Back to “Home” – Recap, Goals, and Accountability (Nov 2022)

Nov 11, 2022

What do you do when everything feels out of sorts? You’re overwhelmed and spinning in circles?

Go back to “home.”

In this post I explore my resurging interest in writing, a recap of recent months and intentions for the next month (for accountability + clarification of thoughts).

Table of Contents

Coming Back to Home

Introduced as a concept in dance, “coming back to home” is coming back to your foundations. 

In dance it would be “have a good frame” or “move in rhythm with the music.”

All the styling, personality, and improvisation is built on top of your foundation.

In personal life it could be “eat healthy,” “get enough sleep” or “keep your space clean.”

My “home” in personal life looks like:

  • Sleep health. Get enough sleep + waking/sleeping at the same time every day.
  • Reduce stimulation. Caffeine, internet scrolling, eating, music, etc.
  • Calm environment. Clean rooms and desks, intentional music, minimal distractions, and disabled notifications. Airplane Mode and Do Not Disturb.
  • Writing. Processing thoughts and experiences and coming to greater clarity on what I want and steps I need to take.
  • “Churn” through projects. Actively work on projects, declutter, inbox, write, photo/video projects, etc. Don’t only “plan” and “learn.” Execute on it.
  • Reset the nervous system. When tense anxious energy is rising: pause for intentional deep breaths. Lay down for a few minutes. — The solution is often to step away for a brief moment, not to “power through.”
  • USE the systems. Come back to the systems I’ve already created, not seek or create new systems at every overwhelming moment. Simplify or modify as needed — but use the system.

My “home” (foundation) can vary over time although many aspects will remain constant.

Resurgence of Writing

After watching a video by Ali Abdaal, I thought about how much I used to write — especially on this blog. Even if much of what I write never makes it onto the internet, nor gets seen by many, the mere act of writing is an incredibly powerful tool for me.

I often judged myself for “needing” to write to make progress in life or make sense of my thoughts or intuition.

“Why can’t I just do the thing without needing to write about it?” → Meanwhile, when I don’t write/talk about issues: I often ruminate on thoughts like a broken record with zero execution. → Better to get the desired end result through writing than to never get the result at all in those situations.

I judged the volume of hours that went into writing (creating) something (with intention to share it online) that never actually made it to the web.

“Why bother writing if 83% of the time, I never actually publish it?” → Yet, writing even unpublished articles is what springs me forward with momentum in my day or week, helps me discover a new idea/step I can take, or I might even revisit and publish an article later down the road.

Maybe this is part of my process right now — and it’s better to use it than it is to judge myself for using it. Instead of hiding from them, maybe I could be doing so much more by leaning into my unique process, my unique “home.”

Writing is “home.”

Every form of creation is a language of the heart and soul — unique in expression to that individual.

When I put words on the paper (or screen), I’m engaging with a different part of my being. No longer are the thoughts chaotically swimming around in my head. The formation of these words allows me to wrestle with what I actually want, what I actually believe, and can navigate this unique “language” of the soul to get to a new destination, awareness, or possibility that wasn’t visible before.

Instead of ruminating on thoughts, by writing I’m able to see them as words and can reshape them in ways that feel more empowering or accurate. I have to “put my thoughts out there” so that I can properly grapple with and manipulate them, thus allowing me to steer myself in a better direction.

Reflecting on five years of Venture 15 and all the time I spent building my website and writing blog articles, I recall just how “forward moving” my life felt. There was often a sense of growth, momentum, self-discovery, and authenticity.

It was through and around writing (creation) that some of the biggest changes in my life happened: discovering dance, learning how to build websites, make money on the internet, making long-distance connections, getting out of my comfort zone, and more.

“Writing is more than communicating with the world: it’s a way of communicating with yourself.” – someone on the internet.

I want to invite back into my life more regular creation and expression of any kind:

Writing, video, audio, movement, community, and so forth.

Daily Creation

Daily creation (or expression) can be just about anything:

  • journaling physically or digitally
  • writing articles and social posts
  • photography 
  • editing YouTube videos
  • solo polos
  • audio recordings
  • dance
  • spinning poi

By creating more regularly, I get out of the seat of RESISTANCE and into the seat of DISCOVERY. The only way I can figure out who I am and what I want to create is by sitting in the chair and creating — something will arise.

Something always arises.

I want to show the universe that I’m trustworthy of handling an important message or vision by demonstrating through my routines, priorities, and efforts that I’m willing to do the work.

Regular creation helps me build skills as a creative (that also serve in other areas of life):

  • Improving creativity
  • Resiliency to sit down and do the work
  • Ability to focus and monotask
  • Being more professional (schedule, agility, consistency, prioritization)
  • Self-discovery, -understanding, and -acceptance
  • Actualizing an idea into reality
  • Seeing and improving one’s own value
  • Communication + Connection
  • Marketing/Promotion in the digital era
  • etc.

Most notable is consistency — when I am showing up every day there’s less lag-time to get back into the groove compared to going weeks or months between attempts. With less lag-time, workflow improves and insights become frequent.

Coming “home” to writing (or creation) is not that I have discovered I have something to say at all… 

… it’s about finding out WHAT I have to say.

We all have something to say. Many of us are still discovering what that is for us and the medium for which to share it (writing, spoken word, film, artwork, conversation, audio, code, dance).

Inspired by Ali’s past writing work, my first step (below) is to write a simple review of the past month(s) and express objectives for the next month (for accountability & gaining clarity of thoughts). — Thanks for the idea, Ali.

Review of Past Month(s)

Highlights + Flops + Lessons

September through early November

Highlights

  • Swing City Chicago. 2nd place in Novice Jack & Jill competition as a leader (with Sam). (**)
  • Helped run the latest Evolution Revolution #10 and undergoing a transition in work with Jamie.
  • Created a 6 month letter and “vibe.”
  • 7th Danceiversary in late October.
  • Creator Coalition. 9 weekly sessions completed with Jennifer and Arlene.
  • Photography for Swingin’ Dance Party (in August). Albums here or here.
  • Started an audio Solocast where I speak as authentically as I can:
  • Working with a new client (work in progress: Design With Devyn).
  • Solved a MAJOR workflow issue by purchasing a new, 8 TB hard drive.
  • Started taking vitamins with a noticeable improvement in energy level (namely Vitamin D3).
  • Just started an early morning accountability call with Creator Coalition participants – and getting up at the same time every day (so far 🤞). This might be the best week I’ve had in a long time.

… and some other stuff (because I need to move on instead of trying to be a perfect documentarian).

Flops

  • Poor sleep discipline (prior to the start of my early morning call). Not all terrible — but quite inconsistent.
  • Inconsistent “work schedule” (prior to the start of my early morning call).
  • Not eating well or moving much (outside of dance).
  • Immoderate amounts of time spent on passive or avoidant activities (e.g., watching YouTube, gaming, snacking, etc).
  • Generally poor mindset, self-belief, -image, etc. Depression is a beasty.

Those are the biggest ones. Not spending a lot of time on this. Moving on!

Lessons & Notes

  • Reduce inputs. I’m over-stimulated too often. → !!! → I physiologically FEEL better and am HAPPIER and more FULFILLED when I’m writing, creating, doing, connecting (not watching and consuming).
  • Focus on “using” systems, not [re]creating them or seeking a “perfect” system. The perfect system is the one you use, revisit, and improve.
  • Focus on consistency/routine (without being rigid).
  • Pay attention to tiredness.
  • Practice prioritization via addressing both “no to this” and “yes to that”.

November – Goals, Projects, and Opportunities

The tangible and intangible.

Primary

  • Define and stick to a schedule (sleep + work), focusing on incremental improvement & gentle resets over perfection.
  • Upload 3 YouTube videos. Focusing on quantity, experimentation, and consistency — requiring more regular work times. Focusing less on “perfect messaging,” “best practices,” etc.
  • Finish the KonMari method.
  • Sort through existing papers (Draginboxes, paper piles, …).
  • Process digital note capture areas (Keep, Notion, OneTab, …).
  • Decide on a date and location for or complete the Soul Quest.
  • Regular/daily creation (of any kind), ideally to post somewhere. 
  • Host or schedule the next dance event.

Secondary

  • Finish editing the 6 month letter & regularly revisit ‘the vibe.’
  • Complete Self Authoring: Past, Present, and Future.
  • Make my “aims” VISIBLE for my easily-distracted, over-stimulated brain. Make it easy and FUN to calibrate towards my goals and vision.
  • Purchase a level 1 calibration book.
  • Publish 3 more articles.
  • Facilitate Austin’s Creator Corner (work in progress).
  • Map out plans for Interfusion Festival (January 2023) and travel afterwards near Virginia/DC.
  • Mindfulness meditation more often.
  • Go on any kind of photography/videography excursion outside of a familiar dance event.
  • New (or altered) pants or clothes in general.

Opportunities / Offers

  • Creator Coalition’s next round will start in December or January. — Reach out to apply. Limited spots. Moderately demanding participation.
  • Austin’s Creator Corner (work in progress) will be opening. Join here.
  • I am looking for photography/videography practice opportunities, free or paid. Let me know if you know of a local-ish event that would be fun to photo/video, or if you would like to work with me. We can set up something accessible for us if the vibes are good. 😊

Intentions, Tools, and Notes

  • Mono-task (for focus) and reduce distractibility (Airplane Mode, Do Not Disturb, turn off notifications, reduce music, stop watching content).
  • Accountability: lean on existing Creator Coalition group, daily check in calls, and The Creator Corner Discord server for sharing intentions & updates every day.
  • Practice prioritization by correctly and honestly saying yes and no to activities and people.
  • Use my “inboxing systems” instead of constantly trying to discover or create new systems. The perfect system isn’t out there – it’s just the one I’ll use. Improve it as I go.
  • Don’t over commit. Reduce existing commitments. Focus on the few, highly important things (and people).
  • Periodically tune out ALL external inputs for X number of hours of the day (Quest of Quiet) throughout the weeks until it becomes habitual.
  • Document the process of trying to become more self-disciplined.
  • Ship “good enough” and quickly instead of “perfectly.” At my stage: [quantity + incremental improvement + consistency] > perfection.
  • Regularly “show up” every day. Don’t wait till the last minute. Sprinkles of progress are better than heaps of frantic catch-up.

This is already “too much on my plate” with these “goals” and “intentions.” These are, at least, the common repeating themes at my current stage of life.

I’m afraid that I’ll have put some of these out there and then not actually touch it in the next month. But that’s okay — if I can address many of the PRIMARY goals at the expense of some secondary goals and intentions, that’s a win.

I’ll print these out to reflect on regularly throughout the week.

My intention is to do a similar format in about 30 days or near the beginning of the month.

Thanks for reading. 💜

— Austin


“Strengthen the individual. Start with yourself. Take care with yourself. Define who you are. Refine your personality. Choose your destination and articulate your Being. … Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.” — Jordan B. Peterson

“So, attend carefully to your posture. Quit drooping and hunching around. Speak your mind. Put your desires forward, as if you had a right to them — at least the same right as others. Walk tall and gaze forthrightly ahead. Dare to be dangerous. Encourage the serotonin to flow plentifully through neural pathways desperate for its calming influence.” — Jordan B. Peterson


Links to update:

(**) Album or videos haven’t been posted yet.


Fragmentation — Streamline your work space

Fragmentation — Streamline your work space

Recent travels have highlighted how scattered my belongings are, affecting my ability to focus and get work done more effectively. — Making these simple changes have been profound in helping me focus more easily.