Josh Monen

Sharing my journey through life.

Month: March 2017 (page 2 of 7)

The Moment I Decided To Quit My Job and Why

I got an email last week from someone asking me to mentor them. His story reminded me of where I was in 2010. He wrote:

“I am an Accountant and I work the 9 to 6 gig which sucks the life out of me. I’m also aware that if I don’t take any initiative now, I’d be stuck in this rat race for the rest of my life… I may sound like a lunatic, but would you consider being my mentor?”

Part of me (the rational side) wants to politely say no because I’m so busy right now. But another part of me (the heart side) wants to help this man be free.

I know what it’s like to feel like you’re trapped at a job and that if you don’t make a break there’s a chance you may never escape!

One of the pivotal moments for me came when I was at the office at my old job and some of my co-workers were talking about The Recession we were in and how unfortunate so many people were for being unemployed.

At one point they turned to me and said, “Josh, you’re lucky to be here. This is a good company and you’re young. You could stay with [company name] for until you retire and walk away with a nice retirement.”

This comment had the opposite of the intended effect. I felt like my life flashed before my eyes (closest thing to a near death experience I’ve ever had!) and I imagined spending my ONE life at this job. Then retiring and dying. Done.

No!! Inside I was screaming. I had to get out! I don’t know how, but I had to escape!

I quit my job in May 2011 and never looked back. My co-workers were right, it was a good company. And I worked with a lot of great people (especially my manager Laurie who is such an amazing person). But it wasn’t for me.

Freedom is more important than security for me. And so that’s what I pursue.

So back to the email from the guy stuck in the rat race who feels like his life is being sucked out of him… I want to help him. And I want to help you if that’s what you want to. I think that’s what I should write about more.

I should probably create an ebook, a course, and all that sort of good stuff about this because it’s something I’m passionate about. I want others to be able to be free to quit their jobs and work from home without going broke in the process.

So I’m curious, if I were to create some resources like this, what would you want me to cover? Please leave a comment below or email me at jmonen @ gmail dot com.

The War on the American Dream

I was listening to a podcast on my way back from CrossFit a couple nights ago when I got so mad I felt like chucking my phone out the window (until I realized this action would have little to no effect on the podcast hosts)!

The episode was by Radiolab and it was titled, “On the Media: Busted, America’s Poverty Myths.” It first aired on January 18, 2017.

Now, I usually really enjoy Radioloab. I respect how much work they invest into every episode to make it a great listing experience and they usually practice good journalistic standards.

But not this time.

(Note: I should point out that this episode was not one of their projects. Sometimes they feature other podcast personalities on their show. This one featured On the Media’s Brooke Gladstone. Gladstone wanted to promote her 5-part series called “Busted: America’s Poverty Myths.”)

The premise of Gladstone’s argument was basically that the American Dream is a lie and the truth is that most people never change their income level. So if your poor stop listening to all this “you can do better if you just work hard” propaganda because you should just give up. It’s hopeless.

She didn’t say it in those exact words, but pretty close. Listen to it yourself here.

One of the “stats” she used to validate her point was when Jad, one of Radiolab’s hosts, asked Gladstone, “What percentage of Americans throughout the course of their life actually do better?”

Gladstone answered, “Ah, the way that you measure this generally is, ‘how many people go from the bottom of the 5th income bracket to the top. And for America, on average it’s about 7.5%.”

But that’s so misleading to present the “facts” like that.

Why? Because that’s an extreme case for someone to go from the bottom to the top. Instead, why doesn’t she share the fact that 56% of the people in the lowest 5th raise out of that bracket?

Probably because 56% does not sound as good as 7.5%.

Ah, this type of crap drives me crazy!

It’s far easier to blame your problems on “the system” than to take responsibility for your own life.

This worldview pushes the victim mentality on anyone who wants to change their social class. If you’re poor, give up because there’s nothing you can do.

It’s a bunch of crap. And I hope more people see through these lies.

It’s Not About What You Know, It’s About What You Do.

When I was in rehab for my cocaine addiction I met a guy who was an Addiction Psychologist. We’ll call him Carl.

There were a lot of psychologists and counselors at the treatment center I was in (Hazelden, one of the in the U.S.). But the interesting thing about Carl was that he was not on staff. He was a patient there, just like me.

Even though Carl had a deep understanding of how addiction worked and was able to help others, he couldn’t help himself.

And Carl struggled to make progress in the program. When we would go through a group exercise he already “knew” what the counselor was trying to get us to do so it didn’t “work” on him.

He knew so much he could have led the classes himself. But his knowledge, which he assumed was such a blessing before, became a curse.

Instead of just “doing” what he was told, he would analyze everything, including himself, and end up doing nothing. A classic case of analysis paralysis.

What’s interesting was that Carl was not the only one who struggled with this “curse of knowledge.”

It’s Not Brain Surgery

There was another man there, who we’ll call Edward, who was a neurosurgeon.

 Yes, a brain surgeon (I was in with some pretty successful addicts!).

Edward was also too smart for his own good.

He thought he knew better than the people trying to help us too. He wouldn’t really engage with the process and always carried himself like he was better than everyone else.

They ended up shipping Edward to another facility. The rumor was it was a place in the South where they sent “hard cases” like that.

Why am I telling you all of this?

Because I realized that knowledge is not power. Taking action is.

Someone who has a low IQ but who is willing to follow directions could do the 12 Steps and stay clean and sober.

But the person with a high IQ, who could write a book about addiction, but refuses to do the things necessary to stay clean, will relapse.

It’s not enough to know what to do. We have to do it!

I also see this at work in business, and in my own life. I’ve read countless business books and learned a ton of great things. Yet, I’ve struggled to really break through and build the type of business I want.

And if I’m honest I have to admit that I have not done thing things I know I should do to get to where I want to go.

But I’m starting to do those things now as I transition from owning a job to owning a business.

But I have to remember not to mistake “learning something” for “doing something.” It’s what we do that counts, not just what we know.

What Do You Practice Daily?

Do you have any daily practices? Things you do every single day so you can achieve mastery?

It’s amazing how much progress you can make simply by committing to doing something daily for an extended period of time.

I once heard someone say, “People tend to overestimate what they can accomplish in a day and underestimate what they can accomplish in a year.”

I’ve found this to be true in my life… especially when you decide to commit to a daily practice for at least one year.

But let’s be real, daily practices are hard because you don’t see immediate results.

Sometimes it seems like you’re not getting better at all because your skill level is improving so gradually.

Why You Should Document Your Progress from the Beginning

It’s a good idea to document your progress from the beginning. Keep a record of that first sketch you ever drew or the first song you ever played.

Personally, I’ll pull out one of my journal entries from 2003 or a blog post from 2007 to remember what my writing was like back then.

Thankfully, it’s improved somewhat. I’m happy about that but not content. I want to keep improving so that when I read this blog post in 2027, when I’m 42 years old, I can notice, hopefully, that I’ve gotten better.

But it’s hard to do something daily. I know.

I once did 100 pushups a day for 777 days straight. Sometimes I got my last pushup in just minutes before midnight. My wife would glance over the side of the bed and laugh at me. It was a little ridiculous but I felt it was important to do it.

I got a little stronger in my arms. But the bigger benefit was the “commitment strength” I built.

Will Over Mind and Emotion

Making a decision and deciding to stick to it, day in and day out, is a challenge.

There will be days that you just don’t feel like doing it. But that’s where the rubber meets the road. That’s when you discover what’s really in control of you… is it your mind, your will or your emotions?

When your will is stronger than your emotions, and even your mind, you become unstoppable.

But the problem is that most people are slaves to either their minds or their emotions (I know some of you will argue that your will and your mind are the same but they’re not, but that’s a post for another day!).

The more we can use our minds and emotions as servants, instead of masters, the more free we will be to harness the power of our will.

And it’s the will that will enable you to stick to your daily practice over the long haul.

Right now, my practice is publishing blog post every day. I’m on Day #134. My goal is to publish a post for 10 years straight. We’ll see if I do, right? 🙂

5 Ways To Stop Wasting Your Days

Don’t you hate it when you get to the end of a day only to realize you accomplished nothing!

How does that happen?

You can feel so busy and feel so drained and yet make so little progress.

It sucks. I know. I had one of those days recently and it put me in such a bad mood!

I wish I could say I was able to just snap out of it but I wasn’t. Not only did I waste an entire day but then I wasted most the evening sulking.

So I decided I had to make a change.

And as I reflected on how I’d been structuring my days I realized something right there… they weren’t being “structured.”

So that was Problem #1.

I also realized I had started going to bed later (after midnight) and sleeping in more. So instead of waking up at 6:00-6:30 like I used to, I was waking up at 8:00–8:30. When I wake up that late I instantly feel like I’m already “behind.”

This led to my next problem: I started skipping my morning routine.

I felt like I didn’t have the luxury to spend 1–2 hours on a “morning routine” when it was already past 9:00.

And without a morning routine I started my day feeling ungrounded and unfocused. To make matters worse I’m in a season where I really need to be focused!

This is where I found myself recently when I hit “unproductive rock bottom” (ok, I may be being a little dramatic, but it felt like I was headed down the wrong path).

So here’s what I did:

1) Started going to bed earlier: this is not easy, especially now that I just discovered Sherlock on Netflix! But life is about tradeoffs, right? So it’s either highly-productive days or late nights with Sherlock. Sorry Sherlock.

2) Quit hitting snooze: even if I only get 6 hours of sleep (I aim for 7.5) I decided to quit hitting the snooze button. Simple rule. But it means I have to get up. And it only takes a couple 6-hour sleep nights to motivate me to start going to bed earlier.

3) Started a morning routine again: I change this up often (I like new things), but here’s what it is now: wake up, shower, drink water, eat light snack, make coffee (Nespresso latte), then walk out to my RV, read the Bible until I find a verse to meditate on, meditate for 10 mins, read another book (right now I’m reading Tools of Titans), and then I write my daily blog post. This usually takes me about 2 hours total from the time I wake up.

4) Started planning tomorrow: as part of my shutdown ritual I make a plan of what I want to do tomorrow. This has helped immensely and I’ll probably write a separate post about this soon.

5) Started doing Focus Sessions: also known as the “pomodoro technique.” Here’s what I do: I set a timer and work for 48 minutes straight. No distractions allowed. Then I break for 12 minutes. I aim for 3–4 solid sessions before lunch. When I do, I feel like I’m on top of the world! I’m tired at the end but it’s a good tired.

So there you go. That’s what I did to stop wasting my days!

And since I’ve been structuring my days like this I’ve felt so much happier with the progress I’m making each day.

For example, today I was able to:

  • Email a prospect from Israel a quote for their website copy.
  • Got in 3 Focus Sessions where I was able to make great progress on a sales page I’m writing for a client.
  • Sent 4 nurturing/follow up emails out to clients and prospects and got 3 responses, including what appears to be a new project!
  • Had a great discovery call with a prospect from Australia who is looking for a copywriter.
  • Worked on my new business, Advisors Grow for about an hour.

So it was a good day.

Hopefully you got at least one idea about how to make your days more productive.

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