Posts Tagged ‘motivation’

The State Of Play

I’ve been a very busy boy lately. I’ve really gotten into the lead up for the 30DC this year, and not just because I’m now involved behind the scenes. Having been a participant since the very first challenge, I believe the 30DC will always hold a special place for me each year as it’s really what got the ball rolling and enabled me to move onto greener pastures.

But internet marketing was never my only source of investment, and that’s what has led me to writing this post. I began my year in a very comfortable place, but the goalposts have now moved, and it’s scary, frustrating and exciting all at the same time.

But let me give you a bit of backstory if you’re not familiar with how I got here.

I began 2008 very differently from previous years. I was a primary school teacher for 10 years (elementary for those of you in North America), and although I loved being with the kids on a daily basis, for a variety of reasons I knew that long term, teaching just wasn’t where I wanted to be. Fast forward to 2008 and I was about to embark on a new journey, that of a full time internet marketer/web designer. I quit the teaching profession, set up my home office, and hunkered down ready for the time of my life.

At just the right time, an internship program arrived via Ed Dale and Dan Raine, and I took that on as I’ve always believed the best way to learn from people is to be as hands on as possible. Seven months into 2008, from an internet marketing perspective, things couldn’t be better.

But here’s the thing, a part of what enabled me to take such a huge step were some investments my wife and I had made along the way. The internet side has been great, but these investments were really the icing on the cake, enabling me a bit of flexibility to grow my business organically, without trying to force things to make ends meet.

Well, in the last week that has all changed. I won’t go into specifics, but let me just say that our largest investment has just become another victim of the US economy, and overnight we’ve lost a lot of money. I mean a lot of money. Think six figures a couple times over and you’re getting somewhere into the ballpark.

Now, that is the first and last time I’ll mention it. I’m not a victim and I won’t be laying blame or crying poor. I only mentioned it so I can better illustrate the state of play I now find myself in. I now need money, a lot of it. I could go back to teaching tomorrow, but it really wouldn’t help, there’s no leverage there. A fortnightly pay packet is nice and safe, but there’s no room for growth. My current online markets are okay, but nowhere near being able to cover the sudden shift in budget I find myself with.

Here’s the thing I really want people to get though. This changes nothing.

I still want the same things, I still aspire to the same goals, and I still believe that I’ll get there. What I have right now is a golden opportunity. The level of comfort I’d built up for myself is gone, and I’m back to square one. The difference this time is the experience and skills I have going in. I feel like I’m starting all over again, and really, that’s exactly what the situation is.

If I look at what I’ve achieved online over the last few years, I have to be brutally honest with myself. I’ve done okay, but I really should have taken things to new level before now. It’s like I was a trapeze artist who only ever performed with a safety net. The act was okay, and people clapped, but I never really stretched myself because I always had the net there to catch me. Well, the net is now gone and I have 2 choices. Keep performing and get better at what I do, or walk away because I’m afraid of what might happen.

Am I scared? You better believe it. Will I take the safe option? Never.

Strap yourself in if you’re hanging around, things are about to get very interesting.

Failure Is Not An Option (or a reality)

I’ve been meaning to write a post reviewing one of the articles Pete Williams has had publishing to his blog while he’s been overseas. My main reason was purely selfish, Pete was running a competition for people who reviewed his articles, and winners would receive a swag of goodies. I really dig Pete’s stuff, so I wanted to win.

But I’ve been pretty busy the last few weeks and time looked like beating me to the punch. But then Pete wrote an article about failure, and there being no such thing, and that struck a cord with me so much that I knew I needed to set a time and write something. So, it’s Sunday morning, I have a brilliant coffee in front of me, I have no pressing work to do, and it’s time to write a review.

What I love about Pete’s article is the simplicity of it. People need to realise some basic truths in order to overcome them. What Pete suggests, which I wholeheartedly agree with, is that failure is just a perception. There is no such thing, it doesn’t exist. Same for success. It’s just a perception as well.

Our culture tells us what success and failure is, and we hear it so much and so often that we just accept it as a reality. It becomes a Pavlov’s dog scenario, and people judge themselves and others based on what they have been conditioned to believe is so. People go though their entire lives living in this lie. I know this because I see it all around me every day. When I made the decision to leave the teaching profession and make my living full time from the internet, I had many, many naysayers. All of the negativity came from one source, fear.

I believe that fear is the one major controlling factor in all of our lives. In my situation, the motivating fear was to have lived a life where I didn’t take chances just in in case, and ended up an old man full of regret. For the people critical of my decision, the fear was grounded in one of three ways. Fear that I would fail, a projection of their own insecurities; Fear that I would succeed, a projection of jealousy or resentment; or fear of the unknown, not understanding this business and therefore being afraid of it. The only people in my life that were happy for me, were those who had no fear associated with the path I chose.

Pete goes on to give a history lesson in the development and acceptance of PostIt Notes. It works on two levels. On the first level we have the classic example of something perceived as a failure. Spencer Silver created an adhesive classified as a failure, spent five long years trying to make it better, until a use was found for the original adhesive. The only reason this first adhesive was classified as a failure was because it was perceived that way. Nobody had found a use for it, so it was seen as a failure until that changed. A shift in thinking is often all that’s needed for something to be viewed in a completely different way

On the second level, this is a great example of the concept of fear in action. One group of people (the 3M marketing department), rejected the PostIt notes as a failure. I believe fear plays a part here in terms of fear of the unknown and fear of an product that doesn’t sell. If the product didn’t sell, the marketing department would’ve had to wear the blame as the people who brought the product to market.

On the flipside, the secretaries began using the PostIt notes with a complete lack of fear. They had them at hand and found a use for them, there were no perceived or real pressures creating fear to contend with. There was no perception of failure or success, just the reality.

Look at the issues in your life, both personal and professional. Everything you see as a failure or a success, what are they really? Try to remove fear from the equation and just look at things from a fact based perspective. Do things look different? They should.

Pete’s Article

A New Chapter Begins!

Well. I’ve finally done it. I’ve taken that leap that many don’t understand, and I’ve walked away from my teaching career.

I’ve had a very emotional week, but most of the emotions haven’t been mine. For some reason I haven’t quite fathomed yet, I’ve remained fairly relaxed throughout the whole time. It’s hit me this weekend a little, but on the whole I’ve just coasted through the week. I’m sure it will hit me though.

I’ve had tears at school this week from both children and adults. The kids have really been so wonderful to me this week and made me incredibly humbled. And I’ve had parents all week coming to see me to tell me what a difference I’ve made. I really do feel quite honoured to have people feel so kindly towards me. I know that I connected with the kids in my classes over the years, but the last three in particular have really been special. I’ve seen first hand the difference I’ve made to children under my care, and it’s made me realise that my unorthodox way of doing things was really the right way. I know that my teaching style wasn’t for everybody, but I now realise that the everybody was only ever adults. I’ve taught in a way I thought was right, and I’ve taught what I thought was right. And both things are very different to what is supposed to be right.

But I don’t care. I know that in the long run, most of the children I did teach have taken things away from their time with me that they won’t get in the rest of their school lives. There was a LOT of sillyness, a lot of laughing, a lot of spontaneous learning and a lot of things I just wasn’t supposed to be teaching. I still covered the basics, I just put my spin on everything I did. At the end of the day though, it could never last. I’m so glad that I could make the impact that I did, but I know that I would always be restricted by what I see as an education system that is severely out of touch.

So now a new chapter opens.

I’ve spent the last 4 years or so running various businesses online part time. I currently have 4 businesses in different fields (not niches, fields) that I’m running part time, and now it’s time to go full time. It’s time to get serious and time to make each business really work for me. I’ve worked very hard to get to this point, and now I’m ready for it to pay off. My goal for 2008 is to have each of the 4 businesses outdo my annual teaching income.

So that’s annual teaching income x4. A big goal yes, but I figure why not.
The first step in this is to make Gooey Technology perform the job it was created for, and only that job. Gooey Technology is my web designing business, so I plan on moving this blog to a new domain in the next week and redesign this site for it’s intended purpose, and set the blog up elsewhere.

So watch this space.

What’s My Motivation? – Redux

I posted this video a couple of months ago, but with my last day of school fast approaching I think it bears a reviewing. Many more people are now aware of my imminent departure, and I’m asked the same question over and over again, “Why are you leaving?” Most people have asked out of curiousity, some (which has been ego boosting) have been quite upset I’m going, and still a few think I’m being irresponsible. But not as many as a while ago.

Anyway, I’d started telling people to go to my site and look for the video below, as that explains my reasons in a far more eloquent fashion than I ever could. The problem there though, is that many of my friends, family and colleagues aren’t particularly web savvy (which is fine), and couldn’t find the post with the video. So here it is. If you’re one of the people asking me the question “Why am I leaving?”, here’s your answer. Plus the guy is just hilarious too.

What’s My Motivation?

For a while now, at least since I announced my decision to spread my wings and leave teaching at the end of the year, I’ve been asked why I’m walking away from my teaching career.

Many people have asked expecting a variety of answers. A few have even been annoyed at me. I’ve had a range of opinions too. A lot of people have suggested it’s all about the money. Some have suggested it’s all about the freedom. And while both of these groups are right in their own way, there’s a larger factor at play that I really need to explain.

I’ve been taken to task in the last few days, that I’m being irresponisble by leaving my teaching career. I’ve also been accused about not caring for the welfare of the students in class. What the…?

It’s quite simple. I love many aspects about teaching. I only teach the lower grades (6 to 10 year olds), and I really enjoy being around the kids all day, sharing in their excitement about the world around them, and helping them see and appreciate aspects of the world that would otherwise be unknown to them. I love that moment when you see in their eyes that something has just clicked for them. And I love watching them grow as individuals. But I just can’t do it anymore. The system that controls what I’m supposed to teach is broken and not in touch with the real world. Of course kids need to learn the basics, and of course there’s a place for it, but it shouldn’t be the focus.

I could have walked away months ago, I don’t need to be there anymore. But I chose to see out the school year so my kids would have the same teacher until the end of the year. Tell me how that’s irresponsible. I wont lie, I’m going to be very sad when I leave on that last day knowing I wont see those kids again, as I really do care about them. But in essence that’s my problem. I’m so angry and frustrated by the state of education that I need to walk away. I never really thought of myself as a typical teacher anyway, more of a maveric who did his own thing based on what I thought the kids needed, not based on what they were ‘supposed’ to be learning. I’ve always been more about fun, about being creative, and being an individual. I don’t think any students of mine over the years have suffered from that approach, quite the contrary.

So I’ve been trying to find the words to explain my feelings more succinctly, and today, I was shown the video below. It’s perfect. All my feelings, thoughts, anxieties and opinions, all rolled up into an insightful and humourous 20 minute talk. Please watch it. If you do you’ll know exactly where I’m coming from and why I need to move on.