Why Streak?

Why do anything, really?  Why go to work? Why have another beer? Why take a vacation? Why take a nap?

“Why?” is a great question because the answer to “Why?” will reveal what you believe.

Simon Sinek has a great YouTube and an equally wonderful book called Start With Why that I highly recommend. Check it out and start channeling your inner 5 year-old. Start noticing everything you do and ask, Why?

So, why streak?

Why commit to doing something every day, without a miss, for as long as you can?

Streaks boost your self-esteem. As your streak grows, you’ll become justifiably proud of yourself. A long streak is a testament to having persisted even when you didn’t feel like it. You have proven that you have self-command. You have overcome lethargy and laziness to honor a higher vision of yourself.

Streaks make you trustworthy. The easiest promises to break are the ones you make to yourself: “Who will know if I don’t meditate today?  These little no-stakes streak-promises test your word. Can you keep your word, even if it’s just to yourself and doesn’t affect anyone else? If you can, you know you can  trust yourself and therefore, others can trust you, too.

Streaks are mirrors.  They reveal you to yourself. How do you act when the going gets hard? What happens when you’re tempted to cheat? Do you make excuses or fudge the rules? Do you soldier on? As your streak gets longer and longer, you’ll start to see yourself and your tendencies pretty clearly. This is the beginning of self-knowledge. You’ll see where you’re strong and where you need work.

Streaks give you a solid place to stand. Even if you feel like a failure in every other area of your life, when you’re tending a long streak you can point to it and know that at least here, you’re solid. You know without question that in terms of honoring this commitment, you’re a person in good standing. You feel in integrity.  You can point to your 52-days-of-meditation-without-a-miss, for example, and say, “This is who I am. I am a person who can meditate 52 days in a row without a miss.”

Tomorrow: Writing Your Personal Manifesto

Who Cares?

“Who cares?”

“So what?”

These are the questions that have derailed me every time I got to the point where I was ready to put my work out there. I’d read my stuff and get the sinking feeling that it was all bullshit. “Who the hell cares? So what?” I’d ask myself.

And then I’d quit.

Knowing this was my MO, I had to create some kind of strategy to de-fang these questions so they wouldn’t poison my progress this time.

I thought of the Simon Sinek TED talk my friend Anthony David Adams turned me on to a while ago, and I watched it again, and then ordered the book.

Start With Why is my “warm-up read” these mornings.

To read is to prime the pump, to tune my ear to word-music, to align my mind with how ideas look in print-space. After an hour of reading, I am ready for the pen or the keyboard.

Sinek says to start with “Why?” Why are you writing? Why do you do anything? He says people don’t care what you do, or how you do it. People care WHY you do it.

If you can articulate your WHY, you will attract the people who believe what you believe, and these are your people. They’re your readers if you’re a writer; they’re your customers if you’re in business. These are your allies, your tribe, the people you influence, help, support, and care about.

I got to my Space Chair by 9 and worked on this question doggedly with the pen.

What is my Why?

Answer: To help. This, first and foremost.

I have felt the nauseating indecision of not knowing where to direct my energy.

I have waited for someone to call my name, to anoint me, to identify my vocation for me, which was a complete and utter mistake.

I believed I wasted precious time doing crappy jobs. (There is no such thing as wasted time, and even crappy jobs show us the way.)

Then I found a better way, a different strategy. And it worked for me, and I think it might work for other people, too. It’s not complicated. It’s not earth-shatteringly original, but it’s fun, and interesting, and it will result in increased self-knowledge, if nothing else.

During today’s scribble I discovered that it is easier to describe my WHY when it comes to teaching yoga than it is for writing. But I also learned that the writing and the yoga teaching are intimately linked.

It turns out I do everything for the same WHY. My vehicles may change, but my WHY is always the same: to help.