September review and being the focus

Sure, autumn begins in late September. For me, it doesn’t feel like autumn until the calendar turns to October. The temperature cools down, the World Series nears, and there’s a lot of candy for sale.

Have to hold off on that last point because the real joy of buying candy doesn’t come until Nov. 1.

Here’s the August review
Here’s the July review
Here’s the June review
Here’s the May review
Here’s the April review
Here’s the March review
Here’s the February review
Here’s the January review
Here’s the 2016 review

The biggest thing that happened during the month was me being a mentor during the Learn Teach Code L.A. mentorship night event. I wrote about it here.

After that event, a couple of people followed up with more questions about Excel. In addition to that, more people found out I was certified and/or had expert knowledge and wanted me to build some sheets and troubleshoot some projects.

All of this has honestly surprised me. Yes, I’ve worked my ass off to get to the level of knowing Excel the way I know it. To have people come to me seeking help that isn’t journalism related is surprising. To see the responses of people when a problem is solved is amazing. The Salinas part of me always has that itch, waiting for the “yeah but.” But when it comes to Excel, only the praise has come.

I’m sure I’ll mess up major at some point, but I won’t be crouching block in fear. It’ll be a continued learning process.

Having reflected on the past year, I know now and can say comfortably it is possible to leave the field and move into a different field. It won’t happen in a day or a month. It could take six months or even close to a year. But it’s possible.

What made it possible for me?

First off, it was the commitment to make the change. I’m always reminded of the fable about the lady who wanted to move to Paris to become an artist. She thought about it daily, hoping that one day she could leave her 9-to-5 job and make her way overseas to fulfill her dream. The lady eventually grew too old and never made it to Paris. The reason: she never took action.

It’s taking that first step that makes all the difference. As recent as 2015, I didn’t really know whether I wanted to move back to Long Beach. Once I did, I put in the effort. From there, it was about finding out what is possible in terms of making it. First, it was freelance writing, then it was dropshipping, then it was learning to code, then it was hyperfocusing on Excel, which then led to the job I have that mixes all of those elements.

Just take action.

(if I were to get a tattoo, that’d probably be put on my arm, although I want to get a tattoo soon with something else instead)

Another reason why I think it was possible for me was because I’ve been in the lowest of lows. I was down to nothing and I don’t want to ever be back in that situation again because it sucks. Bouncing back is satisfying.

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The Injustice Finals was the first tournament I attended in quite a while, and it was good to get out to an event despite not having a car to get me around places.

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It’s been six weeks since I joined a gym and have been working out five days a week. I enjoy going to the gym. It really gives me that lift following being in the office for 8 hours. Although my workouts aren’t structured, I make sure to get in cardio and lifting.

It feels like something I needed to do once I moved here. And yes, I was running in the mornings, but it didn’t seem like enough. There’s something more satisfying about being in the gym and getting in that 90 minutes of exercise.

At some point, I’ll consider doing a structured routine but until then, I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing with the weights and cardio machines.

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I’ll be off social media in October, and my email usage will be limited.

I’ll return on November 2 or when the World Series ends, whichever comes later (Game 7 would be November 1).

This is nothing new and nothing special, to be honest. It’ll be the fifth time since 2011 I’ve done this, and each time, it’s been a good reset.

But I’ve never explained why I did/do it.

I got the inspiration in 2009, when I was so stressed out from everything happening around me when running Get Your Tournament, I took a 2-week break from going to tournaments and reporting on events. I completely shut myself off fromeverything and had my teammates run the site.

In those two weeks, I read “The Power of Now,” went to Hollywood for the first time, watched several movies (at the Arclight, you MUST see movies there!), did a bike ride from Redondo Beach to Venice and worked on some arts and crafts projects. None of those activities were part of my daily repertoire.

During the two weeks, I realized how much I had pushed myself to make Get Your Tournament work, and it was destroying me mentally (unfortunately, the worst was still to come soon after).

In the first few days, I felt itchy, as if I had to check everything that was going on. As the days passed, I was happy to be away. At the end of the two weeks, I was ready to get going again with work and reporting on tournaments.

It started in 2011, and it felt great to do it then. Then 2013, 2014 and 2016.

In 2013 I also took a 5-week break in the spring to work on my book and solely focus on getting the tedious parts done.

I take October off primarily because of the MLB postseason, regardless of whether the Giants are in it. I want to enjoy as much of it as possible. This year has the potential to be one of the all time greatest postseasons (yes I know I’m saying that even with that one team from this area favored to win, sadfacez)

There are plenty of reasons to take a break from social media.

Bloggers will note everything, citing personal, data-related and scientific reasons. It’s all there. Here are mine.

— You don’t miss anything. Really. In 2009, I thought I was going to miss all of the events and big news and major moments. Nah.

— People respect you taking a break, and they won’t bother you unless it is something unbelievably huge. During that two-week break in 2009, a friend urgent messaged me about wanting a reference for a life-changing job that came up. That was obviously worth responding to (and she got the job). The other years I’ve taken a break, nobody’s contacted me. If you tell people you’re going on a break, people will respect it. The ones who don’t aren’t worth your time.

— You have to take a break at some point. Think about work, school and other realms. You grind and grind and grind, and you’re itching for a break, so you get a break from school or take a vacation from work to get away from things. This is just like that. You shut yourself off from work, why not from social media?

— Think about how social media has changed in the last year alone. People are probably on one platform quite a lot just wanting to hear about the latest (depressing) news or check on what memes have been posted. At the start of the year, my goal was to be on social media less often. That happened early in the year, and then I reverted back to my old habits, although the majority of my posts are still stats related instead of meme related.

— There are projects to be done. I have a few, which I’ll name in a moment. At some point, the focus has to be put there.

(a note, I wrote this before the major tragedy on 10/1, so I want to add these tweets here as another reason why taking a break from social media is necessary. I’ve found myself consistently scrolling daily and going into major overload during major events, it was mentally draining)

= = =

So what will I be doing away from social media? Here are a few things:

— Ride the San Gabriel River Trail north to south, almost 30 miles.

— Work on a book

— Participate in a weekends Javascript bootcamp run by Liz

— Work on some freelance projects. I’ve asked people to hold off until October when I will give them their full attention

— Make some pitches to companies for esports events

— Prepare for some tests that will be coming up during the month

— Continue to workout

— Go into idea sex mode for my excel bootcamp (guess I better link to idea sex before people freak out)

— Read more books

— Continue to build the Capcom Pro Tour and Battle of the Stones databases

— Go out to lunch with a lady (JUST KIDDING I’M SCARED TO ASK *cries*)

So even though it’s a social media break, I’ll be quite active.

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2017 goals

Work

— Reach at least $2000/monthly combined in the online and content marketing businesses. From there, grow by at least 5 percent each month.

At the beginning of September, I mentioned I was in the process of shutting down my ebay site.

I didn’t quite shut it down, but it’s close to that. At the same time, I received my billionth notice that I linked an image to a product that I shouldn’t have although they’ve all been false. I did not ask for an explanation from ebay. However, through random chance, I understood what was going on thanks to my bosses teaching me something totally unrelated.

So as of now, it’s not shut down. If I sell something, then it sells, although with my luck and past results, it’ll probably be an item that’s out of stock.

— Begin reaching out to companies looking for copy editors and get to freelancing.

We’ll see what happens in October. I know two people who I’m going to work with during the month on their projects.

— Have the draft of 1 esports book complete

Going to go deep into writing during the month.

— Start a new podcast and break listener records of the previous shows

Not happening

— Be the official statistician for one major esports event

Had a couple of streamers tell me to email them about a couple of upcoming events, so I’ll be doing that during this month.

Workout

— Get up to 10 miles running per session (currently at 8.5)

Still at 8.5.

Personal

— Post on social media less and stay away from getting the Twitter/Facebook dopamine. I noticed the more I was on social media, the lonelier and less happier I felt. This is going to be a key for me in 2017. I remember the days when it was easy to tweet my thoughts 100 times without blinking. Let’s get it to once a day, if that.

Already talked about this.

— Get partnered on Twitch. Probably the toughest of all the tasks, given I barely have any traction and a decision by me resulted in a huge drop when I was gaining traction the past month. But I’m willing to grind for it.

I streamed once in September. Affiliate, partner, neither will happen at this point. Not my focus anymore.

— Create a new niche site specific to a game (not Gwent, it’ll be something else)

Not happening

— Post analysis of my games 3 times a week

Not happening

— Attend one out-of-state tournament that I haven’t been to before

Now I can comfortably say not happening

— Read at least 10 books. My book reading in 2016 dropped BIG TIME from the previous two years, and I need to get this back up.

Just finished Creativity Inc., the story about how Pixar came to be what it is today. Fantastic book, and I’ll do a review in the future. The book was filled with tidbits of how-tos, reminders and golden information.

That makes 11 books this year. However, I will not be content with that. There are a couple more books that I am going to read, and I should continue to read because the content is great, not because of the goal itself.

Next up is “Ahead of the Curve,” another baseball statistics book, this one about breaking down the traditional stats and explaining why the new age stats are more important.