Podcasting, risk-taking, and cool stories

Are you a personal resolution maker? I ask because some people are staunchly anti-resolution. The annual practice (generally executed around New Year’s) of making resolutions to change one’s self seems hollow for them. Why would they constantly need to seek change? Nobody sticks to their resolutions, anyway. 

I get the anti-resolution mindset, to a degree. I’ve watched an interesting phenomenon this year: the emptying of the gym parking lot. In January–prime resolution time–I had to trail around the parking lot just to find a space. Everyone and their sister was at the gym. By the end of February, things had returned to normal, with ample parking available. Now, as I write in the summer month of July, I think I would be disappointed if I didn’t get a front-door spot. All those parkers who were inspired by resolutions in January have let go of their idealism by July. I get it, resolutions can be hollow.

I am a resolution maker, however. In fact, I’m a resolution maker near the point of compulsion. Why wait until New Year’s? I constantly tinker with processes and procedures in an effort to make them more efficient and effective. Why not take that same approach to my own self? Why not make some resolutions for improvement whenever I see the need? Resolutions year round, buddy!

Perhaps in defense of the resolution idea, I particularly felt a need this year to make my resolutions stick. I was tired of resolutions without bite. Really, I was tired of saying I would do things like lose weight or do something adventurous and then neglect to actually follow through. I wanted to end the hollowness of some of my proposed changes. I wanted to actually follow through.

When I was a kid, we had a semi-annual tradition of writing our New Year’s resolutions down and putting them in a box. I suppose this was a form of accountability–we carried a knowledge that we were going to re-open that box and see what we had failed to do. The key to following through on most challenges lies in that kind of accountability. We often fail when we take on challenges alone, or we don’t tell anyone what we’re doing. So when I was fed up with my own tendency to slack off on my own proposed changes, I started to proclaim–very publicly–my resolutions for change. That’s when I started this web site and podcast.

Now, I have hopes beyond accountability for this entity. I hope this site provides more than a public display of stick-to-it-ness. I hope the site and podcast help you follow through on some of your goals, too. In the least, I hope it provides some entertainment to you. I hope it surprises you, too–as it has surprised me. You see, besides providing accountability, this podcasting endeavor encourages me to live a better story.

I am a risk-averse person. I don’t take a lot of chances. I tend to like things predictable. I’m the kind of guy who doesn’t show up on the new car lot without knowing exactly which car I want. Don’t show me anything else or I’ll walk! 

Sharing my story involves some risk. It’s out there now. I’ve stuck my neck out–either to have it chopped off by producing a poor product that people reject, or to pull it back myself as I publicly fall short on the goals (ore resolutions) I’ve publicly set for myself. Because of this public display, I’ve become more OK with taking a risk or two–because taking a risk runs the chance of creating a better story for my family. Risk-taking–within reason–is satisfying, even when it blows up.

Here’s what I mean: I bought a pop-up camper, sight unseen. For a guy who does all the research and identifies the exact car he wants before even setting foot on the lot for a test-drive, buying the camper sight unseen is taking a big chance. So the camper was brought to me, and I immediately regretted it. It needs more work than I thought. It wasn’t exactly the bargain I thought it was. BUT my family is stoked. They’re excited by the adventure before us–not just of using the camper, but of making it our own. This isn’t the happy ending I was looking for. But it’s certainly going to be an adventure.

Vintage is cool, right?

I can’t pinpoint exactly why I decided to take this risk. But I think it has something to do with creating stories. Running a podcast has awakened me to stories my little family will have to tell–and challenges me to ask what stories we’ll be telling about our family in several years. I took a risk because I wondered what stories I could share with my audience–and I was really wondering what stories I could create with my family.

The end point here is that podcasting and blogging have pushed me to be a bit more courageous. My story is out there, for better or for worse. But, just like the camper, I feel like I’ll have created a better story just by stepping into it than if I had sat on the sidelines. 

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