Inspiration, Risk, And Selling Out

[dropcap type="2"]W[/dropcap]eek 5 is complete. I thought this week would be quick and painless, but I just couldn't stop writing. It's also arriving a day late, so let's get to it. SCOREBOARD:

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Total Earnings

Driving: $551.72

Value Detectives: $250.00

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[columns width="1/2" last="true"]

Bank Account

$832.33

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Bank Account 9-5-2012
Bank Account 9-5-2012

What's Your Brand?

This past week, I asked myself two primary questions. How do I want to position myself in the market, given my knowledge & skills? And -- what problem do I want to solve for others, which also translates to, "What am I offering the market?"

Tuesday, I met with a friend to talk about these questions, and we ended up discussing this for a few hours. At times it was frustrating and felt like we were forcing the issue, and other times we produced just "ok" ideas.

Ideas were shut down if they weren't bold enough. Wordy taglines and oft used phrases were dismissed.

The criteria was simple. Be bold. Be unique. Be simple. Be clear.

Then SOMETHING happened. Something odd, but familiar.

A good idea trickled out, which led to a stream of MORE good ideas. Then a great idea surfaced...

And then the dam BURST.

And you wouldn't believe the INSANITY that came out of our mouths. It was utterly ridiculous. Silly even. But now we were cracking up, and the creative climate changed.

We were suddenly energized, and our discussion became much more inspired from that point on. But now a more important question confronted me and could possibly determine the future of my brand...

"What would happen if I actually implemented these CRAZY IDEAS?"

And not just for this ONE project, but to MY ENTIRE LIFE?

To Risk Or Not To Risk

As time passes and deadlines approach (like my pending foreclosure), it can be difficult to decide what to focus on RIGHT NOW.

Is this a good time to take a chance? To really take a risk and put myself out there in ways that I'm not even used to? In a way that could make many people scratch their heads and say to themselves, "WTF is Paul doing?!"

Maybe, maybe not, but I realized that the path I'm currently on is not FULLY ME, and I am still holding back way too much of myself.

That brainstorming/strategy session demonstrated a few very important things to me.

Being Yourself Is A Risk.

I'm learning that it's difficult to really express my deepest core self to a broad audience. Dealing with people on a one-to-one basis is easy, and I've got that one nailed. Plus, I'm already pretty open and honest, and usually have no problem saying what I feel and being direct with others.

But expressing the way I REALLY feel to readers and visitors (whom I may or may not know), and the stuff I really want to say to them (speaking or writing), I've noticed that I withhold and filter way too much.

Because being myself, and being really true to how I feel and expressing myself to the FULLEST is not always easy to do. Why? Because I'm concerned with how my friends, family, colleagues, associates, the market, and others will perceive me? Maybe that's a part of it. But how do you talk to a crowd of people from different backgrounds, and please them all in some way?

And why should I care whether they ALL get something or not? Why should anyone care what others think of them?

But the fact is most of us do care. And the benefits that come from caring about what others think about us is clear.

By filtering and tailoring my message for others, I'm assured of acceptance. Security and stability are guaranteed. Ease and comfort are all mine. These are the things everybody silently considers when deciding if they should tell people what they REALLY THINK.

But this is foolishness. By compromising my message in any way, by tapering it and editing it so that it's acceptable to others is just making me more invisible. It's mediocrity at its best, and a yawner at its worst. There is no impact on others when your own mind is dull.

It's takes more courage to rock the boat. It's tougher to be controversial. It's more difficult to stir conflict and debate. It's harder to go against the grain. And why go against the grain? Why stir the pot?

Part of the reason is that we're wired this way. We're hardwired, biologically, to stick with groups and tribes and not go against them, because our physical survival depends on it. To go against the tribe and your own culture is to struggle and perish. It's been this way probably since humans have existed.

So why take the risk and say what no one else is saying when it could separate yourself from the crowd? Why tell your husband or wife that you're just not into IT anymore, and you're thinking about moving on, and potentially lose EVERYTHING? Why ask the doctor to help you uncover the REAL REASONS why you're depressed, when it's just easier to take a pill, rather than really doing the work necessary to have a healthy body?

Why bother when it's easier not to?

Selling Out

Because in the end, it's just easier to sell out for safety and security, that's why.

It's been easier to take the job, and not fight for the life I want.

It's easier to settle on money and comfort, because I've tried things and they just didn't work, so why take another chance when I can be MORE certain?

I can hear the rebuttals. You have to eat. You have to survive. Yeah, I agree, and interestingly enough, I HAVE BEEN MORE THAN SURVIVING (I am actually HEALTHIER than I've been). I'm still HERE. I've found a way. And granted, if you have a family, it's much more complicated to make these tough decisions, but in the end, you still have to LIVE with yourself.

It's definitely easier to go with the dominant culture, and be a little LESS of myself to maintain security, because who wants to become an outcast within your own family or tribe?

The truth is, I have sold out and settled for many things. Yes, I've taken my risks, and have lived a very different life. Yes, I've taken a non-conformist path, and remain on the fringe in many ways, but...

But why am I not speaking? Why am I not sitting in front of a video camera and sharing these ideas with you? Why have I only written one book, knowing I have the capacity and ability to write five more? Why have I not fully committed to my personal relationships, to my businesses, to my own future to the very best of my ability? Why am I not out there, and really DOING IT?

And what happens if I do? What happens if I GO ALL OUT? What happens if I do COMMIT ALL THE WAY? What happens if I do MY ART, and SING MY OWN SONG and actually SHARE it with the world? What happens if I really take the fringe of my imagination, and express it unconditionally on the canvas of LIFE?

What would happen if WE ALL DID THAT?

Because NOT GOING ALL OUT is SELLING OUT.

Inspiration

And that's what Tuesday's brainstorming session stirred in me. It awoke a side of me that's more daring, more bold, and more FUN. And it's definitely more ME. It's just not the "me" people are used to seeing, unless of course, you have spent some quality time with me.

True, I have a goal, but this really isn't about money. Wait till you see what I do with that $50,000 (that's another story altogether). But this journey is about being my best possible self. It's about unleashing my talents, personality, service, perspective, value, and all my love onto some unsuspecting human.

Because I can't SPEND my time away on things that don't bring out the best ME. I can't do things just for money without it being meaningful to me. Most can, but I cannot. Check that. I WILL NOT.

And I believe we're all here to do the same. To be the best human being you can be. To keep reaching for your full potential (because you'll never reach it) and NEVER STOP. Because the more we go, the more we grow. And the more we grow, the more ALIVE we feel, and the more others are inspired by our example.

What makes you feel ALIVE? And why would you not FILL YOUR DAY WITH THIS ACTIVITY AS MUCH AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE???

Wait A Minute! Hold Up!

You may be asking, "What the heck came out of this brainstorm session?!"

I'm saving that for another day, because I want to let this whole new paradigm marinate just a bit to see if it really sticks in my consciousness. It's been two days after our mastermind, and it seems to be sticking.

And I promise to share with you, but I'll probably share more through demonstration than any other means.

It's going to be a ton of work to get this off the ground, but if my initial vibe is any indication, then I'll have more than enough energy to get all this done.

More on all of this soon.

Next Steps

If you noticed from my income statement, I've picked up a web design contract for Value Detectives. Since I know him, he's getting the "homie" discount at a flat rate of $500. I'll post updates on this project, in case anyone is interested, but they'll be brief.

Here's what I'm focused on next:

[list type="checklist"]

  • Map strategy for Project X by September 12, 2012 (I will reveal this soon)
  • Prepare outline for the "Manifesto" by September 10, 2012
  • Figure out the Kindle platform and get Butt-Naked Abundance on Amazon by September 17, 2012 (Still need to learn the platform)
  • Discuss foreclosure options with my "Secret Weapon" (I will reveal WHO this is at a later date, but he's ridiculously AWESOME at dealing with banks and contract law)

[/list]

Thanks for hanging in there, see you next week.


Unmotivated, Distracted, and Passionless - Now What?

[dropcap type="2"]W[/dropcap]eek 4 is complete. This week, being unmotivated, distractions, and my waning passion. But first, SCOREBOARD:

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Total Earnings

Driving: $137.00

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Bank Account

$184.22

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Bank Statement 8-29-12
Bank Statement 8-29-12

Unmotivated

What do you do when you stop caring? Really, what do you do? Do you keep working at your job even though you know, deep down, that it's dulling your senses and killing any life you have left? Do you stay in a relationship just for the kids, even though you feel more and more depressed as time goes on?

Or do you just drop it, say thank you, and move on to something greater?

It's not an easy question to answer, there's just too many variables involved. But this is where I find myself, even at the beginning of my long quest.

No, I haven't given up on my goal of $50,000 in the bank by August 1, 2013. Not even close. And no, I'm not depressed or lost my zeal for life. Far from it.

But I am questioning my way of getting to this goal, because as I plod along on Value Detectives, I'm realizing that I don't necessarily want to do web design and internet marketing for just anyone. I actually learned these skills out of necessity to get my own sites going, but when others (who are even less clear than I am) get involved in the process, it can feel like the workload has doubled.

Surprising revelation, I know.

Can I make money at this? Sure, and I've done that. But I find myself NOT trying hard enough to get my own site and business going, and that is concerning me.

I could list numerous reasons why, but we'll just say that I'm not super stoked or passionate about convincing people that they have a huge hole in their marketing, when most are pretty clueless about the entire subject of marketing, particularly marketing online (from my experience, anayway).

And this bothers me. It bothers me because I go back and forth between providing this valuable, much needed service for others on the one hand, and on the other, I say to myself, "Why do this for others when I could be doing this for myself and my own projects?!"

I would be more than happy providing this service for people who's projects I actually CARE ABOUT. But to do it for just any ol' body is not making me jump for joy. (As I write this, there's definitely a clue for me to really get within this paragraph)

It's conflicting, and I realize that on some deeper level, I'm not congruent and in sync. My mind is split, and my actions express what I feel deep inside. In those moments, when I'm conflicted, Value Detectives is laborious at best, and energy sucking at its worse.

And this conflicting behavior leads to a lack of productivity and inaction, and an increase in distractions...

Distractions

When you work for yourself and from your own home, there are pros and cons. The worst part are the distractions, and for every distraction, there's a reason why behind it.

I know a few reasons why I get distracted, but lets's list some of these, though not in any particular order:
[list type="numlist"]

  1. I'm Alone

    Working from home sucks because you have little interaction with others. The neighbors must think I'm a hermit or a recluse, until they see my car gone for the two-three days a week that I need to work for that other company or get groceries so I can survive.

     

    It's important for me to distinguish being alone (physical) and loneliness (emotional). Being alone doesn't bother me, and I'm used to it. It doesn't necessarily give me an advantage over having a smart team around, but there are some advantages.

     

    Loneliness is something that creeps into my psyche from time to time, and I'm ok with that. It's rare, but when it does come, it comes with a wallop.

     

    The point is, when I'm alone it's so much easier look at email, answer a phone call, read a text message, and click on anything that appears interesting, because it's as close to human contact that I can get at that moment.

     

    Of course it's not human contact, but it at least FEELS closer to it than what I was. Also, when you're alone, working as a one-person team, there's no real accountability....

  1. No Real Accountability

    Who's going to say, "Hey! Did you produce 'such and such'? Nobody. I'm accountable to myself, and that can be good and bad.

     

    When deadlines are set, and they're not met, what are the ramifications? What are the consequences? What's going to happen if this doesn't get done? It's all on me, and it's easy to block out and justify why something doesn't get done.

     

    I do it all the time. And that's just a lack of discipline...

  1. Lack Of Discipline

    It's easy to run on auto-pilot and default mode. It's easy to get caught up in Youtube, the politics of the day, Facebook friends' updates, click on pics of hot chics, read email of other people's agendas (what else is email, anyway?), look at the latest sports news, chat with friends, etc.

     

    It's just a lack of discipline, which could mean a few things. Either I'm doing the "wrong" thing, which could mean I don't care about this activity or project enough. So why am I even doing this?

     

    Or, maybe I'm not clear on what the next step is, so I click on anything (an article or an email link) that will give me a focus for the time being.

     

    Or, maybe I am clear on next steps to take, but I don't think I'm skilled enough to do a particular activity or  so I sit there stuck. Imperfection is just another form of fear, and maybe I need to take my own advice.

     

    I'm sure there are more reasons for undisciplined behavior, but these are mine.

[/list]

Obviously distractions aren't getting me anywhere, but as I look at the reasons WHY I'm distracted, then I really have to re-examine the path I'm taking, as well as the activities I'm willing to do to get where I want to go.

Money follows value. And people act, in any given moment, based on what we value most in that moment. Any action taken by anybody in the world in this very moment represents what they TRULY value. No exceptions.

And as I click on another Youtube video, this reflects what I value the most in that moment. And that means something needs to change, stat!

Realization: The value I provide to others must include activities which I value doing AND must also include problems that I am passionate (highly value) about solving.

Passion

I simply mistook my capabilities and skills as my passion. In reality, I'm not passionate about doing web design and marketing FOR MOST PEOPLE. It's enjoyable, but it can also be very frustrating, especially when all involved are going in different directions.

When I'm working on a project with someone else, especially a design project, then I can expect a lot of miscommunication and I usually end up with more work than I originally set out to do. Working with the right people is crucial to my sanity, and goes a long way in the quality of work I produce.

For me to be firing on all cylinders, I need to be doing what I really ENJOY doing (which involves something I'm highly skilled at and something I'm talented in), AND I have to be working on a problem that I'm extremely EXCITED about solving for others.

You may have heard the mantra, do what you love and the money will follow, especially since a book with that same title was written. And you may have also heard that doing what you love will NOT bring in the moolah, so don't focus solely on what you're passionate about, because the market doesn't care about what you love to do (and they don't).

It's not an "either/or" situation for me, and as I tend to conclude, the answer is usually a mixture of BOTH.

I think people ought to do what they love and enjoy their work and lives as much as humanly possible, and integrate that with what they're talented and highly skilled in. Yes!

But I think the missing piece of the equation to the "do what you love" motto is applying those skills, talents, and unique abilities to a PROBLEM you're also passionate about solving.

Passionate Doing x Passionate Problem Solving = Following Your Bliss

Motivated, But More Importantly, Inspired

And as I reflect upon what I just wrote, I see that I have NOT brought the two elements together in my everyday experience properly. And that's why I fizzle and slow down on my main project before a month's work has been put in.

Following my bliss is essentially doing what I love to do and applying that to a problem I'm passionate about solving or alleviating. Not just solving for self, but for other people as well.

I've done this before. I think we all have to some degree, and it seems, for significant results, spectacular even, we must marry the two. Of course, it's easier said than done, BUT, it does give me a north star. And as I write this, it gives me a greater sense of clarity on my next steps.

But, can you imagine not doing this AT ALL?

You're NOT using the unique talents you were born with -- AT ALL?. You're NOT doing what you REALLY, REALLY enjoy doing -- AT ALL?. You're NOT working on problems you're passionate or deeply care about solving, but instead work on problems that bore you, dull you, and turn you off?

Yes, you may be highly skilled at doing something, but if the other elements are missing (caring deeply about something, expressing your true talents, etc.), then how are you benefiting? How will you reach your true potential? How can you feel invigorated and TRULY ALIVE?

Guess you'll just have to wait for the weekend to experience that, huh?

Dreams

Value Detectives is still part of the plan, but not how I originally envisioned it. I will need to angle it so that I am working with the people I want to work with (still to be defined), solving THE problem I care about the MOST, and focusing on applying my unique abilities to the work, so I'm not bored or even frustrated.

My main strategy is now clear.

Marry my talents, skills, and unique abilities with a problem I deeply care about solving. And that will become my ultimate business.

It will propel me to refine and define myself more precisely. It will bring the best out of me because I will have a specific message to give people, rather than having the 3-5 elevator pitches I have on hand depending on who I'm talking to.

It will also keep me driven and inspired, instead of the whole, "I need to work for the money" mentality. Granted, I still do a bit of that, but I am learning not to compromise my core integrity and sell out on my dreams.

And NO, the $50,000 dollars is not a dream of mine. I just see it as a means to do greater things, as well as an awesome indicator that I am giving tremendous value to the people of the world.

I am actually living a portion of my dream now, it just needs some expansion. I really enjoy writing, but next year, I want to be on a train, speeding through Europe, working on my next book.

Next Steps

For the week, I will:

[list type="checklist"]

  • Figure out and really nail down my offer for Value Detectives (What I'm willing to give, who I'm willing to give it to, and for how much) -- September 5, 2012
  • Work on video script for Wake Up Smiling (outline is almost complete)
  • Finish reading The $100 Startup -- Still September 5, 2012
  • Figure out the Kindle platform and get Butt-Naked Abundance on Amazon

[/list]

That's it for now. Take care of yourself and have a great week.


A Life-Changing Book & A Visualization Tip

[dropcap type="2"]W[/dropcap]eek 3 is in the books. This week, a book recommendation, some progress on my latest project, and a visualization secret. But first, SCOREBOARD:

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Total Earnings

Driving: $635.56

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Bank Account

$338.53

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Bank Statement 8-22-2012
Bank Statement 8-22-2012

First, An Awesome Book

Before I recommend this beautiful, wonderful, life-changing book, I have a confession to make.

I've only read nine (9) pages of this book, and did only ONE exercise out of it. I read the first exercise I was to do, and began doing it.

Even today, I have no clue what the rest of the book contains. None. It's sitting on my bookshelf right now, practically brand new.

So why am I recommending this to you?

Because that one exercise CHANGED MY FREAKIN' LIFE, MAN!

Ok, enough already. The book is called The Artist's Way, but I own a variation of this book, called The Artist's Way At Work.

The Artist's Way At WorkThe transformational exercise I did, over and over and over and OVER again, is called Morning Pages (click on link to learn more). You basically write three full pages of whatever comes to your mind, non-stop until it's done.

The results are simply astonishing. I filled up a journal that is four-hundred pages long in just over a year, and I didn't even write everyday. Out of all this writing came some deep clarity, my book, concepts for more books, and articles and future blog posts.

And I wasn't even doing it for all that. Of course, I broke a few rules, such as reading what I wrote, and not writing consistently, every single day. Eventually, I stopped doing the stream of consciousness thingy since ideas started coming out of nowhere, and I just had to write them down as fast as they came.

Now four-hundred pages is nothing to sneeze at, and I admit, a lot of what I wrote was repetitious. But I found that repeating myself was just part of the whole process of getting the garbage out of my mind.

I've already ordered two refills of the 400 page journal paper, since it is a refillable leather-bound jacket (hand-made in Tuscany, Italia, but I got it at Barnes & Noble in case you were wondering).

Here's a couple of images from the actual journal:

journal entry example 1
Journal entry example 1

And a more recent one:

Journal entry example 2
Journal entry example 2

So start your Morning Pages. It will clear out those cobwebs, you'll get ideas (even if some of them are weird), and gain so much inspiration from within. Let's face it, if you're not incorporating some form of artistry in your work, in some capacity, then you're just like someone else out there. Boring. Ok, off my soapbox...

Value Detectives Update

The website is coming along, although I get hung up over the design and how to phrase certain things, such as my offer. I admit I'm not satisfied, but I am making progress.

I redesigned my logo and tagline, so that it fits the concept I want to convey. Take a look:

Value Detectives Logo

My current offer is a free website analysis of the home page of that site. I'm still playing with other ideas that will lead to conversions.

I may also have a two new potential clients. One works for a non-profit who will be ready to meet with me in September. I've known him for awhile and did some website work for him in the past.

I am in contact with another prospect in the financial services arena. I met someone that works at this company during a local business meetup. I gave an impromptu website analysis for four people at this lunch meeting, which led to this contact. I have already provided a more formalized analysis of their homepage to them, and will set a meeting date next week after he returns from a weekend trip.

I won't post their names, but if I do complete their projects, I will post the results here and on the Value Detectives website, with their permission, of course.

In the meantime, I will work on my offer so it's a great deal and everybody feels good about what they're getting. Setting up the right offer is really is tricky to do, but I have to start somewhere. I'm getting some good ideas from The $100 Startup, too.

As for Value Detectives, I will keep tweaking it, adding more pages, probably set-up a blog, and add some sort of video presentation.

Speaking Of Video

I met with a friend yesterday, and he asked me why I'm not doing more video, specifically of me speaking. Didn't have an answer for him, and all I could say was, "I know. I've been writing about this in my journal, and I know I need to do it."

Perhaps it's clarity I'm missing. Or knowing what to say when that camera is staring me in the face. Or maybe it's just taking the time to practice this new skill, so I can feel more confident and deliver something good.

Whatever it is, I know I need to do it. And I will probably release my first live video on Wake Up Smiling, or possibly on this blog, if it's appropriate.

I've already started outlining some ideas, and that led me to a pretty cool revelation...

A Visualization Epiphany

We've all heard, many times, how important visualization is to creating our future, and bringing new experiences into our lives.

But I've noticed something really peculiar about this process, and thinking back on all the times I've consciously used visualization, I found this to be true.

First, visualization is hard. I mean, visualizing new stuff. It's easy for me to play around with my past experiences and mess around with all my memories. I think we're all great at that.

But seeing the new, envisioning something before it happens is quite another task. If it was so easy, I believe many people could change their bad habits with less struggle and get to truly beneficial thought patterns much faster.

So here's my visualization epiphany: as you take ACTION, as you actually move towards a goal, and I mean PHYSICALLY moving towards it in some way (not just thinking about it), the little bit of visualization you've done prior to the action becomes stronger and much more detailed. Your imagination actually becomes CLEARER and more powerful through action.

Not sure that makes sense or not, but what I'm trying to say is, as you act on something, your imagination kicks in to assist you. Details that were fuzzy become clearer, ideas that were vague become more precise, and paths that were hidden become revealed.

This reminds me of that scene from Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade:

I bring this up because this has been happening a lot to me lately. Recently, instead of over-preparing, I've had to act more and more because of the situation I've gotten myself into. And through every action, my mind becomes clearer in what's important and what needs to be done next. And incredibly, what I vaguely imagined prior to action goes from some fleeting idea to something much more tangible in my mind. I can't believe I didn't notice this phenomenon before.

The BIG DEAL about this whole "A Ha!" moment is the FEELING OF CERTAINTY that comes from this. Having a general idea of something you want doesn't give you a strong enough drive to fulfill it. The clearer you are, the more certain you are, the more detailed your imaginings, the more powerful feeling you'll have.

And the more powerful the FEELING, the more likely things will get done and stuff will happen. That feeling is a beautiful, precious thing, even in small bursts.

The takeaway? Go ahead and imagine something you want, even if it's a nebulous notion. Then write it down, to give it some form. Then take some form of physical action, after the writing, that gets you closer to what you want to create in your life. We'll call this an act of faith on your behalf, as demonstrated in the clip above. And as you 'JUST DO IT', you'll probably discover (as I have) that details will start to fill in naturally, each subtlety will become more distinct, and the FEELING you'll get will bring more confidence, more certainty, and the courage to ACT SOME MORE.

Next Steps

I don't want to overwhelm myself this next week, but here's what I believe I can accomplish by the following dates:

[list type="checklist"]

  • Complete Value Detectives website by September 1, 2012
  • Outline script ideas for video(s) by August 28, 2012
  • Put Butt-Naked Abundance on Amazon's Kindle by August 28, 2012
  • Place a Paypal button on Butt-Naked Abundance website by August 28, 2012
  • Add one blog post on Wake Up Smiling by August 28, 2012
  • Complete reading The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau by September 5, 2012

[/list]

Hope you have a great week.


I Am Poor

[dropcap type="2"]I[/dropcap]f you know me, then this post may surprise you, if it doesn't shock you. If you don't know me, then you may think I'm crazy, a sensationalist, desperate, or just seeking attention. And that's fine by me.

This post signifies a turning point in my life. It contains a humiliating admission, and hope for the future. It reveals a serious challenge that I'm currently facing in my life, at this very moment. And it also contains potential for significant growth.

What you're about to read will expose a side of me that has never been shared before. It will make me vulnerable to my friends, family, and the general public (basically, anyone who decides to read this blog).

Let's get on with it, shall we?

A Humbling Admission

I'm broke. I'm poor. I have $236 left to my name. Add to that a monstrous debt, and it's as bad as it gets. My home is in foreclosure right now, and I have until November 2, 2012 to come up with a solution, or I am out. Here's my current bank statement as proof:

paul's bank statement August 1
My bank statement as of August 1, 2012

On top of this, I currently have a part-time job as a driver for a local company where my net income, per month, is about $900. Yes, I'm not paying my mortgage, but I still have my condo dues, which ballooned to $500 a month since I skipped 5 months. But as of RIGHT NOW, at my current level of income, I'll never catch up at this rate.

If you don't know me, then this doesn't have quite the same impact, except for the revelation and insight, and a bit of voyeurism into another person's personal life.

But if you know me, then this may jolt you, and cause any number of emotions to arise. The more you know me, or think you know me, the more you'll be scratching your head. You may think, "You're too smart!", or, "You had me fooled", and maybe, "WTF??"

No, I don't do drugs. I haven't smoked weed since '97. No, I'm not an alcoholic, I drink wine occasionally and can't stand beer smell. No, I don't gamble. That would make my plight even more destitute than what it is. I rarely go shopping for clothes. I don't buy cars and I don't travel like I used to.

I've just been earning less and less because I've been giving less and less to society.

Judge me anyway you like. I'm fine with it. I'm not apathetic or desensitized from this, but I have completely accepted what I've done, the results I've produced, and failed to produce.

If there has been a wrong done, it's been made by me. If there's someone to blame, it is I. I'm here, I stand before my peers naked, and say, "I am responsible."

And I confess that there's much more 'wrong doing' that I have committed. There's more to this story than just the numbers. The numbers perhaps tell the story of a talented, skillful, and educated man (although I dropped out of school four times, I still consider myself quite educated), AND the faulty thinking behind his actions. The numbers reveal a problem that I believe afflicts many, many people today, even though I cannot speak for them, however I do speak for me.

And this "wrong" I have perpetrated, is a failure to use what I have been given. I have not utilized, to the best of my ability, my God-given gifts and talents, my unique perspective and personality, my strengths, knowledge, and skills to benefit others in my most recent past -- most recent past being the past four years of my life.

Was I just being lazy? Stupid? Fearful? Stubborn? Selfish? Ignorant? Comfortable? Arrogant? Yes, all of it, and more. You may think I'm being too hard on myself, or perhaps I have some other motive by sharing this, but I am not asking for your pity or your condemnation, because there's another side to this as well.

This is not a sympathy post. This is not my way of trying to gain your empathy and understanding. I'm also not blaming the economy, the "system", racism, or any other abstract concepts that people use to justify their circumstances. I'm not blaming the past, my parents, or any of the thousands of people who have crossed my path. No.

But I do have a reason for putting it all out there. And since I'm being totally upfront and honest, I can say without a doubt that I would NOT be sharing this if I wasn't optimistic about my future. If I didn't have a little more than hope in my heart, I would not be open about my current state of affairs.

There is light at the far end of the tunnel. I am not in utter despair, quite the contrary. And if you stick with me throughout this entire process, I believe you will be deeply rewarded. And any epic journey requires major challenges to overcome, and a goal to accomplish.

The Goal

There is light at the end of the tunnel, but that light has to be sparked by me, can only be lit by me, and forged by my own optimism and vision. It's a goal that must be set by me, and me alone. No entity is sitting out there waiting to give me a fat reward for being a good human being.

So here's what I'm going to do. I've never had $10,000 in my bank account. Ever. But despite never having that, it's still not a big enough goal for me, at least not right now. But to see $50,000 in my bank account would be a tremendous accomplishment, and it's also something I believe I can achieve.

So, this is my public declaration:

I will have $50,000 in my bank account by August 1, 2013.

And if you stick with me, I promise to share the details of how I reach this goal. Every significant detail will be divulged. I won't hold anything back.

How You Benefit

I'm documenting all of this because of you, the nameless and faceless reader. I believe that by sharing my account with you, by taking you on my journey back to abundance, you will learn the lessons I learn. I've thought deeply about the importance of this story, if I were to triumph, and how it will affect others. I'm not making my life public for stupid, or even shallow reasons. There's always a "why" behind my actions.

And if I don't make it, if I don't reach my goal, if I don't make it to the championship and win, then I still hope you would have gained something from my experiences. Maybe you learned what NOT to do, or a new approach to challenges you're facing, but I'm sure if you ride this out with me, you will get something.

And as this story unfolds, you'll see how I create opportunities for myself, how I lose them, and others I will just flat out reject because of my values. This isn't about making money at any cost. I still carry a strong sense of idealism and know who I am, and am not interested in compromising what I consider sacred to me.

But all in all, I hope you get the sense that I'm being real with you. As authentic and revealing as I can be about a very private subject in our society -- money.

And as for me, I get to prove my own concepts. I just wrote a book called Butt-Naked Abundance, which, as it turns out, was a message I wrote to myself.

If you're interested in reading it, you can find it here at Butt-Naked Abundance.

What's next?

From here on out, I will post once a week to this blog, that will at least carry these two bare minimum of updates:

[list type="numlist"]

  1. How much money I made that week and how it came to me, and...

  2. How much money is currently in my bank account.

[/list]

If I add anything else to my posts then I'm sure it will have some value to you.

And if you made it this far, thank you. I hope you stick around to see how this plays out.

Here's what you can do for me. If you know of anybody who may benefit from this series of blog posts, please pass this on to them. Share this with everyone you think can benefit.

You can also subscribe to my blog or click on the RSS feed to get updates. You can follow me on Twitter @paulcampillo.

Feel free to post your comments below. More coming soon.


World Domination Summit

Headed to World Domination Summit today. I have no expectations whatsoever, except for some great weather in Portland, of course.

It's been awhile since I've blogged over here, since I started http://wakeupsmiling.com -- but I figured that more personal posts were more appropriate for this blog.

Of course, my earlier posts on this blog are probably more appropriate for Wake Up Smiling, and perhaps one day I will port them over.

So, I'm completely open, whatever happens, happens, and if anything significant occurs, I'll be sure to post here.


Welcome

Well, I took a while, but I'm ready to start this blogging thing.

I'm going to posting a lot of information on a lot of different topics. My goal is to share life changing information, meaning, the information that has altered or dramatically shifted my own perspective and behaviors.

And I think it can help you, too. I hope to share some good stuff with you. So stay tuned, more information is on the way.