Excuses are tools of the tools of incompetence. This whole specialize in them, are seldom good at anything else—nicole walters
The amazing Nicole Walters at the ConverKit conference.

You're going to have to focus if you're going to build something meaningful. Doing a thing every once in a while isn't going to cut it. It might make you feel good, but it won't have any lasting impact.

FYI, this is totally a reminder to myself, but perhaps you need to hear it too.

I just got back from the first annual Craft and Commerce conference put on by ConvertKit in Boise, ID.

My biggest take away was "do the actual work."

Deep, I know. But bare with me...

Put your head down and write that post or book. Make that video. Do that thing that you've been thinking about. But above all BE consistent.

It's tempting to get wrapped up in tips and tricks and secrets of success, but THERE ARE NO SECRETS. That's the simple truth.

Motivation is fun. Motivation makes you feel good, but it's nothing but a multiplier. Motivation is potential energy, not actual energy.

I left the conference feeling incredibly inspired and motivated, but I also want to give myself a giant slap in the face—pull myself down to reality and start shaking myself by the shoulders. I want to throw myself into a cold shower and make myself TRULY TRULY TRULY grasp the fact that nothing that I do will make an impact unless I CONSISTENTLY do the work.

Not planning for the work. Not thinking about the work. Not imagining what life would be like if the work was done. Not being overwhelmed by the work, but ACTUALLY DOING IT. Consistently.

My foray into YouTube videos has been fun and all and people have even been so kind to tell me that they're getting value out of them. But my strategy has never been very strategic.

I told myself I'd publish 2 videos per week this year, but you know what...

That's not good enough by itself. I even put together a lofty "film on this day and edit on this day and publish on this day" kind of half-assed plan. NO. That just doesn't work.

I've got to get it together more than that. And for me, just like so many others at the conference, needs to start with building a writing habit. And guess what?


It's so freaking common sense it hurts. But that's the simple truth. The key is focusing on the starting line instead of the finish line. Something James Clear so eloquently weaved into his talk at the conference.

James Clear

The finish line is overwhelming to the think about when you feel unprepared for the race. And the finish line keeps moving as you get started. It always changes.

The finish line is when you die. That's morbid, but it's the truth. So pull your head out of your self-loathing ass and get to freaking work.

For me that is going to be writing daily and publishing weekly. I'm almost scared to "say that out loud" for all to read because there's a voice in my head that's saying...

"You will fail, Matt. You've tried writing regularly before and you couldn't keep it up. Look at what you did with your videos, you said you were gonna post twice per week and you've barely been able to do one per week. Don't post a declaration about what you're going to do, because you'll be even more embarrassed when you fail again. And you know you'll fail again, because that's what you do.

To that I say, "EFF YOU, VOICE." You are not helpful. I will not listen to your whiny excuse-laden self. You have nothing to do with my plans, goals, and aspirations. You provide zero value to me and I will not allow you to influence my mind in any way. I will put you outside while I write, film, edit, and consistently DO THE WORK.

Then and only then will I let you come back in. And when you try to bring me your B.S. about me not doing it, I'll say "look you sad son-of-a-biscuit eater, here's all the work I did while you were out there moping around."

Time waits for no one.

Anyone standing on top of a mountain didn't fall there. They freaking climbed it. And climbing isn't easy.

Laying on the couch is easy. Watching TV every night for 2 hours is easy. Sleeping in until the last possible minute is easy. Complaining you don't have time is easy. Allowing yourself to believe that it's easy for someone else is easy. Excusing yourself from doing the work because you feel resistance is easy. Making excuses is easy.

It's time to shake off easy.

It's time to feel the resistance, acknowledge it and press in. It's hard to wake up early and write for an hour—CONSISTENTLY. It's hard to go to sleep by 10pm so you can wake up at 4:30am to put in the work AND do the workout AND take care of your normal duties throughout the day. It's hard to manage that when you have kids that wake up early. It's hard to not be selfish about your time when it's pulled in so many ways. It's hard to refrain from opening up Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, every time you feel a quick sense of boredom.

Deliberate practice is hard work, but that's where the brain is changed. I'm currently reading an incredible book called, Grit, that goes into tons of research about this.

When you push yourself beyond your current capabilities, that's when you become better. That's when you build. That's when the muscle in your body tears. That's when your brain regions become lit up and active. And slowly, yes SLOWLY, but surely you will see changes as you're consistent.

So get on with it then...

That project, that idea, that thing you've been just dying to do. GO FREAKING DO IT. You will die soon and time doesn't give a shit about you. Unfollow everyone on Twitter if you have to. Unfollow me, stop reading this blog. If that's what's holding you back, if I'm a hindrance, then cut me out. Do your thing. Get after it and get it done.

Make a grand gesture and refocus on what really matters to you. Don't do just a little more research. Don't check Twitter just one more time. Don't post a picture of you starting on Instagram. Don't even talk about it. Just do the incredibly unsexy work of getting started and getting to work.

And I'm not talking about your job. You don't get paid if you don't do your job. I'm talking about your art. That passionate thing that's living inside of you right now. You've got to get on that right away. You don't want to live with regret. You don't want to let that slip away forever.

Seth Godin was the closing speaker at the conference and as you may suspect, he was amazing. Near the end of his talk he said... (and I'm paraphrasing)

You need to ignore almost everybody. The way you're gonna win is by targeting the smallest possible audience you can live with and serve them.

Shana and I even got to meet him and take a picture.

shana, seth godin, and yours truly

Huge thanks to my Twitter friend turned real-life friend, Shawn Blanc for the encouragement to go the conference.

Make sure you read his recap post too.

shawn blanc and myself