Sick thoughts

I’m sick. It’s not COVID.

This usually happens twice a year when the temperature changes. Cold symptoms. Cough. Congestion. Sore throat. It’s not fun but I tend to survive.

One thing that the pandemic has taught me is how often I used to go out into the world while sick. I’d go to work, hang out with friends, or go to the gym.

My Ph.D. in Bro Science tells me that coughing in the same room as others is a great way to spread whatever it is. I feel a refreshed sense of courtesy.

On Friday, when things felt super mild, I called my friends before going over to their place for dinner. I explained exactly how I felt and they told me to come on over.

But for the rest of the weekend, I canceled all plans. I’m coughing up a storm. My head feels like it’s full of mucus. The only plus is that my voice is twice as deep from the sore throat.

This is starting to sound like, “Look at how virtuous and ethical I am for canceling events while I’m ill.” But I seriously used to push through stuff like this in the past. It’s crazy to me now.

Once when I was quite sick, I showed up for my shift at the restaurant I used to work. The GM took one look at me and asked, “Are you sick, dude?” I said yeah and he promptly told me to go the fuck home.

Who would’ve known it would take a global pandemic for me to see that being around others while sick isn’t a great idea?

Not me.

On confidence

Confidence is not a necessity. It’s a reward.

I’ve had nearly a thousand coaching conversations with people. I’ve heard it every week for over a year.

“I just need more confidence.”

In other words: “I must first have this internal emotional change. Then and only then will I be physically able to do what I want to do.”

It’s totally understandable. But it’s nonsense.

If confidence is the belief in oneself, how can we have such faith when we’re unskilled and inexperienced in a thing? Unless we’re full of ourselves, we’ll naturally be nervous and unclear. That’s okay.

Being scared has nothing to do with us being able to do something. We do scary stuff all the time. If we don’t, it’s not because of inability; it’s because we choose not to.

Running a business. Talking to people we’re attracted to. Improving a skill.

We often think: “I need to learn X so I can do Y.”

When in reality, it’s: “I need to do Y and then I’ll learn X.”

Do first. Then feel confident as a reward for doing.

Don’t wait for it to fall into your lap.

RSS

I’ll be making an RSS feed for this blog soon.

That way, readers won’t have to check it every day. The posts will get sent directly to anyone who subscribes.

Stay tuned.

Quitting coffee (for a second time)

A cup of coffee on a table surrounded by a pile of coffee beans

Last year, I tried quitting coffee cold turkey. It sucked.

It led to two of the most miserable days of my life. I had to cancel my calls the second day because my head hurt so bad. It felt like the life had been sucked out of me.

I figured, I only drink a small cup each morning. Nothing crazy. Apparently, that’s all it takes to spark a caffeine addiction.

To be fair, I’d rather have a caffeine addiction than need something like booze or cocaine to get me going in the morning. But it pisses me off that I “need” any substance to function.

People laugh about it like it’s a good thing.

“Don’t talk to me before I’ve had my coffee.”
“I need my coffee.”
“I’m not a human without my coffee.”

We’re basically okay with being a slave to a chemical. What if we were to say, “Don’t talk to me at night until I’ve had my evening beer.”

I’m not shaming any addicts or people with prescriptions. It’s just strange to me that we have a culture where the norm is to physically require a powerful chemical—which caffeine is.

If this sounds harsh, keep in mind: I’m talking to myself here.

So today I started the weaning process. I used 50% less ground coffee and less water. This morning’s cup was weaker and smaller. I’ll continue chipping away at this until I run out of filters. Then I’ll switch to black tea.

The end goal: Only drink water and a few supplements in the morning. Coffee will only be a treat on vacation.

I’ll keep you all updated. If this blog suddenly stops, I probably went into caffeine withdrawal.

Startups suck

The whiteboard of a startup business with planning and sticky notes

That sounds harsh. Here’s what I mean.

When I visited my friends in Philly this January, I walked one of them to the train station. We were chatting in the freezing cold about the next steps for my business.

I mentioned I wanted to help startups. I had always been fascinated by them from afar but have had no interest in creating one myself.

What she said struck me.

“I mean, you do run a startup,” she said. “You manage a profitable business. You provide a service that other people pay for all on your own.”

Whoa, I thought. “I suppose that’s true,” I replied.

She reminded me that we seem to have unhealthy images of what startups actually are. Millions of dollars of venture capital. Software as a service. Founders who work 10-hour days and neglect their health.

I don’t want to do any of that. And I don’t have to.

I’m rereading Rework by Jason Fried. It’s a business book on how to optimize for fulfillment, not profit or growth.

In it, he argues that when starting a business, we don’t need business plans, we don’t need to grow if we don’t want, and we don’t need a big team. All we need is to sell a product or service to people willing to pay for it. Then, we need to make sure our revenue is higher than our expenses.

That’s it.

Jason also suggests not using the word “startup.” Just say business.

Before starting my coaching practice, I saw the “world of business” as this intimidating, unwelcoming entity. But there really isn’t a “business world.”

There’s just the world. It’s made up of human beings. They make decisions. They buy stuff. I had this idea in my head that startups were these mystical and magical creatures. They’re not.

In starting a business, all we need are three things:

  1. A product/service
  2. People willing to buy it
  3. A way to take their payments

If we can’t define these three things first, there’s no business. There’s just an idea.

That conversation with my friend a few months ago was short and simple. And it uplifted my spirits moving forward. As I continue to meet startup founders and learn about what they do, I’m not thinking, OMG I’m talking to a startup founder right now. I’m thinking, Wow, this person is really interesting. I’d love to learn more about what they’re going through.

As always, things are much simpler than we think.

Anyone can talk

A man talking through a cup phone

For years, I said that family was one of the most important things to me. But that was a lie.

How do I know?

Because my actions tell the whole story. I never went out of my way to help my mom. I rarely spent quality time with my sister, aunts, or uncles. I visited my other half of the family when it was convenient.

Billionaire industrialist and vigilante Bruce Wayne once said, “It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.”

The cliche states that actions speak louder than words. Basically, anyone can talk. Talking is easy. It feels good. Sometimes, people are so good at talking, they trick themselves into thinking they’ve already done something.

That’s why ideas, plans, and roadmaps bore me. It’s all just words.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t prep for the future. I’m just far more interested in what a person is doing than what they say they’d like to do.

(Keep in mind, I’m criticizing myself here.)

Here’s a pretty personal example.

One of my close friends has basically been radio silent for the past year. He doesn’t answer my calls or texts. I worry about his health and wellbeing. I get no answers.

He sent me a super long text on my birthday a few weeks ago. He apologized profusely. He told me how much he loved and respected me. Reading it made me cry at my dining room table.

When I responded to try to set up a call…nothing. I haven’t heard from him since.

Anyone can talk. It’s through our consistent actions that we prove who we really are (thanks, Batman).

If we want to be kind and loving friends, we have to show our friends we support them and are curious about them. If we want to care about our health, we have to exercise regularly and eat mostly well. If we want to be productive, we have to sit down and do the work every week.

So what can we do with all this?

Try this exercise: Take five minutes and write out all the things you value most. Then, take another five minutes and write about the actions you take on a regular basis for those things.

Notice where things are lacking. What can you do more or less of? What needs to change?

As always, let me know how it goes. 😎

Next level

A man playing a virtual realty video game

I’m shifting my business. It’s scary.

2021 was the year of building my one-on-one coaching practice from scratch. Mission accomplished. It had grown to the point where I had to stop pursuing new clients in December.

So I spent this winter focused on my current clients, writing my book, and learning how to slow down. The last time I created new income was at the beginning of January. I’ve been living off a decent cushion for myself, but I can’t move to Brooklyn in October if I don’t build something new beforehand.

In my community, we say: “What got you to this level is what will keep you from getting to the next level.”

What got me to the level I’m at was my client-creation process:

  1. Reaching out to people individually, connecting with them, and building a relationship.
  2. Inviting everyone I talked with to a coaching session. Coaching as many of them as I possibly could and seeing if it was a good fit.
  3. Making it easy for them to work with me (financially and schedule-wise).

I loved it. I still do. My one-on-one clients are some of my favorite people on the planet.

But there are only so many hours in a day, week, and month. Rather, I only have so much energy. I’m not some super-entrepreneur who can put in 10-hour days. Even if I could, I don’t want to.

First of all, people don’t actually work 10-hour days. We can’t even work for eight hours. Sure, we can be in the office for that long. But we only have about three to four hours of genuine focused attention at our disposal.

Secondly, with what I do, I get drained pretty fast.

My job consists of listening deeply to a person, being wildly curious about them, and challenging them. Doing this with multiple people for multiple hours would make anyone tired.

That said, I can’t keep doing the 3-step system I mentioned above. It got me here, and it’ll keep me from getting to where I want to go.

So what will get me to the next level?

Something scaleable. A service where I’m not trading my time for money. Here’s what I’m thinking:

  • A group program for entrepreneurs.
  • Only high-paying referrals for one-on-one clients.
  • A content marketing strategy.

In the first sentence of this blog, I said I was scared. That’s not quite true. I’m unclear. And that can often be mistaken for fear.

At this stage, I’m interviewing startup founders to hear about their stories and challenges. It’s already giving me a clearer picture of what I can help folks with. But I don’t quite know what service I want to provide yet.

Luckily for me, I learned a valuable lesson last year: We don’t have to know how to do something in order to do it.

On top of that, we don’t have to be fearless in order to do what we want.

I don’t exactly know what I’m doing yet. But I know I’ll do it.

And when I do, I’ll tell you all about it.

(PS—Connect with me on Twitter for more regular updates and insights! @DillTho)

Hungover without the alcohol

A woman holding a glass of wine

Two nights ago, my sleep tracker told me I got two and a half hours of sleep. I woke up in pain.

I trudged through my first two sessions yesterday. Then for my third, he asked if we could reschedule. I was elated.

I said sure and I regretfully texted my personal trainer to reschedule our afternoon workout. Then I did something I never do.

I took a nap.

Three hours later, I woke up feeling human again. The day ended with a few fun and energy-filled calls.

But I wanted to briefly mention some Bro Science…

My hypothesis: Much if not most of the pain we feel during a hangover is sleep deprivation.

Firstly, when we drink, our sleep quality goes out the window. It doesn’t relax our minds; it sedates us. But alcohol aside…

I go months without drinking. Those periods don’t just lead to me feeling amazing. I have to eat well, exercise, and sleep 7-9 hours each night. There have been sober mornings of awful sleep and it genuinely feels like I’m hungover.

That’s what yesterday felt like.

So aside from the nausea, the headache, and the dehydration…how much of the physical pain of hangovers is simply because our brains didn’t get any sleep?

New rule; fewer blogs

Last month was an eye-opening experience for my mental health. After hitting a wall, I made some changes.

No more working on Sundays. No calls past 3pm. Friend and family time are to be prioritized.

I just made a new rule:

No blog-writing when I’m on vacation.

Simple, I know. But I’d often take my laptop with me when going out of town. That, or I’d write a bunch before leaving and schedule them out.

Either way, it would lead to low quality and throw-away writing.

This is already an “almost-daily” blog. Now even more so.

The freed-up headspace when I was on vacation was refreshing. Normally I feel panic and guilt as I question when I can find time to write a few sentences. It really takes me away from the moment.

Not no mo.

Done, or perfect?

My friend and I are recording a podcast episode today. Our first one didn’t go so well.

It wasn’t absolutely cringe, as the kids say. But it was tough to listen back to.

We gave too much backstory. We didn’t interrupt each other enough. It felt like we were taking turns giving TED Talks.

But we wanted to start a podcast simply because we enjoy our conversations and hope others would too. Something happens when you hit “record,” though. When you see that blinking red light, the butterflies settle in. It’s easy to feel like everything spoken must be funny or groundbreaking.

I’m so glad we had a mediocre first recording. We can’t grow or improve until we run a test and gather data.

We could’ve prepped and planned for months, trying to create the perfect conversation. But what we did was so much more efficient.

We said fuck it, let’s just do it and see what happens.

Done is better than perfect. Because perfect usually means doing nothing.

A simple technique for better conversations (that you can start using today)

Naturally, people enjoy talking to someone who asks questions and expresses curiosity. We all want to feel heard and feel important.

Whether it’s conscious or unconscious, people notice pretty quickly when a person only talks about themselves. The first thing I detect in someone is how often they ask (genuinely curious) questions. If they never do, I almost always find them less interesting.

But there’s a limit.

If we only ask questions in a conversation, it can feel like an interrogation real fast. That tends to make people uncomfortable or feel guilty that they talked about themselves the whole time.

So what if the person we’re talking to isn’t a skilled conversationalist? If they’re not giving us much to work with…

We can use the “2 for 1” rule.

Two questions. One personal story or idea. Repeat.

This ensures a back and forth. It lets the other person know, Hey, I’m a human being too. I’ve been through stuff. I can relate.

Try it out with your coworkers or with strangers. Let me know how it goes.

Success?

Is success a number or a feeling?

Is it a dollar amount in our bank account…or not being stressed about bills?

Is it how many followers, subscribers, or connections we have…or the level of connection we feel with the people we’re in the same room with.

Is it our weight…or the refreshing and limber sensations of a healthy and active body?

The 10 qualities of a Professional

According to Steven Pressfield, there are amateurs and there are professionals. Here’s what sets the pros apart:

1) We show up every day.

Vacations are nice and rest is necessary. But inside those boundaries, we’re on the clock.

2) We show up no matter what.

Again, time away from working is rejuvenating. But if we only do the work when our bodies feel like it, we’re doing ourselves (and those we serve) a disservice.

3) We stay on the job all day.

Our to-do list should be reasonable and doable. And our day ends when it is complete, not when Resistance begins to settle in.

4) We are committed over the long haul.

Perhaps we’ll be doing something different a year from now. But we’ll still be working consistently with purpose, providing value, and growing our skills.

5) The stakes for us are high and real.

We don’t create because it’s a hobby. We create to pay our rent, buy groceries, and afford trips with our friends.

6) We accept payment for our labor.

We are here to serve people and solve problems, yes. But we must be compensated for doing so. Otherwise, we’re not working; we’re running charities.

7) We do not over-identify with our jobs.

We write. We collaborate. We design. We’re not writers, collaborators, or designers. Our work is not our life; it fuels our life.

8) We master the technique of our jobs.

We improve each week because we know we’ll never know all there is to know. We become black belts in what we do.

9) We have a sense of humor about our jobs.

While the stakes are high, we don’t take ourselves seriously. We shrug off failures as part of the game. If we’re getting pummeled it’s because we’re on the field and not in the stands…and we’re grateful for that.

10) We receive praise or blame in the real world.

Some people love what we’re doing. Some people despise it. Both are okay. We appreciate the kind words and learn from or disregard the nasty ones.

I certainly don’t embody all ten of these each and every day. But all I can do is take care of myself and remind myself of the simple truth…

That the hardest thing to do in the world is to sit down in this chair and do the work.

Ideas vs. execution

Dillan Taylor's business ideas

I have a running list of business ideas in my Notes app. I’ve done nothing with 99% of them.

People can be super protective of their ideas.

But ideas are cheap. They mean nothing. They’re just words on a screen.

I don’t even know what some of these ideas mean. “1 hour blog or copy editor”??

Anyone can write a sentence in their phone. Execution is an entirely different thing.

Coming up with ideas is safe. It’s fun to fantasize about these things coming to life.

What’s scary is trying to make them happen.

I loved the idea of building a coaching business. I didn’t love putting myself out there and trying to get people on a call with me (at first).

When people are coming up with business or content ideas, my advice is always the same:

Just help one person. If you can get one person to give you their time, money, or attention, then you can get two.

And so on.

But people spend all their time in the blueprint and strategy stage. That’s a brilliant way to get nothing done, but to feel as though a lot is getting accomplished.

How to know you don’t suck at something

A dart on a dartboard that missed the target

I’ve tried my hand at podcasting, YouTube, and writing online.

The only thing I would consider successful has been this blog. It has anywhere from 40-700 unique readers per blog post.

Nothing crazy. But way more than when I started in 2019. Back then it was just me and my friend Grace reading my overly-confident preachings as I told people what to do and what not to do in their lives.

She still reads the blog today, which is a good sign.

But I want to briefly mention a helpful measure for success. It’s not some arbitrary number of readers, followers, or subscribers. It’s much more human.

People being nice when they don’t have to be.

This can be as simple as a friend sending a message saying they really liked today’s blog. It could also be a stranger reaching out and sharing their thoughts on the work we’ve done.

My blog about moving to NYC got 712 unique readers. That was cool. People shared it on Facebook and LinkedIn. I think it was so popular because it was a “huge” life decision for my personal and professional life.

It felt amazing. For a day.

But a few weeks later, I got an email from a guy in India. I had no idea who he was. I thought it was spam at first. He told me about his favorite pieces I wrote, dating back months and months. He said this:

“I relate on so many levels with your approach to life (Like Core Principles). And I’ve started working on certain things after reading your blogs (Like preparing for high-altitude treks like your triathlon). Your blogs have inspired me to write more too!
Anyway, just wanted you to know, you’ve got a fan from India. Thanks for being you.”

I saved this email. It made my eyes water.

Numbers are great. They mean we’re reaching more people. But messages like this are truly priceless. They keep creators moving. He didn’t have to send me this.

I don’t share this to boost my ego. My point is: If we stick with something consistently, make tiny improvements, and try to bring value to others…eventually, people will dig it.

I can’t give a masterclass on blog writing. I just sit down each morning and write short paragraphs about what I’m thinking and learning.

No hurry; no pause. I don’t have to sprint, but I can’t stop.

To anyone who wants to create anything, my advice would be just that.

(PS—I’m writing a book on creating. It’ll come out this summer. Pre-order it here. Or, send hate mail here.) 😎

Friction

A red cube on a black surface

With habits we want to do more of, we can reduce the friction. We can make it easier for us to do whatever those things are.

Examples:

  • Bring gym clothes to work so it’s easier to workout right after the day is done.
  • Leave a notebook on top of the coffee machine so you can journal while the coffee is brewing in the morning.
  • Find a buddy who can be an accontability partner, to make it easier to consistently go to the gym, to a foreign language meetup, or any other activity you want to improve yourself with.

With habits we want to do less of, we do the opposite: we add friction.

These past few weeks, I’ve been trying a stupidly simple strategy for watching less YouTube on my phone.

On top of deleting the app from my phone, I changed the rule for myself. I can watch as much YouTube on my phone as I want. I just have to log in and log out each time.

That little bit of added friction, that extra step…It’s enough to make me realize that I don’t actually want to watch anything in particular. I just want to stimulate and distract myself.

It works. I feel little to no compulsion to log onto YouTube on my phone.

But there are YouTubers I subscribe to and want to watch each day or so. That’s fine, but it means at the end of the day, I have to sit down on my couch and pull it up on my TV. It’s my version of Netflix.

This makes it more intentional. I’m not scrolling through the algorithm waiting to be entertained.

For yourself, what do you want to do less of? How can you make it harder for yourself to do that thing?

Relying on extra willpower and discipline is a fool’s game.

Fight back

Two people fighting in a field

I’ve heard some helpful models when it comes to making decisions:

  • If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no.
  • Listen to your body.
  • Trust your intuition.

These are lovely and quite useful. But they can also be utter nonsense.

Last night, I returned to my jiujitsu class after sitting out for a year. Everything in my body was telling me not to go.

You clearly don’t love it anymore. Everyone is going to be miles ahead of you by now. You’re tired and trying to slow down, just rest.

This is what my intuition was telling me. It was not a hell yes. Resistance was miles high.

But I went anyway.

Right when I got there and saw my old friends, my energy came back. We hugged, we laughed, and I got my ass kicked.

A lot of people tell me they’re intuitively led. Our intuition is a powerful thing.

But it’s not so impressive when it keeps us from doing the things we know are good for us. I’m not a fan of relying on willpower and discipline to get things done. But sometimes it really is as simple as sitting down, forcing ourselves to do something that isn’t super fun, and doing the work.

If I listened to my body every day, I’d spend those days on my couch watching YouTube on my phone.

It’s important to ask oneself: Is this intuition or is this Resistance?

Up late with no regrets

Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington fighting in UFC 272

This Sunday was the first Sunday in a year where I intentionally scheduled nothing.

Coming into the weekend, I realized that meant I could do something I haven’t done since January 2021.

Watch the UFC fights.

It’s the only sport I care to pay for and make time to watch. When people start talking to me about football, I usually stop them in their tracks. (Is Brett Favre still playing?)

Since the fights are almost exclusively on Saturday nights, I’ve had to skip out on them. They run late, usually ending around 2am.

That’s not conducive to waking up at 6am to prep for morning and afternoon sessions. I didn’t have to worry about that this weekend.

On Saturday, my buddy and I competed in a chess tournament. He did great, going 4-1 and securing third place in his section. I did okay, with two wins and three losses.

We got a late dinner and some beers. He asked if I wanted to hang with him and his roommates at their place to watch the fight. No, in fact, I did not want to do that.

Instead, he dropped me off, I made a vodka drink (not a whiskey drink), and bought the fights.

They were incredible. It felt like an old piece of me I loved was awakened. I was standing up and cheering in my living room.

On paper, it sounds quite lonely to pay for a UFC card, drink a cocktail, and stay up late all by oneself. But it was me-time I’ve been craving for months.

I woke up Sunday morning much later than normal—around 9am. I was groggy and slightly hungover (from three drinks, thanks 28 years of age).

And I was happy.

There was nothing on my calendar. I had nothing to do. I drove back to Baltimore to pick up my jacket and sunglasses I left at the tournament the day before. It was a gorgeous day. A best buddy called me and we chatted for two hours. I read a comic book. I listened to a podcast.

I got nothing done. And it was a productive day.

Productive for my mind and soul (whatever that means). It was peaceful. I could get used to this.

Today, I feel well-rested and ready to jump into the week. I’m a fan of taking weekly vacations—which I think normal people just call “weekends.”

Let’s try this again

A Rook on a wooden chess set

Today, my buddy and I are competing in a chess tournament.

It’s organized by Charm City, the chess club that put on the first one we did in December. That went well. I got third place.

Then, a few months ago, I had a chess-existential crisis. I wanted to quit. I played another tournament and hated every second of it.

Now, with my new and improved mindset, I’m going to spend the day with my friend and try to have as much fun as I can.

I’ll shoot for open, tactical, and dynamic play. I’ll try to meet people. I’m excited.

I’ll tell you how it went on Monday.

I don’t know what the balance is

Stones on the beach balancing on one another

I hate hustle culture. Obsessing over productivity. Getting shit done. Making moves. Creating projects, relationships, and wealth.

I also love it. I crave it…when I’m in the mood.

There are weeks where I’m on my computer all day working on this or that. Not because I feel I have to, but because it’s fun.

There are also weeks where I’m so burnt out, I don’t give a shit about anyone or anything.

Do we have to work 40 hours a week to build something meaningful? Absolutely not.

But I do think there’s merit (especially when creating our own thing) to working pretty damn hard? At least in the beginning.

I’m in a good place with my coaching business. A huge part of that was my willingness to flood my week with calls and work on weekends. That allowed me to coach more people and be more available to opportunities.

However, I’ve hit a point of diminishing returns. Now, working on weekends, always being on…it deflates me. I had my day in the sun with it. But it no longer serves me. It got me here. And it’ll keep me here.

But the only reason I’m able to message my clients and tell them “no more Sunday sessions” is because I’m totally in a place to do so. I’ve earned it.

And that’s the keyword here. Earn.

We don’t get something from nothing. We don’t get promoted on our first day.

So the question for me is: What’s the balance between working hard and not destroying ourselves?

I’m sure the answer is different for everyone. I’m still trying to figure mine out.

My precious

Michael Schur's TV characters, including Michael Scott and Leslie Knope

Michael Schur is an American comedy writer. After writing for SNL, he co-wrote The Office, Parks and Recreation, and other big-time favorites.

His #1 piece of advice for creators:

Don’t be precious with your material.

At Saturday Night Live, they would write sketches that would most likely not be performed. And for the best ones that did see the stage, they’d be over in five minutes. And unless they were the .1% of skits that made it onto YouTube, they would never be seen again.

Years of this taught Michael to not hold so much emotion in the things he created.

“I didn’t try to do shitty work,” he said. “But no matter how funny I thought the thing was, I had to be willing, at any point, to embrace the fact that my work was, in fact, shitty.”

I’ve never written one of the best television sitcoms in history (let alone two of them). But I do write this mediocre blog.

There have been times I chose not to write about something because I didn’t have the mental energy to really flush it out and talk about it in any sort of interesting way. I don’t want to waste material, I’d think. Lol.

The beauty of writing a blog almost every day, and of it being entirely my own…is I can do whatever I want.

I could literally write a blog titled “My ass” with just a photo of my naked butt. There’s nothing stopping me from doing that.

Anyway. Since I can do as I please, I’ll often churn or repeat ideas I wrote about months ago. I can’t keep track of all 1500 blogs I’ve written, so I’m sure I have pieces with the same message, the same jokes, the same sentences word for word.

I also have blogs I can’t stand to read now. I’ve said things I disagree with today. I’ve written things I’m not proud of.

This is all to say: If I held my work as precious, I’d probably be depressed. Good enough has to be good enough.

The second I have too many criteria for something being “good enough” is the second I stop typing.

The perfect morning

It is my birthday. And I couldn’t be happier with how I’m spending the morning.

Phone is off. Coffee is hot. I just read my favorite book for 20 minutes and am now writing in my fourth favorite blog.

I got too fucked up this weekend in NYC. No alcohol for a while.

After slowing way down, I’m ready to use the new boundaries I set to put my head down and build something special. The fire is rekindled. I’m in the mood to show up as a professional.

Resistance can’t win. It doesn’t stand a chance.

I’m 28. And time is only continuing to tick.

Here’s to another year!

Back to the office, kind of

A cool office where young people are working

My friends and I spent the weekend in Brooklyn.

I have stories to tell from the trip but right now I’m feeling super foggy. I turn 28 tomorrow. At this age, all it takes is one night of drinking and poor sleep to throw me off for half a week.

I’m here, sitting in my chair. But it also feels like I’m not here.

Fun blogs to come this week.

Another getaway

I’m spending the weekend in Brooklyn with a group of friends.

I’m always excited to explore my future home.

When I get back, I’ll share pictures, stories, and insights.

Coming up this week:

  • Downloading a dating app for the first time
  • Quitting coffee
  • Slowing down while being super career hungry

See you Monday.

Boundaries

If we set boundaries, people will meet them.

I’ve been slowing things way down in my business this year. Everything out of necessity.

I stopped taking on new clients in December. And now I’m experimenting with new guidelines to free up time, energy, and bandwidth.

I asked one client if he was okay if we went from two sessions a month to one. He was fine with it.

I told my weekend clients I’d no longer be doing calls on Sundays. They were fine with it.

When people ask me for a call past 3pm, under no circumstances do I accept. I also have a maximum of three sessions per day. No more.

What shocks me every time is how okay with these boundaries people are. Most people are willing to do most things, we just have to ask for what we want.

But we have to ask.

I almost quit chess

Two people playing chess on a giant chessboard

January was a rough month for my chess career.

It was the first time since getting into the game in 2020 where I just didn’t feel like playing. It wasn’t fun. That scared me.

Was this all just a phase? Was my fling with chess over?

I trudged through my chess workbooks and daily puzzles. But I wasn’t enjoying it.

Then I got my ass beat in a classical tournament. I lost three out of three games. Coming off of a tournament in December where I got third place…it was crushing.

I went from thinking I was hot shit to wondering if I should ever play again.

But it wasn’t the awful tournament that made me unmotivated. I felt that way before the event. Why then? I spent over a year consistently amped to log on to chess.com and play every single day. And now I didn’t even want to look at my board.

What changed?

Then it hit me.

In chess, each player has an ELO rating. It’s a number that basically tells you how good you are.

When I started playing over quarantine, I was around a 900. Now, I’m around 1650. Grandmasters, the best players in the world, are close to 2800.

Dillan Taylor's chess rating over the year of 2021
Thanks, Queen’s Gambit.

From December 2020 to November 2021, my ELO steadily increased. Every few months, I’d be another 100 rating points higher.

Now, I’ve hit a ceiling.

My rating hasn’t increased at all in three months. It’s the heaviest plateau I’ve experienced.

My insight was: Most of my fulfillment in chess has come from my increasing rating. That’s not sustainable.

It’s well-known in the chess world that once you hit 1600, you’re considered an advanced player. At that stage, it takes much more serious studying and practice to improve.

I felt silly. If I expected my rating to continue climbing the way it had been, I’d be a grandmaster in the next five years. That’s actually impossible.

So if my unsustainable, ego-driven path landed me in a rut, what can I do now?

Well, I decided to change what I wanted out of the game. It sounds corny, but I made the decision to just have as much fun as I can when I play.

I changed my style entirely. I began playing a different opening. Before, I focused on slower positional play. Now, I go for more open and exciting tactical play.

It has led to more losses. But it’s also led to more dynamic and flashy wins.

My passion for chess feels immediately revitalized. In the coaching world, we say: What got me to this level is what will keep me from getting to the next level.

What got me to this level: Caring deeply about how good I was.

What will get me to the next level: Having as much fun as I possibly can whenever I play. (And studying and analyzing and blah blah blah.)

My buddy and I have another tournament coming up next weekend. I’m pumped. 😎

Wordle

I’m on the Wordle train.

As someone who tends to get addicted to games, this one is perfect.

You can only play once per day. Usually no more than five minutes.

Try it out.

Getting rid of all my stuff

I want to be fully prepared for my move to NYC.

Part of that process means taking as few items as possible with me.

My bed. Some clothes. My electronics.

For everything else, I’m starting over. New desk. New furniture. New desk chair. Maybe a book or two. Everything else on my Kindle.

As I minimize my possessions, I can already feel my mental energy charging. Life just feels easier when we don’t own that much stuff.

I made a list of things I’d like to buy when I get to Brooklyn. I’m excited.