Episode 13: Accountability Time! February Progress Towards My 2018 Goals


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Hi, I'm Victoria Hefty and, welcome to Activate Purpose, where I talk about finding purpose through action while balancing motherhood and career. In today's episode, I'm going to talk a little bit about what I've been up to these past few weeks. I'll walk you through my progress in some of the projects that I committed too at the beginning of the year, as part of my New Year's resolution. And I'll share some of the things I'm doing well. Along with some of the things that I'm struggling with.

So, let's get to it.

First, let me say it's been three weeks since I've recorded my last episode and it feels so good to be back. So, why was I gone? Well, life kinda happened so, one week I had the stomach flu, which was not great as you can imagine. And then, another week I was working on this consulting project that I've been doing part-time but, that day I really had a deadline that I had to meet. And, I debated whether to come in and record but I knew that I wasn't going to be able to really put 100% effort into the podcast with this project in my mind. So, I postponed that. And then, last week the owner of the studio that I record in, he was away on vacation having a great time and so, I actually used that time to work on my other creative projects, which I'm actually going to talk about today.

The point is, I really missed being able to get out of the house and spend a couple of hours working and reporting this podcast. So yes, I know a lot of people podcast at home but, for me, it's less about the financial aspect of paying for studio time and more about as a mom, who works at home. It's really important for me to get out and have a place that I can go to just for myself, to really focus on my one thing that I'm doing right now that I don't have to be at home for. So, I really just genuinely enjoy it and after this sort of, unintended hiatus. I realized that it's actually, something I need, not just enjoy. So, plain and simple, just wanted to share that in case, people were wondering why I hadn't uploaded an episode in, like I said, three weeks. But, I am back.

If you hadn't had a chance to listen to episode number 10, which you should. In that episode, I shared three of my goals for 2018. They were to speak at a Ted X Talk in preparation for a future big dream goal of mine, which is to be a Ted X ... Or, Ted speaker. Another goal was to write a children's book for my daughter, which was based on my Grandmother's life. And then finally, the third goal was to "own", I'm putting that in quotes, air quotes, the maternity leave space in the U.S.

I'll give you an update in that order. So first, Ted X. So this is sadly, probably the one thing that I haven't followed through on as much as I would like. So, on one hand it's because I had to focus on the children's book due to timing issues, which I'll talk about in a minute. But honestly, that's also an excuse. I haven't been as focused or aggressive as I really need to be about this. I did make some progress. So, I went to the Ted website where you can find a list of upcoming Ted Talks events all over the world, it's actually pretty amazing to see. And, most of the times they provide a link for the Ted X event and then, an email for the organizer.

 And so, I found a couple events that I would really, you know, wanted to be a part of. But either, they had set their agenda or, their speakers like, well in advance or, those events had already happened. So, I was a little bit disappointed at that but, I actually, found one event that I would have loved to speak at but, I can't. But, I can attend. So, I'm going to actually, buy the ticket and attend it. And I'm trying to be more conscious about saying ... Stop saying I plan to do something and just actually do it. So, this weekend, I'm going to buy a ticket and support this Ted X talk. So, no excuses. I'll hold myself accountable.

But, what I did do was, I did email a couple of the organizers for the Ted Talks that are taking place later this year and, I did inquire about speaking or, volunteering as sort of a way to be involved in the organization and meet people and, possibly network and become a speaker next year or, the following year. No one has responded yet but, I also haven't followed up. Again, accountability, which hasn't been great on my part. So, overall, I'm going to give myself a C. I'm going to grade myself a C on this project. I know I haven't done as much as I need too, and I will definitely make this a higher priority, so I expect to have a much better update when I share my progress next month.

Okay, so now that I have that failure out of the way. The second project that I talked about was creating a children's book for my daughter, based on my grandmother's lessons. So, a little background, which I don't think I gave last time. So, I'm Kenyan, 100%. Born in Kenya actually, but I was raised in the U.S. My Grandmother is this sort of, amazing Kenyan woman who I think, was far ahead of her generation when it comes to education, knowledge, world view. She was raised in a very rural village in Kenya, where education for little girls was not considered a priority. Something that is, sadly still very true today in some areas of the world.

But, my Grandmother's father, was actually, a really progressive teacher who thought differently. So, my Grandmother ended up receiving an excellent education as a woman. Became a teacher herself. Had 8 children and, has really traveled the world as part of the clergy in her church. So, she's very involved and every time we talk to her she's always like. "I'm on my way to Kesumo." Or to, wherever. She's just not a sit at home type of, Grandmother. So again, amazing. I've been inspired by her. I think, everyone that meets her is just, blown away by her. But, she's 86 years old and I thought it would be great to sort of, understand what life lessons she has and would like to pass on to her grandchildren. And I thought ... because, every night I read my daughter children's books, I thought it would be really cool to understand what life was like as a child for my Grandmother. Asking some of the simple questions like. "What was her favorite book growing up?" Or, "What were her favorite fruits and vegetables?" Things that my toddler can relate too but I think, just make her more human and see her as a little girl not just as, my Grandmother.

And so, I'd really like to do that. So, when I told my mom that I wanted to write this book, my mom actually, mentioned that she was going to Kenya in April and so, I actually, panicked because it is February 22nd and if you do the math that basically, just gives me March and then, April it's time to go. So, I wanted my mom to be able to take printed copies of the book with her, which meant that I had to get to work ASAP. So, I would say this has been over the past two weeks.

I immediately went online and I did some research and I actually, found a couple places that can print 25 or more, copies of the book. So, so far my favorite website has been Book Baby. I've done sort of, my due diligence and I feel like that's probably the website that I'm going to use to actually, upload the book template and have them print it out. It appears that, they'll have it ... Once I'm all ready to go, it takes about five days to print and have the book delivered, which is doable. So, I need some like, what do you call it? Like, a grace period. Like a cushion time, so about a two week window to process all of that. Which actually, gives me about three weeks to find someone that can illustrate this book for me because again, it's a children's book. It's not like a novel.

This part is actually, been more difficult than I anticipated. So first, I went to peopleperhour.com, which is my favorite freelance website for anything graphic or website related. So I searched for 'children's illustrator' and the great thing was that I found plenty of well reviewed freelancers who were really responsive to my proposal. But, the issue is, the most of the illustrations that I like, seem to be sketched or drawn by hand. And so, everyone was giving me quotes of one to two months to do all of the illustrations for the book, which again, not going to meet my deadline. And, my book is about 20 pages double-sided. Which again, I spent a lot of time ... Actually, I like, went through I think, about 30 copies of my daughter's books to see what a standard "children's book" would be like. And they all seem to be anywhere from 15 to 30 pages, double-sided. So, I figured 20 pages double-sided would be good.

And then, there's a length of time. And then, the other issue is, most people quoted anywhere from like, $30 - $60 per full page illustration. So, the price does add up pretty quickly. But you know, I'm going to say that. "You know what? This is well worth it." In my opinion. "To have as a family memento." I'll see if my family members can contribute to it but, I think that it's just important to have and to not let the price determine whether or not I do it. I know that it will be worth it once my Grandmother sees that book.

Overall, I think that I've finally found someone that can meet my deadline. This great illustrator, I think she's from the Philippines. But, it's one of those things I like because, you're not charging them like, $6 an hour. You are paying them a fair rate but, I think that, it can obviously go a lot further in the Philippines, so I think that, that ... I'm doing my small part in the world, I think, to give an opportunity to someone who would probably benefit from it and also, does an amazing job.

I'm going to put down a deposit, soon. And, once I work out the details. But, fingers crossed that it all works out. And then, oh also, I should say I have no idea what I'm actually going to write about. That is kind of important. But, I figured that it was actually a lower priority because, I need to find an illustrator, first. And then, figure out the rest later. But what I did do was, I went online and I found some great questions that people suggested using if you're going to write an autobiography or interview someone about their life history. Which, I'll actually include a link in the show notes to those types of questions. But, based on this, I created a list of 30 questions that my Grandmother is going to write out and then either, scan or send the pictures to me because again, she's in rural Kenya. Which is ... It's actually more of a manual process but that's okay.

The technology actually, has been really interesting. So, I'll give you an example. So, I sent ... I created the list of questions. Made it into a PDF, I sent my mother an email of the PDF with the questions that I wanted my Grandmother to fill out. My mom then sent the PDF via What's App to my cousin in Kenya and then, my cousin in Kenya had that PDF printed out at an Internet Café, and gave it to my Grandmother, who still lives in rural village. So, all of this happened within like, two hours. It's actually, pretty amazing when you think about that. At least, to me it is.

Again overall, really excited about this. I would give myself an A on this project. I'm proud of the progress. I don't have all of the moving parts figured out but I think, that I do have the big ... I am aware of the challenges and working on something every day to sort of, get myself closer to the whole ... To the goal. And, I'm hopeful that it will all come together.

Lastly, maternity leave. So, as I mentioned in episode 10, I wanted to finally own a category based on, some advice that I had heard from Tim Ferris. And since I had already written a book called "The Insiders Guide to Maternity Leave", and have had a lot of people and even, a company reach out to me for advice about this topic. It seemed like a smart decision to just, put myself out there in a more bold way and, own this category. But, I'll be honest. I spent the last few weeks struggling with what I wanted this site to be about. Yes, it's about maternity leave but, for my angle. I'm trying to figure out, what's going to make a different, unique, or frankly, how can I make a topic that ... You know, yes is obviously really important. But, the details mans, at times, it's like boring or complex. And, how do I make all of that engaging and easy to understand?

I can say that I am still working out the details but, I'm happy with the progress that I've made so far. So specifically, I narrowed it down to one name. It's not like, the sexiest name but, you know what? I think it does exactly what I need it to do, which is I think, accomplishment in and of itself. I have a logo and, I purchased a WordPress theme for the website. So, two weeks ago I actually, spent a weekend finding a template that I really liked. And I was able to use my hosting server and basically, I published the site. But, here's the thing, don't get excited. So, the site is actually, in maintenance mode and that means if you were to like, go on the website right now it says, "Coming Soon". It's empty but, I'm writing the articles as we speak and I plan to publish a good majority of those articles by February 28th. At least, that is the date that I have written down in my goals for this month. And I'm such a goal oriented person that I really, really hate missing deadlines. So I know matter what, I'm going to Press publish on February 28th and just hope that I'll be happy with it.

And of course, once it goes Live I can still update as much as I want too. So, I'm excited about that. So, what I am doing ... Again, this is a tactical podcast but I think that, a lot of people may appreciate that. So, what I am doing is I'm currently writing all of my articles in Google Docs. And then, I'll spend a full weekend just focusing on tidying up those articles and then, putting them into the website. And, I'll worry about what sort of, images or visualizes, aesthetic stuff, later.

I think, I would say the biggest thing right now that is helped me focuses really thinking about the articles that I'm writing and making sure that they're thoughtful and helpful. I spent a significant amount of time doing keyword research to better understand what types of questions people online are searching for. And this actually, let's me know what people are actually searching for and, what type of information they are seeking. Rather than, what I think they are searching for. I think it's much better when you just go straight to what people are searching for. And so, similar to the children's book, I'll have a much better update next month, once I feel like the site is real and it's published. But, for this one, I'm going to give myself a solid A minus, B plus. I expect to really spend more time on this in the following two weeks and so again, I'm really excited for what is ahead.

That's it for me. As you can tell, I've been incredibly busy with these projects. Not to mention, my consulting projects and still trying to be a mom and a wife. But, I will say that, overall I'm really proud of the progress I've made. And also, I own the areas that I have completely just, either fallen down on or haven't taken as much proactive actions towards. And so, I do have to take accountability for those failures, as well.

My challenge though, for you this week. Is to continue pushing on any goal that you made, either as part of your New Year's resolution or, as a life or creative goal. As you can see from my update today, some thing's I'm doing well. Others not so much but, that's okay. I'm just taking it one day at a time. And, I really challenge you to do the same. Ask yourself what is one thing you can do today, to move that goal of yours one step along. Maybe, it's sending an email. Or maybe, it's doing keyword research like I did to see what people are saying about an area that interests you. But surely, there's just one thing that you can do. So make it happen.

As always, if you have any questions, email me at victoria@activatepurpose.com. And make sure to read the show notes, especially for this episode at activatepurpose.com/episode13. I'm going to have a long list of all the resources that I'm using for each one of the goals. So, the Ted X, the children's book, and the website. And, if you enjoyed today's episode, make sure to leave a review and subscribe to next week's episode. I promise there will be an episode next week, no more long hiatus.

Until next time, thank you for listening.



I'm Victoria, your host.jpg
Activate Purpose