Remember in December, Part 1 of 5

Katie Corbett holds a 2020 calendar

By Katie Corbett

 

For these last weeks of 2020, I’m switching things up! I’ve come up with a list of 31 questions, and used them to reflect on this previous year. I hope they enrich your reflections as well.

 

  • What has been your greatest success this year?
  • What are you most proud of about this year?
  • What gifts did this year give you?

 

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

Innate Ability is Not Enough

Katie Corbett holds the book "Peak, secrets from the new science of expertise"

By Katie Corbett

 

We grow up hearing we are good at some things and not good at others. We go through our lives and make decisions based on where we think our talents lie. It turns out that innate ability is not as much of a determining factor as you might think.

 

The book “Peak: Secrets From The New Science of Expertise,” by Robert Pool, says that deliberate practice is more important than raw talent. You might know what you want to work on. You might even know what skills you need to enhance in order to get good and achieve your goal. But how will you put the pedal to the metal and practice? Here are some ideas to practice your desired skills.

 

  1. Pick a time of day when you are most mentally alert. That will be your practice time. Block it off in your calendar. Let your family and friends know you are not going to be available. Turn off your Internet, power down your cell phone, and eliminate all other distractions.
  2. Decide what you want to master. Making this decision will help you realize exactly when you have achieved your goal.
  3. Pick the skill apart and determine its pieces. This will ensure you do one small part each day that will get you closer to accomplishing your goal.
  4. Practice those pieces until you master them. Even when you’re tired. Even when there are other, more fun things you could be doing. Just practice.
  5. Think of creative ways you can practice even when you are not practicing. Mentally rehearse dance moves while waiting in line, or go over foreign language phrases in your head while sitting at a stop light in traffic.
  6. Stick to a goal of practicing deliberately every day. Just do it!
  7. Tell others about your goal so you will be more likely to follow through. Trust me; it will be embarrassing otherwise.
  8. Set milestones so you can have smaller goals to aim to achieve. This will keep you motivated to reach toward those bigger goals.
  9. Keep track. I’m probably weird, but I love the satisfaction of checking items off on a to-do list.
  10. Celebrate when you hit each accomplishment. This is the most important step, so remember to celebrate every time.

 

By following this plan, you will get closer to achieving what you want in life. By celebrating your wins, no matter how small, you will recognize your success and progress.

 

What goals are you working on? Tell me in the comments.

 

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Practicing Purposefully: Learning the Right Things

Katie Corbett holds the book "Peak, secrets from the new science of expertise"

By Katie Corbett

 

I was fascinated recently to learn that in language, we use the same 300 words every day. I have wanted to learn a new language for some time, but memorization and verb forms would get in my way of actually learning to speak the language.

 

I read “Peak: Secrets from The New Science of Expertise,” by Robert Pool, and learn that practicing purposefully could help me master a new language. I decided to check and see what courses are out there to help me excel.

 

My objective was to learn to speak confidently, so I looked for a course that focused on speaking the desired language. I found Pimsleur courses, which work by listening to MP3 files. These files contain prompts for repetition and responding to questions. I’ve been fascinated by The Philippines, so decided to take Filipino language lessons. These lessons have me spend 30 minutes each weekday learning those 300 words everyone uses in a conversational style. Here is what I’ve found when trying this method:

 

  • My brain stays focused, since I’m only needing to spend 30 minutes in deliberate practice.
  • I can do the lessons when and where I want, since I’m not part of a class.
  • I remember things more easily because I’m learning in a conversational style.
  • While the program I’m using cannot critique my pronunciation, I’m getting more comfortable with speaking.
  • I’m enjoying the practice, since there are no vocabulary lists or verb conjugations to memorize.

 

What is something you have wanted to learn? What are the basic building blocks to that skill? What could you do to acquire that skill more quickly than you might have thought possible?

 

I’d love to hear what you’re learning and how you’re finding success. Let me know in the comments.

 

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Accomplishing Great Feats: Memorizing Numbers

Katie Corbett holds the book "Peak, secrets from the new science of expertise"

By Katie Corbett

 

I’m often curious about what it takes to be successful and enjoy reading about successful people. I’m always interested in finding ways to accomplish more and do things better next time.

 

When I read “Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise,” by Robert Pool, I was excited to learn that it is possible to memorize numbers. I encountered the next trick in a course I took about doing mental math, and am including it here.

 

Basically, each number will stand for a phonetic sound.

 

1: Stands for the T or D sound.

2: Stands for the N sound.

3: Stands for the M sound.

4: Stands for the R sound.

5: Stands for the L sound.

6: Stands for the CH, SH or J sound.

7: Stands for K or the hard G sound, G as in “gust”.

8: Stands for the F or V sound.

9: Stands for the P or B sound.

0: Stands for the S or Z sound.

 

By remembering the name “Tony Marloshkovipz” you could easily recall this system; write it out in numbers, taking out the vowels, and you’ll notice everything is, literally, in order. Notice that no vowel sounds are represented. Neither are sounds for H, W or Y. This is because you will be able to insert them where it makes the most sense and create words to help you remember numbers.

 

I was recently trying to recall the number 124. The letters replacing 1 could be T or D, the letter replacing 2 would be N and the letter replacing 4 would be R. I decided to go with DNR, since that would be easy to remember.

 

There are whole catalogs of words that can represent 2-digit numbers, giving people the ability to memorize long strings of numbers. The system I explained above could be enough to help you memorize pins, birthdays and phone numbers.

 

Try plugging in some of your favorite numbers and making words to help you remember them. You never know when this trick could come in handy.

 

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Reflections on The 4-Hour Workweek: Learning Things Better, Faster, Stronger

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 2020. Here are my thoughts as we round out the fourth quarter.

 

Here is a link to Tim’s blog, referenced in the recording.

https://tim.blog/

 

I hope this inspires you to pick up a book that helps you live your dreams. Enjoy!

 

An Excuse to Get Rid of: It’s Been Done Before

Katie Corbett holds the book "Girl, Stop Apologizing"

By Katie Corbett

 

When considering an idea for a new venture, it might be tempting to think, “Oh, it’s been done before.” I believed that when I first started writing and coaching. After all, many other writers and career coaches ply their trade out in the world. It might seem like an oversaturation of the market to pursue those paths for myself. Once I got started, however, I realized that I would bring something different to my writing and career coaching that no other writer or career coach could deliver.

 

In her book, “Girl, Stop Apologizing”, Rachel Hollis notes that it shouldn’t matter if an idea has already been done before. Are you considering a career in a market which many feel is oversaturated? Here are some questions you can use to freshen up an idea with your unique spin:

 

  1. What do I bring to the table that is unique?
  2. Why do I want to pursue this idea and how can I make my reason part of what I do differently?
  3. How could I improve upon an existing concept?
  4. When I look at the industry as a whole, what do I wish was done differently?
  5. When I hear others talking about the industry, what do they say they wish was different?
  6. What do a lot of people complain about that I might fix?

 

Consider these questions and see what comes to mind about how you could breathe life into an idea. Whether you want to be a beauty consultant, a realtor, a financial advisor, or do something else, it is guaranteed that you will be able to do it differently from others out there.

 

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The Importance of Persistence: Following Up

Katie Corbett holds the book "Girl, Stop Apologizing"

By Katie Corbett

 

Often times, I am mystified by how many people don’t do an activity that could further their careers and personal lives. That is following up.

 

I’m sure that when Rachel Hollis wrote about persistence in her book, “Girl, Stop Apologizing,” she meant something along the lines of not giving up and following your dreams. I have applied her advice to following up with contacts. Here are some tips I have found helpful to make sure I follow up with consistency:

 

  1. Get contact info: It’s easier to make a connection if I’m the one making the reconnection.
  2. Create a list of those with whom I want to connect: This way, I will remember to reach out initially or reconnect at a later time.
  3. Create a schedule: If a person says they would like me to follow up with them at a certain time, I can write that down on the schedule. That way, I’m following up at a time that is good for them.
  4. Take conversation notes: Each time I have conversations with a business contact, I make notes of what we talked about, what they do, who they’re looking to connect with and how we might work together.
  5. I always ask: When can I follow up? This way I’m following up without being annoying.
  6. Keep it simple: Following up can be as simple as asking how someone is doing, thanking them for taking the time to talk with me, or asking them about something the two of us discussed during the conversation.

 

In short, remember to follow up. You never know what might come your way through keeping in touch with someone with whom you recently crossed paths.

 

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Choose One Dream and Go All In: My Freelance Writing Career

Katie Corbett holds the book "Girl, Stop Apologizing"

By Katie Corbett

 

I am a person with many hobbies, interests, and goals. I have gotten some advice that will help me propel my dreams forward: Focus. Focus on just one thing and move forward on that. I recently tried this focus when developing my freelance writing career, and it has proven to be invaluable.

 

In “Girl, Stop Apologizing”, author Rachel Hollis suggests to pick one dream and go all in. I have found this focus helpful because:

 

  • Focusing helps me evaluate other opportunities to make sure I stay on track.
  • Focusing helps me decide what needs to get done and stay on task.
  • I can say no to other opportunities without feeling guilty if they do not align with my current focus.
  • It is easy to see areas for growth and improvement when I’m only focused on one area of life.
  • I can track my progress more easily.

 

Tangible results of this focus include working with three amazing clients and getting paid for my writing expertise in less than three months of starting my business. And the best part about running a business is that I can focus on one business, but end up wearing all the hats. This means there’s always something fun and new to try, from writing, to interviewing, to marketing and sales.

 

What can you focus on, to the exclusion of all else? Are you writing a novel? Starting a business? Looking for a new job? Raising kids? How would focus benefit you in your endeavor?

 

I’d love to hear what you’re working on, so let me know in the comments. Where will you be investing your time and energy?

 

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How Blindness Benefits Me: Asking for Help

Katie Corbett holds the book "Girl, Stop Apologizing"

By Katie Corbett

 

At some point, everyone who owns a business realizes that they can’t do it all. It is important to hire others who can do a task faster, more efficiently, or with better results than they can. Doing this frees up time to do the things a business owner is really good at.

 

In her book, “Girl, Stop Apologizing”, Rachel Hollis discusses the importance of asking for help and not trying to do it all yourself. Although I am an independent person, I find it easy to ask for help. I think my being blind has helped me with this in the following ways:

 

  1. I grew up knowing there would be things I couldn’t do myself, such as driving.
  2. My mom, and others who are blind who served as mentors for me, often discussed hiring readers and drivers.
  3. In college, I had practice hiring readers and in-class aids to describe PowerPoint slides and drawings on the board to me.
  4. Because of my visual limitations, I am more open to admitting other limitations, such as my lack of knowledge about legal affairs or my desire to hire a copyeditor.
  5. I see my blindness as an asset because it has given me an open mind to get things done that I don’t need to do myself.

 

What are your limitations? Do you have any limitations that might enhance your perspective about asking for help? Instead of seeing these as a hindrance, list the positives that have come from realizing them. You never know what you could accomplish when you realize you do not need to do it all and that it’s OK to ask for help.

 

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Reflections on the 4-Hour Workweek: The Importance of Life Design

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 2020. Here are my thoughts as we round out the third quarter. I hope this inspires you to pick up a book that helps you live your dreams. Enjoy!