Another year is coming to a close, and it all makes you think: What have I done this year? And if you're me: Did I take enough chances? Did I challenge myself?
I believe that the more chances you take, the more you learn.
This year I've taken the ultimate challenge - starting a business. Funny thing is, I didn't set out to do it. If you told me last year this would happen, I would have called you crazy. Looking back now, I see that challenges emerge IN THE MOMENT.
It's like someone knocking on your door; an unexpected visitor. You didn't invite them, you're kind of scared to let them in, but in the end, it turns out to be the best visit of the year. Have you experienced anything like this? I bet you have, many times over.
What is life if not a series of unexpected but wonderful events?
So have you been challenging yourself?
As we established, challenges emerge unplanned. It is your job to accept them.
Question for you: When's the last time you accepted a challenge?
I can tell you mine - 2 weeks ago, I accepted the challenge of writing 3 ebooks for NaNoWriMo and sharing sneak peeks.
Chances are, not many people will care about what I write or how I write it, but I'm doing it more for ME than for others. And even though originally it felt CRAZY, now it's so much fun and also extremely motivating for me.
Sometimes crazy is just what you need to be to make progress. (tweet it)
Now you do something crazy. Open your door to the world and accept the first challenge that walks through it. Is there anything that comes to mind? Something that makes you think, oh no, I wouldn't want to do that! Grab it! Before it runs to another person who is not afraid of accepting it and learning a great lesson in the process.
There is no such thing as failing. There's only learning.
Is it any surprise that people are buying online courses left and right? That everyone is self-taught these days? That the most shared content on Medium is lessons learned and life experiences? That people are quitting their secure 9-to-5 jobs to strike out on their own and fall in their butts repeatedly? I don't think it is.
We live in times when everything's a lesson and everyone - a teacher. (tweet it)
If you don't open your door, those lessons are going to pass you by and then fewer and fewer lessons are going to bother knocking. From all the things I can think of I've done, I only regret those I haven't done. I regret those missed opportunities and petty excuses. If I could go back, I'd have a much crazier life to show today.
It's OK to be afraid. Fear is a compass, but it's also a false friend, and if you let it drive the car, you'll never take any creative chances. Ask Elizabeth Gilbert.
Take action. And some suggestions.
What's knocking at your door? Listen carefully. Open the door.
Maybe it's a project or a business idea or a collaboration. Maybe it's something as crazy as painting your friends or writing a memoir. Do it. So there's no regret.
Here are some excellent suggestions for your next challenge:
- If you just missed National Novel Writing Month (50K words in November), you can take part in the next round or in June, OR you can do it in December. Technically, you can make eny month your NaNoWriMo month, and it doesn't have to be a novel.
- Can you be happy in 100 days in a row? Try the 100 Happy Days challenge and don't say what everyone else says: I don't have time. Everybody has time to be happy!
- Read more books: Did you know that Ryan Holiday reads tons of books? When you read, you get a reprieve from worrying & working. You jump into somebody else's life and knowledge, and for a minute, you are inspired to do you own thing.
- Write/create/blog every day: I have a rule to write every day, even if it's a little. Author Jeff Goins ran the Intentional Blogging challenge recently. Stef - one of my favorite writers/makers hacks new things daily. Whatever you do daily, it will flex your creative muscles and create the HABIT - a big step toward mastery.
- Accept somebody's challenge: Go ahead and google "30 days of ...", filter for recently published, and see what comes up. (This year there was a great one - The Great Discontent's 100 Days of Making challenge. Hope they do it again!)
- Take a photo every day and upload on 365project.org. If you want to become better at photography or use it for your brand, this is a great challenge. There are many people who do this and will give you feedback on your daily craft.
You see? Tons of ways to challenge yourself.
2016 is knock-knocking!
Rather than doing New Year's resolutions like any other year, I'd prefer to set a challenge for 2016. I'm still working out the kinks and even trying to come up with my own specific challenge - 30 Days of No Excuses. (I'll keep you posted!)
In the meantime, think about the challenge you'd like to take in 2016.
What would help you reach your immediate and long-term goals?
Let me know in the comments! And remember - just like you can either let the day run you or decide to run it, you can also decide to RUN THE YEAR.
And thank you for reading, my friend.
You. Are. Priceless.