Hack your life

Stay hungry. Stay foolish.

The last challenge was about…going out of your way for others

It’s hard to step out of your comfort zone for yourself. It’s even harder to do it for others. This last challenge was about exactly that. Doing something for someone else when it’s not so convenient for you. The holidays call for it: To be selfless, giving and caring, but the lessons of this challenge stay for ever. I had the opportunity to lunch with friends, meet up with others and buy gifts I might not have otherwise. It may sound banal from the outside, but I hope you got as much out of it as you put in. If not more.

#HYLP Challenge #50: Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

This is it. The last #HYLP challenge. It’s difficult to pick the last one. The need to make it more meaningful that the entire series is strong. I hope it meets your expectations.

This next week will be about asking something unreasonable. It could be asking for a deal, when no deal is offered; it can be asking for a raise; it can be asking a question you’ve been longing to ask, but never did…whatever you want (extra points if you ask yourself to be unreasonable). We all have something we wished we could do, but hold back. This is the time to do it. The only rule is — choose something that’s uncomfortable, something you wouldn’t dare ask otherwise, something crazy, something that will feed you.

Why?

Steve Jobs ended his now famous 2005 Stanford Commencement Speech with the words “Stay hungry. Stay foolish” as a kind of reminder. A reminder to stay hungry for knowledge and adventure; a reminder to stay foolish and look beyond the established path. The Hack Your Life Challenge has been about exploring my life. I’ve come to realize life is a programmable system, much like a piece of software. While, yes, there are many unpredictable things that will happen, you can get it (your life) to do pretty much what you would like it to do. You only need to dare. It’s something easy to say, but much harder to do. That’s where the Project came in…to go from saying to doing. And this challenge is to force you in a situation of discomfort. If you strive for discomfort, if you do the crazy things no one else does, then you can do things no one else will. And that…my friends…is what this Project is all about.

While this #HYLP is now over, it is, as they say in French, qu’un au revoir. This is not good-bye, but see you later. I will have a new iteration of the Project up online soon for those who what to continue. And an ebook version of this #HYLP with improved challenges. I hope you’ve had as much fun as I have had…

Have a happy, safe and foolish 2013!

Hack Your Life Newsletter

Past challenges

If you’re new here, on the first week of January I started the Hack Your Life Project. Each week I challenge myself to explore the details of the programmable system that is my life and stretch its capabilities, as opposed to most of us, who only prefer to learn the minimum necessary. I no longer want to breeze through my life, but take control of it.

These are the past challenges:

  1. Hack Your Life Project | Get rid of excess clothing
  2. Hack Your Life Project | Turn off the electronics
  3. Hack Your Life Project | Hello stranger
  4. And then…everything changes | The happyness metric
  5. Hack Your Life Project | Do
  6. Hack Your Life Project | Weekends and evenings
  7. Hack Your Life Project | Take a break
  8. Hack Your Life Project | Be decisive
  9. Hack Your Life Project | Set your limits
  10. Hack Your Life Project | Give a fuck
  11. Hack Your Life Project | Test your life
  12. Hack Your Life Project | Healthy mind, healthy body
  13. Hack Your Life Project | Back to basics
  14. Hack Your Life Project | It is what it is
  15. Hack Your Life Project | Workout daily
  16. Hack Your Life Project | Break a routine
  17. Hack Your Life Project | Life with a mission
  18. Hack Your Life Project | Hack your finances
  19. Hack Your Life Project | Random acts of kindness
  20. Hack Your Life Project | Spice up your life
  21. Hack Your Life Project | Take a cold shower
  22. Hack Your Life Project | Thank you
  23. Hack Your Life Project | The gaze
  24. Hack Your Life Project | Learn something new each day
  25. Hack Your Life Project | Do ________ daily
  26. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000
  27. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 2
  28. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 3
  29. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 4
  30. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 5
  31. Hack Your Life Project | Do something else
  32. Hack Your Life Project | Fascinate others
  33. Hack Your Life Project | Rethink what you do
  34. Hack Your Life Project | Contact a hero
  35. Hack Your Life Project | The ask
  36. Hack Your Life Project | Criticism sandwich
  37. Hack Your Life Project | Just say yes
  38. Hack Your Life Project | Negotiate
  39. Hack Your Life Project | Social rules
  40. Hack Your Life Project | Ask tie-down questions
  41. Hack Your Life Project | Overcome the fear of money
  42. Hack Your Life Project | Overcome the fear of others
  43. Hack Your Life Project | Meditation challenge, part I
  44. Hack Your Life Project | Meditation challenge, part II
  45. Hack Your Life Project | Meditation challenge, part III
  46. Hack Your Life Project | Helping others achieve
  47. Hack Your Life Project | Master each medium
  48. Hack Your Life Project | Give validation
  49. Hack Your Life Project | Go out of your way

(Photo credit: El Payo)

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Last week was all about…Giving validation

Sawubona or I see you: Validating others and learning to see the world from their perspective (not the exact explanation, but worthy enough in my opinion). As a marketer, it’s your full time job; as a sales person, it makes your job easier. Same thing if you’re a business owner, a professor, a recruiter, a middle-manager or an intern. Learning to see the world from the other’s perspective not only gives you the opportunity to see beyond yourself, it allows you to better explain the way you see the world.

Next time you see someone, think beyond hello think sawubona.

#HYLP Challenge #49: Go out of your way

This week will be about going out of your way for others. If you want to join, pick one person and go out of your way for them. Preferably someone you know. Invite them out for supper on the night your favorite show is on. Go out for drinks when you’d rather stay home. Go out for lunch when you’d rather work through your lunch hour.

Why?

It’s easy to stick with what makes you comfortable and it’s already hard to break out of your comfort zone when it’s for you, it’s even harder when it’s for someone else. We’re tired or we’re busy; we don’t have time for ourselves, how on earth will we have time for someone else?

I think at a time like this, we need to open ourselves to empathy, put ourselves aside for a bit and do something that’s important for someone else.

This week, pick one person and go out of your way for them. That’s it. Quite simple.

Past challenges

If you’re new here, on the first week of January I started the Hack Your Life Project. Each week I challenge myself to explore the details of the programmable system that is my life and stretch its capabilities, as opposed to most of us, who only prefer to learn the minimum necessary. I no longer want to breeze through my life, but take control of it.

These are the past challenges:

  1. Hack Your Life Project | Get rid of excess clothing
  2. Hack Your Life Project | Turn off the electronics
  3. Hack Your Life Project | Hello stranger
  4. And then…everything changes | The happyness metric
  5. Hack Your Life Project | Do
  6. Hack Your Life Project | Weekends and evenings
  7. Hack Your Life Project | Take a break
  8. Hack Your Life Project | Be decisive
  9. Hack Your Life Project | Set your limits
  10. Hack Your Life Project | Give a fuck
  11. Hack Your Life Project | Test your life
  12. Hack Your Life Project | Healthy mind, healthy body
  13. Hack Your Life Project | Back to basics
  14. Hack Your Life Project | It is what it is
  15. Hack Your Life Project | Workout daily
  16. Hack Your Life Project | Break a routine
  17. Hack Your Life Project | Life with a mission
  18. Hack Your Life Project | Hack your finances
  19. Hack Your Life Project | Random acts of kindness
  20. Hack Your Life Project | Spice up your life
  21. Hack Your Life Project | Take a cold shower
  22. Hack Your Life Project | Thank you
  23. Hack Your Life Project | The gaze
  24. Hack Your Life Project | Learn something new each day
  25. Hack Your Life Project | Do ________ daily
  26. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000
  27. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 2
  28. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 3
  29. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 4
  30. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 5
  31. Hack Your Life Project | Do something else
  32. Hack Your Life Project | Fascinate others
  33. Hack Your Life Project | Rethink what you do
  34. Hack Your Life Project | Contact a hero
  35. Hack Your Life Project | The ask
  36. Hack Your Life Project | Criticism sandwich
  37. Hack Your Life Project | Just say yes
  38. Hack Your Life Project | Negotiate
  39. Hack Your Life Project | Social rules
  40. Hack Your Life Project | Ask tie-down questions
  41. Hack Your Life Project | Overcome the fear of money
  42. Hack Your Life Project | Overcome the fear of others
  43. Hack Your Life Project | Meditation challenge, part I
  44. Hack Your Life Project | Meditation challenge, part II
  45. Hack Your Life Project | Meditation challenge, part III
  46. Hack Your Life Project | Helping others achieve
  47. Hack Your Life Project | Master each medium
  48. Hack Your Life Project | Give validation
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Last week was all about…mastering each medium

We’re all comfortable with different mediums — text, image, video, audio — and if you want to speak with a larger audience, you will have to master each one. I prefer text, so if all you do is video, you’ll have a much harder time reaching me. I do text a lot so I have a hard time reaching those that prefer audio.

Last week was about trying each medium. It was harder than I thought it would be. I played around with pictures I posted on Google+ and I did a hangout (video) with Ray Hiltz. I didn’t manager to record an audio.

I must say, I enjoyed the video quite a bit and I want to incorporate that a little more. I’ll try audio, because I have a feeling I’ll enjoy it as well.

This challenge isn’t over, ce n’est qu’un au revoir…

#HYLP Challenge #48: Hear others, see others, understand others

Sawubona — the Zulu say it as a greeting. It means « I see you. I recognize that you are there. » I learned that one from Chris Brogan. Along the same lines, on her last show Oprah said,

I’ve talked to nearly 30,000 people on this show, and all 30,000 had one thing in common — they all wanted validation. … They want to know, do you hear me? Do you see me? Does what I say mean anything to you?

And that’s exactly what this week’s challenge will be about — giving others validation. Not only hearing what someone has to say, but listening. That’s what others really want. So this week, take the time to really understand and listen to what others are saying. Don’t just wait for your turn to speak.

It doesn’t have to be difficult — sometimes all it takes is a smile, a hat tip or to stop for a moment. Acknowledge that at that moment, they are important to you. After each conversation, step away and ask yourself “what was the other’s point-of-view and did I answer that?”

Why?

It might sound Kumbaya but it’s more than that. Acknowledging and understanding others is one of the greatest sales and marketing tools. Actually, as a marketer, it’s your full-time job. Once you understand what your prospects thinks and feels, you can teach them to view the world your way. If you sell and market with only your vision of the world in mind, you’ll always only go so far.

It’s one thing if the car salesperson starts the conversation with « it offers great mileage; » it’s quite the others if she says « what do you look for in car? » It’s one thing if the salesperson starts off with « we have great prices on the new Windows 8 computers; » it’s quite another if they say « how do you use your computer? »

So this week, learn to validate others — listen and acknowledge what they say.

Past challenges

If you’re new here, on the first week of January I started the Hack Your Life Project. Each week I challenge myself to explore the details of the programmable system that is my life and stretch its capabilities, as opposed to most of us, who only prefer to learn the minimum necessary. I no longer want to breeze through my life, but take control of it.

These are the past challenges:

  1. Hack Your Life Project | Get rid of excess clothing
  2. Hack Your Life Project | Turn off the electronics
  3. Hack Your Life Project | Hello stranger
  4. And then…everything changes | The happyness metric
  5. Hack Your Life Project | Do
  6. Hack Your Life Project | Weekends and evenings
  7. Hack Your Life Project | Take a break
  8. Hack Your Life Project | Be decisive
  9. Hack Your Life Project | Set your limits
  10. Hack Your Life Project | Give a fuck
  11. Hack Your Life Project | Test your life
  12. Hack Your Life Project | Healthy mind, healthy body
  13. Hack Your Life Project | Back to basics
  14. Hack Your Life Project | It is what it is
  15. Hack Your Life Project | Workout daily
  16. Hack Your Life Project | Break a routine
  17. Hack Your Life Project | Life with a mission
  18. Hack Your Life Project | Hack your finances
  19. Hack Your Life Project | Random acts of kindness
  20. Hack Your Life Project | Spice up your life
  21. Hack Your Life Project | Take a cold shower
  22. Hack Your Life Project | Thank you
  23. Hack Your Life Project | The gaze
  24. Hack Your Life Project | Learn something new each day
  25. Hack Your Life Project | Do ________ daily
  26. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000
  27. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 2
  28. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 3
  29. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 4
  30. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 5
  31. Hack Your Life Project | Do something else
  32. Hack Your Life Project | Fascinate others
  33. Hack Your Life Project | Rethink what you do
  34. Hack Your Life Project | Contact a hero
  35. Hack Your Life Project | The ask
  36. Hack Your Life Project | Criticism sandwich
  37. Hack Your Life Project | Just say yes
  38. Hack Your Life Project | Negotiate
  39. Hack Your Life Project | Social rules
  40. Hack Your Life Project | Ask tie-down questions
  41. Hack Your Life Project | Overcome the fear of money
  42. Hack Your Life Project | Overcome the fear of others
  43. Hack Your Life Project | Meditation challenge, part I
  44. Hack Your Life Project | Meditation challenge, part II
  45. Hack Your Life Project | Meditation challenge, part III
  46. Hack Your Life Project | Helping others achieve
  47. Hack Your Life Project | Master each medium
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Last week was all about…Helping others achieve success

Over the past week I reached out to 7 people to see how they were doing and offer some help. Reporting it might not make the gesture sound genuine, but I’m glad I did it. Added bonus: you get what you put in. As a result of this challenge, I was asked for a guest post (thank you Chris Craft!). Stay tuned for a my take on the marketing lessons from the current NHL lock out.

Helping out others was one of the most satisfying challenges so far…

#HYLP Challenge #47: Master all mediums

This week I’ll test all mediums — text, audio, video and photo. Evidently, I’m more comfortable with text…much less with the other 3. I’ll be writing one piece of content (probably that NHL guest-post), recording one audio piece, one video piece and doing something with an image. If you want to join, you can make each piece of content about anything you would like, but it does have to communicate something.

Why?

Who are you talking to? Some people are more comfortable with text, others audio and others video or images. For example, I much prefer reading a post than listening to a Podcast or watch a YouTube video — but that’s just me. You can’t always make it about what you prefer. Communicating with others means you have to cater content to what they prefer.

Moreover, wasn’t it once said that the medium is the message? It’s not only a matter of what you say, it’s where and how you say it. A step-by-step guide might be more helpful as a video. An interview might work better in audio and a picture is worth a thousand words…

So this week, I get comfortable with each medium.

Past challenges

If you’re new here, on the first week of January I started the Hack Your Life Project. Each week I challenge myself to explore the details of the programmable system that is my life and stretch its capabilities, as opposed to most of us, who only prefer to learn the minimum necessary. I no longer want to breeze through my life, but take control of it.

These are the past challenges:

  1. Hack Your Life Project | Get rid of excess clothing
  2. Hack Your Life Project | Turn off the electronics
  3. Hack Your Life Project | Hello stranger
  4. And then…everything changes | The happyness metric
  5. Hack Your Life Project | Do
  6. Hack Your Life Project | Weekends and evenings
  7. Hack Your Life Project | Take a break
  8. Hack Your Life Project | Be decisive
  9. Hack Your Life Project | Set your limits
  10. Hack Your Life Project | Give a fuck
  11. Hack Your Life Project | Test your life
  12. Hack Your Life Project | Healthy mind, healthy body
  13. Hack Your Life Project | Back to basics
  14. Hack Your Life Project | It is what it is
  15. Hack Your Life Project | Workout daily
  16. Hack Your Life Project | Break a routine
  17. Hack Your Life Project | Life with a mission
  18. Hack Your Life Project | Hack your finances
  19. Hack Your Life Project | Random acts of kindness
  20. Hack Your Life Project | Spice up your life
  21. Hack Your Life Project | Take a cold shower
  22. Hack Your Life Project | Thank you
  23. Hack Your Life Project | The gaze
  24. Hack Your Life Project | Learn something new each day
  25. Hack Your Life Project | Do ________ daily
  26. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000
  27. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 2
  28. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 3
  29. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 4
  30. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 5
  31. Hack Your Life Project | Do something else
  32. Hack Your Life Project | Fascinate others
  33. Hack Your Life Project | Rethink what you do
  34. Hack Your Life Project | Contact a hero
  35. Hack Your Life Project | The ask
  36. Hack Your Life Project | Criticism sandwich
  37. Hack Your Life Project | Just say yes
  38. Hack Your Life Project | Negotiate
  39. Hack Your Life Project | Social rules
  40. Hack Your Life Project | Ask tie-down questions
  41. Hack Your Life Project | Overcome the fear of money
  42. Hack Your Life Project | Overcome the fear of others
  43. Hack Your Life Project | Meditation challenge, part I
  44. Hack Your Life Project | Meditation challenge, part II
  45. Hack Your Life Project | Meditation challenge, part III
  46. Hack Your Life Project | Helping others achieve
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Last week was all about…part III of the 21-day meditation challenge

Simply put — meditating daily changes you. Better sleep, less anxiety, more focus. That’s what the past three weeks brought me. This particular meditation challenge was about abundance. We all strive for more…more money, more success, more love, more recognition. It’s all there for the taking because often the obstacles we face are from within.

That’s why this challenge was so wonderful — it truly represents the Hack Your Life Project‘s spirit. The Project is about shedding your internal, self-made restrictions:

“When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money.

That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.

Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”
— Steve Jobs

That’s what the meditation challenge was about…that’s what the Hack Your Life Project is about. A hacker is “[a] person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and stretching their capabilities, as opposed to most users, who prefer to learn only the minimum necessary.” If you look at what’s around you — your life, your job, your career, your company, your field — as a programmable system it means you can hack it. You can stretch its capabilities.

#HYLP Challenge #46: Check in on others

This past week I reached out to a few readers for challenge ideas. This one comes from Lynne MacMaster.

Many of the challenges here are about helping yourself. This challenge is about facing outwards and helping others. This week, reach out to 7 people and check-in on how others are progressing in their projects, professionally or personally.

Why?

When a good book challenges you, it makes you stand up and take notice or do something different. Good books check-in to see how your projects are doing. Sandy Sidhu’s book — From Stuck to Unstoppable — motivated me to get started. Her book did for me what this challenge will do for others. In the end, everyone benefits — “they get a healthy distraction from navel gazing and you get a rush from seeing others strive for greatness” Lynne says. Added benefit: You’re setting yourself up from a encouraging follow-up yourself.

Past challenges

If you’re new here, on the first week of January I started the Hack Your Life Project. Each week I challenge myself to explore the details of the programmable system that is my life and stretch its capabilities, as opposed to most of us, who only prefer to learn the minimum necessary. I no longer want to breeze through my life, but take control of it.

These are the past challenges:

  1. Hack Your Life Project | Get rid of excess clothing
  2. Hack Your Life Project | Turn off the electronics
  3. Hack Your Life Project | Hello stranger
  4. And then…everything changes | The happyness metric
  5. Hack Your Life Project | Do
  6. Hack Your Life Project | Weekends and evenings
  7. Hack Your Life Project | Take a break
  8. Hack Your Life Project | Be decisive
  9. Hack Your Life Project | Set your limits
  10. Hack Your Life Project | Give a fuck
  11. Hack Your Life Project | Test your life
  12. Hack Your Life Project | Healthy mind, healthy body
  13. Hack Your Life Project | Back to basics
  14. Hack Your Life Project | It is what it is
  15. Hack Your Life Project | Workout daily
  16. Hack Your Life Project | Break a routine
  17. Hack Your Life Project | Life with a mission
  18. Hack Your Life Project | Hack your finances
  19. Hack Your Life Project | Random acts of kindness
  20. Hack Your Life Project | Spice up your life
  21. Hack Your Life Project | Take a cold shower
  22. Hack Your Life Project | Thank you
  23. Hack Your Life Project | The gaze
  24. Hack Your Life Project | Learn something new each day
  25. Hack Your Life Project | Do ________ daily
  26. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000
  27. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 2
  28. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 3
  29. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 4
  30. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 5
  31. Hack Your Life Project | Do something else
  32. Hack Your Life Project | Fascinate others
  33. Hack Your Life Project | Rethink what you do
  34. Hack Your Life Project | Contact a hero
  35. Hack Your Life Project | The ask
  36. Hack Your Life Project | Criticism sandwich
  37. Hack Your Life Project | Just say yes
  38. Hack Your Life Project | Negotiate
  39. Hack Your Life Project | Social rules
  40. Hack Your Life Project | Ask tie-down questions
  41. Hack Your Life Project | Overcome the fear of money
  42. Hack Your Life Project | Overcome the fear of others
  43. Hack Your Life Project | Meditation challenge, part I
  44. Hack Your Life Project | Meditation challenge, part II
  45. Hack Your Life Project | Meditation challenge, part III
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Last week was all about…part II of the meditation challenge

I’ve been meditating everyday for 2 weeks now. It’s not always easy. I guess that’s why they call it a challenge. The benefits are numerous and this past week is really showing me. Better sleep, more concentration, less…much less anxiety. This challenge is about creating abundance and setting the right frame of mind for letting abundance into your life. Abundance can be material, financial, spiritual, emotional. Usually, the only limit there is to abundance is you — your thoughts, your actions, your beliefs.

This 21-day meditation challenge is about re-framing your thoughts and beliefs.

What are the benefits for you?

#HYLP Challenge #45: Last week of the meditation challenge

Quite simply, this week I’ll be finishing-up the meditation challenge. Day 21 is this coming Sunday, if my calculations are correct. This is one challenge I want to stick with after it’s over.

Why?

It’s the last week of the meditation challenge. As I mentioned, I find meditating allows me to sleep better and be more focused. Meditation can even help develop your Sherlock Holmes-like skills. It’s the first time I’ll do 21 days in a row so it’s very exciting.

Will you join me for week three?

Past challenges

If you’re new here, on the first week of January I started the Hack Your Life Project. Each week I challenge myself to explore the details of the programmable system that is my life and stretch its capabilities, as opposed to most of us, who only prefer to learn the minimum necessary. I no longer want to breeze through my life, but take control of it.

These are the past challenges:

  1. Hack Your Life Project | Get rid of excess clothing
  2. Hack Your Life Project | Turn off the electronics
  3. Hack Your Life Project | Hello stranger
  4. And then…everything changes | The happyness metric
  5. Hack Your Life Project | Do
  6. Hack Your Life Project | Weekends and evenings
  7. Hack Your Life Project | Take a break
  8. Hack Your Life Project | Be decisive
  9. Hack Your Life Project | Set your limits
  10. Hack Your Life Project | Give a fuck
  11. Hack Your Life Project | Test your life
  12. Hack Your Life Project | Healthy mind, healthy body
  13. Hack Your Life Project | Back to basics
  14. Hack Your Life Project | It is what it is
  15. Hack Your Life Project | Workout daily
  16. Hack Your Life Project | Break a routine
  17. Hack Your Life Project | Life with a mission
  18. Hack Your Life Project | Hack your finances
  19. Hack Your Life Project | Random acts of kindness
  20. Hack Your Life Project | Spice up your life
  21. Hack Your Life Project | Take a cold shower
  22. Hack Your Life Project | Thank you
  23. Hack Your Life Project | The gaze
  24. Hack Your Life Project | Learn something new each day
  25. Hack Your Life Project | Do ________ daily
  26. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000
  27. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 2
  28. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 3
  29. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 4
  30. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 5
  31. Hack Your Life Project | Do something else
  32. Hack Your Life Project | Fascinate others
  33. Hack Your Life Project | Rethink what you do
  34. Hack Your Life Project | Contact a hero
  35. Hack Your Life Project | The ask
  36. Hack Your Life Project | Criticism sandwich
  37. Hack Your Life Project | Just say yes
  38. Hack Your Life Project | Negotiate
  39. Hack Your Life Project | Social rules
  40. Hack Your Life Project | Ask tie-down questions
  41. Hack Your Life Project | Overcome the fear of money
  42. Hack Your Life Project | Overcome the fear of others
  43. Hack Your Life Project | Meditation challenge, part I
  44. Hack Your Life Project | Meditation challenge, part II
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Last week was all about…Starting the 21-day meditation challenge.

This 21-day meditation challenge is focused on abundance — financial abundance, spiritual abundance or even abundance of love, health or anything you desire more of. In the end, abundance is having all your needs, wants, and desires met. Last week was centred around the source of abundance and where you find abundance is within.

A centring theme of the Hack Your Life Project is unlearning and pushing to the limits the different elements that make up your life. The rules to those elements (your job, your career, your time off, your finances, who you speak with, etc.) are written up “by people who are no smarter than you” once said Steve Jobs. That means you can write your own rules.

And that’s exactly where the meditation challenge comes in. What you look for doesn’t come from the outside. It won’t come from these rules that others have left. It comes from you. If you want it, you have to set out to get it. It’s not to say others around you are irrelevant, quite the contrary. But it starts with you.

#HYLP #Challenge #44: 2nd week of the meditation challenge

This week I will continue the 21-day meditation challenge. This week is about chance or good luck. In other words, creating abundance.

Will you join me?

Why?

The benefits of meditation are well known. Reduced chronic paindecreased stress, mild depression and anxiety and change areas of the brain related to learning and memory. And, as mentioned a few weeks ago, these last #HYLP challenges tie everything together — all the other challenges I’ve embarked on for the past 10 months. The meditation challenge will force me to make a choice. The evening often ends with a screen — TV, iPad, iPhone, Kindle, Kobo, Nook — so now I have a choice between a screen and meditation, between passive and active. Same with the morning if you so choose. I’ve already shut off the screen before and I’ve taken time for myself. Let’s do both.

Past challenges

If you’re new here, on the first week of January I started the Hack Your Life Project. Each week I challenge myself to explore the details of the programmable system that is my life and stretch its capabilities, as opposed to most of us, who only prefer to learn the minimum necessary. I no longer want to breeze through my life, but take control of it.

These are the past challenges:

  1. Hack Your Life Project | Get rid of excess clothing
  2. Hack Your Life Project | Turn off the electronics
  3. Hack Your Life Project | Hello stranger
  4. And then…everything changes | The happyness metric
  5. Hack Your Life Project | Do
  6. Hack Your Life Project | Weekends and evenings
  7. Hack Your Life Project | Take a break
  8. Hack Your Life Project | Be decisive
  9. Hack Your Life Project | Set your limits
  10. Hack Your Life Project | Give a fuck
  11. Hack Your Life Project | Test your life
  12. Hack Your Life Project | Healthy mind, healthy body
  13. Hack Your Life Project | Back to basics
  14. Hack Your Life Project | It is what it is
  15. Hack Your Life Project | Workout daily
  16. Hack Your Life Project | Break a routine
  17. Hack Your Life Project | Life with a mission
  18. Hack Your Life Project | Hack your finances
  19. Hack Your Life Project | Random acts of kindness
  20. Hack Your Life Project | Spice up your life
  21. Hack Your Life Project | Take a cold shower
  22. Hack Your Life Project | Thank you
  23. Hack Your Life Project | The gaze
  24. Hack Your Life Project | Learn something new each day
  25. Hack Your Life Project | Do ________ daily
  26. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000
  27. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 2
  28. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 3
  29. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 4
  30. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 5
  31. Hack Your Life Project | Do something else
  32. Hack Your Life Project | Fascinate others
  33. Hack Your Life Project | Rethink what you do
  34. Hack Your Life Project | Contact a hero
  35. Hack Your Life Project | The ask
  36. Hack Your Life Project | Criticism sandwich
  37. Hack Your Life Project | Just say yes
  38. Hack Your Life Project | Negotiate
  39. Hack Your Life Project | Social rules
  40. Hack Your Life Project | Ask tie-down questions
  41. Hack Your Life Project | Overcome the fear of money
  42. Hack Your Life Project | Overcome the fear of others
  43. Hack Your Life Project | Meditation challenge, part I
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Last week was all about…overcoming the fear of others

Overcoming the fear of strangers and the fear of money are two big created fears. Granted, not the easiest challenges. It’s not something you fight over a week, it’s a longer process. But, I got something out of the last challenges, that’s what matters. Modifying your behaviour or your posture changes who you are in great and unexpected ways so I’ll revisit fear in a few weeks in a more meaningful way.

If fears are created and worry stems from fear, all we are left with is risk…which is good.

#HYLP Challenge #43: The 21-day meditation challenge, part I

Every so often Deepak Chopra offers a free, online, 21-day meditation challenge. It’s a three-week, daily meditation guided by Deepak. So, over the next 21-days, I’ll be participating.

Join me.

Why?

This 3 week challenge is centred around abundance. More ease, peace, joy and love. Regardless, the benefits of meditation are well known. Reduced chronic paindecreased stress, mild depression and anxiety and change areas of the brain related to learning and memory. And, as mentioned a few weeks ago, these last #HYLP challenges tie everything together — all the other challenges I’ve embarked on for the past 10 months (10 months — hard to believe, I know). The meditation challenge will force me to make a choice. The evening often ends with a screen — TV, iPad, iPhone, Kindle, Kobo, Nook — so now I have a choice between a screen and meditation, between passive and active. Same with the morning if you so choose. I’ve already shut off the screen before and I’ve taken time for myself. Let’s do both.

Past challenges

If you’re new here, on the first week of January I started the Hack Your Life Project. Each week I challenge myself to explore the details of the programmable system that is my life and stretch its capabilities, as opposed to most of us, who only prefer to learn the minimum necessary. I no longer want to breeze through my life, but take control of it.

These are the past challenges:

  1. Hack Your Life Project | Get rid of excess clothing
  2. Hack Your Life Project | Turn off the electronics
  3. Hack Your Life Project | Hello stranger
  4. And then…everything changes | The happyness metric
  5. Hack Your Life Project | Do
  6. Hack Your Life Project | Weekends and evenings
  7. Hack Your Life Project | Take a break
  8. Hack Your Life Project | Be decisive
  9. Hack Your Life Project | Set your limits
  10. Hack Your Life Project | Give a fuck
  11. Hack Your Life Project | Test your life
  12. Hack Your Life Project | Healthy mind, healthy body
  13. Hack Your Life Project | Back to basics
  14. Hack Your Life Project | It is what it is
  15. Hack Your Life Project | Workout daily
  16. Hack Your Life Project | Break a routine
  17. Hack Your Life Project | Life with a mission
  18. Hack Your Life Project | Hack your finances
  19. Hack Your Life Project | Random acts of kindness
  20. Hack Your Life Project | Spice up your life
  21. Hack Your Life Project | Take a cold shower
  22. Hack Your Life Project | Thank you
  23. Hack Your Life Project | The gaze
  24. Hack Your Life Project | Learn something new each day
  25. Hack Your Life Project | Do ________ daily
  26. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000
  27. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 2
  28. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 3
  29. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 4
  30. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 5
  31. Hack Your Life Project | Do something else
  32. Hack Your Life Project | Fascinate others
  33. Hack Your Life Project | Rethink what you do
  34. Hack Your Life Project | Contact a hero
  35. Hack Your Life Project | The ask
  36. Hack Your Life Project | Criticism sandwich
  37. Hack Your Life Project | Just say yes
  38. Hack Your Life Project | Negotiate
  39. Hack Your Life Project | Social rules
  40. Hack Your Life Project | Ask tie-down questions
  41. Hack Your Life Project | Overcome the fear of money
  42. Hack Your Life Project | Overcome the fear of others
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Last week was all about…overcoming the fear of money

Or more precisely, the fear of not having money. It’s a crippling fear and we’ve worked on it before:

It’s the fear that holds you back and prevents you from doing more or doing something different. More often than not, it’s completely created. Usually, there is no cause to worry.

Let me tell you what working on the fear isn’t. It isn’t about being careless or irresponsible. Quite the opposite. It’s about breaking the pattern of fear (which is created) to achieve more. We buy into this fear that what we have and make isn’t enough — so we overspend and, therefore, don’t make enough. Which in turn creates and feeds the fear. Of course, it can be much more deep rooted than that. It can be a confidence issue or a performance one for example.

Last week, we left at determining what solution would work best. I think more emphasis should we put on what’s next. The next step is to implement that solution. What can you do today to get that solution going?

#HYLP Challenge #42: Overcoming the fear of strangers’ reaction

Fears will prevent you from doing. Fears will stop you in your tracks. Last week we looked at money. We fear money will run out so we continue down the same path. We stay on the safe side. The same goes for our anticipation of others’ reactions. We stop ourselves from doing because we worry about what others will think, do or say. So this week will be about laying the ground work to fight that fear.

We’ll take the same solution-focused approach we did last week:

So, on day one, establish moments when the fear doesn’t happen. When are you not afraid of what others will think or do?

On day two, focus on the times you aren’t…what’s different? What’s new? Are you doing something else or is the circumstance different?

On day three, try to establish a step-by-step process of the problem pattern. In other words, concretely, what happens when the fear kicks in? Try to be as detailed as possible. Who are you with? Where are you? When is it? How does it happen? Etc.

On day four, note the differences between when the fear happens and when it doesn’t. Again focus on the patterns. Who are you with, where are you, etc.

On day five (and this is the big one), try solving your fear pattern by answering these 8 questions:

  1. Can you make the exceptions (the times you aren’t afraid of others’ reactions) into the rule? In other words, is the pattern easy to break? Maybe the differences are slight?
  2. The fear can be location-based so can you change the location of the fear pattern? Did you notice the fear happening at the same places?
  3. What if it’s the people you are with that triggers the fear? Can you change who is involved in the pattern?
  4. Maybe it’s the steps that lead up to the fear? That’s what we looked at on day three. Can you switch up those steps?
  5. Maybe it’s not a matter of switching it up, maybe it’s a matter of adding an element or step to the pattern.
  6. Is the fear time-based? Can you increase the length of the sequence? For example, do you fear the reaction when you first speak with someone, but does it wear off quickly?
  7. Or maybe it’s a matter of starting and stopping an activity that triggers the fear at random moments.
  8. Finally, can we increasing the frequency of the patten. Maybe it’s not a matter of avoiding or changing a pattern, but doing it more often.

Then, on day six, determine which of these 8 options make more sense and do that more. Give yourself a deadline. For example, if you determined your fear was time-based so you need to speak to others for longer periods of time, tell yourself that for the next 3 months each conversation you have must last at least 15 minutes.

Why?

Fears are created and the fear of others or fear of how others will react is one major inhibitor. We’ve worked on it before:

And while it’s hard at times, if you’ve done the past challenges, you’re still here to talk about it. In other words…others are harmless. In fact, others can act as a lever and pull you up. Lets take some time and fight our fear of others.

Past challenges

If you’re new here, on the first week of January I started the Hack Your Life Project. Each week I challenge myself to explore the details of the programmable system that is my life and stretch its capabilities, as opposed to most of us, who only prefer to learn the minimum necessary. I no longer want to breeze through my life, but take control of it.

These are the past challenges:

  1. Hack Your Life Project | Get rid of excess clothing
  2. Hack Your Life Project | Turn off the electronics
  3. Hack Your Life Project | Hello stranger
  4. And then…everything changes | The happyness metric
  5. Hack Your Life Project | Do
  6. Hack Your Life Project | Weekends and evenings
  7. Hack Your Life Project | Take a break
  8. Hack Your Life Project | Be decisive
  9. Hack Your Life Project | Set your limits
  10. Hack Your Life Project | Give a fuck
  11. Hack Your Life Project | Test your life
  12. Hack Your Life Project | Healthy mind, healthy body
  13. Hack Your Life Project | Back to basics
  14. Hack Your Life Project | It is what it is
  15. Hack Your Life Project | Workout daily
  16. Hack Your Life Project | Break a routine
  17. Hack Your Life Project | Life with a mission
  18. Hack Your Life Project | Hack your finances
  19. Hack Your Life Project | Random acts of kindness
  20. Hack Your Life Project | Spice up your life
  21. Hack Your Life Project | Take a cold shower
  22. Hack Your Life Project | Thank you
  23. Hack Your Life Project | The gaze
  24. Hack Your Life Project | Learn something new each day
  25. Hack Your Life Project | Do ________ daily
  26. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000
  27. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 2
  28. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 3
  29. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 4
  30. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 5
  31. Hack Your Life Project | Do something else
  32. Hack Your Life Project | Fascinate others
  33. Hack Your Life Project | Rethink what you do
  34. Hack Your Life Project | Contact a hero
  35. Hack Your Life Project | The ask
  36. Hack Your Life Project | Criticism sandwich
  37. Hack Your Life Project | Just say yes
  38. Hack Your Life Project | Negotiate
  39. Hack Your Life Project | Social rules
  40. Hack Your Life Project | Ask tie-down questions
  41. Hack Your Life Project | Overcome the fear of money
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I know, I know…I missed last week. I was away for a few days and I got behind. Besides, this is a biggie of a post so I wanted to take the time to make it right. So now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Last time was all about…asking tie-down questions

Tie-down questions are small questions you ask your audience when presenting your argument. They break down what you’re saying into smaller segments that make it easier for your interlocutor to follow your train of thought. Ultimately it leads to getting your way more often.

That’s because with each question you can measure the pulse of the audience and readjust or re-explain as needed. If you don’t break-down your statement you end-up with a general answer — “yes” or “no.” But why you get that answer is uncertain. When you break-down your statement, you know exactly when and which part of the statement generates comfort or discomfort.

This is the example we had used last time.

If you want to ask for a raise, you can go about it in two ways:

First scenario. You can walk into your boss’s office and say:

I’ve been working here for a while, I work really hard, I get good results and I’m not even on par with others in the industry. I’d like to get a raise please.

If she answers “no” it’s not quite sure what’s she’s saying “no” to. Does she not have the time to talk about this? Does she not feel you’ve been here long enough? Maybe she feels you don’t work hard or you’re not getting the great results you think you are. It’s complicated.

Second scenario. You walk into your boss’s office and say:

— I would like to speak with you, do you have a moment?
— Yes, sit…sit.
— Great, it won’t take long. I’d like to talk about a salary increase. I have been working here for a while now, right?
— Um, yes, that’s true.
— And I work very hard, we’ve even worked late on some projects together, remember?
— Yes, yes. That’s true. On that file.
— Yes, and I feel overall I achieved some great results, don’t you think?
— What do you mean? What do you feel you’ve achieved?
— Well, I’ve implemented this and signed that client, and I’ve increased profitability on those major accounts. You know?
— Right, I didn’t realize you were behind all that.
— Yes, I was. It was a team effort, but I drove that. So what I also did is some research on the industry and I see I’m under paid by $10,000 compared to others doing my job at our competition. Want to see?
— No, I trust you. We had a tough few years though so I’m not sure how much I can help you.
— Right, that’s why I helped increase profitability on those accounts. So now I feel I need to be on par with the industry. How do we get me there?
— Well, that makes sense, this is what we’ll do…
— Great thank you very much!

See how you’re able to explain further or change course at any time?

Try it.

#HYLP Challenge #41 : Fight your fear of money

There are roughly 10 challenges left and if you’ve been following since the beginning, the next few challenges are where everything comes together. 

At first, I set out on this adventure to hack my life. To conquer fears that made no sense so that I could take the reins of my life and point it in the direction I wanted. It’s true, stuff happens you have no control over so total control over your life will never happen. But, like a computer hacker who tries to push the code to the limit. Sometimes things break, but, regardless, you work to make sure it does more than it was ever programmed to do. 

So here we go. The last few challenges.

There’s a difference between risk, fear and worries. Risk is normal in a way because we live with uncertainty and that’s actually a good thing. It’s the fear and the worry that are the problem. Fear is being scared the risk is going to happen and worry is constantly thinking about the fear that the risk will happen. Can you see where the problem lies? Risk is natural; fear and worries are made up. And that’s where we go wrong. We all fear on something on some level and people hesitate to push, fight or pursue things because of them. The fear of money, of others, of the unknown, or what not. They all hold us back. So this week and the next few we will look to fight some basic fears so that you can accomplish something greater.

This week will be about fighting the fear of money.

Why?

Money is a big fear. Often the biggest barrier to not pushing through is the fear of money. And it’s completely made up. More specifically, the fear we won’t have money to pay the bills. You don’t want to go to work, but instead of asking to work from home, you go to the office for fear of rocking the boat, getting fired and losing your income. You’re afraid of starting a project for fear you’ll loose it all, so you stay put.

Quite simply, each day you plug along. Constantly fearing money. Try to do this even if you feel it doesn’t apply. The thing about fears and worries, they have a way of hiding from the surface.

How?

As we head down this path together of fighting our fears, we’ll use a similar system each time. There are three big components and six steps altogether. Your path will be different, but in the end,

  1. You need to realize how that fear manifests itself,
  2. You need to find out when it doesn’t manifest itself and
  3. You need to work on getting more of point 2 and less of point 1.

That last point is the most important. As you go along and try to solve your broken fears and worries, focus on the times they don’t happen. Don’t focus on the fear, focus on the times when there is no fear. I’ve done some research for you and what we’ll do here is based on Brief Therapy: Focused Solution Development by Steve De Shazer and his colleagues (actually, my girlfriend found this for her Masters and shared it with me). I’m not making any of it up. So here’s what we’ll do. We’ll break these components over a few days. Each day shouldn’t take you too long — 30 minutes max. Ready? Let’s go.

On day one, take a pen and paper, your iPad or laptop and open a writing software. Write down the times you worry about money. Every time you remember worrying. The more detailed, the better. That’s it. Do you follow? It’s simple.

On day two, do the opposite. Look at times when that fear doesn’t happen. In other words, when do you not worry about money? What’s different about when you worry and when you don’t? For example, do you worry about money on Sunday evenings and is that worry gone on Friday night? What about the other nights of the week?

On day three, look at those two lists — when you worry and when you don’t — and determine how you get to the point of worrying about money. You know it happens on Sunday nights, but what triggers that worry? Is it the news you watch? Is it a phone call from your parents or friends? Is that the realization you’ve spent money all weekend? Be honest. This is only for you. No one else will see this list.

Does everything make sense so far?

On day four, now that you have a detailed list of when you worry and when you don’t and how you get there, determine exceptions to that pattern. This is when it gets interesting. You’ve set the groundwork and now let’s build. For example, if you’ve determined your Sunday-night worry is triggered when you realize how much money you’ve spent that weekend, are there moments or weeks where you don’t worry? Why? What happened? Did you get a bonus? Did you get cash for your birthday? In other words, are there times when on Sundays, you don’t worry?

OK. Now for day five, we’re really gonna work on resolving the fear. We’re going to answer 8 questions. The goal is to imagine a version of your I-worry-about-money pattern that is solved. In other words, we want you to live your regular day to day, but without the fear. Let’s say the pattern starts when you check your bank account on Sunday night to do your finances. We want to imagine a version where you’re doing your finances and the fear isn’t triggered. Makes sense? Ask yourself the following questions:

Could the pattern be broken by,

  1. Turning the exception into the rule. On day four, you established exceptions to your patterns. Times when the fear normally rises, but this time it didn’t. Can you turn that exception into a new rule or routine? Maybe one time you got a bonus so you didn’t worry. Can you work on getting some extra cash on the side and use that money to go out?
  2. Changing the location of the pattern. Try doing your finances in bed or on your iPad instead of your laptop.
  3. Changing who is involved in the pattern. Try doing you finances with your partner instead of alone or hire a financial planner.
  4. Changing the order of the steps involved. Can you do your finances before the weekend starts? On a Thursday for example.
  5. Adding a new element or step to the pattern. What can you add to the routine? Maybe a yoga class, then checking your finances?
  6. Increasing the duration of the sequence. Don’t simply review your finances, take the time each week to improve something — automate, increase income, budget better, etc.
  7. Introducing random starting and stopping. Instead of doing your finances each Sunday, do them whenever.
  8. Increasing the frequency of the pattern. Or trying doing your finances a few times a week instead of just once.

Finally, on the following day, look at your answers and determine which makes more sense to your pattern and triggers. Does it more sense to make an exemption to the rule (“I’ll walk my neighbours’ dogs during the week for some extra cash.”), maybe you want to add a new element (“I’ll do yoga before working on my finances…it will help me relax”), etc. Pick the one that makes the most sense to you.

The last step. Give yourself a deadline to have solved the pattern. For example, try the new pattern for 6 weeks and see how you feel about money then. Give yourself a target date.

That’s it. It seems like a lot, but it really isn’t. Of course, your mileage will vary, as they say. Some fears are stronger than others for different people.

Makes sense? Let’s go.

Past challenges

If you’re new here, on the first week of January I started the Hack Your Life Project. Each week I challenge myself to explore the details of the programmable system that is my life and stretch its capabilities, as opposed to most of us, who only prefer to learn the minimum necessary. I no longer want to breeze through my life, but take control of it.

These are the past challenges:

  1. Hack Your Life Project | Get rid of excess clothing
  2. Hack Your Life Project | Turn off the electronics
  3. Hack Your Life Project | Hello stranger
  4. And then…everything changes | The happyness metric
  5. Hack Your Life Project | Do
  6. Hack Your Life Project | Weekends and evenings
  7. Hack Your Life Project | Take a break
  8. Hack Your Life Project | Be decisive
  9. Hack Your Life Project | Set your limits
  10. Hack Your Life Project | Give a fuck
  11. Hack Your Life Project | Test your life
  12. Hack Your Life Project | Healthy mind, healthy body
  13. Hack Your Life Project | Back to basics
  14. Hack Your Life Project | It is what it is
  15. Hack Your Life Project | Workout daily
  16. Hack Your Life Project | Break a routine
  17. Hack Your Life Project | Life with a mission
  18. Hack Your Life Project | Hack your finances
  19. Hack Your Life Project | Random acts of kindness
  20. Hack Your Life Project | Spice up your life
  21. Hack Your Life Project | Take a cold shower
  22. Hack Your Life Project | Thank you
  23. Hack Your Life Project | The gaze
  24. Hack Your Life Project | Learn something new each day
  25. Hack Your Life Project | Do ________ daily
  26. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000
  27. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 2
  28. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 3
  29. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 4
  30. Hack Your Life Project | Save $1,000 Part 5
  31. Hack Your Life Project | Do something else
  32. Hack Your Life Project | Fascinate others
  33. Hack Your Life Project | Rethink what you do
  34. Hack Your Life Project | Contact a hero
  35. Hack Your Life Project | The ask
  36. Hack Your Life Project | Criticism sandwich
  37. Hack Your Life Project | Just say yes
  38. Hack Your Life Project | Negotiate
  39. Hack Your Life Project | Social rules
  40. Hack Your Life Project | Ask tie-down questions
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