On 16 August, I wrote, "Why Isn't My Book Done?" I committed to editing it and having it edited by August 25th.
-Able to sell the book without blushing
I set these goals with a friend of mine who is also a writer - it was a pretty ambitious goal, because I finished the rough draft back in February, and not much has happened in the six months since then. Now, I was going to get it to the point where my work is proofable and cohesive in just two weeks?
And yet, it's done. Actually, I'd still blush a little if I went to sell a copy, since I should clean up the formatting, add a title page, things like that. But content wise it's solid enough that I'd take a USD $20 note from someone and hand them a copy bound in hardcover, and I'd feel they got a really good deal.
If I hadn't set this goal and been accountable publicly, to my friend and to everyone who reads here, I wouldn't have done it in two weeks. Honestly - I'm pretty internally motivated, but I've had a lot of stuff going on the last two weeks, it wouldn't have happened. But it did happen, largely because I was publicly accountable.
The same philosophy applies to my financial goals, as I wrote about in "Mark This Down and Watch Me" which has some really ridiculous financial and creative goals on there.
10 years – 10-15 books out, products still selling well, actively investing in companies as an angel or VC, working on big exciting things, $250,000 per month, five properties owned, $10,000,000 in the bank.
How the heck am I going to do that? Jeez, I don't know. But it's down, it's public. Putting it down at first was really, really scary, and I was nervous to do so. But now I'm publicly accountable. Heck, look at my one year goals:
1 year – Critical Thinking [my first book] out. Blog income trickling. Some info products. Some freelancing. Something else, some X-Factor thing bringing in cash. Net monthly income positive. Health insurance. $50,000 in the bank. Expenses = income per month minimum.
I just finished editing my book, I'll probably release it at the end of September. I found a good health insurance plan and signed up. No blog income yet but I figure it'll come, people are starting to visit more. I should record some stuff and sell it - this is an expanding market, people want really entertaining things that help them build their life. I'll do that soon. $50,000 in the bank? Better move my ass, which is why I'm building my new company. Some X-Factor bringing in cash? Already got some ideas on that too.
When I wrote my one year goals they seemed like a bit of a stretch, since I'd been on a down stretch since the year before. It's been a little less than two months since I set those financial goals, one month since I announced them, and I'm already on track for year one. Mind you, I wasn't sure at all how I'd do when I wrote them down, but now I'm in motion.
The same philosophy applies to my writing down "Some General Life Goals" to which I'm now publicly accountable, and even to announcing that "I'm Quitting Spectator Sports" - I was an avid Red Sox fan, but would you believe I haven't even checked the standings since quitting on July 17th? I saw it was sucking up too much time I'd rather spend reading, learning, writing, connecting with people, so I announced publicly I'd quit and I haven't been back.
Public accountability is a joy, it's so wonderful. It's scary though, don't get me wrong. It's definitely scary. Neurosis inducing a little bit, actually, especially right as you're about to post them up. But then, eventually it goes from being something to be afraid about to something to laugh about, and my mind keeps working on how to do what I said I'm going to do. It's so light, so joyful. Why don't you make a public commitment to something you really want to do? I bet you'll follow through, and it'll be a good time. It's hard at first, but joyful later. Are you in?