Keeping One Promise: the 100 Day Shipping Challenge

Keeping a promise I make to myself and others has always been important to me. I used this characteristic of mine to start a 100 day challenge, knowing I’d keep my promise for 100 days, no matter what.

This is my first post of the 100 Day Shipping Challenge.

The Day 1 post is about keeping one promise to myself. And I’d like to explain what this shipping challenge is about.

If you’re sitting on the fence of taking up some challenges for yourself for 30 Days or 100 Days, my story might encourage you to start your own challenge.

Most of all though, if you feel terribly insecure about your writing, you’ll find this post helpful as I’ve been struggling with insecurity and, in a way to overcome it, decided to publish a blog post for 100 days straight.

By the way, it didn’t take long to doubt myself about the challenge. It took 1 day! I almost changed from 100 Day challenge to 30 Day challenge.

Unbelievable how weak my mind was, trying to wiggle out of the obligation I’ve set for myself only after Day 1.

You can tell it’s going to be a long bumpy road ahead, huh?

But I’ve finally come to my sense and am going to stick to my original plan.

Every time resistance surfaces, I’ll ask myself what David Goggins would do. Ha.

So you might be wondering…

What’s This Shipping Business About?

UPDATE: my 100 Day Challenge is complete now. You can read about 10 lessons I’ve learned from the 100 Day Challenge here.

It was a decade ago when I first heard about Seth Godin.

An acquaintance brought him up during our conversation, although I don’t remember what we were talking about.

When I got home that day, I looked him up.

And the moment I noticed he’s a Stanford graduate, I said to myself:

Of course he is!

I promptly placed him on a pedestal and, as I often did, got myself off the hook with:

He’s in a different league.

Besides, I noticed he’s a marketing guy.

I hated marketing. ha.

Fast forward a good few years, I spent the past 48 hours devouring Seth Godin’s interviews on YouTube.

I can’t find a better quote than the below to explain my sudden obsession with him.

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
– Buddha

It felt like everything he said at an interview was aimed for me.

Not only are they incredibly inspiring, but they’re also super educational and encouraging.

His messages are full of insights.

He’s warm, funny, compassionate, empathetic, wise and pioneering.

What he really got me to start this challenge though was his message on “Shipping”.

(I have his YouTube clip on the bottom of this post for you.)

So read on to find out exactly what his shipping means and how it spurred me to take on the 100 Day Challenge.

Shipping Every Day

When I ran my online retail business, it was vitally important we delivered what we promised within the expected time frame.

So we shipped every day Mon-Fri without fail.

We could never, ever disappoint our customers.

Big or small, keeping my promise is super important to me, and I take every promise I make really seriously.

And when I started my blog, I knew nothing about blogging.

All I got going for – if you could call it that – was my love for reading and writing.

But we all know loving it and doing it well are two entirely different things, right?

So I started with:

I’ll write every day.

Prolific writers like Stephen King and William Zinsser said that’s what we should do if we want to be good at writing.

Now, I didn’t aim to become the best blogger in the world.

I just want to be the best I can be.

During my short time of blogging, I mastered this one habit: I wrote every day.

My draft in WordPress, Word document, Google Docs, Grammarly and BlogDesk have plenty to show for it.

But that’s all I’ve been doing.

I mean, I published a post here and there. I aimed to publish once a week at least.

Oftentimes though, I was just happy with writing every day without publishing.

Seth Godin’s messages then struck me and made me realise that:

Ultimately, writing is about communicating.

So what exactly have I been doing through my writing if I wasn’t publishing it?

The answer was obvious:

I was hiding under the pretence of getting better.

I realised I had to treat my blog like I treated my online retail business: shipping every day.

Except I don’t have customers to keep a promise to.

This time, I’ve got myself to account for.

It doesn’t mean, as Seth Godin said, shipping sloppy and flawed work.

It means knowing that it’s not perfect and it may not work, ship it anyway.

And see what happens.

Do more.

Be better.

Clinging to the Wise Man’s Words

So this challenge is about keeping a promise I made to myself by publishing one blog post every day for 100 days straight.

I realised I’ve been waiting to get better at writing.

But now I know that the only way to get better is not just starting (writing) but finishing (shipping/publishing).

We all have something we desperately want to achieve in life, but we never do because we feel not good enough or confident enough.

That’s how I felt about writing. It could be something else for you.

What’s really encouraging about what Seth Godin said was this:

It’s not fair to say you aren’t good at writing until you have written 50,000+ words.
– Seth Godin

So I’ll continue to write and SHIP every day while I dance with my inner voice, the critic.

And then, we’ll see what we, me and my inner voice, have to say to each other after 100 days.

I put my trust in Seth Godin’s wisdom:

You’re probably not good enough. But you could get better and if you keep getting better, sooner or later, you’ll be better.
– Seth Godin

Below are two questions and answers I picked from Seth Godin’s interview on Forbes.

What is your writing process?
1. Write like you talk.
2. Learn to talk better.
3. Blog every day.

What are your three best pieces of career advice?
1. Begin.
2. Fail in the service of generosity.
3. Blog every day.

I read this “write like you talk” advice everywhere.

I’m not a chatty person, so it doesn’t come naturally to me (how annoying!).

So for many reasons, this is a mammoth challenge for me.

But unless I set some obligation for myself in my blogging journey, I know my next 100 days will look the same: no progress.

And I’d really hate that.

What I’m Hoping For

I’m hoping to gain clarity of my thoughts at the end of the 100 Day Shipping Challenge.

I’d also love to see my blog posts help someone out there even in the smallest way possible because that’s, ultimately, my goal.

For this post, I initially wrote 4,000+ words.

It shows the sad state of my mind. Ha. It’s been like this since I started blogging.

My thoughts are all over the place. I can’t explain myself clearly.

William Zinsser says a clear thinker is a clear writer.

He also points out not to try to solve everything in one post. Or something along that line.

That stood out for me.

Because so many times I felt that I was trying to solve the world problem in one post: the primary reason I couldn’t ship more often.

Final Thoughts

You’ve got to believe what you’re doing is helping someone. And learn as you go along.
– John Paul DeJoria

If you feel stuck and get frustrated in your creative endeavour like I do (or anything you want to achieve in life), remember the quote above.

And watch Seth Godin’s YouTube below.

You’ll feel compelled to start creating and shipping your work.

It’s possible his message may not “speak” to you this time.

Remember years were gone by before I was taken in and watched all his interviews obsessively?

What if, on the off-chance, this is all it takes for you to change gear as it spurred me into this challenge?

Either way, by listening to the gem of wisdom, you will most likely plant a seed for your Future Self today.

So I thoroughly recommend watching the clip below.

And please follow along with my challenge so I’ll have a privilege to have someone else to account for other than me!

(My 100 Day Challenge is complete now. Read my 10 Lessons from Doing the 100 Day Challenge.)

My Favourite Writing Tools

Grammarly (Free) – a great writing tool. Help you with spelling and grammar errors. It’s SO worth it even if all you do is writing an email or on social media.

BlueHost  – get a super easy and reliable hosting plan from BlueHost. They also give you a free domain name for one year. Sign up here and start your blog in a few minutes.

Namecheap – get a dirt-cheap domain name if you change your mind and fancy a new domain name later (like I did).

Tailwind – an absolute must-have for Pinterest to schedule hundreds and thousands of pins and save tons of time. Sign up here and get one month free!

Mailerlite – another must-have to create email marketing campaigns: sign up forms, landing pages, surveys and so on; free up to 1,000 subscribers.

Seth Godin: Quieting the Lizard Brain

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