There's been a lot of chatter on the comments recently about me not following through, most of it deserved. Throughout my life one of my struggles has been to focus on one thing and follow it through. I used to be totally incapable of it, but over the years have gotten better. There are a lot of things that I have followed through with (my diet, writing this blog, etc.) as well as plenty that I haven't.
Once in a while I feel, for whatever reason, that I've conquered it, and I announce it to the world. While I'm on the topic of admitting faults, another is that I tend to prematurely announce things sometimes. As a reader, you already know that.
I understand your frustration when you read about something I say I'm going to do, get excited about seeing it happen, and then it falls off the radar. If it's any consolation, I'm acutely aware of these things and am similarly frustrated.
I waffle on whether or not to write posts like this. On one hand I like to just write honestly about what's going on, but on the other hand I want to write posts with solutions, and this isn't one.
I think that yesterday's post was misunderstood. I didn't mean that I'm not being a nomad and writing about it anymore. What I meant is that it's a learning process and I'm going to learn from my mistakes and adjust my pace and itinerary. I'll get into specifics when I have them, but I'm still working out the details for myself.
The idea behind being a nomad is to free myself from any location, thus giving myself free reign over where I am. The imaginary obligation I was referring to was the obligation to stick to a schedule and plan that wasn't working.
Other than blog posts, I haven't produced any work that you've seen in quite a while. This is deceptive. I'm trying to not announce things before I know I can commit to them, so I have a few exciting things I've kept under wraps. I also know that I've been promising a gear post for a LONG time. I've actually done TONS of work on this and hope to have it ready soon.
I've been in Austin for less than a week and most of that time has been spent dealing with my RV (like spending ALL DAY today bringing it to San Antonio and making my way back in a bit of a misadventure) and catching up with my friends. Before that I was traveling way too frantically to get serious work done, which is the problem I've spoken about yesterday and today.
At the end of the day these ARE just excuses. I try to hold myself to a very high standard, but the best I can do when I fail to reach those standards is to let you know what has been going on.
Why I Lose Steam
I read a lot and try to expose myself to new ideas. This is partly great, of course, but it also leads me to believe that past commitments were mistakes.
Take Life Nomadic, for example. I announced that it would be my Dip and that I would charge through no matter what. Months later I realized I had no actual plan to make money, and I read the E-Myth. If I had read the E-Myth earlier I would have noticed that I was building myself a job, not a business.
So now I find myself doubting whether I should keep focusing on Life Nomadic as a business. These are questions that I really should have paid more attention to before making the decision to stick with it, but I didn't.
At some point, of course, I have to accept that no decision will be a perfect decision, and just stick with something anyway. I have a very difficult time figuring out when that is.
Besides getting new information which changes how I view past decisions, I also have a bad tendency to spread out my attention. This is one area where I've made improvements. Since reading The Dip I really have divested myself of any real involvement with my other businesses. The people who said they would take them over all bailed on me inexplicably, but I've let them be. At the same time I've been able to rein myself in from taking on other projects that have seemed exciting.
To be clear, I still don't have that laser focus that a lot of people I admire have, but I'm working on it.
There are probably many other factors that contribute to this deficiency. I'm peripherally aware of a few and it's something I spend a lot of time thinking about and trying to work on.
Where We Go From Here
Expect that this is not the last you'll see of my problem with sticking with something. It's something I'm actively working on and will eventually conquer. Know that it's a top priority for me and that any failure is far more annoying to me than it is to you. I do feel a duty to my readers to be a positive role model and to offer solutions to your problems. This is one area where I am not able to do so yet; all I can do is share what I learn along the way.
The e-myth is overrated. If there's something you love to do, and you can get paid to do it, for gods-sake DO IT.
Don't worry about how efficient it is, or whether you're working in-or-on the business. Do what you want to do. Use the money you make to support doing what you want to do. Count your lucky stars you're able to make money doing what you want to do, rather than those who work day jobs to support night passions.
No big deal Tynan,
Keep doing what you do, it is only human to not be able to follow through sometimes. But still you have your life, live it.
There is the tendency in readers seeing only the rosy part of you because to us, you are awesome no matter what!
Thanks for sharing Tynan, I often feel exactlly the same.
It is far to easy fo yourself and others to beat you up about what you have not achived yet.
Your setting big goals and they are not easy to reach. However by taking a step back you can see that you have come a long way. You may not have millions in the bank, but you have more than many. You may not be an internatonally recognized brand yet, but you are more famous than most.
I also agree with Arun, we all change plans and alter our priorities.
I think if your passion is there it could deffinetlly be possible to turn LN into a business instead of just a job. Look at how Lonley Planet has become a business for Tony and Maureen Wheeler (check out the book Unlikely Destinations).
Keep up the awesome work.
Very Good Post. I think having the ambitious attitude that you have with attacking things is more important than always sticking to things regardless of their effectiveness.
There's nothing wrong with revising a plan, or abondoning it all together in favour of something better providing you can legitimately justify the abandonment to yourself.
Just read The Dip based upon your recommendation, and I think it fails to take into account the benefits that devoting effort to things other than your chosen "dip" can have on said "dip."
For example, my "dip" would be getting a record deal and supporting myself based off of that income alone. My chosen area of music is pop music, but studying jazz guitar and classical composition helps expand my musical palette in ways that benefit my pop songwriting.
Also, I spend a lot of time and effort working out/researching nutrition/generally improving my athletic performance. In order to improve my olympic lifts, I dedicated myself to increasing shoulder flexibility. I've found that stretching and massaging my neck and shoulders has significantly improved my singing.
I don't doubt the value of laser-focus and being able to quit dead-end paths, but I think that well-roundedness has value even in the context of extreme specialization.
Becoming more focused is a good personal goal.
But as a reader, it seems that a lot of your coolest posts are the result of major course-changing decisions you've made, which almost always require "giving up" on other things: professional gambling, pick-up... all of this crazy/cool stuff that may not have happened if you were entirely focused and committed to one thing.
So keep at it, but realize that your tendency to spread your interest and "not follow through" at times has created some kick-ass opportunities for you in the past, as it probably will in the future.
Thanks for the honesty. As a fairly new reader I was unaware with some of these things that you have been struggling with, but it is never easy for anyone to admit to their faults, especially in such a public forum. Good for you
I liked this post - it was honest and it's intent was clear. I also have to admit that I like the idea of you sharing what you learn along the way far more than you just simply trying to offer solutions to readers. I tip my hat to you Tynan - this is how to bounce back.
Me likes this post.
Passionate debating instead of "I'm the awesome gogetter".
Honestly I think that the problem here is the book "the Dip", which I personally would have trashed.
It injected in you the idea that being successful means doing one thing and being the best at it.
Which isnt' necessarily so.
And this lead you to the path of pursuing a perfect business idea wich you never achieve.
Imaginary obligation, I'd say!
Money can be made also from multiple micro-businesses brought forth until some of them develops to an accettable level.
I think that instead of selling away your ideas (Conversion doubler and the rest) you could have applied E-Myth principles to them.
That is, team work and sharing the cake.
I consider "The Dip" a personal development model not suited for you, if not a completely wrong one.
You can read my other buzzing against the book in "The Dip" thread, where I posted under the nick 'Lazy Jones'.
Keep down the bad work!
Maybe by definition, but not in spirit.
I've been thinking a lot about BTYB / LN over the past couple weeks, which lead to the survey from yesterday (please take a minute to fill it out if you haven't already). Tonight I had a conversation about all this with Carl Zetterlund, a long time reader who is doing a segment of LN with me right now.
So, I think it's time to make some changes. Here are the problems, as I see them:
All my life I have been terrible at following through. I'm great at saying things and then doing the complete opposite; I'd agree to go to a party and then bail last minute (often knowing full well that was my plan all along); I'd go to the gym twice and not go back for 3 years; I'd start non-fiction books and abandon them three pages in; the list goes on. I stuck to things only when there was something making me, like a friend, or an angry professor, or the threat of losing my job if I didn't turn up. I never really saw this as a problem. Until now.
I realise that committing yourself to a course of action and then following up on that isn't just a good thing to do; it's the only thing to do. All my flakiness, last minute decisions, and lack of a firm answer didn't just paint me as unreliable to other people, but they made me think I was unreliable. I had no trust in myself to follow through on tasks, so I stopped starting them. I stopped trying to do things that were difficult because I knew I'd procrastinate them away until it was far too late. To not be able to trust yourself is not a place you want to be in, because there is no chance you will do anything. Ever.
This has changed recently. I've managed to stick to my no-sugar, no-carb, no-dairy, no-anything-that-will-shorten-my-life-span diet; I'm keeping up with my French practice; I'm going to keep blogging here Mondays and Thursdays, regardless of readership; I'm in the process of "Paring Down" (that's for another post); I make sure that I answer yes or no to plans made with friends, and stick to what I answered. Ultimately, I'm setting myself tasks and I'm seeing them through to the bitter end.
This might seem like rehabilitation, and that's because it is. I was (am by nature, I suppose) lazy, flaky, and generally looking for the easy way out. I've been reading about how this is a hard-wired phenomenon in our brain to take the easy route, do the immediately fun thing and not the long term fun, worthwhile thing, but I don't know how much of that I believe yet. For me, right now, it's just a case of sticking with what I'm doing to the point at which it's completed, or until something physically stops me doing it. As I build my trust in myself, I can start to set myself bigger tasks and more meaningful goals.
It's going to be an interesting few months (years).