Josh Monen

Sharing my journey through life.

Month: February 2017 (page 1 of 6)

If You Feel Like Quitting

Confession time: sometimes I don’t even like to read my own blog posts.

So why on earth would I think others would want to read them?

I’ve been posting a daily blog now for 111 days in a row and I’m a little embarrassed to admit I still don’t know what the purpose of this blog is!

To make matters worse I’ve been blogging since 2007 (on other blogs).

So I’ve had 10 years or so to figure this out and I still don’t know what I’m doing. It’s not that I don’t know how to write. In fact, I’ve learned how to make a full-time living as a freelance copywriter.

And my copywriting blog has had a measure of success (at least if you judge it by how it ranks in search). And when I blog for others they pay me $300-$500 per post to write for them. So I suppose according to some standards I’ve “figured out blogging.”

But I still feel like a failure.

Maybe I’m not suppose to admit that… or even think that. But it’s how I really feel tonight. And you know what? I bet some person, somewhere, is feeling the same way about something.

So that’s why when push comes to shove I’m choosing to error on the side of honesty. I may not ever be the most gifted writer out there but perhaps I can compensate for that by being really honest (and working hard).

Or maybe not? I don’t know.

All I know is whether I feel like a failure, or like I’m on top of the world, I’m still going to show up every day.

I’m committed to publishing a blog every day for 10 years and I’m not even half way done with year one. So I have a long hike in front of me. And so right now it’s just one step at a time. One post at a time.

Sometimes that’s all you got. But I think it’s enough. No, I KNOW it’s enough.

I remember when I was climbing Mt. Rainier last year and I started getting altitude sickness (I didn’t realize that’s what it was at the time). We were all roped up and climbing up the trail around 4:00 a.m. when I felt like giving up.

I just wanted to stop and go to sleep. I can’t remember ever feeling so tired in my life! And all I could do was put one foot in front of the other. It was the hardest thing, the simplest thing and the most important thing to do at the time.

And it worked. I got to the top. Not because of any fancy tips, tactics or strategies. But because I decided to keep taking the next step.

Sometimes it’s all we can do. But sometimes it’s also the best thing to do!

Forgiving the Cyber Thief Who Stole From Me

This morning I logged into my business bank account and discovered someone had gotten ahold of my debit card and stolen money out of my account.

I could feel my jaw tighten and my body tense up as I thought about what the thieves had done.

I called the bank and reported the activity. They didn’t seem alarmed at all. Just business as usual. They cancelled the card and told me to go to the branch to get another card made and fill out a dispute form.

But when I got to the branch they told me I had to call the merchants. In other words, they couldn’t just put the money back into the account.

I was very frustrated. And I asked the lady helping me at the bank if they were going to report this to the authorities and what happens to people when they do this. She said, “Honestly, I don’t think they pursue them at all.”

That made me even more mad. When I got in the car I started dreaming about starting a company that hired hackers to hack the bad guys and steal money back from them! Retribution!

But as the night went on I realized I’m not going to start any sort of company. And that the best thing for me to do would be to forgive them and move on.

Because as long as I harbor anger and resentment toward Mystery Thief  (or my bank) then they continue to take up space in my life. Space that my wife, kids, clients and friends deserve.

So sorry, thief, you get no more space. I forgive you and I’m moving on with my life.

What Excites You? Clues to Your Calling

I was sitting in church this morning listening to the pastor talk about “building churches in Peru.”

Although he spoke with conviction and was obviously excited about his vision to populate the jungles of Peru with churches, I was not.

As I sat there and tried to process my feelings (or lack thereof) I asked myself, “Why am I not excited?”

It wasn’t because I disagreed with what he was saying or with the mission work in Peru. I think missions work is great. 

I went on a short-term mission trip to India years ago and it had a big impact on me, which I’m grateful for.

So why didn’t my heart leap at the mention of building churches and digging wells in Peru? 

Was something wrong with me? Is my heart cold? Am I just so selfish that any act of service sounds boring!?

I was thinking about all of this when service ended and I saw a girl who I heard used to be an addict. I remember someone saying she was interested in starting a recovery group at church so I wanted to talk to her.

I tapped her on the shoulder and introduced myself. I told her I used to be an addict too and asked if she works with people who want to get clean.

Her eyes lit up and she said, “Yes, we’re actually starting a Friday night group here at church. I’d love it if you’d want to come support it! Especially since you’re a guy and we don’t have many guy leaders.”

We exchanged contact info and then texted more about it today. We’re both excited about seeing what God has in store for recovery groups at church and made plans to meet tomorrow night to talk more!

So this was a good lesson for me today. I share it because I think it’s so important to pay attention to those things that excite you and make your heart leap. I believe they’re clues to your calling.

And it’s also important to remember that just because you’re not called to a certain ministry doesn’t make that ministry any less important than what you’re called to (but it’s OK if it’s less important “to you”).

In other words, Peru is not important to me, but it is to my pastor and to those who share his vision for that nation. So I can honor and respect their calling without having to pretend I share it (or criticize it).

If I tried to force myself to “be all in” on Peru I could probably be of service. But I would eventually burn out and probably get cynical about it.

I propose we’re all better off if we’re honest about what excites us and what doesn’t. 

Then we can focus on doing the work we’re called to do without feeling guilty about not doing everything else.

“This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
– Shakespeare

A Simple Daily Habit to Help You Find Your One Thing

I listened to Donald Miller interview Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism, today and heard a great tip about how you can find your “one thing” to do today.

Here it is:

Make a list of your top six things you want to get done today. It could be three things in your personal life and three in your business.

You should be looking at six things.

Now cross out the bottom five.

There you go!

Do that ONE thing on top of your list. Then if you have time left over do the next one.

Pretty simple, right?

For years I’ve wasted time on complicated productivity systems only to find myself still spinning my wheels.

So a practice like this is a big relief for someone like me. Not only does it make for more calm and peaceful days but it also helps you focus on those things that will have the biggest impact.

Try it out and see what you think.

Work Less. Think More.

Remember, there are really only four ways to change your life. You can either:

1) Start something.
2) Quit something.
3) Do less of something.
4) Do more of something.

Well, today I want to talk about the last two and give you some ideas on how to apply them to your life.

But first, let me tell you a quick story about something that happened last week.

My wife and I were having dinner with some friends when at one point we pulled out our phones to try and schedule a regular meeting time. 

“What about Saturdays?” my friend asked.

“I could do Saturdays, just not in the mornings because I usually work,” I said.

My wife smiled and said, “Yeah, if Josh didn’t work Saturdays he wouldn’t even work 40 hours a week.”

“What?” my friend asked. 

He looked at me like he just found out that my name wasn’t really Josh and that I had been living a lie all these years.

This particular friend has a habit of telling me how many hours he works every week (usually between 50–80). 

So I’ve never felt like mentioning the fact that I rarely work 40 hours a week (usually it’s more like 30–35). I felt like doing so would put my Man Card in jeopardy.

But now the cat was out of the bag!

“Well, just to clarify,” I said looking first at my wife and then over at my friend, “Those are actual working hours. So when I get up to make some coffee I stop the clock. So those are a solid 30–35 hours.”

I went on to point out that most people aren’t working a full 8 hours in a work day, especially in an office environment, hoping this would soften the blow to my hard working friend.

I laugh when I think about this now because it’s just so silly to think that working more hours is somehow better, or something to strive for in business.

But when I really think about it I’m happy with my decision to work the hours I do, while still finding ways to grow my business.

Personally, I think this is the mindset I need to embrace if I’m going to really make the transition out of self-employment and into entrepreneurship. I must find ways to leverage my time and resources. And “working more hours” is not leverage.

So sorry for that detour, but back to my original idea: if you want to act more like an entrepreneur and less like a worker-bee then spend a few less hours working next week and a few more hours thinking.

Personally, I like to think when I walk. Some of the best ideas I’ve had came to me while on a long walk (30–60 mins). I love those times. And I don’t do it enough. So I’m challenging myself in this as much as I am you.

Work has gotten busier for me but that’s just a sign I need to do this more.

As Greg McKeown says in his book Essentialism:

“The faster and busier things get, the more we need to build thinking time into our schedule. And the noisier things get, the more we need to build quiet reflection spaces in which we can truly focus.”

It’s true. McKeown goes on to talk about how Jeff Weiner, the CEO of LinkedIn, practices this:

“He schedules up to two hours of blank space on his calendar every day. He divides them into 30-minute increments, yet he schedules nothing. It is a simple practice he developed when back-to-back meetings left him with little time to process what was going on around him. At first it felt like an indulgence, a waste of time. But eventually he found it to be his single most valuable productivity tool. He sees it as the primary way he can ensure he is in charge of his own day, instead of being at the mercy of it.”

So that’s my challenge to you: work less and think more. These two things will change your life.

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