My 500 Words Challenge Answers

Answer

When I began this challenge over a month ago, I had pressing questions.

What is my voice?
What do I stand for?
Why?

I have a clearer view of my voice. I am still discovering what I stand for and why. However, the fourth question on that list should have been, What am I passionate about? When I was growing up, my good friend Clarence had a fool proof way to find out what someone is passionate about. He asked, “When you go to the book store, what magazines do you read? That is what you are passionate about.” Building on that concept, I now ask, “If you participate in a month long writing challenge, what topics do you write about? What comes up most often is what you are passionate about.” Here’s my breakdown of the past 30 days.

Initially, I thought it would be a clean and easy exercise. I would have a list of topics. I would just tally them up one by one and get to the nice round number of 30. I discovered that some days I combined topics. My two for the price of one, love for combos blended into my writing at times. The good news is there was a clear winner. Almost half of my posts recalled life lessons or attempted to answer life questions. I would categorize them as personal development. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Personal development includes activities that improve awareness and identity, develop talents and potential, build human capital and facilitate employability, enhance quality of life and contribute to the realization of dreams and aspirations. The concept is not limited to self-help but includes formal and informal activities for developing others in roles such as teacher, guide, counselor, manager, life coach or mentor. When personal development takes place in the context of institutions, it refers to the methods, programs, tools, techniques, and assessment systems that support human development at the individual level in organizations.

Coming in at second place was special events. Here I attempted to capture my experience and share it with others who did not attend. It’s a nice diary entry for me, but I recognize I need to be more diligent with my details. This hopefully will also raise my awareness and observation skills. This then also ties into my passion topic, personal development.

Rounding things out, I wrote about my son, saving money, and writing itself. Ironically, when I first started blogging, I delved into personal finance. Some time later, I felt my desire to write about it waned. I added personal development and career topics to continue creating content. When I started my podcast, I did short snippets of inspiration for myself and others. I then shifted into entrepreneur interviews. Since I did not mention this topic even once during the past month, it is clear I am not passionate about it and was just chasing a trend.

Half way through this exercise, the Red CARpet Event was the most visited. I concluded it was because of all the extra links I had to the many vendors there. But out of nowhere, my post called Vacation Withdrawals raced past it. I wrote about how I felt and how I was adjusting to life after my short Las Vegas road trip. I can only assume that there are a lot of us out there dealing with work life balance and finding happiness.

My post on my son’s need for speech therapy had the most comments. It resonated with caring and thoughtful parents. They felt compelled to provide support and encouragement for a fellow parent grappling with a parenting challenge. I really appreciated it. My post called Do What You Love, Life Is Short was the most shared on social media. It shouldn’t be a surprise that readers agreed with doing what you are passionate about. They felt so strongly about it that they wanted to spread this message to their communities.

The post that took the most time was the RED Carpet Safety Event. It required the most research as I provided links back to many websites. However, by the time I am done, this post will eclipse it as I am analyzing my past 30 days of writing and trying to come up with conclusions.

As I was wrapping up this challenge, I excitedly told some friends that this was an exhilarating experience. I learned that I mentally capped and underestimated myself. I never took many challenges before because deep down I thought I would fail. Why start or get into something if you are going to fail anyway? This exercise proved to me that if I put my mind to something and am really committed, I can do more than what I previously thought I was capable of. I now know my capacity for doing things has expanded . My writing has improved and like I said before, I feel I am closer to finding my voice.

A friend of mine shared that LeBron James went through a grueling weight cutting program not for his new team or coaches, but for himself. He wanted to mentally challenge and push himself farther than before. The My 500 Words Challenge was my version. My traffic and number of comments are a shadow of what they used to be. I couldn’t be happier. I successfully stopped my dependency for approval from others. I am finally writing and doing something just for me. I will use this momentum and apply it to other parts of my life. I am encouraged to push my new limits higher, find new challenges, and make continue to make myself uncomfortable. As I now know, only good things will come out of it.

When I first started this challenge, one idea was to go through the FinCon14 virtual ticket and recap what I learned since I could not attend the event. I am pleased that I did not use it as a crutch. Now that this challenge is over, I finally have the time to review the keynotes and courses that I missed. Last, but not least, my friends have been watching what they eat to live healthier. I am looking into options to do the same. What good is my increased writing ability if my life is cut short right? It’s been a long time, but I feel now I can write it and truly mean it. Stay Inspired!

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