So here’s my first blog post. I suppose the best place to start with this particular post is to get the basics covered – who, what, why (you get the idea). I imagine that this will be one of my longer posts simply because we’ve got to get the backstory covered. After this, my posts are intended to be short and sweet. It’s also important to note that I currently have no expectations or aspirations to have this blog widely circulated or read. The initial intent is (in my opinion) what I envision a “web log” to be – mainly an online journal where I’ll track my progress and document my thoughts around the particular topic at hand – namely “My Slight Edge Experience.”
Perhaps someday, I may share this with a few friends and there may be those who simply stumble across it by accident. If you fall into that category – please feel free to read, comment, etc. I wouldn’t be publishing this to the world if I was worried someone might read it. And who knows, maybe there will be a reason in the future to try to attract more readers. But for now, this is being written by me, for me. Let’s see how it goes.
The title of this site probably needs a bit of an explanation. “My Slight Edge Experience”, as the name implies, is planned to be a reflection on my own personal experiences as it relates to the book “The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines Into Massive Success & Happiness” by Jeff Olson. I am currently about half way through this book (or to be exact – 45% of the way according to my Kindle) and I thought it would be interesting to see if (rather than simply reading the book and then moving on to something else) I could actually try to put the ideas in the book into practice and ultimately see if the idea of compounding daily habits would, over time, have a transformative affect on my life and others.
But how did I discover this book?
I actually think this is a pretty cool story because it’s a little different than the usual “a friend recommended it” or “I noticed it had a cool cover at Barnes & Noble”. I actually owe discovering this book to college football. Or to be more specific – to my beloved Iowa Hawkeyes. I graduated from the University of Iowa in 1998 and while I am by no means a “die hard” sports fan, I take pride in having gone to school there and am always interested in how the Hawkeyes are doing on the national stage.
This year, it became apparent pretty early on in the season that there was something different about this Iowa football team. So one evening, I was poking around the internet and stumbled across this article by Chad Leistikow on HawkCentral.com. It chronicles how after a disappointing season last year, the team read and took to heart the principles of “The Slight Edge” focusing on the daily disciplines that over time will yield results and ultimately success. At the time the article was written, it was still very early in the season (they were 4-0 at the time) and they had not even started their Big Ten conference games. Flash forward to today and the Hawkeyes have completed their first 12-0 regular season in school history! They are currently ranked 4th in the country in both the College Football Playoff and the AP Poll! There is still the Big Ten championship game against Michigan State to go (where a win would have the Hawkeyes not only being crowned Big Ten champs but also being entered into the 4 team college football playoff to compete for a national title – but let’s not get ahead of ourselves…). Regardless of the results of that game versus Michigan State, this year’s season has been a MASSIVE turnaround and success for the Iowa football program where they have routinely been average (last season they were 7-6) and simply breaking into the Top 25 was something to be celebrated. For a team to not make any dramatic changes (same coach, same offensive and defensive schemes) to see this kind of turnaround is truly impressive and while I’m sure no one would say “The Slight Edge” is the ONLY reason why they are experiencing this level of success, it certainly is a ringing endorsement of the principles outlined in the book!
So I decided I’d pick up the book and see what it has to offer…
So I’m at what I consider to be a very unique point in my life. For starters, I turned 40 in September (how the heck did THAT happen?!). In October, the company I worked for was acquired by a much larger company. I had been thinking about moving on anyway, so once the acquisition was announced and with the unwavering support of my exceptional wife, we decided it was time for me to move on and take a break from the working world for a bit (October 22 was my last day). I have no idea what I will be doing next professionally (and don’t get me wrong, there is still some degree of nervousness about what the long-term future holds…I mean, I just up and quit my job without anything else lined up… who does that?), but for now I am absolutely loving this first month and a half of being a stay-at-home dad to our 7 year old son.
For the first month of my self-imposed sabbatical, I was hyper focused on what I would consider very tactical accomplishments. My wife and I had created a “to-do” list of things we had been putting off getting done around the house (things like steam cleaning the carpets, washing the windows, cleaning and organizing the garage and closets- you know, stuff that you say you should do “someday” but that never seem to actually get done) and I set to work immediately on knocking out that list. I gotta say, I kicked the crap out of that list. I mean I CRUSHED IT! But after a month of checking things off my list at a frenzied pace and that first month passing in the blink of an eye, I realized that I wasn’t doing anything that was truly going to have a lasting impact. Like I said above, I was making tactical, “check-the-box” accomplishments – but I wasn’t doing anything that was TRANSFORMATIVE. You see, I don’t simply want to look back on this time off as just “relaxing and fun” or when I go back to work simply talk about how I took the time to “recharge my batteries”. I want to look back on this time off and say that it truly CHANGED MY LIFE.
And so that brings us to today. I’m in the middle of reading “The Slight Edge” and am going to start trying to build those daily disciplines and habits that will create long term success and happiness. And now I’ve completed my very first blog post. Let’s see what happens from here.
I’d like to close this first post with one of my favorite quotes from the book:
It’s never too late to start. It’s always too late to wait.
Let’s get started.