Welcome to Do The Hard Thing Episode 7. I am Jason Archer… creator, freedom seeker and leader of self | full time student and part time teacher of self mastery, and today’s theme is “Forget Halloween… October 1st Is More Important”.
So, turn up the volume, put down the distractions and let’s kick this off…
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Have you ever started a project that you felt held a great deal of meaning for you, and then for whatever reason you could not move toward the outcome you wanted to create. Whether it was a Mental, Physical, or Spiritual target you sought, it didn’t matter… there was some part of you who refused to move. This podcast is born out of that specific idea. Do The Hard Thing is an exploration in human movement.
Well, here we are in the first day of the 4th quarter of 2017. Many of you may not have thought about the significance of October 1st…
In fact, I bet you or someone you know is getting geared up for the 31st when all of North America celebrates Halloween as you listen to this podcast. Halloween spending this year will top 7BB dollars… And, here in the States, Americans will spend 350MM dollars on costumes for their pets alone!
So, while you may have seen turmoil on cable news, where the whole of the nation is scoured to find every negative aspect of life and present it to you in living color 24 hours a day… The reality is that Americans continue to enjoy one of the highest, if not the highest, standards of living in the world.
And, they will no doubt enjoy many a pumpkin spice latte whlie they parade their costumed pets around as Halloween draws closer.
Now, I love Halloween as much as the next guy. It was and is one of my favorite holidays throughout the year, yet today I want to stress one fact to you: October 1st is far more important than October 31st.
Why, you ask?
Well, simply because it is the first day of the last quarter of the year. Yep, only three more months before 2017 goes away forever, and 2018 arrives with a fresh batch of resolutions to break.
Only 3 more months to accomplish at the things you set out to accomplish at the beginning of the year.
Now, if you’ve created nothing this year or had no desire to create anything, then to guarantee you continue to fuck up the rest of the year, simply keep doing what you’ve been doing. I’m not here to motivate you. That is your job.
However, for those of you who genuinely desire more… who want to create a bigger business, a better relationship, or a greater degree of self mastery; you’ll want to focus closely on each word of the rest of this episode.
I am going to tell you exactly how to create and produce around what you want for your life, and before you write this method off as babble and decide that your lot in life is fixed… I will give you the name of a man who has done a great deal of documented research around the methodology used by high achievers the world over, as well as little old me.
I will give you the methods, and you can go look into the science if you have doubts. Yet, if you do doubt it, I challenge you to prove it wrong. Do The Hard Thing by putting it to the test.
So, let’s take this from the top… everyone seems to at least have some sort of fuzzy idea of a goal. Something they desire to manifest in their lives… could be a relationship, a better job, a better body, a business, or even something like a greater connection to a higher power.
Doesn’t matter what it is… the fact that you want to create it is what is important.
So, maybe you’re thinking, “What the hell does this have to do with October 1st, Halloween, or quarters.” To which I say… patience, gentle listener. It’s coming.
Starting with your goals or your targets, we’ll work backwards into the importance of October 1st 2017… And, the first item to consider is what is the explicit version of what you want to create?
Having a fuzzy idea is not good enough. Without a clear picture in your mind of what you want, it’s very difficult to reverse engineer the steps necessary to get there.
To take a example from my personal life, I’ll use a goal my wife and I set in January of this year.
As we looked at our finances and investments, we set a goal to acquire a new rental property and a new personal residence. The plan was to find a home we could move into that was at least 2000 square feet, had space for friends and family to come stay with us, had the potential to be a place we could make our own, and be a step up in terms of being closer to the mountain preserve here in Anthem, AZ.
Once we acquired this property, we could then move out of our current home in Anthem and turn it into a cash flow rental. All this is due for completion by the end of 2017.
The explicit goal was set…
Enter the first problem…. That being the fact that the property we wanted had not yet been identified, we had no money for a down payment, and no idea at the time how we would acquire it. The idea of this new home was distal. It was a year out. It’s incredibly hard to have any emotion and drive around anything so far out.
The focus on the distal aspect of a goal is why so many of us fail to get there. It’s too far out…. so far out that it may feel like a dream, or a hope. So far that it can seem unattainable.
So how do we make the distal goal a proximal or near term concern?
We have to find a way to break the big idea down into pieces… we need to chunk the task. And, the easiest way to break the year up is by quarter. Three month increments that you can then use to track your progress.
The first quarter was about deciding on how best to raise the money for a down payment. We looked at another property we owned in Calgary and realized that the rents it would bring after paying the mortgage and the insanely high property tax commanded in Canada, would at best break even assuming it could be rented all year… and at break even, any vacancy would mean taking a financial loss.
So, we looked at selling it.
We discovered that by selling it, we would net enough cash at close to have a down payment for the new place here in Anthem and still some leftover for any renovations. By doing this we would get rid of a net loss property in Calgary, acquire a new property that fit our vision here in Anthem, and acquire a net cash flow positive rental by leasing the property we already had in Anthem.
The proximal activities for Q1 centered around deciding how we would raise the capital for the new place… and that was the sole focus.
That led us into Q2 with a new proximal goal… We now had to sell the property in Calgary, in a very soft market. Calgary has experienced a great deal of financial trouble since the price of oil fell back below 50 dollars a barrel and nearly 100k people have lost their jobs. Not really a hotbed of real estate activity as businesses closed and Calgary boasted the highest rate of Commercial real estate vacancies in the world.
Yet, putting all our focus on dressing up the house and taking care of little cosmetic fixes led to us getting the property to show very well. And, the fact that the basement was suited and had a paying tenant in covering more than half the mortgage each month, made our higher than market asking price palatable for a young woman who wanted into the neighborhood.
Q2 was all about getting these fixes done, the home listed and ready for sale. Knowing that we had such a short time to take care of all of this kept us focused on the task at hand and we did sell the house at the end of the quarter, giving us the down payment we would need.
Going into Q3, we had identified a home we wanted to purchase that was exactly the size we wanted and located in the area we sought… And, there again the proximal focus became acquiring it.
It too, created many challenges… I was able to get the home under contract fairly easily. It was a short sale, meaning that the time required to get the deal done would be greatly extended, the paperwork would be monstrous, and the folllowups would be early and often.
It took us almost exactly 3 months to close. And, close we did… on September 29th. Leaving us 1 day left in Q3. We finalized just under the wire and hit out target.
Which brings us to Q4… October 1st 2017. Today I have been lining up help with the remodel, looking a material costs, scheduling services, and getting my property manager all he needs to get the current property rent ready and on the market for a November 1st availability.
This quarter is our last opportunity to fully hit and take out this goal. We have less than 3 months to do a full remodel on the new place, move, rent the old place at a profit, and do all this with the 3 most important holidays of the year happening in sequence: Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas which all take up significant amounts of time.
Yes, my friends, October 1st is an important day… year in and year out. As iare all the other quarters of the year. These are major sign posts in where you are and what you are tracking toward for your annual progress.
Remember distal vs. proximal in your goal setting.
Maybe you set some goals at the beginning of the year for what you wanted and have completely allowed them to fall by the wayside. Maybe life happened and you were off your game for one reason or another, or maybe you just created a distal goal out there somewhere in the ether that just became more of a hope than something you were striving for.
You have to chunk these big goals into smaller parts and tackle them on a more near term basis to make them real.
Now some of you probably already know where I am going with this… Quarterly targets are great to track toward, yet even that can be too distal. So remember, your quarters break down into 13 week intervals and your weeks break down into 7 day increments which further break down into 24 hours.
In focusing on the proximal… the near term that you can control, you need to decide what you will do each day that will create consistency toward your desired outcome.
Focus on what is right in front of you to create the long term goal. The daily grind that results in what you want is you making you Do The Hard Thing.
You may be hearing this after October 1st… That’s OK. Take 20 minutes and sit down somewhere quiet and decide to finish the year strong!
Maybe you want to lose 20 lbs by the end of the year… No better way to finish strong than to create a win for yourself going into 2018. To hit that Q4 goal, you’ll need to lose roughly 7 lbs per month, or just shy of 2 lbs per week.
If that is you, get on the scale now… and subtract 2 lbs and set that as your goal for this week. Then, starting as soon as possible set a daily activity goal and a daily eating goal… and no matter what, hit those daily goals.
Maybe you walk 2 miles a day, and cut out all processed food. If you do that tomorrow, nobody will give a shit and you will remain where you are… If you do that everyday for the next 13 weeks, you will have done something few humans will ever do: Create Consistency.
The proximal goals are your consistency. They are the bridge between you and what you want for your future… The questions is will you Do The Hard Thing daily or will you let yourself fail because of “insert your favorite reason here”?
Consistency is you smashing your goals with a hammer fist straight out of a kung fu flick. Do that and each day you will get closer to what you want.
If you doubt the science, look up Dr Albert Bandura’s research… it is certainly worth your time. In fact, all of this has a basis in human psychology and I would encourage to listen to Dr. Bandura’s interview on the Finding Master Podast. At 91 years young, you can definitely learn a few things from this guy.
That’s it for today! Thank you for listening, and if you found value in this message be sure to subscribe on iTunes, Google, Castbox, or Stitcher | Share this with those you know need to hear it on social | And I’ll see you back here in the next episode | This is Jason Archer signing off | Now… go, and DO THE HARD THING.
Listen at dothehardthing.net