I can confidently do this book deal in two months or whatever, and do the same of whatever goals. You had one about speaking; maybe you should practice a speech every day or try to give some kind of presentation once a week and take incremental steps towards your long term goal instead of mapping it out in reverse.**CHUCK: Yeah that’s really interesting. REUVEN: I definitely feel the incremental steps is crucial, because you are not going to see or feel progress from lot of these things day to day; it’s just going to be after weeks or months that you’re going to go look back and say, “Oh wow, I actually did a lot.” ERIC: Right, and I mean Nathan Barry is one of the more popular people when he was talking – I think he did it for a little over a year. He was writing a thousand words a day. He has a blog post – I’ll put it in the show notes if I can find it – where he kind of reflected back what that did for him and did for his business and his life. It’s that daily stuff. If you make it easy to do and you make it so it’s not a lot of pressure to do, you are going to accomplish a lot with that. In my newsletter this week I wrote about how I’m running now. I can easily run a half marathon distance and it’s no sweat to me, and I’ve only been running three or four years. It’s because I got into the habit of running over and over and I think I mentioned in the show, I’m training so next year I can do a 50k – an ultramarathon; it’s 30 or something miles. I never even knew that those existed. I never had that idea until I got into the habit and identified, “This is something I want to do. This is something that puts more into my life than it takes away” and I’ve just been slowly reinforcing that loop and making it stronger. CHUCK: So how much absolutism do you give to that? I mean, are there days when you don’t work out because you feel you have too many other things going on, or you make it a priority and sacrifice somewhere else? ERIC: These are both good; it’s either tiny habits or many habits. One is a book and one is a free online course by research – I think its Stanford or something. But in the book one, I think its many habits, but it talks about to make daily habits that are so small that if you break it you feel you have really screwed up. We’re talking about doing one push of a day. My writing habit is to write 50 words a day. My yoga habit, which is a larger one than what he recommended is four minutes of yoga a day. Some days I’ll do 10 minutes of yoga or I’ll write 3,000 words, or I do 20-30 pushups, but I don’t have to. There have been days where I’ve been sick, I’ve been in the bathroom puking or whatever – I can still get those habits in. I can feel the accomplishment, and there are some days I just don’t. Like when I traveled, I broke the streaks on a few of them because I was so busy, I went to bed and forgot all about them. But then there’s been the pushup one – I went to bed and forgot to do pushups and actually did one pushup lying in bed while my wife was sleeping. That’s kind of the point of that whole idea is you have something so small that it’s nearly impossible for you to screw it up. CHUCK: Yeah, but what about the big things, the ones that you can’t just do in a minute? For example, if I’m going to practice a talk, I could do a five-minute talk I guess, but if I’m preparing for a marathon, there are days you have to run for  an hour or two hours. ERIC:**Yeah. For how much I run, I actually don’t do running as a habit because part of running and training is you’ll need rest days. I tried it for a while; I will run every day and it actually hurt my body more and I just started to not look forward to running. For me, running is a release that’s kind of a time away from the world, and so when I noticed that and kind of bit of a review about it I decided that I like running and I would like it as a habit, but I would rather it be a habit that I enjoy and so I just have exercise or body weight exercise. That would be some additional pushups or a pull up or something like that. The bigger one like running, that just factors into it. If I do my other habits that kind of helped me stay physically healthy, the running can kind of build on top of it. And so even if [inaudible 21:06] I was not feeling good so I took a week off from running but I still did my other habits. I kept the fitness that I had but had my running muscles recover. You’ve got to be flexible. I think you got to figure out what works for you. I know some people, they like putting pressure on themselves and that motivates them, and I found pressure doesn’t motivate me – it actually causes me to lock up in situations. For you, if you are doing speaking, your habit could be something simple. Do one thing towards speaking and it could be giving a speech, it could be writing one out, it could be finding three really nice photos you want to include in a presentation, it could be reading an article about it, or listen to a podcast about voice or speaking stuff. You could even make it where your habit is to work on a project and you define 20 or 30 tasks in the project that you can pick up based on your energy level.**CHUCK: Yeah, that makes sense. I’ve to say that one thing I do like about this is that I listen to a lot of Entrepreneur On Fire with John Lee Dumas, and a lot of the folks there, they get in there and they’re lik, if you can make a habit out of working on whatever it is that you are working toward one hour a day or half hour a day and just make progress towards it a lot of times, that’s what gets you there. It’s not the 3-day with no sleep, living-on-pizza push that does it; it’s that steady progress that gets you there and then the steady progress that allows you to continue to succeed there. ERIC: Right. I want to say the book is called The Talent Code, but I might be wrong on it. That’s actually how our brain work full work. We have neurons which is the wiring where electrical impulses go and that’s what causes thoughts. And so when you do an action – even picking up your phone: it’s a specific motor action. Your neurons are firing at a certain sequence. What they found is that the more times you pick up your phone, if you do it the same way, there is actually – I think it’s called myelin. It’s like an insulator, just how a copper wire has insulation, that starts coding that circuit, and so the more often you do a habit, the more coding, the more insulation it gets, which makes it faster, it makes it stronger, and that’s how you get the different responses. If you to a professional football player and just throw a football at him, he is going to grab it; he doesn’t even think about it; he doesn’t have to have his brain see the football coming and say, “Oh I should move it this way.” He just has this instantaneous response to it, and it’s the same thing as habits. This is also how bad habits work and they are so hard to break. Regular, constant use of something over and over and practice of it – it builds your brain and actually strengthens those pathways. That’s how you can destroy bad habits because you are strengthening alternate routes; you don’t go through a bad way. I think it’s Talent Code. He talks about how world class, top-level musicians work and athletes work and all that, and the science actually backs all this up now. REUVEN:**It’s definitely true that if you start doing something on a regular basis and then you stop doing it, you miss it. Making these habits part of – making the activities part of your daily routine is important. When I was living in Chicago, I walked to and from the university every day and it was about a four mile walk in each direction, and I loved it – I absolutely loved it. People thought I was crazy and they were like, “How do you have the time for this?” It was such a part of my day that I couldn’t imagine not doing it and now [inaudible 23:34] Oh my God, how did I have two hours each day just to walk? [chuckles] But it was great and it just became a part of my schedule.**ERIC: Yeah so I mean there is a lot of advice out there about picking a goal and working towards it and I think there is some about kind of picking habits and working towards those but they’re not as prevalent as what’s your new year’s resolution. I think it’s a good alternative, especially if you have found a big goal at the end of the year that doesn’t work for you, doesn’t motivate you. If you focus on daily habits and just start with one and just do it for months, maybe two months, maybe even three or four months – don’t rush it, you don’t pressure yourself into it, that’s a nice good alternative. The thing about mine that I picked is I want to have these habits in 20 years. I still want to be doing at least a pushup a day in 20 years from now; I still want to be doing yoga or some sort of stretching like that every day and I think that’s important so you don’t have this this huge sprint to get to this thing and then you kind of fall back, like what you were talking about of your walking. CHUCK: Yeah I really like that idea too where you focus on building habits instead of big accomplishments. I don’t think that it’s wrong to focus on the accomplishment, but by making them a habit you’d get that ability to do things sort of automatically. ERIC:**Right and if the accomplishments are good – I use those for my running. I’ve this half marathon I’m training for or this ultra-marathon I’m training for, but I found if I put too much emphasis on that, if I don’t [inaudible 25:59] –. I got injured one year and I couldn’t do a race or I did another race and I did so poorly because of weather and other circumstances. It actually hurt me and made it so I couldn’t get out and run, and then it actually caused the entire season to go down the drain. I focused too much on the accomplishments getting the price in the end and not so much on the journey of every day, every week I’m doing something towards that.**CHUCK: Yeah that makes sense. ERIC: There’s actually one thing I want to share real quick. I’ll put a link in the show notes. There’s a way better one I’ve seen; I got it from a doctor, a naturopathic doctor I went to go to for some allergy testing. Their entire questionnaire was like, do you drugs, do you drink and all that stuff – they had I think its call the wheel of life but it’s basically a circle with eight, or I think it might have 10 or something. There were 10 different areas of your life and what you do is you put a little area of life from 0 to 10, how much you feel fulfilled or happy with certain area. It’s physical environment, personal growth, money, health, family, career – a whole bunch of different things. I did it in there and it stuck with me. I’m like, “This a pretty cool exercise to look at your life as a whole.” You might be doing really, really good in your career, you might be doing really, really good in your family but maybe your health is lacking or maybe you are doing really good in your career but you don’t feel fulfilled by it. It feels you are doing something you shouldn’t be doing. It might be a fun exercise to do just to kind of get a broad perspective of where you are and if you want to actually improve certain parts of it. CHUCK: Yeah that makes a lot of sense. Just to clear things up a little bit. I’m really toying with the idea of giving at least some focus to these habits or at least in the sense of thinking about “okay these are the big things I want to accomplish this year” and then setting up habits that will get me there. REUVEN: Right. I think part of my frustration, and part of what I’m trying to change I guess over the next year in my work and in my life in general is I feel like I’m doing all this training company for this training company here in Israel, and that’s largely sort of determining my schedule because they call me up and its very tempting, right? They say we’d like to more and less fill all of your time and I’ve been pushing them back a lot. I’ve been saying, “No, no, no. I’m not available these days; I’m not available these weeks. I’ve been doing other things,” and part of that I so that I have time to do the things that will let me move forward in certain ways, whether it’s writing, whether it’s dealing with your clients, whether it’s marketing. I just need that time and I feel like the time is already in 2015 slipping away from me because I’ve already got things scheduled for them and then it becomes this rat race of “Well, not what am I going to do with it?” and fix it up. CHUCK: Yeah. One thing that I’m thinking about – and maybe you guys have good answers for some of this – is in the area of what do I do with the rest of this year, because I didn’t have any plans or thoughts or deep things that I did right this year, so I’m not trying to round out my year and accomplish specific things. I’m trying to work towards the things that I’ve already set forth as goals for next year. What can I do this year to make sure that I’m doing things that are going to enable me to reach my goals or set up my habits or whatever next year? REUVEN: I think part of it is just clearing time for it, right? If you’re always running between things – you are always saying, “Oh my God, I’ve got to deal with this podcast and this client and this webinar.” You always feel sort of pushed around, then you’re never going to be able to sit and clear the air and concentrate and focus. CHUCK: Yeah. ERIC: What might be even deeper than that though is not just clearing time, but clearing passion for it. If you really, really want to do something, you will make time for it. it might be that you don’t have that passion or that desire or that need to do that thing yet. I know you have experiences like when your back’s up against the wall and you have to do something – you do it. You’ll make time; you’ll still have time for things, and even let balls drop that have consequences, but that might be something you might want to think about is maybe the goals or things you want to do, you want to do them, but maybe not for the right reasons. Or maybe you don’t really want to do them. Maybe there’s society pressure or peer pressure or family pressure for you to do them, but you actually don’t want to do them yourself. Like – what is it? The intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation. CHUCK: Mm-hm. One other thing I want to talk about, and Eric kind of mention it in the chat, he was talking about dreams and lifetime to-do items. For me, I hear about having a three-year plan or five-year plan or a ten-year plan, and I never feel like I have enough information to make decisions that far out. So what do you do? Is it just more “In general, I’d like to be wealthier and happy and healthy”? ERIC: I mean, I guess. CHUCK: I want to be the president of the United States. ERIC:**Yeah. Go back to – I’m trying to remember where. Arnold Schwarzenegger, back when he was doing body-building pretty heavily, he actually told someone that his goal is to become a movie star or whatever, and look what he did. I mean, now – I don’t know if he still is, but he became the governor of California. He’s gone – that’s a rags to riches story; that’s kind of a [inaudible 31:21] story. He can never be president, but.**CHUCK: I love how nobody cares who the governor of California is. ERIC:**I don’t live there anymore so I don’t care [laughter].**CHUCK: Exactly! REUVEN:**This Schwarzenegger story didn’t end so well by the way [chuckles].**ERIC: One thing I do is I have – and this is still on my to-do list because it just put everything in there. I have dreams. It’s like a to-do category, and this are stuff like “see the pyramids” or “visit Italy” or “run a marathon” – these are things like bucket list items. I think I have visit space in here somewhere, and I have that and that I review that every week. I’ll scan through them and it keeps these in my head like, “These are stuff I want to do” and I’ll add to it or remove from it. But I also have seven or eight that I call Life to-do items. These are overarching – me as a person, this is what I want to do. One of them is writing, one of them is teaching, one is have a happy and a great family – they’re very vague and you can’t really say “Oh, I’ve accomplished this thing; I’m going to cross it off.” But it gives me a bit of a theme to my life – this is the kind of person that I want to be. Those two things, I look at them all the time. That can help steer where I want to go, what I want to do. CHUCK: Yeah that makes sense. To a certain degree, I have some of those things going on, where it’s things that I want to eventually do, sort of a bucket list. But I don’t know, it seems like there’s at least some power in knowing where I’m going to be within the next so many years or whatever, and I’m not sure if I’m really kind of thinking the right way about that or if it matters. ERIC: I mean, how many years you are thinking? Like, five years? CHUCK: Yeah, I can’t imagine planning out any further than that. EIRC: So from where you are at now, look back five years and ask yourself: could you have predicted that you would be where you are now five years ago? CHUCK:**Not a chance. [Chuckles]**ERIC: Ok, then. To me, that’s proof that you cannot do that. You can steer a certain way and you can hope for things and try to set stuff up, but for us, our brains just cannot comprehend – we can barely comprehend a year’s time and what can happen in a year. We are so bad about planning even just a year. Five years is just an intense amount of time. But like I said, you can steer it. You can have focus on certain things, and if you keep coming back to, we’ll just say, the public speaking end-goal. If you keep coming back to that year after year after year, you might know where you’re going to go, but you’re going to be going somewhere that comes from the skills and the talent and the practice you put in there. CHUCK: Mm-hm, that makes sense. I just keep thinking that I would be nice to be able to have that longer-term goal. And this is going to come back to even within the year, but I think to a certain degree, just knowing in general I want to be in this place, and then being willing to change that. If something changes in life with your family or your kids or career or whatever, you can adjust and say, “Okay, well then these goals don’t match that trajectory anymore, and so I’m going to reevaluate too see if I can take advantage of some of the work that I’ve done, but make sure that I’m heading in the right direction, going forward. ERIC: Right. I think that’s part of it. I think, especially with resolutions, a one-year goal, you kind of lock that in and a lot of people will tell other people about it, and then commit to it, but they also commit to it so hard that – what is it? The book Influence talked about – I’m actually reading that right now – but you can commit to it and you don’t want to change that goal or you don’t want to say, “This no longer fits what I want” because it looks bad on you. You look inconsistent I think is what the word is, and so having the flexibility and giving yourself permission to change your mind later as more evidence or more stuff becomes available is actually really important. Don’t lock up a goal and say, “I’m going to be doing this’ and be so pig-headed and determined that you do it and it’s not actually what you want. CHUCK: Yeah that makes sense. It really lines up with what I’m after because as I learn about myself, I can make those decisions and I can empower myself to change my mind, and I can empower myself to not feel dumb when I change it back. REUVEN: Also, Chuck – it seems to me at least – you have been doing a ton of stuff over the last few years. Certainly in terms of the podcasting and getting it out, I don’t know how much that dovetails with necessarily your business goal, right? CHUCK: It does dovetail with it, and mostly it’s that idea or that focus behind again, being able to empower people and make a difference and help folks out that falls within the realm of what I really want to accomplish. So the podcast fit in there, but I’m not explicitly focusing on them because they are kind of automatic at this point, if that makes sense. REUVEN: It become habits. CHUCK: Right, yeah. I mean, I show up every week. And you guys show up every week and so we make them happen. REUVEN: Right. It’s much easier for me if I can sort of get something in – it’s easy for me to make a habit of it if I can fit it into my schedule on a regular basis and there’s no way for me to be able to move it, often because it’s up to other people. You told me when the podcast was, so I just have to put it in my schedule so it’s immovable – and that’s good because it means that I schedule things based on that. Writing a book requires a different sort of thing because it will be nice if I could devote a certain hour every day to doing it, but my schedule doesn’t quite allow for that. And yet I still try to keep the ultimate goals, certainly the business goal which are the overwhelming, overriding thing, but also the individual, smaller goals that help me get there in view. CHUCK: Yup, and I think a lot of that – again, we’ve kind of driven it back to the habits thing, but it really is that routine thing. Just like what you just said, it’s just – I just show up and I do it. And it’s easier of rme to keep those appointments if somebody else is around. In other words, when I want to talk to you guys and I show up and you guys are going to be here. If I don’t show up, then I feel like I’m letting you down. And it’s a different story when we are talking about things a little bit more like if I don’t show up, then nobody is going to know. REUVEN: Right. ERIC: And for that sometimes you are going to use public commitment. Commit to it in public, or having an exercise buddy or whatever. I mean, it’s really hard to-do that. I guess accountability partners can kind of work like that, even if it’s like “I’m going to get up and spend an hour each day writing this book, and I’m going to talk to someone for two minutes and tell them “yes I did it” or “no I didn’t’ and then get made fun of it if I didn’t do it or whatever. It’s a bit harder because you’re actually relying, you’re dependent on someone else to do the accountability for you. CHUCK: Yeah. REUVEN: Well that’s probably what I like about my Mastermind. Every week, I have these other people. I guess we’re five people altogether, and we tell each other what we were working on, and I feel really dumb if two weeks in a row I basically say, “Well, I didn’t really get to anything. I didn’t accomplish any of the goals that I set out to do.” I want to be able to tell this group, “Yes, I have had another amazing week where I’ve done lots of great stuff.” CHUCK: Yeah and that’s always interesting but it depends on the Mastermind group. I can tell you that there was a Mastermind group that I was part of starting here in Utah, and so we’d go grab lunch every so often. We weren’t regular about it for one, but the other thing was that we really weren't serious about creating any sense of accountability for each other. We never really did that. It was just hard to count on it as some kind of an accountability thing. With the other groups that I’m a part of – I’m a part of two mastermind groups now – there’s a little bit more of that accountability that goes on because we’re talking about it. In the case of one of them, we’re talking about it publicly, and so it becomes part of the deal, that we do what we say we were going to do. ERIC:**Yeah I mean I’ve even heard of somewhere – if you say, if you commit to doing something and you don’t do it, you have to pay money into a kitty where that kind of goes to the group benefit or whatever. Or one really funny one would be you donate money to a charity that does something that you hate. If you are a democrat you pay to the Republican Party or the other way around. I mean there is a lot of stuff you can do because as humans I think we care more about avoiding pain then we do about getting pleasure for something. So yeah, you might want kind of the pat on the back, a “You did a good job, boy” but the pain is going to be a stronger motivator. Some people, if [inaudible 40:05] doesn’t work like that, I think for me, like I said of the pressure and stuff, I found pain as an as strong of a motivator as it is for other people, but I think you have to realize that. And Mastermind groups are pretty good about that, because you kind of got this social group there that could kind of help you, but they can also hold your toes to the fire. What I always liked about Mastermind groups is you can see what other people are doing, and you can hear in private how much they’re struggling and how hard it is for them, but you can see the successes that they’re having, and then you can kind of look at that as your own. “Okay, I’m struggling, but I know Jacob here struggled and look what he did. I should be able to do what I’m doing.” It’s kind of a nice motivator without it actually intending to be that way.**CHUCK:**Yeah. I want to go back to your dreams list for a minute, Eric. It seems like some of them are pretty vague and some of them are a little bit more specific. I do like the idea of reviewing them every day, so it comes a little bit close to affirmations for me a little bit. It’s not quite the same because affirmations are “I’m a good person and I know I’m a good person and I’m going to tell myself I’m a good person so that I –.” That kind of stuff. And it just doesn’t seem to work for me; it mostly just – there’s a part in myself, in my head that’s going, “Yeah, yeah. That’s a nice thing to say.” The dreams thing is kind of the same thing, so how do you keep it from becoming that kind of thing and how do you make it into sort of this vision for your future?]**ERIC: I think a lot of it’s the way it’s phrased. One of them I’ve here is “Run a marathon.” That’s what it is, just run a marathon. It’s not “I’m a marathon runner” or “I’m an ultra-fast whatever, whatever.” Because most affirmations – whatever they’re called, they kind of go above and beyond and they kind of pump you up. These are literally just big to-do items. I mean, did I run a marathon? Yes or no. Have I visited Alaska? Yes or no. The thing is that they’re bigger in scope, so these are the things –. Some of them you might be able to do in a month, but some of these are multiple month, multiple year type things. One of them is make a million-dollar donation – that’s significant. That’s not something I can just start working on 2015 and be done by the end of the year – that’s going to take a lot of effort. And so I think that’s the big difference than this. Like I said, I use these as kind of like a compass of “Okay, here’s how I envision I want to be as a person, and these kind of are the guiding steps – what I would be, what I would do.” It’d make more sense if you could see the full list, because these actually all tie into – what I was talking about – my lifetime goals. These are seven to eight lifetime goals. They actually break down the dreams, like the dreams are like milestones for that. And like I said, every week or so when I do my reviews, when I review them, they’re kind of refreshment in my head, and that’s actually what caused me to start running more is I had a couple of running exercises they do once in here. I started running and started knocking those things off pretty quickly. I have a marathon and an ultra-marathon – those dream to-do items now because I’ve made a lot of progress there, but I didn’t have these two years ago, three years ago when I started. And the other thing, I think because two weeks ago or whatever, it feels really, really good when you can cross one of these off this list. CHUCK: Oh yeah. So was it kind of an “I’ve arrived” list or “I don’t know if that’s really the best way to put it” because it doesn’t sound like it’s like the end, so to speak, but it’s kind of an out there goal that kind of drives you toward excellence in some area of your life. ERIC: Yeah, it’s not a “I have a ride,” it’s I’ve hit this certain milestone, and this is the milestone as the representation of all the effort, all the time and the practice I’ve put into this area. But this kind of gets me something to check off versus a lifetime goal of being awesome or something. CHUCK: I see. I’m just trying to think about what mine would be, because I do the idea of kind of setting a milestone out there, building a pillar out there so I can see it far off, and then just make sure that I’m heading that way. One of the other thing I want to talk about before we wrap up is the idea of areas of accomplishment. I’ve heard and seen people talk about this idea of having some different areas of accomplishment – financial, physical, mental, spiritual – I think the most comprehensive list had six or seven areas in it that I saw. Do you make goals in each area or you just right down the things you are really thinking about it at the moment? How do you go about kind of classifying and making sure that you are covering all of the important areas of your life. ERIC:**I think you want to try to fill that out as much as you can so you are not really unbalanced but sometimes if you are really weak in an area you might not have any goals because you’re just not in it. You’re not focusing on it; it might be something new to you, and so it might have maybe one or two in there, and then as you get into it more and more, it starts expanding. Like my exercise, when I come back to it a lot – because it’s an easy example; everyone understands the concept of exercising. When I got started, it was just “Run a 5K” and not it’s “Run a marathon,” “Run an ultra-marathon.” I put in chat, I have one to run in every state in the US. I’m kind of getting into looking at hiking and maybe even doing mountain running – it started as very simple, very basic, and as I have some accomplishment in there, as I put some time and effort into it, it’s kind of expanded and booked out. Now my exercise are of life is a lot more fuller, a lot more advanced than it was five or six years ago. I think you need to look at that, but you also need to really consider, “Is that something you want to improve?” Maybe you’re happy that [inaudible 45:40] if your life is very small and minimal; it doesn’t have much of an impact and you’d rather not focus on a different area. Most people aren’t going to admit it, but maybe focusing on family isn’t something you want to do and you want to focus on your career? Maybe you’re not going to be dating and you’re going to be trying to do a startup for the next ten years – that’s your choice; that’s what you can do.**CHUCK: Yeah. The other question I have is that t seems like the areas that I don’t have goals in are the ones that I don’t think about as much or I don’t know as much about. So for example, my financial goals basically consist of getting out of debt and being able to give away lots of money without being too specific about all of the different things that go on there, and then being able to afford a particular family vacation or something. How do you get to the point where you are more comfortable or more aware so that you can kind of create these goals in the right areas? Can you make that your goal – learn more about finances or learn more about –. ERIC: Yeah, I mean education is always good; I think that’s part of it. I have quite a few travel goals; I got that just over time reading and seeing beautiful places or some really interesting stuff, and I’d be like, “Oh, that’d be fun to go visit. I should put that on my list.” It could be as you start doing the first goal once you get out of debt, the process of getting out of debt, you’re going to have to learn stuff about finances and that might open up more doors for you. After you get out of debt, you might be like “Oh okay, maybe I want to start donating more and you look into how charity stuff would work, how donations work. And then you’re like, “Oh actually making a trust free to my kids is actually a good idea. You put some goals around funding trusts and stuff like that, so it’s like an organic approach. The other way is I think if you just read about famous people, or not necessarily famous – successful people or people you look up to and it could even be like friends and family like you would like to have part of their life. Or you wish you had the success of this other person – see what they value, see what they do, and they might be able to give you some ideas. CHUCK: Yeah. So one other thing that I feel you should bring up when we are talking about this is the idea of a good goal. I keep hearing the acronym SMART, for smart goals. REUVEN: Well what does the acronym stands for? CHUCK: Specific, Measurable –. ERIC: Actionable, something and Time-bound. CHUCK: Yeah. Realistic, maybe? ERIC: Yeah, I think so. REUVEN: In other words, if you’re going to set a goal, it shouldn’t be “I want to be the wealthiest person in the planet and have ultimate control over all other human beings.” Because that’s unlikely to happen if you set a goal. Like it shouldn’t be I want to be the wealthiest person on this planet and have ultimate control over all other human being. CHUCK: Yes, it’s attainable, but not realistic. REUVEN: Right. Well it’s just a short period of time. But in general, I mean, a goal has to be something – if you’re going to work towards it – it’s something that you can see yourself making progress towards. Maybe not every day, but over medium and long-term. If you stay stuck, then it’s just going to be extremely demotivating. CHUCK: Mm-hm. It really does make sense. I think the specific and measureable are just – it has to be something that you can say I’ve accomplished this goal and I can measure how far I’ve come towards the goal. Attainable and realistic – I can reach the goal and it’s something that is within the realm of possibility. And then timely it’s just saying when it’s going to be accomplish by. I can get into shape, but I get into shape now or in ten years, that kind of thing. ERIC: What does shape mean? CHUCK: Yeah exactly. Lose x number of pounds or things that. ERIC: Yeah I mean you can follow that smart stuff; that’s what I’ve done for the past few years, except for this last year. I think it has its limitations; if you’re not doing anything at all, I think smart’s a decent framework to understand goal-setting, but I think you’ll get to a point where you’re really limited by smart. Especially because it’s very business-focused; it’s very analytical, like you have to get it. It’s the – what is it? Is it Drucker? Whoever the management person was, it’s like you can’t improve something you can’t measure. While that can be true in most cases, there are things that you can never fit into smart, but yet they’re still really good goals to pursue. I think smart is a good first step, but you have to watch to make sure you’re actually not limiting your goals because you’re trying to fit into this smart framework CHUCK: Yeah, I can agree with that. I think, to a certain degree, this is for those accomplishments. For example, running a marathon – just to throw it out there. You could make that a smart goal as far as I am going to run a marathon by the end of next year. But if you’re looking at things from the framework that you’re talking about, Eric, where you’re saying, I am going to do these habits, you can make those smart goals; I’m going to do this every day till whenever, but not all the goals really meet in there, and if having a specific goal like this doesn’t motivate you, then it doesn’t make a lot of sense. ERIC: Right, and I think smart – it really works well for achievements where, yes, achieved this, check if off, like some of the dream lists that I talked about or classic goals of “I’ve run a marathon; I’m done of it,” smart can work for that. But longer term goals of being a runner – that won’t ever fit into smart at all. CHUCK: Alright, well we have been talking for an hour and a half so let’s go ahead and –. REUVEN: Make main goal for next year: be terser. CHUCK: Well, we did talk for 20 minutes about how bad my bank is and how good you guys’ banks are. Anyways let’s do some picks. Reuven, do you have some pics for us? REUVEN: I just have one pick, and it’s kind of a nerdy one. I do a lots of Python training; I’ve been asked to do some more advanced training for some companies, and they said I should look into iPython and iPhython notebook. I was like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s a nice interface to use Python and everything, but I’ve been finding all sorts of amazing stuff for parallel processing in there, and boy it’s just – I can’t get over all the things I’d found. If you are a Python user and you’ve not tried the parallel stuff in Python, it’s quite something to look at in the iPython interface. and it’s kind of nerdy one I mean I do lots of python training and I’ve been asked to do some more advanced training for some companies and they said I should look into I-python and I-python notebook I was yeah yeah yeah it’s a nice interface use python and everything but I’ve been finding al l sorts of amazing for parallel processing in there and boy it’s just I can’t over everything’s that I found so if you are a python user and if you have not tried the parallel stuff in python it quite something to look at in the I-python interface. CHUCK:Nice. For those of you who don’t like Python, you can call it “Why Python.” [Chuckling]ERIC: But why Python? CHUCK:[Chuckles] Don’t mock it until you try it. Anyway, Eric. Do have some picks for us?ERIC: I got two. One I mentioned earlier is The Talent Code. It’s a pretty good book about neuroscience, how the brain works and habits and – what is it? not creativity but it’s get into excellence of – like you’re an excellent soccer player or whatever. Pretty interesting, just how the biology works behind it. The second one is a post by Kurt called How I Marketed My Agency so Well I Turn Clients Away Daily. It’s a nice post that talks about. CHUCK: Is that Kurt Elster? ERIC: Yeah, tests like about five or six different tactics he is using and what’s interesting is I’ve heard all of these all over the place. but the way he has combined these all into one overall team build strategy or whatever – that’s really interesting.0 I’m actually following his stuff I as a cold client trying to see how he is marketing to a client, and it’s pretty interesting so far. I can’t wait to get into some of the more meaty, because I’ve been talking with them over email about it too. It’s some nice stuff, I think, especially going into next year. I’m going to be trying some new tactics out, and a few of them he has talked about on here CHUCK:Very cool. Alright! I didn’t prepare any picks [chuckling]. I’m such a slacker. I did get the design for JS Remote Conf at 99Designs, so I can pick that and I’ve been using Redbooth. I know it’s been picked on the show before by Curtis and by me, but it’s a pretty awesome system for tracking your to-dos, and so I’m probably going to be adding it to our dreams to-do and some other stuff in there to try and systemize some of this stuff so that I can do it better. So those are my picks. I don’t think we have any announcements or anything, so we’ll wrap up and we’ll talk to you all next week!REUVEN: We’ve got the call-in show. CHUCK: Oh yes, the call-in show, which is going to be live a week from now and will be published a week after that. It’s going to be on the 25th. If you go to freelancersanswers.com and sign up for the list then we will email you and let you know when we are going to be doing that. ERIC: Or you can follow most of us on twitter or something and we will probably talk about it when it starts. CHUCK: Alright, well thanks for coming guys! We’ll wrap up the show. Catch you all next week! REUVEN: Bye everyone! CHUCK: Bye! [This episode is sponsored by MadGlory. You've been building software for a long time and sometimes it gets a little overwhelming. Work piles up, hiring sucks and it's hard to get projects out the door. Check out MadGlory. They're a small shop with experience shipping big products. They're smart, dedicated, will augment your team and work as hard as you do. Find them online at MadGlory.com or on Twitter @MadGlory.]**[Hosting and bandwidth provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at BlueBox.net]**[Bandwidth for this segment is provided by CacheFly, the world’s fastest CDN. Deliver your content fast with CacheFly. Visit cachefly.com to learn more]**[Would you to join a conversation with the Freelancers’ Show panelists and their guests? Wanna support the show? We have a forum that allows you to join the conversation and support the show at the same time. Sign up at freelancersshow.com/forum]

Sign up for the Newsletter

Join our newsletter and get updates in your inbox. We won’t spam you and we respect your privacy.