Practice alone won’t make it

It’s a hard truth to accept but a necessary one. Mindlessly repeating the same actions repeatedly won’t lead to growth or improvement. Instead, progress happens when I make time for both doing and thinking. I must reflect on my actions, analyze my mistakes, and strategize ways to improve next time. The combination of practice and thoughtful analysis leads to true mastery. So, here’s a reminder not to mindlessly go through the motions. I do my best work when I build in the time to reflect, learn, and grow. In doing so, I will reach new levels of excellence.

Where in your life might it be wise to pause, reflect and refresh?

Choices are clues

My choices not only determine my priorities, plans, and results — they are also clues about what matters to me.

My choices are not to be taken lightly in the grand scheme of things, and they are not merely a means to an end but a revealing window into my deepest values and priorities. I try to be awake for these things.

My choices reflect my most actual desires, beliefs, and convictions. For instance, if I find myself toiling late into the night, it indicates that my professional aspirations are paramount. On the other hand, investing time in nurturing a relationship suggests that my connections with others take precedence.

My choices signify what I am willing to sacrifice and unwilling to compromise on. Each option carries weight, shaping my life and contributing to my personal growth and development (or lack thereof). Therefore, I must be intentional and mindful of my choices, for they hold the power to mold the person I aspire to become. I do aspire.

Again, being awake to think of each choice this way is essential for me.

What about you? Do your choices reflect who you are and what matters to you now?

In the spirit

There’s a difference between the things I do (or you do) every day — every single day — and those I do (or you do) only when the spirit moves us. Take note of that difference. One big difference is that once you commit (decide) to do something daily, you find that the spirit moves you daily. Once you decide, the spirit decides every day how to do it. Not if. I’m committed, I decided to use my freelance writing services to level up, and that’s what I’m doing. I’m struck by the things I’m propelled to no longer do and in awe of what I wake ready for. The deeper I get into the commitment, and the longer I sit in this decision, there’s no looking away.

Embrace the mess

Embrace the mess, and finish the dishes.

Embrace the mess, and keep up on the laundry.

Embrace the mess, and cut the grass.

Embrace the mess, and make your bed in the morning.

Embrace the mess, and show up sprite for work.

Every day there is something that must get done well, and there are problems to solve standing in the way. A phrase I often say to myself is,

Embrace the mess, and __________ (fill in the blank with any mundane household chore).

I say this to myself often, especially when there’s an ordeal, and the stress is prolonged. The phrase reminds me to be willing to accept disorder and take action to manage it. Practical steps like one foot in front of the other steps. Slow steps. “Embrace the mess” is never in a rush but always moving forward.

Whatever you insert into the second half of the phrase is an encouraging reminder that you must tackle it regularly. Doing so helps keep it under control and prevents your immediate environment from being stressful. If my environment is organized and efficient, I focus better and frees free time.

For example, a simple task like making the bed can bring a sense of order and control to a chaotic day. It sets a positive tone for the rest of the day because no matter how difficult the day ahead might be, you know the comfort of collapsing onto a made bed.

The “Embrace the mess” mantra helps me keep a positive and proactive mindset towards disorder in different aspects of life.

Today it was Embrace the mess and write the blog post. I’m glad I did.

The uncomfortable choices are obvious

Picture this: You find yourself mindlessly munching on a bag of sunflower seeds. Before you know it, you’ve eaten 200 of them.

Those 200 sunflower seeds could have turned into 20,000 in just a few months if you had planted them instead.

This analogy illustrates the power of investing in the future.

I am thinking about the tough in-the-moment choices I have to make to invest in my long-term growth. This is often uncomfortable, even if it’s obvious.

I say no to short-term pleasures to say yes to my ideal future. Not my ideal “now.” This means being intentional with my time and energy.

Especially now. My day job is busy, and my freelance marketing and writing hustle is growing. I am making sure that my actions align with my values and aspirations.

It’s easy to be caught up in the day-to-day and lose sight of the big picture. Worse than that is to be caught up in the day-to-day, aware of the big picture, but missing the follow-through.

Day after day, of focusing on the sunflower seeds in front of us, instead of planting them and nurturing them to grow into something more significant.

I want to achieve my goals and positively impact the most important people in my world.

The uncomfortable choices are the most obvious. Give up the instant gratification of eating sunflower seeds now to plant them and wait for them to grow later. The rewards of delayed gratification are much more significant. Sacrifice in the short term reaps much greater rewards in the long term.

Again – the uncomfortable choices are apparent. Are we following through on the obvious?

So, rhetorically, I’m asking you because I’m asking myself, Who are you saying no to, and who are you saying yes to when it comes to the time you want to invest in your ideal future?

I won’t be afraid to make uncomfortable choices and invest in the future. The seeds I plant today can grow into something extraordinary tomorrow.

Yoda said, Do. Or do not. There is no try.

“I want to be ______ when I grow up”

I sometimes hear my kids’ fill-in-the-blank:

“I want to be a movie star when I grow up.”

“I want to play in the World Cup when I grow up.”

“I want to be (insert something famous people do) when I grow up.”

Or their desire for a job when they grow up orbits around being paid a lot, not having to work too hard, and no one telling them what to do. Because that’s the antithesis of school.

These replies almost always fall under the category of “famous.” And so I often reply with the question, “How will that be important?”

I profess they want a chance to make a difference – for themselves, others, and those they choose to serve. Aim for making a difference because that’s important. Notice the difference between “famous” and “important.” We all – deep down – want this. Discovering this truth makes a life worth living.

I want to provide my kids awareness around choosing “jobs” or “careers” or “projects” that have significance, where they are treated with dignity and respect (and therefore learn to give it, too). But mostly, this is the environment where they will receive a chance to exceed their expectations of what is possible. And that’s an excellent way to live life.

What they don’t know yet, and what no kid knows yet, is that the sweet spot for “I want to be ______ when I grow up” is to engage with the people you work with to do work that matters with people that care to make a difference.

The type of people that do work that matters with others who care to make a difference are remarkable people. Those are the type of people that exude something that makes us remark to ourselves or others about them. And that is legacy.

Empty hands

He crumpled his napkin at dinner yesterday and let it drop onto his plate. With a gesture of surrender, he signaled that he was finished with his meal. I sat across the table from him, struck by the truth of his gesture: before we can fill our hands with something new, we must empty them first. This applies to our hearts as well.

I’ve often struggled to learn this simple lesson. Holding onto one thing too tightly prevents us from embracing anything else that comes our way. We see this played out in movies, where the drama of stepping into the unknown requires letting go of something familiar.

After my wife and I split, my six-month-old son and ex-wife moved out of state, which caused me a lot of emotional pain. We lost contact during his early childhood, and I held onto his memory tightly, fearing he would fade from my heart and mind. It took a while, but things eventually improved. However, I spent years missing out on crucial things that were right in front of me. It wasn’t until I recognized I was holding onto my past too tightly that I could move forward.

True healing can only occur when our hands are open, and our hearts are free. We can’t move forward if we’re holding onto stones or fisting the past.

This is why courage is necessary. We must have the will to let go and empty our hands, even if it means turning our backs on what we think might be missed opportunities. We must move forward on our journey. Our hearts will heal, and we will find new milestones.

So chin up! Put down your pain, and walk into the next chapter of your life with open hands and an open heart. Your transformation has already been written, and it’s waiting for you to embrace it.

Bravery

Along the way, there have been tests and many more to come. I’ve met and made allies and enemies. There have been ordeals and showdowns. Difficulties have been the norm. My worst fears have trickled in here and there. Sometimes it floods everything. When we survive this, we are heroes and should give ourselves more credit than we do. The reward is knowledge, experience, and insight that equates to wisdom in the long run. I put my struggles in a noble context. The trials and tribulations I have faced and survived may not seem heroic. But knowing that I grow as a result, that it can make me a better person, makes it easier to relax and sit in the moment wiser for the time. And without needing to explain it away, either. That’s what I call bravery.

Freelancer seeks a skilled assistant

I am a freelance writer and marketer, and I’m seeking a skilled tech assistant.

I am looking for a reliable and skilled assistant who can help me with some technical tasks related to websites, blogs, and email.

Specifically, I need someone who can assist me with the following:

  • Editing and revising pages on a WordPress website
  • Setting up an opt-in form in Aweber and creating an RSS feed to email
  • Making a WordPress blog more Google-friendly by connecting it to Google Search Console
  • Installing Google Analytics on a WordPress website and setting up a site map
  • Creating attractive graphics using Canva.

Ideally, I’m looking for someone to work with me on Zoom. I want to share screens and collaborate on some tasks while others may be independent. I am looking for someone friendly, professional, and who has experience with these tasks.

Please let me know if you are interested and available to work with me. Or if you happen to know of someone you can refer, I’d appreciate that too.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Use my contact form to express your interest. 

Barefoot grateful script

I have an idea I could pursue, and I’m sharing it here to put it in writing for
1). to remember this idea for myself and
2). for you to have it and run with it.
3). to practice writing a script, which I’ve seen advertised on freelance job boards.

This would look like a video or an audio short.

It’s called Barefoot Grateful, and the idea is to replace an unhealthy habit (marijuana smoking) with a healthier habit (grounding, gratitude, and breathwork).

[Eric is standing outside, with bare feet on the grass]

Eric: Hello, this is Eric L. Walker, and welcome to day 2 of my 60-day journey of not smoking marijuana. As part of this journey, I’ve decided to trade my habit of smoking marijuana for a healthier practice.

[Eric takes three deep breaths]

Eric: Instead of smoking weed, I’m grounding myself by putting my bare feet on the earth and taking three intentional deep breaths. Doing this allows me to connect with myself and nature and appreciate the fresh air around me.

[Eric pauses for a moment to reflect]

Eric: I’d like to share something positive with you. Today, I’m grateful for my health and the opportunity to make positive changes in my life. I pray for strength and determination to continue this journey, and I’m excited to see where it takes me.

[Eric smiles]

Eric: If you’d like to join me in this practice, all you need to do is kick off your shoes and put your bare feet on the earth. Take three deep breaths and share something positive with yourself or someone around you. It’s a healthy practice that can bring you closer to yourself by doing something intentionally and helping you cultivate gratitude.

[Eric takes one last deep breath]

Eric: So until tomorrow, I’m Eric L. Walker, sky-gazing, sunbathing, grounding in, growing in gratitude and grace. Thank you for joining me today, and I hope to see you again tomorrow.