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The Excellence Experiment – Week 9 Update

"Do one thing every day that scares you." - Eleanor Roosevelt

Just the Stats:

  • Writing for 1 hour: 46/54 days
  • Reading/studying for 1 hour: 39/54 days
  • Shopping and other personal care stuff 1 afternoon each weekend: 5/9
  • Fitness:
    • Up to 11 push-ups/day (from 3); Increased to 3 minutes/day of ab exercises (from 1 minute)
    • Running: Still at 3.0 miles/run (up from 2.5 miles) at 11.5 min/mile
    • Cardio-Weights class 2-3 x week
  • Doing something outside my comfort zone: 40/63 days
  • 1 serving of fruit: 18/21 days
  • Meditation: 5/7 days

Cool Things I’ve Noticed

The new habit or mindset that’s paying the biggest dividends right now is doing something outside of my comfort zone daily, or at least as often as possible. I can see my comfort zone expanding – things that were uncomfortable or awkward in January are now pretty mundane – even getting up at the crack of dawn to make it to a 7 am meeting isn’t the struggle it once was. The idea of driving a rental car in a strange city no longer fills me with dread. I’ve explored new places and met new people, and I’m becoming more confident and adventurous.

However, since I’m still not living the life of my dreams, it must be even further out beyond my comfort zone. Therefore, it’s time for some giant leaps! And in that spirit, I’ve signed up for a treetop zipline and ropes course adventure later this month. You need to understand that I have an extremely well developed fear of heights, so the idea of swinging through the treetops makes me want to throw up… even signing up made me queasy for hours. But, the company claims they’ve worked with lots of people with this fear, and that this is a good way to get over it. Either that or they died trying… I forgot to ask about that…

But I’m excited! I’m going to face this fear head on! They (whoever the heck “they” are) say that everything you want that you don’t have lies on the other side of fear. Time to break through this barrier! This will be a huge leap outside my comfort zone – assuming I live through it – and proving to myself that I no longer let fear control me will be great preparation for my move to LA.

On another note, I’ve noticed my arms are getting more defined – in the right light and mirror angle, I even caught a glimpse of something in the area where my triceps should be! Consistency with the push-ups is beginning to pay off!

Finally, a few of the new behaviors seem to be settling into autopilot. Although I’ve missed a few days of doing something outside my comfort zone, that’s been a matter of time and opportunity. The mindset has established itself. Now, I find myself actively looking for things that will make me uncomfortable. It’s actually becoming fun – my brain is rewiring to equate fear with exhilaration.

So, with that habit in place, I’ve decided to start working on a new habit in the category of “Living Life Excellently”: Meditation. This is one of those habits that almost all high-achievers swear by, so I’m giving it a try. I’ve tried guided meditations before, and they’re very relaxing, but now I’m trying “real” meditation where you attempt to totally clear your mind and focus on one thing, or nothing. It’s tough. Right now, five minutes is all my hyperactive ADD monkey-mind can handle, but I’m sticking with it. Supposedly meditation helps to increase your ability to concentrate and focus. I’m curious to see how long it takes to notice benefits. One week in, I can’t say I’ve seen any dramatic changes, but I have gotten more clarity on some business goals and I’ve had a few little epiphanies about life… too early to know if it’s a coincidence or not.

Challenges

My biggest challenge continues to be time and schedule, especially when it comes to creating space for personal upkeep stuff like shopping and updating my image. The main issue I’ve been struggling with is the mile-long list of things I need or want to do to grow my business. I get to the end of the week feeling like I didn’t get enough work done, so I head into the weekend with a cloud of guilt that drives me to either get more work done, or escape with a mindless Netflix binge.

So, I’m trying something new. First, I’m showing myself some grace and acknowledging that I can’t do everything simultaneously. It’s going to take time to work through that monster list.

Second, I’m trying the time management strategy of time blocking. I discovered that I could divide all of the business-related tasks on my to-do list into 4 or 5 general categories (like special projects, marketing, social media, etc…) – which corresponds pretty well to a Monday through Friday schedule. So once I finish with my “ONE Things” and urgent must-do work each weekday, I start on the highest priority task in the designated category for that day, and work on it in whatever extra time I have available. The next day, it’s time to turn to the next category. This way, I can get some important but less urgent balls rolling during the week, and because I know I have a plan in place that will give these tasks regular attention, I can devote my weekends to the other areas of my life without the guilt.

That’s the plan, anyway. We’ll see if it works – I’ll keep you posted.

So that’s where I’m at with my Excellence Experiment 9 weeks in – nothing dramatic, but I’m starting to see hints of change and subtle shifts. Stay tuned in 3 weeks for a report on my treetop adventure and facing one of my biggest fears!

 

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