The Improvement Project

We grow in cycles.

We grow, then we rest and reap the rewards of that growth.  Then we grow some more, then we rest.

But it’s been a while since I’ve grown.

Why? It has been a hard few years.  Many others have had much harder years and lives… I know.  The specifics aren’t important.  But since growth requires change, and change requires energy, it’s hard to grow when life is a struggle.

You might have seen me post on Facebook that I have been under-performing for too long.  This is why.  I was just keeping my head above water.  I know it probably didn’t look like it.  But I was.  I can do so much better.

And now things are starting to change.  I have built some things – a business, a band, a product – and they are doing well.  I have some breathing room.  Some room for growth!  So I have been making some changes.  Small ones, but they have been adding up.

So here’s the Improvement Project.  (In other words, this is what I’ve been doing while you haven’t been hearing from me on social media:)

  • Every day, I’m picking one tiny thing to do to improve myself or my life.  I tell an accountability partner what it is, and I get it done before the next daily checkin.
  • I added 15 minutes of free writing and 5 minutes of meditation to each morning.
  • I am making lists of things that I’m not thrilled about in my life and what I want them to look like, along with action items to close the gap between here and there (thank you, Tony Robbins).
  • I joined a gym where I get an amazingly intense workout in 36 minutes.
  • I went to see a physical therapist to take care of this annoying pain in my shoulder. I’m doing physical therapy daily and trusting that it will work.
  • I have made a commitment to myself about the number of hours per week spent on music and on my coaching business.  I’ve been keeping it, pretty closely.  I don’t get too down on myself when I don’t quite make it.
  • I have separated work and play days.  No more days that are half-on, half-off.  Either a day is a work day or it’s not.  Work is far more productive and play is far more fun.  I am actually recovering on my rest days!
  • I have committed to making the greatest art I can.  No more cutting corners.  I am motivated by the frustration and disappointment of our last album having so much more potential than it achieved.  I need to create art I am so proud of that I don’t care what anyone thinks.
  • I am setting a timer to work for 45 minutes and then take a break for 15 minutes.  I have learned I can use my brain effectively for 8-12 hours a day that way, as opposed to wiping out my mental energy for the entire day with a solid 3-hour work stint.
  • I have figured out a new way we need to work on songs in the band – a way that will be much more time-effective and result in better arrangements and better songs.
  • I am going to bed and getting up at about the same time every day.  This has soundly taken care of what was starting to become chronic insomnia. (I was starting to dose myself with cough syrup sometimes just to guarantee I would sleep through the night.)  Now, at 10:30pm each night, I suddenly get as drowsy as if I were drugged, and I wake up refreshed.
  • I have set aside five hours each week for education.  This may be taking a course, watching videos, or reading blogs – anything, as long as I’m learning something new.
  • I’ve been gardening.  I’ve never really been much of a gardener before, but pulling weeds is kind of fun, actually.  Mainly, I am on a mission to improve the space I spend time in.
  • I am taking the summer to explore as much of Colorado as possible, as well as jet out to southern California.  I have been out of town almost as much as I’ve been in town this summer!

Many more changes coming beyond these.

One of my next improvement project items is to return soon to social media as a better and more inspiring communicator, so if you’re paying attention you’ll hear about the rest eventually!