This past few weeks have been an amazing time. Watching ideas come together and materialize has been an amazing and subtle thing. This year has definitely been a journey and there’s still a lot of work to do. At the start of this month I realized I needed a team, depression and the feeling of being overwhelmed was starting to wear on me. It was the first symptom that I was stretching myself thin and needed to enlist help.
There’s a lot of things I’ve had to do myself on a dirt small budget to fund an ambitious dream, saving the world, making it a better place by getting to the root cause of the problem, ourselves.
“Start Where You Are”
At the beginning of the year I made the decision that I wasn’t going to wait for the right time for me to start building my dream. I couldn’t sit by anymore listening to the news, feeling helpless about my own situation and the world around me. I needed to take action. But how? One cold night of November I was sulking about the state of my life and my dreams. I hated my life. I listened to manifestation tapes over and over again, and like a broken record my thoughts replayed over and over again how powerless I, just one person, felt to change the world or make it better, hell I couldn’t even change my life for the better…or so that is what I had thought.
My entire life up until that point was thinking and feeling there was something wrong with me and reading medical books as young as the age of four looking for clues as to what was broken inside of me. I used to get depressed because for all the pain in the world, even if I could save just ‘one’ person I couldn’t save them all. My job wasn’t done unless I could save everyone. I was depressed because I was trying to reach the moon but my arms were too small. I asked questions again and again about the universe, about life, about people, about myself, how the mind works, how people works. Why, why, why. I was always asking why. Until one day, there was nothing left to ask. I’d finally figured out the answer to my question, and just like that I began to empty my cup that I had once filled to the brim with questions and their answers. I went from wanting to fix myself, to wanting to save the world, to wanting to fix life as if it were broken – to coming full circle back to me. There was nothing wrong with me, or you, or the next person. We were each perfect as we were, like the kintsugi, our cracks and scars becoming a part of us…start where you are. This mantra I’d heard time and time again from books on programming, to Pema Chodron, to video games — stare where you are.
Somehow I realized the problem wasn’t with the world. The world was fine, the problem was with me and the relationship I had with myself, my heart and as a direct result the world. My pain, my interpretations of and reactions to it, every insecurity and belief I had built and created, how I felt about myself whether it was an over-inflated ego or a deflated-ego in comparison to others, infected how I related with others and the world around me. I wanted the world to have more love and more compassion, and less judgment. I wanted to feel more connected to the world and less disconnected, and yet there I was standing apart rather than with people in solidarity. In my mind I was somehow set apart and different a spectator constantly reacting to my observations, never realizing that I was part of the very problem I wanted to solve.
There I was judging the world for not having more love and more compassion and empathy and openness. I wanted people to stop following and take a stand and be leaders. So badly with all of my heart, and yet I laughed when anyone said, “Why not you?”
I’m no leader. I’m not qualified.
And a little voice said to me…So become qualified. Learn.
“You have all the tools you need to start right now.”
Tired and exhausted, I asked myself, “Why did I need to learn?”
“What skills did I need, to live my dreams of saving the world?”
“What were my challenges?”
“Most importantly what skills did I have in that moment and how could I use them to help me build momentum and level up?”
Not having a lot of money was the biggest challenge, but I am good at learning and asking questions and finding answers to those questions, utilizing free and cheap but quality resources. I’m good at seeing the big picture and breaking it down into smaller chunks looking at symptoms and getting to the root and integrating solutions into their whole again. I’m great at world-building and I love to write and constantly utilize storytelling as a tool to test models and theories and build gameworlds–no reason why I can’t scale that up to the next level. My programming skills are weak, and I’ve never brought a webhost or launched a website, or used wordpress, but I can make table-top RPGs and text-based games and scale up. And I do have some experience with game engines. Besides, I had built small games on my own, never anything worth sharing but all projects that were added to my skillset, these were things I could learn. I had a laptop and an internet connection and though I’d never launched a company or gathered and lead a team…I could learn…I had a lot to learn but I had all the tools I needed to do so.
“Learn, expand & Level up”
30% is organizing the data I’ve researched and pulled together, and 20% is execution. I’m constantly reading books, tutorials and ebooks around the web, constantly learning, and evolving and taking notes. I’m a library of knowledge and always trying to integrate it into something small and executionable. If I could write a book or start a workshop but then….that leads to my next problem.
“Every day I make a trade-off”
I’m just one person, and every single day I make a trade off. These are the trade-offs I often make.
- Spend 1-2 months focusing on building & refining Website, making it mobile responsive …or…
- Dedicate a few hours to work on a blog post this week sharing Tips I have to share, Insights, News & Developments, and so forth. …or…
- Continue developing my sites and websites …or…
- Get out games and ebooks that are in our queue …or…
- Work on the Roadmap and Documentation …or…
- Start and Launch Our Campaign and Design Posters …or…
- Raise and set aside funds to outsource help affordable help …or…
- …And the list goes on…
The fine-print clause: “If this, then I can’t do that”
Even outsourcing help is a trade-off. In truth, the biggest reason I decided to start the One Million Heroes Campaign was so that I could get help from people to help well, people! People who need food to live in a world that is not yet sustainable and won’t be for so long as we live with the mindset and relationship we have with Money. Think about it, climate change, war, poverty, we have all the resources we need to solve this problem, but we don’t do this because no one will work for free even if it’s for their betterment. Any non-profit organization that depends on volunteers will tell you, depending on volunteers is difficult if not iffy. Volunteers work in their spare time and aren’t always available, employees and independent contractors are because they have a reason to be.
Money is a necessary tool to build a new and better world beyond it.
Knowing how to outsource help on limited funds, and getting the right people who aren’t just there for a quick paycheck but are interested in long-term growth, progress, and improving the world is essential to the project. Finding people who are as motivated and enthusiastic as you are is essential. I can’t say it enough: Alone I can get far, but Together we can get even farther.
I realized that I had spent the past several years of my life and even this past year, trying to do other jobs in order to bootstrap money for this project. But I had all I needed right now. I recalled the One Million Dollar Homepage and I decided to take my Project Graveyard and convert it into something that represents what we do here and so “One Million Heroes” was born. It takes all of us to build a better world, and finances is the way we can do that.
“Building My Team”
The first part of my goal has been building and expanding my team. I ran into some emotional blocks that were hindering me from making progress and holding me back, fears I had about putting myself out there, so I sought a business coach. Working with him helped unblock what was holding me back and once that unblock happened I was able to march forward without limitations, the sky is my limit.
One of the greatest additions to my team has been a young woman whose enthusiasm and proactiveness in helping has been a breath of fresh air. It’s rare to meet someone who mirrors your passion even just to brainstorm. I welcome her to our team of Heroes and am glad to have her on our side.
“Getting Clear About What You Want & Refining Communication”
Throughout this entire month I’ve realized one of my biggest problems is communication. I speak a lot of words, I talk a lot, but it’s mostly noise that gets lost in translation. I’m starting to enjoy infographics, memes, posters, and I love Twitter because it forces me to use ‘short words’ to express myself short and concisely. Perhaps my style of communication will change as I continue to grow and refine this method.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned this month is that your team will only execute your tasks as good as you can communicate it to them. Getting S.M.A.R.T. and taking the time to document my goals and be concise has been a challenge but well worth it. But it’s not just communicating with the team, it’s communicating with people in the social world too, they want to know WHO you are and WHAT you do HOW you plan to do it and WHEN. As a result refining and expressing these grand visions and plans has been my focus thus far while also being productive, moving the project and campaign forward. So taking my vision and refining it again and again until it’s the barebones concept is an essential part of my journey.
It takes me a few writes and rewrites, to revise again and again, but somehow I’m starting to get there. Both with my Team and for the people around me.
“This Month’s Social Media Campaign”
Nowhere does this skill spillover than in social media. This month my goal is to expand my audience and to engage. I want get to know people, make my presence known and to find help wherever I can get good quality help from people who believe in the vision. There’s a lot of work to do and I don’t necessarily think I’m doing the bestest job or that my campaign is the most efficient, but I’m just one person and I’m doing my best to make the best of the tools and resources that I have available to me.
“Not Stopping Life”
This past year I’ve neglected my personal life. I’m a parent, martial artist and a writer. Forming and getting this company launched and running off the ground has been exhausting work, but it’s been worth it. I’m finally reaching a point where I can relax more. I breathe. I don’t let life stop. I make two do lists, one for life and one for work, and I outsource where I need to in both spheres but I also continue going to classes, playing music on my new Artiphon, meditating daily before and after bed, practicing manifestation, reading books and articles, playing with my child, drinking tea and doing things that I love to do leaving work at the door if only for a short time.
“Taking Frequent Breaks”
To do the above I just leave room for a lot of breaks. I work in bursts, focusing on a single task, take a break, work on the task again, take a break, get that done and move onto the next one. Sometimes it takes me all day, sometimes it doesn’t. But either way I make a point to take breaks.
“From Zero to Hero”
Start easy and build up has been a motto I now live by. These days I work on what’s easy first and gradually work my way up to the hard stuff. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing, whether I’m learning the fundamentals to something, or whether I’m working on a project that requires doing a lot of increasingly complicated tasks. Breaking big things down into small chunks and gradually increasing the difficulty has been a great way to progress.
This year I have watched myself transform from Zero to Hero.
I still have a LONG way to go, but it’s happening and I know that if I can get this far so can you.
“Signs I’m on the right Track”
People tell me that my energy and enthusiasm is contagious, that I’m the most ambitious person that they know, and so on. These are signs to me that I’m on the right track, particularly when people meet me each week or the week after and see how much progress I’ve made. Even though I can’t always see it, if I look at my to do list from one week ago let alone one month ago and compare it to a year then how far I’ve come is amazing.
Sometimes I may spend a month working on a theme and learning and refining and may come back to it another month. But keeping a journal tracking my goals in present tense (being as specific, short and concise as possible) and my daily to do lists, prioritized and focused, and then frequently meditating and leaving room for visualization of myself, and my goals has been essential to my continued progress and ultimately success.
That and my ability to learn from failure, refine, and move forward.
“I relax and somehow things get done.”
I have all the tools I need and am more equipped now than I was even a year ago when I first started Zenratstudios. In this hour I’ve made a trade off in time. Now it’s back to writing posters for me. Hopefully I’ll get to refining the documentation soon and clarifying some visions and coming up with creative and fun ways to solve the challenges ahead!
Stay Tuned and Grow With Me!
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