Just like any other project I work on either personal or professional – when I was first designing the JTC site and planning the project I asked myself what would success look like? What would be the 2-3 results needed to consider the project a success for the first six months to a year? What would determine whether I continued forward, course corrected, or simply ended the project and moved on to the next idea running through my head?
I only had two fairly high level goals to consider the project a success and worthy of continuing:
- I had to be learning from the project.
- I had to be helping others even if only in some very small way.
Well, today starts roughly the 12th week of JTC and I am happy to say – so far, so good.
I have and continue to learn a great deal on blogging, web site development and SEO processes that will be extemely beneficial both as I continue the JTC project as well as any other future projects I may launch. More importantly, I have learned a great deal about myself and where I need to focus on improvement. Just the excercise of working through the 8 points of focus has opened my eyes to opportunities for improvement and the steps needed to capture those opportunities.
In the 11 weeks since the start of the JTC project I have connected with some awesome and inspiring people all over the country and even internationally through the blog, Facebook, and Twitter. Spanning from just connecting closer to a colleague I have always had great respect for to discussing a potential business venture with a new connection in England. But my greatest joy and inspiration to continue on with JTC came when I received an email from a friend telling me how much the concept and the posts have helped him start a journey of his own towards improving his own life in areas he has consistently avoided in the past. It came from a friend I knew would be supportive of the project but one I would have never dreamt would actively engage. I am not embarrassed at all to confess that my eyes teared up a bit as I read the first email. Not only was the project helping someone in some small way but it turned out to be helping a good friend – and I cant explain how much more that means to me.
Lou offered to guest post how JTC had helped him so far after reading the WRITE HERE!, WRITE NOW! post. Without further ado here is the first guest post of the JTC project and the first of what I hope will be many more from my good friend Lou White – Father, Husband, Student of Life, and all around good guy (if you knew what the standard good hearted banter between Lou and I sounded like you would find that last item hilarious. 🙂 I committed to keeping the site G rated.)
I don’t know if I love you or hate you. (inside joke) by Lou White
So hey, I just thought I’d tell you about how your Convergence concept has made a difference in my life…
I’ve always just taken life as it comes. You could probably take it a step further and say that I purposefully avoid any sense of order. I dread HAVING to do anything! So, I go out of my way to not make plans; even for things that I should be looking forward to like concerts or vacations… you could say I have a serious aversion to future commitments.
Then I read about the Convergence concept, and it REALLY speaks to me. Though, I have yet to sit down to figure out where I am with each of the areas (I guess that means my personal development arrow is pointing squarely at the empty space outside of the target). Anyways, the concept itself got me to thinking about how I live my life. This is, of course, an important first step. After all, before you embark on a journey, you must decide to go, right?
A couple of years ago I started back to school. That’s great and all, but going back to school coincided with Gabe starting to participate in organized activities. So, I felt pretty overwhelmed.
*Serious aversion to future time commitments + major time commitments = STRESSED OUT LOU*
In reaction to the stress, I pretty much let everything else go. I managed to gain back all the weight I lost six years ago, I am a pretty piss poor domestic partner because I do not help out like I should, and until Gabe got into martial arts in September I wasn’t spending nearly the time I should with him.
So, I guess I started changing for the better in September because I spend a ton of time with Gabe now. Not just while we’re working on his martial arts, but we just hang out for at least an hour or two just about every day. On the other hand, I decided to get serious about my weight in September as well, but managed to fail miserably.
Then comes Convergence.
Well, not just convergence, but all of the posts on Under Construction. They introduced me to new concepts, motivated me, and made me think about how I manage my life.
I am starting to overcome my aversion to commitment. Actually, I’m finding that the more organized my plans are, the more content I am with the immediate future; I have a sense of security that I didn’t have before. That security makes it easier for me to deal with more than one or two focus points at a time. Feeling more secure, I began to form a strategy for weight loss in January. It is pretty simple: watch my calorie intake. Though, I use quite a few tools to support this challange, I’ll leave it simple for now.
Then on Feb. 1st, I read the article about finances and that really got me to thinking. I have NEVER budgeted, did not want to budget, and nothing was going to change my mind… until that damned post. I bought The Total Money Makeover and in my search for financial software I found mint.com which is pretty much perfect for my needs (anybody who does not currently use financial software really needs to check mint.com out, especially since it is free). So, Michelle and I began working on a budget last month and we will fine tune it over the next couple of months. The goal is to become *debt free*. Before the budget, debt free was nothing more than a pipe dream, and now it almost feels as if it might be easy.
Of course, being the numbers nut that I am, I did take the budget one step further. I created a cash flow spreadsheet. It is really simple. It is pretty much a checkbook register, but with foreseeable future transactions already added. Once again, there is more to it, but I’ll keep it simple for now. Though you should ask me to explain it with a bit more depth sometime, it really is a great tool, both for planning and for motivation! (insert from Mike – I see the next Lou White guest post in this one.) 🙂
Funny thing is, this transformation is sort of following the same path as everything else in my life. By that I mean things just seem to fall into place. Let’s see if I can illustrate:
- I’m taking Business Finance this semester.
- I started to develop a weight loss plan.
- I read the Feb. 1st finance post.
- I began my weight loss plan and started looking into my finances.
- I started reading The Total Money Make Over during the same week that I started working on present and future values in finance class, and the understanding the class gave me magnified everything I read in the book.
- I created a budget and have become hooked on the idea of a financial metamorphosis.
- My obsession with becoming debt free makes me want to spend less on food. So, the urges to stop at the store or the drive-thru to pick up a snack or whatever are completely gone.
So, these two major life goals that are developing at the same time (finance and health) are working together synergistically with a third goal I am already working on (education). How is that for proof that Convergence works? Only, without Under Construction I would have never thought of it this way. I would have just chalked it up to good fortune. Now that I know what to look for, instead of waiting for things to randomly fall into place; I will find them and put them where I want them!
Anyways, keep up the posts. I’ve nearly written a book about just a couple of ways they’ve changed me for the better, and it has only been two months since you opened Under Construction. I really do appreciate your efforts.
Thanks for taking the time to write this up, Lou. It is great to hear that JTC is helping you beat that “serious aversion to future commitments”. Would you have ever guessed this would be the topic of our discussions in 2011 during that drive down to OU – how many years ago? 🙂
My favorite quote from Lou’s letter – “After all, before you embark on a journey, you must decide to go, right?” So true and absolutely one of the keys to success. I see allot of people around me “deciding to GO!” lately and its very exciting to watch:
- I decided to “GO!” in January with JTC even though it scared me to death.
- My eldest children are making decisions to “GO!” as they consider and pursue their futures. (although there is still some work to be done here)
- A colleague of mine decided to “GO!” and move onto a new company and new opportunities. I am sorry to see him go but I am also excited for him and his new adventure.
- Even my wife is making some decisions to “GO!” in a possible business venture. This is exciting even if her decision to “GO!” really means I have to do a lot of the “GOING!” 🙂
What would your journey look like if you had total unconstrained control over it? Guess what – YOU DO! Now GO!
Join the discussion and tell us about your journey!