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

Compass | Map

Why Should We Care About What's True In A Post-Truth World?

The following write-up is my entry into the RZIM contest put on by Abdu Murray as part of his book launch (Saving Truth). Click here to explore the contest details, and read other people's essay submissions.

When you choose to allow and participate in a post-truth world, your life (now and later) is at stake. In the now, your peace, stability, adventure, enjoyment, meaning, and achievement all hinge on how seriously you value and pursue truth. And this extends to your family, community, and world. There are also long-term implications when you reject reality as it truly is.

The western world has entered an era where large portions of our population have complete disregard for the reality in which we live. When the truth does not align with their preference, they openly dismiss it, even while acknowledging its merit.

The numerous examples of this post-truth behavior span religion, politics, and our personal lives. But it’s not all the unfamiliar to each of us. How many of us have chosen to do something wrong even when we knew it was unlawful, or morally corrupt?  All of us.

So at a minimum, we’ve all lived moments and seasons of post-truth. We’ve disregarded the truth in these moments, but if we as individuals and collectively as a community embrace this way of life, there are significant short and long-term consequences awaiting us.

But, not only is embracing truth important, we also need to align ourselves with meaningful truth, minimize reliance on our limited perspective, and value relationship more than simply being right. Let's explore the stakes for rejecting the truth.

Continue exploring truth, its source, and what matters most

Fig Tree Branches and leaves

Instead of Firing, Make Your System Better & Then Decide

If your boss was going to fire you, would you want her to have done everything possible to set you up for success before pulling the trigger?

Unfortunately, that doesn’t usually happen. When things go poorly, many managers and leaders think of getting rid of the person and fail to make the system better first. But what if instead of terminating the team member we instead do everything we can to set them up for success? 

Explore how to leverage poorly performing team members to improve systems

Ryan Lampa

What Happened To A Community When One Man Asked God To Show Him How To Love People

What would you do if your world and beliefs were unexpectedly turned upside down?

What if you suddenly realized, you didn't understand what it meant to love people?

In 2008, that's where my brother-in-law (Ryan Lampa) found himself when a homeless man living nearby slammed a door in his face when he tried to give him money instead of simply being his friend.

Continue reading Ryan's story...

A broken mannequin laying on the street in Taguatinga

What If Life Is Meaningless And Your Legacy Is Worthless?

What REALLY Matters? In light of the inevitable end of our universe, does anything matter?

In the last decade, I’ve explored the concept of legacy. It’s the idea that what we leave behind matters. How we helped other people in our life’s journey has an effect worth caring about.  

But, does legacy really matter? And if so, what type of legacy matters most? 

What hope do we have? Does Anything Matter In The End?

Dare to dream woman

How To Move Towards a Dream While Maintaining Priorities Along The Way

Life is not a straight line. And any path with monumental goals won’t be an easy one. 

With a wife and four children (plus one on the way), I don’t have the luxury of sleeping on a friend’s couch as I pursue my personal ambition of directing feature films. I also don’t want to sacrifice my family pursuing it in a conventional way. So, is there a way I can maintain my priorities and pursue my personal vocational goals? 

Read my strategy for getting into the film industry

Google Sign

Transitioning From Google Apps To Gmail + Data Migration Checklist

Migrating from Google Apps is not as simple as it seems (or should be). When Google first launched their Apps tool I set up a business account for my company, Noodlehead Marketing

Over time Google revamped their system and relaunched Google Apps as G Suite. After the shut down of our marketing business in 2014, I continued using this legacy Google Apps account to manage my email, calendar, and documents, but I knew as another step in closing out that chapter, I wanted to shut down the tool and move on. 

Check out the list of data points for migrating from the Google ecosystem

Beached Boat | Sandbar near water

Don't Let Unintentional Abandonment Have The Final Word

With my former marketing company, I heard numerous experienced business leaders proclaim away many different marketing channels. They simply"didn't work".

“We tried billboards, and they didn’t work.” 

“We did social media marketing, and nothing happened.”

Pick a channel, and there was likely a prospect or customer who superficially claimed the endeavor was not fruitful. Well, if they didn’t work why do those channels still exist? Why do companies continue to pay good amounts of money to continue using them? Obviously, it's not simply the channel, but how we interact with those channels.

The more accurate way these businesses should evaluate these unintentionally abandoned efforts is summarized in the following statement: The way they executed didn’t generate the results they were expecting. 

Explore how taking ownership and changing expectations could open up new opportunities

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Grow Your Life With Jason Scott Montoya, Atlanta Georgia
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