Personal Operating System

This year has been a year of reflecting. I’ve filled journals, written tens of thousands of words. Gone through the five stages of grief from moving to Portland (and losing my zeal for my business).

I’ve read more this year than I have in past years. And I’ve licked my wounds (all self-inflicted) to come out on the other side feeling strong and good.

What follows is the need to rewrite my personal operating system.

Why I Need The Rewrite?

There are goals I have that I’m not making progress on. I’ve been coasting. I’ve bought into a delusion. I’ve pursued comforting amusement and ‘stature’ over achievement. I’ve told myself a story that I could do whatever I want.

And, my grasp of objective reality isn’t where I want it to be.

This means that at the end, there is a wide gap between what I mean to achieve in my life and what I’m likely to achieve in my life- unless things quickly are reversed.

I’m 41. And I’ve not really begun to serve in the way I mean to.

I think I’m operating at less than 1% of my capacity. I think I can more than 200x my impact because I have some multiplication by zero effects happening.

What My Operating System Is Now:

I’ve got a mix of things that are working with me.

The normal gen-X stuff: A lazy smirk and a wink. A dash of snark. A little bit of aspirational thinking that doesn’t get translated into results. A burst of creative energy that’s not sustainable, and a cycle of zeal and burnout.

The slacker ethos: I don’t care that much, so I can’t be hurt. Leave before you get left. (The fact is: we’re prevented from doing the real and necessary work, the vulnerable good stuff when we drape ourselves in this bit of delusion).

Too Many Shortcuts The search for hacks and tricks and tactics and shortcuts. Enough hustle to clean up most of the messes I make. Enough good things to keep me from totally crashing. Occasional good years where everything works. A few key relationships that keep me afloat.

Popeye Syndrome: I get my ass kicked for a long time, but I know that in ACT 3, I’ll find some spinach. I get dialed in just in time to “save the day.” Usually. I’ll carry a smug satisfaction through the whole cartoon, a shit-eating grin even when I’m getting knocked around, since I’m denying that this is truly happening to me.

The Need For Affirmation Too often I’ve looked for an ‘attaboy’ without digging in and doing the real work. I wanna be loved! Am I not a blogger? And yet, getting those simple likes/whatever eats into me. So I put out a Bon Mot in a Facebook group and people like it. And I feel good. But that’s so dumb.

Bad Habits It’s been said that the will to win is nothing without the will to prepare to win. 1 I’ve defaulted to a lot of things that don’t support where I wanna go.

Selective Transparency: Which is to say that it’s not true transparency. We crow about where we win, we cover up when we lose. And time goes by and we don’t just do this.

A Run From Reality I have a business that earned some money this year. I’ve gone to great lengths to avoid knowing just how much. There are other areas where I avoid reality. I’ve not embraced reality so I can’t change it. Moving through time randomly.

Focus & Completion Issues I have to be willing to see things all the way through to the end and to find a few hours a week to truly focus. I have to develop that for itself as its own skill, and stick to a system that supports it. Schedule or otherwise, it’s gotta get done.

Relationship Issues Too often, I’ve chased people away that can do me good. Too proud to accept help, but not committed or capable of doing things on my own.

This isn’t a complete list, and I’m concerned more about what I need to do better than what’s working right, right now. I’m unconcerned about what’s working well; in broad strokes:

  • I’m reading
  • I’m doing a good job with my kids
  • I’m seeing what I need to do and creating in my head the life and business I want.

Where I Want To Go:

I’ve clung to an obsolete style that I don’t care about. The old saying: we spend our times working in jobs we hate to buy things we don’t want to impress people we don’t like.

I’ve got this belief that I can 100x myself by changing my way of thinking and interacting with the world.

The end starts with the goals.

  1. A Mission (Or A Couple of Missions) I love entrepreneurs. The independent spark that says “I don’t need to friggin’ work some job. I want to fan that spark till it’s an inferno. I always have seen myself as independent, ever since I was little. My mission Is to serve them.Missions are different than goals. I have two right now:
    • To help 25 Entrepreneurs close a total of $10,000,000 in business.
    • To Bring in $2,000,000 in new business to the Tri Cities Area.

    These should be sane and fun to do.

  2. Orderly Finances: I’m building a new company.. The opportunity to have truly orderly finances is mesmerizing to me. I made a mistake and I never took the time to recover. Now with my wife earning enough (and expenses cut) I have opportunity that didn’t exist a year ago. I have underestimated the power of this. I always went with my gut and was delusional about how much unnecessary risk I was carrying (as well as the returns possible).
  3. Fitness, Man, Fitness I love the feeling when I’m working out (and I’m working out reliably again). I want my body to be fit. And my business, and my life (home etc).
  4. Process Man, Process How we do things is important. What makes our work great?. What goes into that sort of thing.

What I Have To Do:

  1. Figure out some specific goals. I’ve got a mission above, and I’ve gotta

I have to build an operating system that supports that. I have to change my way of thinking, embrace deep work and remake myself into a person that can get this done. This will likely take 18 months. It could take longer.

I have to relearn the way I sell, the way I connect with people, maintain relationships. I have to define what I mean by “integrity,” “focus” and such. I have to drive to my mission and not anything else.

  1. Learn about my strengths. Will do Strengthsfinder, Meyers-Briggs and maybe DiSC again. Will work hard not to game the system. (This will be hard).
  2. Embrace radical transparency. There is a long way to go in my business, and so I have to be open and earnest about everything.
  3. Embrace radical accountability. I have to make and keep my word first to myself, then to my family. I’ve gotta create a scoreboard.

That’s it. This is a 2.0 time for me, or 3.0. It’s a time for a massive reinvention. I’ve had the year to heal and to make forward progress, so now it’s time to make it all happen the way I want.

I’m less certain about what I’m meant to be but I think more dedicated and capable of being that thing. It falls to me to go do it.