Remember in December, Part 1 of 5

Katie Corbett holds a 2021 Calendar

By Katie Corbett

 

For these last weeks of 2021, I’m switching things up! I love to learn. I’ve come up with a list of 31 categories and reflected on what I’ve learned about this year in each one. If you decide to do the same, I hope this category list enriches your reflections and helps you learn more about yourself and your experiences.

 

  • House and home
  • Money and finances
  • Friends

 

Do you have a favorite year-end reflection question? Leave it in the comments. Listen to the audio for my answers:

 

 

Why I Read: Finding Fun in Fiction

Katie Corbett holds the book "The Hobbit"

By Katie Corbett

 

I read a lot. Business books are fun and good, and I also enjoy curling up with a fiction book. Reading fiction is advice that one of my favorite authors, Tim Ferriss, gives a lot in his book, “The 4-Hour Workweek.” I have found his advice helpful on many levels.

 

I first read “The Hobbit,” by J. R. R. Tolkien because my mom said it was a fun book. As I grew, I started picking out books of my own to read. Here are some benefits I’ve gotten through enjoying a good story.

 

  • I can live vicariously through others.
  • I learn about ways to persevere, and also how it looks to give up.
  • I can sit back, relax, and not think so much about my own life.
  • I can learn new words and turns of phrase, which helps me become a better writer.
  • Reading book jacket blurbs and then reading the accompanying book gives me marketing perspective.
  • I can read anywhere.
  • Books give me a way to start conversations with others.
  • I can read about different people and decide what kind of person I want to be.
  • I love learning about how worlds are built and how authors get their ideas.
  • Reading is the one hobby I’ve never gotten tired of doing.

 

Do you love to read? If so, what have been some of your favorite books this year? If not, what hobbies do you enjoy?

 

If you’re not sure what hobby you want to try next, consider picking up a few new hobbies and see what sticks. Have you been curious about knitting, think you might like to try kayaking, or want to learn how to bake an amazing soufflé? Give it a try. This time next year, you’ll be glad you did.

 

Want to get this info sent right to your in-box? Subscribe to my blog, so you’ll never miss a post.

Enjoying the Journey: How to Travel The Long Road

Katie Corbett holds the book "The Hobbit"

By Katie Corbett

 

The journey of entrepreneurship or career change can be daunting. You might not get there as quickly as you might like. You might know where you want to go, and have no idea how you’ll get there.

 

I have read the first chapter of “The Hobbit,” by J. R. R. Tolkien more than once. This is because it is LONG. It’s one of the longest chapters in the book, and at almost 50 pages, it’s pretty long for a starting chapter. Here are some takeaways I’ve gotten from pushing through it multiple times:

 

In this book, as well as in entrepreneurship and career change, you might be getting those feelings you got as a kid on a road-trip. Your parents probably told you to sit back and enjoy the scenery every time you asked, “Are we there yet?” I would agree. Enjoy the journey.

 

Everything will be answered in time. You no doubt have questions that can’t be easily answered. That’s what it felt like reading that first chapter. Will Bilbo go on the journey? Where will everyone sleep? Why did Bilbo have so much food? Why didn’t everyone do their breakfast dishes? You know, important questions like that. Some questions will be answered in the future, and others will not. I think being OK with that helps me be OK with spontaneity and carry onwards.

 

You might have to slog now, but it will be worth it. Getting through that first chapter was a chore, and I’m so glad I did it. I got to read so many other enjoyable chapters after that and would have had no clue what was going on if I hadn’t read that first chapter. So while you’re applying for that job that asks you to fill out your life history, or reading boring legal articles to try to figure out how to file the paperwork necessary to start your business, keep in mind that the best is yet to come. Every step you take now will get you closer to where you want to be in the future.

 

In what ways do you push yourself to succeed? Did you slog through something that took forever, but you’re proud you did it? How has it paid off? Drop it in the comments.

 

Want to get this info sent right to your in-box? Subscribe to my blog, so you’ll never miss a post.

Remember to Tell Your Founder Story

Katie Corbett holds the book "The Hobbit"

By Katie Corbett

 

Founder stories are almost always inspiring. This month, I’m going to blog about the lessons I’ve learned through fiction. Here’s a founder story of sorts that inspires me.

 

I first read “The Hobbit,” by J. R. R. Tolkien when I was in elementary school. My mom loved the book and talked it up, and even read me the first chapter.

 

I eventually checked it out from the library and finished it myself. I enjoyed it so much, I read it to my younger brother.

 

In later years, I ended up stumbling across the story of how Tolkien came up with the concept. He was grading certificates, as professors do, when he came across a blank page in the stack. Suddenly inspired, he wrote, “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” To this day, that is the first line of the book. From that serendipitous story, I learned:

 

  • It’s OK to start without knowing where you’re going. Tolkien didn’t have a clue what a hobbit was when he wrote those lines.
  • Take opportunities that come your way. He could have thrown the paper aside and kept working, but he seized the moment and wrote the first line of a book that would become more popular than ever.
  • Write things down. If the idea had been ruminating in his head, the book might not have gotten written.
  • Share your story. I bet that was a fun story to tell.
  • Let your projects carry themselves. Tolkien built a beautiful world and inspired so many by letting things be what they would be and following his creativity.

 

If you have a favorite book, movie, song, or product, I encourage you to learn about how it all started. You never know what lessons you can take away from the story or how it will impact your future.

 

Which founder story inspires you? What can you do to learn more about the people who inspire you? What is your founder story? How could you share it with the world? Leave me a comment; I’d love to know.

 

Want to get this info sent right to your in-box? Subscribe to my blog, so you’ll never miss a post.

Set Time Limits for Your Tasks

Katie Corbett holds the book "52 Small Changes"

By Katie Corbett

 

A few years ago, I bought a latch-hooking kit. Latch-hooking involves hooking pieces of yarn into a frame to make a colorful design; my kit will be a cupcake pattern when finished. The grid of squares on the frame that need yarn hooked into them total 1600 in number. The only way I was able to make headway on that large project was to spend chunks of time on it, and limit those chunks to 45-90 minutes each.

 

The book, “52 Small Changes for the Mind,” by Brett Blumenthal, says that limiting the amount of time spent on a task can make its completion easier. Here are some questions to ask yourself about tasks to time-box.

 

  • What am I putting off?
  • Do I have a project that I fear is too big?
  • Do I have small windows of time available to me?
  • Do I have a deadline that feels looming?
  • What projects keep getting pushed to the bottom of my priority list?
  • When I look back over this time, what do I hope to have accomplished?
  • Do I have any projects at the back of my closet or under my bed?
  • What potential projects might I have that I keep forgetting to do?
  • What tasks do I see as a time suck and how can I limit my time spent?
  • What can I do to get started today?

 

I hope these questions have helped you think of a few things you can do to move forward on activities that you enjoy or projects that may have stalled. I find these questions helpful to ask myself each quarter as I’m deciding what business projects, hobbies, and social activities I would like to spend time doing in the future.

 

I’d love to find out what you’ve decided to start working on. Let me know in the comments. In the meantime, I’ll keep plugging away at my latch-hooking project.

 

Want to get this info sent right to your in-box? Subscribe to my blog, so you’ll never miss a post.

What I’ve Learned by Seeking Silence

Katie Corbett holds the book "52 Small Changes"

By Katie Corbett

 

Intentionally making time in my day for silence is an activity I try to make a priority. Since I use screen-reading software and because I listen to audiobooks, I get exposed to a lot of noise. Hearing sounds is how I mostly perceive the world since I’m blind. While meaningful noise is important to me, peace and quiet is key, too.

 

The book, “52 Small Changes for the Mind,” by Brett Blumenthal, shares the benefits of making quiet time a regular part of your routine. Here are some of the positive points I noticed when I started trading noise for tranquility each day.

 

  • I can pray.
  • I have more time to think.
  • I can focus on my feelings.
  • I can imagine, dream, and plan.
  • I can grow in comfort being by myself.
  • I can relax without the pressure of having to do or process anything.
  • I can work through issues that are bothering me on a subconscious level.
  • I have time to reflect on how I’m spending my money, time, and energy.
  • I can daydream.
  • I can sit peacefully and take a break.

 

If you would like to experience some of the benefits of not having background noise, I encourage you to take some time each day to sit in peace and quiet. It can be as little as five or ten minutes at first. I now spend a minimum of thirty minutes in silence each day. Start whenever and wherever works best for you. Some of my best silent times are in bed right before falling asleep or right after waking up.

 

What do you notice as you spend time in the stillness? Leave me a comment and let me know how this changes your life.

 

Want to get this info sent right to your in-box? Subscribe to my blog, so you’ll never miss a post.

Forgetting the Joneses

Katie Corbett holds the book "52 Small Changes"

By Katie Corbett

 

It can be easy to compare your life to that of others. You might buy things you don’t need and do things you don’t want to do simply to keep up and try to make yourself “look” happy.

 

In “52 Small Changes for the Mind,” Brett Blumenthal encourages us to forget about what others have and focus on what we truly want. Here are some benefits I have noticed in my own life of living for myself and not worrying about what others have:

 

  • I am more satisfied with my own accomplishments, because I’m doing things I truly want to do.
  • I save money, since I’m not buying things to keep up with everyone else.
  • I have more to give to others because I’m not using resources to keep up with others.
  • I’m not stressed about what others think of me.
  • I have more time because I’m not wasting it looking at the lives of others and wallowing in jealousy or sadness that I don’t measure up.
  • I’m happier because I’m truly able to enjoy the present.
  • I have time, money, and energy to plan for my own hopes and dreams.
  • I’m more grateful for what I have.
  • I’m not nosey when it comes to the doings of other people.
  • I’m happy with who I am because I’m not comparing myself to others.

 

Are you finding yourself spending money, time, and energy you don’t have because you’re trying to keep up with others? Are you neglecting your own goals because you’re trying to do what you think others want you to do. If so, I encourage you to take some time for yourself and reflect on what you’d like to change. Do you need to stop looking at social media? Avoid long conversations with certain people? Start a gratitude journal?

 

Let me know what you decide to do. I’d love to hear more about it.

 

Want to get this info sent right to your in-box? Subscribe to my blog, so you’ll never miss a post.

The Joys of Experiencing Nature From Your Cubicle

Katie Corbett holds the book "52 Small Changes"

By Katie Corbett

 

Winter in Wisconsin is a frigid affair. Temperatures regularly dip below zero degrees Fahrenheit and snow blankets the ground from December through March. Due to the lack of sunlight, I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder during these freezing months, which makes me more prone to unhappiness at best and depression at worst.

 

One winter a few years ago, I read “52 Small Changes for the Mind,” by Brett Blumenthal, in hopes of finding a way to brighten my mood. I was working a job as a part-time writer and didn’t have much time to spend outside during daylight hours. I was also missing our family’s annual trip to Florida because I needed to work through the end of the year.

 

In “52 Small Changes for the Mind,” benefits of going out in nature are outlined. I wanted to incorporate nature into my cold days. I was really bummed about missing out on Florida sunshine and time at the beach. I read that even looking at pictures of nature and having plants in your environment can help boost mood and productivity.

 

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m totally blind, so seeing pictures and plants don’t have the same benefits for me as they might for someone who can see. I wanted to find some other way of appreciating the great outdoors. Enter YouTube.

 

I decided to try listening to videos of the ocean. I wasn’t sure how it would help; luckily, it did. As I plugged away at spreadsheets and wrote articles, I listened to the sounds of waves, seagulls, and ocean breezes. On sunnier days, I made a point of stepping outside during my lunchbreak for some much-needed vitamin D. With a little creativity and curiosity, I was able to push past what might have seemed like understandable excuses and make my wintertime more cheery, or at least more bearable.

 

What are some ways you can incorporate nature into your workday? I’d love some more ideas, so let me know in the comments.

 

Want to get this info sent right to your in-box? Subscribe to my blog, so you’ll never miss a post.

Devotionals Can be For Business, Too

Katie Corbett headshot

By Katie Corbett

 

As you can probably tell if you’ve been reading my blog for some time now, I love plans. There are times, however, when I want some of the planning done for me. That’s why I’ve had a lot of success working with books that suggest an activity, thinking prompt, or mindset shift every day, week, month, or season.

 

Books like this are commonly associated with weight loss plans, religious practices, or building healthy money habits. It turns out, these books exist for business activities, too! Listen to this short audio about why I love books like this! Enjoy!

 

Reflections on The 4-Hour Workweek: The Cost of Your Goals and Dreams

Katie Corbett holds the book, "The 4-Hour Workweek"

By Katie Corbett

 

Since I owe a lot of my success—and future planning—to the book, “The 4-Hour Workweek,” by Tim Ferriss, I have decided to revisit the book each quarter in 2021. Here are my thoughts as we end quarter three. I hope this inspires you to pick up a book that helps you live your dreams. Enjoy!