Personal Development

Challenge Accepted – Overcoming my biggest fears

Alright. It’s a new year and we’re all supposed to have some sort of list of New Year’s Resolutions that we will never end up doing. According to Inc., some 80% of people end up failing on their resolutions sooner or later.

In recent years the amount of blog posts I’ve come across that mention those failures is rapidly increasing year by year. It seems that just wishing for the new year to be better than the previous one doesn’t actually work. Go figure. You actually need to go to the gym and not just wish you’d have a six-pack on the last day of the old year.

So, I’ve been investing quite some time in December, and especially after the Christmas break, to look into how I could actually improve my life in 2020. I’m part of a few mastermind calls of other SaaS and online entrepreneurs and I’ve also joined a private-members club for online entrepreneurs in early 2019. So naturally I looked for help from my peers who are equally ambitious as me.

Turns out, rather than just creating a big fuzzy wish list of things that I’d like to have/be, I should actually invest a few more hours into the process.

During this process I also came across a blog post by Steve Pavlina. I’ve never heard of the guy, but I got intrigued by his idea of a 365-day writing challenge – publish a blog post every day of 2020.

Now, I’m not a writer and I didn’t even know the guy until a few days ago. But something caught my attention:

Such a commitment once nudged me to go running at 2am in the rain while I had a cold, after a long day at a workshop followed by a long drive. 

Steve Pavlina

I was gobsmacked. This sort of determination to not fail your own challenge felt like the most astonishing thing in the world to me. He could have made up a thousand excuses, but he didn’t. He went for a run instead.

I’ve never had to answer to a boss in my life. And that’s a BIG problem.

Now, let me explain…

I started off my entrepreneurial journey from my bedroom at around 14 years. The first really successful 4/5-digit months came at around 16. It was an insane amount of money at the time. This combined with living in a small city in Germany (with little to spend money on) meant that I created a fairly big safety cushion for later years. That was all happening while still living at my parents and going to school.

However, since I never had to report to a boss and had any sort of employment, I never had to be that strict with myself either.

Here lies the crux of the matter.

Late with a project? No problem, I’m the boss.

Screwed something up? No problem, I’ll fix it and that’s it. Maybe I lose a customer, maybe I lose money. But it’s MY customer and MY money. Nobody will tell me off or fire me.

Once things are running smoothly you can become very relaxed and comfortable. Too comfortable.

Yes, there are always ups and downs, but more or less it’s been over a decade of comfortable life with little real struggle.

So, I was reading Steve Pavlina’s blog post and thought about his challenge. And I wanted to come up with my own challenge.

Go for a run every day? Sounds intriguing, but I don’t think it’s viable (or the best challenge) for me right now.

Launch 1 new project per month? I thought about that in the past and plenty of SaaS entrepreneurs and coders have done similar challenges, but I already have issues with my focus and I don’t want to dilute my attention even more.

Write every day for a year? Boom. That’s it. It’s a quadruple-win.

You see, everyone who knows me a tiny bit knows that:

  • I am not a strong reader
  • Don’t write a lot or well
  • I hate imperfections
  • I am bad with deadlines

I skim-read blog posts to the level that I might not even read the full headline. I don’t write a lot and lately even moved most of my internal SOPs to video format. When I code or design I want things to be pixel-perfect and waste hours and hours pushing a few pixels left or right. And finally, whenever there’s any deadline in my life you can be sure that I miss it.

This challenge tackles all of those issues in a big way. As part of the challenge I’m planning to read a lot more, write 366 (it’s a leap year!) blog posts, publish one every day (deadlines!) and try to not care about the quality of my writing while slowly working on improving it over time.

In short – I’m trying to tackle multiple fears at the same time. Let’s see how it will all work out. I already had a chance to give up on day 1 after a long day I’m literally just about to press the PUBLISH button at 23:35 local time.

Here’s to 2020 and the next 365 blog posts!

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