anomaly photo

How Living As An Anomaly Could Transform A Life

Years ago, a friend invited me to tag along with him to New York City to meet with his book publisher. It was a lifelong dream to visit the city that never sleeps, and finally, I was given an opportunity to go. 

During the trip, my friend had an interview with a digital media outlet. When we arrived, the interviewer (I’ll call her Sarah) began asking my friend questions soon shifting to questions driven by her personal curiosity. 

My friend and I embraced and shared the love of Jesus in a real and profound way and it confounded Sarah. Her perspective of Christians was quite negative, in fact, she had such a disdain of Christians she wrote a horror screenplay where the villain was a Bible pastor. 

Explore how living as an anomaly has an impact on people

jumping sunset

My 2nd Book - The Jump: Moving Your Perpetual Small Business Forward

My master plan to become a financially viable writer means publishing multiple books and growing this blog. So what’s next in my book writing queue? 
Since the concepts and stories were in my head, Path of the Freelancer was the easiest book for me to write first. My designated win was writing and publishing it, and I succeeded. My long-term goal was providing a resource for other struggling freelancers. Unexpectedly, the journey led to new connections, resources, and lessons learned. I also sold a handful of books along the way. 
So what’s next on the publishing horizon?

Learn more about my next book project

mad max fury road

Do You Know What Success Looks Like When You’ve Finished The Mission?

As freelancers, we work with companies to help them accomplish an objective. So, what does it look like when we’ve finished our work and arrived at the destination? 
Mad Max: Fury Road is one of my favorite films and the ending paints a perfect picture of what it looks like when I’ve finished working with a client. This visceral post-apocalyptic story is about facing the demons were running away from, and returning home to lead those who need us. 

How Mad Max Fury Road is a perfect picture of success with my clients

iphone home screen apps

A Quick Little Hack To Curb Social Media Use & Get More Enjoyment From It

How can you easily curb back your social media usage?

Turn off the little red badge notification on your social media apps. You know, the little distracting red dot constantly calling you to open the app.

Do it on Twitter, Facebook, & Instagram. Yep, all of them. 

That one change will decrease your time using social media, and it'll make it more enjoyable (look at all my accumulated notifications!) when you do sporadically use it. I also turned it off for my email app, so I’m not tempted to dive into work emails after hours.

Also, any red bubbles you simply ignore (because the number has grown to preposterous numbers) are good candidates for hiding the red badge app icon notification. If you're not responding to it, don't use it.

Alright, head over to your settings and remove those little red app bubbles.

 social media apps on iphone

Concrete Pillars

Bedrock Tracking Metrics For Building A Long Standing Scalable Digital Platform & Blog

I’ve been thinking about the most important metrics to track for growing this blog. Google Analytics and other similar marketing tools provide hundreds and thousands of options, but which are the bedrock of a successful online platform? And, what do these pillar metrics look like? What attributes do they have? 

Steady, recurring, minimal management, & high leverage were four phrases that came to mind as important values for these highly important numbers. They acted as my guide to nail down the most important metrics.

In 2015, I wrote a blog post about my software toolbox. It got retweeted and drove a thousand visitors to my blog. But once the wave passed, almost none of them came back to the website and I didn't have a way to capture their email address at the time. If this unexpected quick success was the hare, the metric I'm seeking is the opposite of this, the tortoise. Slow and steady. Something I can truly rely on for growth. 

The three metrics that came to the surface as the ones to monitor and grow were organic driven visitors, email list size, and returning users. Let's take a quick dive into each.

Explore the foundational metrics to building a digital platform

Wolf looking on the horizon

June 2018 Reflection Point: 10 Lessons Learned, 14 Quotes, 2 New Things, & Goal Updates

Half the year is now completed, and this milestone had me compelled to revisit my annual goals blog

Overall, I'm happy with my pacing for the year. There has been some disruption with our fifth child coming this fall to a hospital near us, but its effect is understandable. 
The only results of my progress I'm not fully satisfied with is the progression of my second book for entrepreneurs. While I took a break from blogging this month, and my freelance hours were down from the prior month's jam-packed hour count, it ended up being more of a rest and release month than a slowdown and get the book moved forward campaign. 
My mission prior to the year’s end and ideally as much as possible before the baby arrives is, to finish the book and have 400 total published articles on this site. Doing this while sustaining my freelancing work activity will be a big win. In fact, by years end we’ll have paid off the Kia Sedona and made a big dent in the last lap on our student loans. 
With the kids, I launched our summer swim lessons where I take each child one night a week to the pool to practice swimming. It's been more sporadic than steady due to weather and other events, but I plan to get it to move regularly in July. 

Find out the lessons I learned, the quotes I collected and some other goodies in this reflection point

Luke & Kylo & Rey | Hut | The Last Jedi

How The Last Jedi's Visceral & Challenging Themes Inspire Generosity & Courage

"This is not going to go the way you think." - Luke Skywalker

The gut punch that was my first watch of The Last Jedi gave me mixed feelings about the film and left me wondering about its merit as I struggled to accept it. Because of my love for the Star Wars saga films, I went researching and exploring the praise and criticism of the movie in tandem with rewatching it. But exploring the internet on this topic was a sequel to that first gut punch. Not only were people liking and disliking the movie, but people on both sides were treating others poorly.

Navigating The Last Jedi Backlash

Researching how The Last Jedi was a powerful opportunity for fans to grow, I quickly came to recognize most of my issues (and others) with the film were founded on expectations and emotions. After letting these pass, I was able to see the movie for what it was and judge it on merit, not what I wanted and felt during my initial watch.

Seeing the film through clearer eyes I was able to more effectively parse through it, and process the praise and criticism of the film. As I explored these, particularly the criticism, I soon found more problems with these Last Jedi critiques than the film itself as many fans threw shallow and unfair flack at the movie. All of a sudden, for a small vein of Star Wars fandom, it was trendy to dislike and bash the Last Jedi (and its fans).

As I evaluated and engaged with the backlash (sometimes successfully), my intent quickly focused on inspiring Star Wars fan to more effectively evaluate these movies. People were interpreting and relating to the movie in drastically different ways. Much of the backlash was simply a matter of perspective or them missing details from the movie. Those who failed to embrace the nuance and appreciate the details disliked the movie and were quite vocal about it, sometimes in inappropriately harsh ways.

"Where you push back the hardest is an indicator you have a lot to learn in that area." - Craig Groeschel

At the same time, few dissenters could provide a comprehensive and concise argument for why the film was poorly crafted and executed, even when I specifically asked. When I evaluate something, I want to understand it fully and that includes the positive and negatives.

Luke Skywalker - Force Projection - The Last Jedi - Island Shot

The Strength Behind The Noise

By embracing these negatives, I found in my discussions, I was able to surface a deeper understanding and better appreciation for the film. In my journey to becoming a fan of The Last Jedi, I've constructed the strongest argument for why The Last Jedi is the weakest Star Wars film. This starting point will act as a contrast to the themes which elevate this powerful film and lead me to believe it’s a terrific finished movie for the ages.

In this article, we'll explore the following areas as we embrace the film's inspiration, and also discover how to act on it in our daily lives.

  • 1. The Case Against The Last Jedi
  • 2. The Last Jedi Rises Above These Challenges In Three Powerful Ways
  • 3. Kylo, Rey, & Luke: The Pivotal Shift Moment in The Last Jedi
  • 4. The Psychology Behind The Last Jedi (& Star Wars)
  • 5. The Exploration of Kylo Ren, Reflecting Luke's Cynical Side
  • 6. Diving Deep With Rey, Reflecting Luke's Optimistic Side
  • 7. Snoke's Forced Connection With Rey & Kylo Ren
  • 8. The Dominoes Begin To Fall: Rey Confronts Luke
  • 9. Luke's Tree Burning Transformation
  • 10. A New Order Begins With Kylo Ren's Betrayal of Snoke
  • 11. A Transformed Luke Skywalker Confronts The Unraveling Kylo Ren
  • 12. Inspiration & a Roadmap To Leverage The Individual Power We ALL Have

Explore the emotional depth & psychology of the Last Jedi

Shadow Man Kicking Dirt In The Air

June 2018: Mini Blogging Break, Experiment Updates, & A New Monthly Goal

What do you aspire to accomplish in the month of June? Have you written down your goals for the month?

Last month was jammed pack with work, life, and play. There was too much going on, and it hindered my ability to make progress on my book for small business owners. It also wore me out. My primary direction this month is to slow down, shrink the number of objectives, and take a break in a few different ways. The first form of a break will happen here on this blog.

I've been blogging three times per week on average this year. Normally, I take at least a month off at the end of each year from blogging, but now that I'm writing often my strategy requires adaptation.

My plan now is to pause publishing new blog posts for two weeks (with one more post coming out after this one) giving me time to rejuvenate and ideate on the second half of blogging 2018. I also intend to take some weekdays off, and possibly some half days from my freelancing work, while also minimizing new experiments. 

Explore experiments & what's ahead in June 2018

Man looking out to horizon mountains

May 2018 Reflection Point: 9 Lessons Learned, 8 Quotes, 5 New Things, & Goal Updates

How was your May? What did you accomplish? What got in the way?

With a work-heavy month, the NBA playoffs, and playing a new computer game, my month was jam-packed and filled with late nights.

The surge of new project work with multiple clients resulted in me logging 23 more hours than my top tier goal and boundary (122 hours). The boost will be nice since we had to replace our washing and drying machines, but my intent is to bring my hour count back down to earth here in June and take some time off.

In regards to the progression of my next book, my writing experiment project on truth took much longer than planned. While I'm glad to have published the final blog post, it delayed me from moving my book forward. For this reason, I'm going to slim down my goals and new experiments for June.

On the annual goal to volunteer at our church, I've committed to a greeting position until our baby girl arrives in September. Expect to see me on Sunday mornings regularly if you attend Gwinnett Church.

Blogging continues to go well, but it does feel like it's time to take a mini-break. In five months, I've published 61 new blogs. If I add this to the 88 from my weekday blogging challenge, I've added 149 new blogs since last August! In ten months, I've almost doubled the total number of articles on my blog!

Let's jump into lessons learned, notable quotes, new things, and goal updates. If you want a list of the articles and Quora answers I've written, you'll find them at the bottom.

Explore lessons learned, notable quotes, and 5 new things from May 2018

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Jason Scott Montoya, Atlanta Georgia - Copyright © 2013-2018 
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