A New Habit: Writing Wednesday–001

It may sometimes be here on this blog, but more likely than anything is I’ll do the majority of my Writing Wednedays over on medium. Here’s the first of what I want to be a new habit that deepens my writing practice and brings consistency to my creative weeks.

Was able to churn out over 1k words in 28 minutes, not bad. Let me know what you thought in the comments below, or write me a response on Medium.

Without further delay here’s the piece:

 

View story at Medium.com

The Day I Met Tim Ferriss

I love goals. I’ve been setting them for years. I’ve got quite a few done, but many more loom over me spurning me forward. How I began setting goals is a somewhat vague recollection, but I’ll explain as best I can. I think that goals began to take focus between 12-18 years old. I wasn’t constantly setting goals and using visualization techniques, but I was making lists. I could go on about lists for thousands of words, and a little later down the line, I will. But for now, let’s just say I started making simple lists at 12. The freedom of a blank page and pen captivated me. What am I going to put on my list? What do I want to do? Both questions are also a very foundational element of goal setting—understanding the objective (goal). What is desired? For me the process of living list driven made me suited for making a list of goals. I believe setting goals and making lists is a skill like any other that can be developed and improved en route to future mastery. I continue making lists and setting goals and will likely until I cease to breathe.

Okay why all the goal rhetoric? “I get it you like lists.” What does any of this have to do with your catchy title? I’ll explain, don’t hasten to the headline and miss a chance to understand my intention of valuable takeaways sprinkled throughout a true story. I did meet Tim Ferriss, but I don’t think it would have happened without having that as a clearly defined goal on a list I made in 2012. No, though the meeting was unexpected and indeed fortuitous, I do not believe it was an accident. I think timing can suggest something is accidental, or ‘by chance’. But, looking at the broader scope of multitudes of simultaneous occurrences in visible and non-visible dimensions you can’t deny the power of intentions. Why so many big words in one sentence? It was my intention. Why did I get to meet Tim, and not perhaps have this goal go unrealized as words on a piece of paper? Intentions. It was something that I kept in my mind and intentionally gave focus to. I chose the outcome and had faith that it would happen one day. I’ve learned that forcing timing rarely works, and I’m working on allowing things to be serendipitous, intentionally. Okay, that’s one of my favorite words, don’t know if that’s apparent yet but I’ll lay off of it for the rest of this piece I promise.

I’ll include the text of a piece I’ve written on Medium here to continue the narrative, and I’ll add the YouTube video here once I’ve gotten the music added and it’s uploaded. The video will be #21 of the #52WkVideoChallenge and its taken even longer than any other not because of time conflicts but through more effort on making it a good use of 5-6 minutes of a viewer’s time. Making sure it’s concise and as good as I can do with my abilities right now. That being it’s done and here it is:

 


 

 

 

This story has both the accidental and the purposeful. A balance between dumb luck, and the willingness to act and commit. Here’s my piece from Medium:

 

View story at Medium.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why when I put an intent on paper does it get power? What do you think of this post?

 

Let me know in the Comments below. Grateful, and hope to inspire you through my own chasing of dreams.

First Post of 2016

Wow. So even with ample time, I still let 2015 go by with hardly the proper attention this blog deserves. I’m grateful if you’re reading this and want to share some of my vision for this blog’s future as well as my own.

Since this is the first post of 2016 I just want to briefly touch on 2015 and what was an amazing year of self-discovery and adventure. I will be writing a dedicated post with the highlights and lowlights of last year, but for now, let me keep it concise.

2015 I left the “full time” workforce and waded into the ever growing freelance economy. Pretty soon I wasn’t just wading in I was drowning in an endless sea of opportunities, and my own personal struggles. With a buffet of chances and choices, the actual process of deciding becomes very important. I can’t make everybody happy, and capitalize on every opportunity while still having quality as a primary emphasis. There are people out there that can definitely manage more projects, execute more ideas, and balance a life better than I can do at present. Yet, I am learning and will eventually grow my creative work capacity. 2015 taught me that I have some conditioned behaviors and changing things that are very ingrained has a high difficulty factor. Nothing is impossible, but the effort level put into changing these kinds of behaviors is very high versus accepting and adjusting to get around or through the road blocks. Use what you’ve got rather than starting construction on a new thoroughfare. I recently wrote about this on Medium and had the realization that I benefit from a physical location to show up to do my work, that is separate from my home. This is true at least in my current situation, possibly having a larger house with a dedicated office I could indeed “show up” and get to work the way I’ve conditioned myself to from years of working in restaurants and events. So I emphasize my newly found awareness of this because this was one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in the last year. The second great lesson or teaching 2015 had for me was a greater understanding of the power of choice. The more choices that face an individual, the less likely that each choice will be a rational and well-made decision. Understanding what kind of decisions you make under decision fatigue, and how to adjust or avoid this autopilot if it’s not in your best interest. This is an ongoing evolution in my mindset and behavior adjustments, not a master by any means yet but I do put focus and attention into better and fewer choices. What else did 2015 mean for me? I took lots of chances, and had many go well, but many also fail to materialize or be executed. My third takeaway is that I’m on the right path, and those failures were a necessary part of my growth as a man and a professional. I’m still here breathing, healthy, strong and ready to move forward so reflecting but not dwelling on failure is a facet of my mindset I’m developing. I pushed myself hard at certain points throughout the year, but the push wasn’t sustained. Pace. The same as doing an Obstacle Course Race can’t push the pace to a frenzy if you can’t recover from a frenzied pace. Better to give a constant 80% push dipping down to 70-75% to recover than pushing at 98% but dropping down to >60% to recover. A steady pace in my creative projects, fitness, and professional/personal development is what I’m aiming for in the coming year(s). That (s) shows a maturity in my thought process—I’m okay with not everything happening this year, or next year. I learned in 2015 what a year really feels like on my terms. How much time I really made the most of and how much I’ve wasted. Going forward, I’m glad to think of things unfolding over several years as opposed to wanting instant gratification and results without enough emphasis on PROCESS and PERSEVERANCE.

That essentially gives a brief snap into 2015, here are some of my key takeaways:

  1. I can’t make everybody happy, and capitalize on every opportunity while still having quality as a primary emphasis.
  2. The more choices that face an individual, the less likely that each choice will be a rational and well-made decision.
  3. I learned in 2015 what a year really feels like on my terms. How much time I really made the most of and how much I’ve wasted.

A touch on the past and now a look to the future. I’m chasing my dreams, period. It’s not all sunshine and light refracting through water droplets (rainbows) though. There is plenty of pain mixed with the pleasure. Most of the pain is self-caused through my interpretation of events meanings. That’s a hard one to accept, but I find a lot of truth in that statement. Looking towards 2016, 2017, 2018 and beyond, I am happy with the vision I’m creating. I’ve looked at my major goals and desires in life and have done my best to create a large enough vision to enable great progress and eventual completion of the most important goals. Deepening self-awareness as I move forward is a commitment I’m making. Sharing that development is another commitment I’m making and that’s what this blog is ultimately for. A record of my becoming on the path that I’ve decided on. I am pledging right now to make the records more frequent, insightful and valuable to others. I will be posting 1-2 blog posts a week minimum for the rest of this year and likely beyond. They will likely take many formats and vary from deeply personal, to relevant and useful tactics, techniques and information for others. I don’t’ want to flood this blog with a bunch of crap, so 1-2 quality posts a week is my goal. I’m also creating on Medium and YouTube  more and more often. My Instagram and Twitter are also part of the record. That’s why I show the Twitter and Instagram feed for readers right here on my blog, because not everything that I do in life is captured and instantly translated into a thoughtful blog post yet, but my tweets and Instagram are great insights into the actual flow of my life—what I’m learning, feeling, and working on. My focus for 27th Renaissance the blog is to create, share and develop useful, truthful and evergreen content on my journey.

My future for creative projects is bright, and I’m building a framework, schedule and deadlines into my everyday life. 2016 will be a year of imposing deadlines and eliminating what stands between me and those deadlines.

Thank you for reading, and as always feel free to reach out or comment and share your thoughts on what I’ve written.

Look forward to many more posts and an authentic look at me, Brendan McCaughey.IMG_1193

Do You Read, or Look at Your Own Content From the Past?

 

Revisiting a Photograph I took from Sunset Blvd.

Revisiting a Photograph I took from Sunset Blvd.

I’m curious. Take this poll and let’s see how many people look back on their work after time has elapsed.

 

Recently I re read a post I did on Medium, and was blown away that I wrote it. It’s about excuses, and I’m still making them. I was astonished at the poignancy of my words and their still applicable nature to my life. I found myself thinking “Wow! I wrote that?” and “I should really heed my own words.” I’m writing to ask if you read and revisit your content at all after creating it? If so, do you find value in it? I certainly have, and intend to make this a regular practice. If I can get value after the fact out of my posts, that gives me hope that others may also find my words, photos or videos of value. Lifetime value not just the day it’s published but ongoing in the future. Creating evergreen content, not just a paltry list post that becomes obsolete as times change, and the marketplace evolves. Can the value sustain? Am I digging deep into life to examine worthwhile issues and sharing the best of what I’m learning on a day to day basis? Documenting my life and journey in a way that will have value in a year, or 5. That is much more of a strategy I can stand behind and work towards as opposed to continually posting only for volume. Clogging or diluting my portfolio and brand that I’m developing with quantity and not quality. Maybe I’m not the best writer or content developer now, but I genuinely want to publish and share my best work in any channel or platform. I don’t want only selfies on my Instagram or tawdry list posts on my blog. I want to push and pull the best out of my experiences. By doing that I will develop more skills, confidence, and content. Waiting for the perfect moment, or until I can create without finding flaws only delays my dreams. I eliminate the excuses for not taking action (insert Nike slogan).

I’m glad that I’m writing. Having the dream & goal of being a writer without writing has annoyed me for some time. Looking back over my content is a nice way to check my process and progress.

Outlining a Writing Workflow

Outlining a Writing Workflow

Two blog posts a year (2014) does not cut it. Being inspired to dedicate myself to learning content creation and marketing is a good feeling. Can I keep it up? Time will tell. When creating anything do you just ship it out and forget about it? Moving on to the next project and the next and the next? Take a moment to examine and revisit it after time has passed, does it still have relevancy? Is it timeless? I want to end with a paraphrased quote from Drake. Yes the R&B/hip hop artist. I remember hearing him being interviewed describing parts of his work and method. He stated he was all about lasting power. Creating music that can be listened to with the same enjoyment years after its creation. “I want my CD to stay in your car.” Perpetual relevance by placing an emphasis on quality. I realized that when listened to that interview at the time his CD Take Care had literally stayed in my car’s 6 CD changer since buying it. Create product that’s going to still be worth something in the future, maybe worth even more. That’s what I’m working towards, I have a long way to go, but knowing the difference between instant gratification and lasting power is truly valuable.

 

I hope you like what you read and decide to go re-visit some old work of yours.

 

An aside:

I started my first real content channel with my Instagram in 2012. I’ve always tried to put only photos that I think are good from a photographic standpoint first, and being an authentic representation of what I love and strive for. Over time my captions or comments have become more thoughtful. But I don’t post something unless I want it to stay there for 5 years. Will I look back at that snapshot and say “Why did I put that on the internet?” Or “That was important that I shared that, wow look at that great shot or I remember that rawness and hustle.”

 

My first Instagram Post Ever!

My first Instagram Post Ever!