A Look Back

(“Wake up.” “Wha..wha...”   “Wake up. Everyone else has already started.” “They wha…Started what?” “In fact, everyone else is already done!” “Done with what?” “You know, it’s probably way too late now anyway. What have you been doing?” “Working real hard. Really. Honest. Working real hard.  And too late to do what?” “To do your first post of the year. You know the one – look back at the year, accomplishments, top ten, the good, the bad, yadda, yadda, yadda.” “But I really wanted to do one.” “Too late now – it’s mid-January.   You can’t do a retrospective in the middle of the month.” “Well, I’ve never let things like that stop me before.”)

Yep, pretty darn late. See what happens when deadlines start to become less important? And that was the challenge I threw myself for 2011 – a set of deadlines (a post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) and an experiment in forced creativity (a specific topic for each of those days – general topics, humor, and relating what I was reading to internal audit.)
Did it work? Well, I’d say that my delay in getting to the first post of 2012 shows how important self-imposed deadlines are on my actually getting things done. But, this is about 2011. Following the  schedule I laid out would have meant completing 156 entries – 52 for each subject. (Good auditor that I am, I verified that, indeed, there were 52 Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in 2011.) Final results? 113 postings: 42 general topics posts, 33 humor, and 38 related to what I was reading. Not 156, but not bad either. So, from the standpoint of helping me post more, I’d call it a success. (Although, it was interesting to note that, once I let myself slip, I really slipped. It started in the second quarter and culminated in October, a month in which I had no posts at all. In fact, I hadn’t noticed how bad it was until someone replied to an earlier posting asking where I had been the last four weeks. An incredibly busy time for me – but that wasn’t the point.)
And the creativity? Well, that’s probably up to you as much as me to decide. But I can tell you that there were a number of my favorite posts that were a direct result of either having to force myself to draw parallels between what I was reading and internal audit, or the result of sitting in front of a computer screen with this self-imposed deadline slapping me across the forehead.   In fact, one of my absolute favorite posts came from the pressure of needing to get a humor piece done. I was writing something that I knew wasn’t particularly funny, but slogging through it nonetheless, when I typed a phrase that, for some reason, reminded me of Lou Bega’s “Mambo Number 5”. And from that came “Audit No. 5”. (It’s there in May if you can’t help but go back and look.)
But it all comes down to this. Each of us has to find the way, the method, the approach that will help us succeed at whatever we have chosen to succeed at. I consider my opportunity to use this blog to blissfully blather before you a personal success in and of itself.   Related to that, I see it as my responsibility to try and come up with sufficient quantities of quality content to make you want to come hear more of my blathering. Therefore, I set as another measure of success how often I actually get something written. And I have to find my own way to ensure that success.
Your mileage may differ – and your measures of success will be similarly different. (Yes, that makes sense. Honest.) So, your challenge this year is to 1) define your personal success and 2) find some way, be it by hook, by crook, by arbitrary due date, or by machinations unimagined by mere mortals, to make sure number one is accomplished.
What about me for 2012? Actually I haven’t really decided yet. I know for a fact I won’t specifically use the same schedule (note to self, get the header changed), and I probably won’t publish a schedule this time. But, buried somewhere inside me, I have an idea of what I want to force myself to do. So my external guarantee to you is that I will provide as much content – as much slightly skewed content – as I can wrest from my mind. I can only hope you enjoy it and find it food for thought. And, I more fervently hope that you have success with your own personal grail.

Posted on Jan 15, 2012 by Mike Jacka

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