The Pain List and how it helps you

Until I started taking my Pain List items seriously – and I’m still contending with some of them, today – until I started putting some of this stuff to bed, nothing newwas coming into my life. My life didn’t feel like it was going in the direction I wanted it to go. It didn’t feel like it was going anywhere. In fact, if it was moving at all, it moved to a disappointing end. 

What was underneath that was I had a history of learned helplessness in the face of obstruction. 

Life is full of obstructions that can loom larger than they actually are. Dysfunctional people resist our unclear or maladroit attempts to remove obstructions to make our situations and relationships better. (When we get really clear, it’s hard for them to thwart our changes.) They typically respond in a way that shuts us down. In the face of getting shut down, some people get clearer and go for it another way. Other people, however, give up more easily.

The dysfunction of resisters (or, the resistance of the dysfunctional) is also their way of giving up, but they don’t always realize that. Most people are trying to protect themselves, frankly, and they do it through minor forms of negative control – often when they simply need to learn how to lead

Entire cultures can fall prey to this. It takes insight to realize that obstruction might have good reasons, and resistance might have good reasons, but both obstruction and resistance are not permanent conditions. They are moveable and negotiable. A Hero isn’t always required. 

Pain often comes from feeling helpless about a particular task, person, block, or outcome. It takes small, consistent effort and positive reinforcement to unlearn helplessness. 

I had to do it, and I’m still working at it. For example, I’m very patient and persistent – so much so that I forego rewards I should take – but I have a low frustration tolerance. Until I had the internal and external resources – including money and its ever-ready excuse! – to start moving on the things I needed to clear, I was stuck in a mystifying holding pattern: waiting for something to happen, not recognizing when it was happening, and under-using my power to direct all creation in my life. 

There is one positive thing this stagnation taught me, and it’s expressed in this poem:

The Just

by Jorge Luis Borges

A man who cultivates his garden, as Voltaire wished.
He who is grateful for the existence of music.
He who takes pleasure in tracing an etymology.
Two workmen playing, in a café in the South,
a silent game of chess.
The potter, contemplating a color and a form.
The typographer who sets this page well,
though it may not please him.
A woman and a man, who read the last tercets
of a certain canto.
He who strokes a sleeping animal.
He who justifies, or wishes to, a wrong done him.
He who is grateful for the existence of Stevenson.
He who prefers others to be right.
These people, unaware, are saving the world.

This is real life, too. You are always, ALWAYS living a real life. And you are always learning what works and what doesn’t. There are seasons of growth and there are seasons of dormancy. This is natural.

It’s time for you to breathe out the old, and breathe in new energy.  

Create a Pain List – 7 to 10 things that you should have done by now, old business that was frustrated and remains outstanding, debts to pay, debts to call in, projects that need one final push to complete, applications for new opportunities that may not yet be lost. Things that may make you feel some embarrassment or shame, where you underperformed or let someone down. 

Then analyze the first three steps you can take to get each bit of business sorted.

And then, immediately, act on the very first step of each of them. 

Record the outcome and expectations of that very first step, and schedule the second step or its follow-up. 

When you get it done, reward yourself, and release that negative energy. With any luck, the negative energy will be released during the process of solving that pain point. It so often is the case that doing something about it becomes, consciously or in retrospect, a pleasant task. 

Thanks for joining the Movember crew!

The next step is to confirm your email when you get a message from my list. After that you’ll get another two messages. One will be from my Movember crew list with the links to all your freebies, and a separate email for Life’s Battle Plan. Keep it for when you’re ready to embark on that journey.

As mentioned in the signup page, another one starts this week, and one after that in mid-December. I put people through the automation in groups, and freshen up the course material with each cohort. It’s ideal to do it December, as the holidays are traditionally a time of reflection on the old year and preparation for the New Year.

But you could also save it for a time of change or Big Life Decisions, as that’s when it’s particularly useful.

Bonus: every crew member who completes the Life’s Battle Plan and submits an end-of-the-series feedback survey will also be putting an extra few dollars into the piggy bank for the Movember Foundation. What I mean is if you do this, I’ll make a donation on your behalf.

Thank you for being part of the Movement, and I hope you gain an extra notch of confidence and mental wealth from my humble offerings.

Some mo’ for Movember supporters and friends!

This November, I participated in the MOVEment for Movember. As a Mo Sista in the Yamajo run crew, I racked up points both running and bowling.

Men’s health, as Movember acknowledges, is also mental health. If you want to stop men from dying too young, you need to empower them to talk about their challenges and reach out for support.

So that’s when it also occurred to me that mental health and seeking support is also about increasing your capacity and engagement with life. And so I could offer all three of my products together for free, to anyone who signs up through this Movember page.

Here’s what you get:

  • A Quick-Start Guide to Quit Procrastination. All of us procrastinate. Sometimes you don’t have to! This will help kick-start you when you hit a trouble spot.
  • The Tactical Chronograph – a free (for a limited time) PDF monthly agenda to focus on your goal priorities, organize your efforts, and keep track of your days. If you want things to happen, write them down!
  • Life’s Battle Plan – a 10-day email course helping you sort All The Things you want to do into a long-term plan. You can follow the course using just a notebook. (The email course is free; the PDF and a future online course will have a fee.) *The new course starts by November 30 and another will run in mid-to-late December.* 

Signing up here will get you a special coupon code for the eBook so that you can order it here in the Shop and not have to pay. You’ll also get an email with the download links for the next Tactical Chronograph, and Day 1 of Life’s Battle Plan.

So go on! Get your game on:

You're signing up for the Movember package: Quit Procrastination, Life's Battle Plan, and the Tactical Chronograph. You'll get a confirmation email next.

I’m hiring!

I need help to make Projectica a great resource, and though I love getting into the nitty-gritty details and understanding how things work, I know there’re people who are just plain better than me at some stuff, and I want to work with them. So Projectica – that’s this space – has two positions open.  I’m seeking freelancers to help me with the tough stuff, and pitch, develop, and improve upon my work.

Graphic Designer

Using illustration and line-art, with some experience with layout, you can pull off a style that appeals to men in a playful and black-and-white or colourful way that includes women (my target audience is mostly men, but in a big-tent way – some human predicaments and frustrations are situational and can happen to anybody). You’ll provide graphics for web development, publishing, and creative support for branding, products (ebooks, courseware, and podcast images), and social media ads. It might be an intense beginning. After the product and brand image work, support activities will be occasional until the next round of new product/service development begins. Video production and experience would be beneficial, app development familiarity would be appreciated.

Marketing / Business Development

You know how to focus on a productive content channel, and this will begin by successfully launching an eBook. You also have experience with content strategy involving podcasts or video and can serve to advise and help implement it. There are many channels for traction beyond content marketing, and Projectica has barely scratched the surface of the relevant ones. For non-web-related business development, with your experience or aptitude for publishing and sales, you can help target, research, identify, and approach partners for other suitable channels, and help make Projectica profitable and noteworthy. At times you will be coaching me on how to do it, and at times you’ll be doing it yourself.


Projectica is presently a start-up in the publishing sphere, but app development is the long-term plan. Vision is important. Read the About Projectica page to get a sense of where we’re going.

One of the things Projectica is about capacity building, and another is about community development. One of the target markets I want to make sure are included in the new economy are rural populations, where a sense of being overlooked or “left behind” is undeniable.

Given that, I prefer giving priority to applicants who are rural; indigenous communities and towns of fewer than 50,000 inhabitants fit within my concept of rurality.

Do NOT send a CV, but message me through the Mailing List/Contact link below. I would like to see examples of your work, and suggestions of two ways you can help me right now. Don’t forget to include your phone number, one social media profile (not LinkedIn), and your email address.