2nd Year Anniversary

Checking in on my two years of progress

May 13, 2019

Last week was a bit of a wash because I was really going through some things mentally, so to hype myself up this week I want to check-in on some progress. Something that I haven't really admitted out loud is that a big part of the reason I write these newsletters is because they're sort of like a public journal of my life. I'd like to look back on these episodes as a reference to what I've experienced and been through. It's a way to remind myself that times have always been tough but I've always made it through. 

Especially when I experience phases of failure. Like for example, I've spent the past 11 years developing a website design business, only to have it put me in a position where I can't afford to live on my own. It's easy in the moment to think I wasted all that time, but if I look back on those 11 years, I wouldn't have the life I have now if I didn't start my business. There's a good chance I wouldn't be writing this newsletter today.

But reflecting on progress is important to remind yourself that you're on your way towards your goals. Often times I get this feeling of being "stuck" which is this illusion that occurs when I'm not progressing fast enough. Or reaching my goals is taking too long and I'm being impatient. In the past this sort of frustration would be a road-block for me and cause me to stop completely.

So today I want to reflect on that progress. 

A good place to start would probably be this newsletter. It's been over a year and I'm extremely proud of myself for waking up every Monday morning for almost 70 weeks in a row and writing something - despite if it was good or bad. That is an accomplishment on its own if you look at my past inability to stick with a single idea for more than a couple of months. I'm also humbled by the love and support y'all have given me. When I first started this newsletter, the first 3 months the only subscribers I had were 3 of my family members and now we've grown to over a 100 readers. 

The next thing I'd like to reflect on is my journey with physical exercise. As a man who's struggled with depression and anxiety his whole life, one of the biggest revelations I've discovered this year is the connection with cardio and mental health. Since December 1st, I've committed to being physically active almost every single day. My routine involves going to the gym Monday-Friday with sprinkled-in activities like volleyball, kickball, boxing, and bootcamp classes in the evenings and on weekends. Since December 1st, I haven't been to the doctor and considering all that's going on, my mental health has never been stronger.

A good example of this was Friday. I was having the most stressful day. Nothing was going my way at work and I can feel this fire of frustration building up inside me. I wanted to just punch a hole through a steel plate. Although months ago I had signed up for my first 5K which was to take place on Friday. I didn't want to go. I didn't want to do it. It took every bit of energy to show up. But I showed up and I completed it. Afterwards, all that pain and stress was gone. I felt refreshed and accomplished and capable of anything. 

Running a 5K was an accomplishment on its own too. When I first started going to the gym in December I could barely run for more than a few minutes before having to stop. I'd love to look back on this weekend one day after I've run a full marathon and think "wow, remember when running 3.1 miles was hard?"

And that's sort of the point I'm trying to make for myself. Push yourself so the things that were once hard become easy.

The last thing and probably the thing I'm most proud of is my YouTube journey. I want to end with this topic because it's the single most important thing in my life right now that I want to focus on. I hate my day-to-day job and my goal almost two years ago was to build an audience that I could market my personal projects to. At the start of the journey two years ago, I never used Unity, didn't know how to program in C#, never edited a video before and didn't own a YouTube account. That was only two years ago.

Now I'm on track to building a huge audience teaching people how to make video games. Last August I was in a weird place with my current YouTube channel. My first channel was like my pre-teen phase. It was awkwardly going through puberty. I believe I had around 400 subscribers but my content was all over the place. I wanted to create a channel that was solely dedicated to video game development, but I was worried about having to start over. 

I think that was the smartest thing I could've done. After 7 months, my new channel has surpassed my first channel in subscribers and the growth is unbelievably exciting. Before my next newsletter I will have exceeded 1K subscribers which is amazing and based on the analytics, 310 of those subscribers have come from the last 28 days. I've basically doubled my subscriber growth each month since we've started which leads me to believe that our numbers are just going to keep climbing throughout the year. 

It's important that I recognize that growth for what it is. It's very easy for anyone to say I've only hit 900 subscribers in 8 months and compare that to other YouTubers who've hit 100K subscribers in less time for the same niche.

It's thoughts like that that could easily discourage me from moving forward. I could easily look at the 5K and think about all the people who finished in front of me. But I need to not compare myself to others. I'm in my own lane, in my own race. I went from not being able to run a full mile in one motion to running a 5K. That is growth! I went from having 0 subscribers the first month, 20 subscribers the second month, 80 subscribers the third month, 200 subscribers the fourth month, to now 900 subscribers my last month. That's growth!

And the best part is when I hit 100K and 1Million subscribers I can look back at this exact newsletter and laugh and feel joy for the triumph, persistence and hard work that lead me to this moment.

Believe it or not, I'm excited to move back in with my parents. I need to grind and I have a lot of ideas on how to do that. Being home with them will allow me to be laser focused and I plan on doing nothing else but setting the pavement for my future.

It's going to be a good year.

This exercise of writing down my progress has already helped lift my spirits. If you're ever feeling stuck, I recommend trying what I just did. And then share it with me. I'd love to hear what is going on with your life.

(wal•do) — Person
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