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Don Approved

Do you ever feel like you’re being pulled in a million different directions? All of them feel like they’re calling your name but you don’t know which path to follow or if you should try to tackle all of them? I’m in the midst of this battle as we speak and let me tell you, being pulled in different directions is far from fun.

How did I get here?

Here’s a little back story. Some of you know that I’ve been working in IT for over 5 years. I have two degrees in the field, my B.S. Information and Communication Technologies and my A.A.S Computer Network Engineering. I have also obtained three separate certifications that are all IT related. When I started down the IT road, I was determined to do whatever it took to succeed and prove to myself that I was capable of belonging in this field. It was hard work and it still is. There are things I’m continuing to learn every day and staying on top of new technology that is ever changing can be challenging. When I first started, that wasn’t an issue. The fire in me was driving me to do whatever it took to stay on top of any information I needed. I would stay up all night working on something I felt I didn’t fully have a grasp on and I loved every second of it because I was so intrigued by what I was learning. I talked before about the importance of taking a risk on yourself (you can find it here) and for me, those risks truly paid off. I started my first IT job, got more certifications, went back to school and received my bachelors degree, got promoted twice, and from the outside, everything looks great.

Fast forward to now.

The thing about seeing things from the outside is that you don’t see the whole picture of what’s really going on. Think of it like Instagram or Facebook. Someone’s timeline may seem incredible but all you’re seeing is their highlight reel and not their whole story. What does that look like for me? Well the truth is, my fire for IT has been slowly dying down over the years.  That is when I started feeling pulled different directions. Now, this doesn’t mean I hate what I do. In fact, I still enjoy my job! I still love getting my hands on a new piece of technology and I’m grateful for everything it has done in my life. So what’s the issue? I don’t get fired up about it like I used to and the calling seems to be in other areas of my life.

What areas?

I have a calling to help others. It’s always been in my heart to give back, listen to peoples’ stories, and help them become better. That’s what created the Become Better Each Day motto. I practice what I preach so when I give off recommendations like, “just start whatever it is you think you should be doing and figure it out as you go” I say that because that’s how I live. When I started this website, it was because I had an idea in my heart that was telling me to share stories to let other people hear my real vulnerable self and maybe they can get some inspiration out of it. So I did. I created a domain, wrote what was on my heart, and shared it with all of you. And guess what? It feels amazing! I absolutely love sharing my thoughts and feelings and think more people need to start sharing theirs as well. Over the last few months, I’ve really been able to narrow down exactly where I want the site as a whole to go, where I want the Don Approved brand to go, and the vision for everything being created is becoming very clear. Spoiler, podcasts are coming soon! This is great news except for one thing, it’s going to take a lot of time and money.

Why is that a problem?

We all have a limited amount of resources and doing everything isn’t plausible, so you have to be careful where you spend these resources. For me, the website and brand don’t provide a living for my family. My job does that and my job is in IT. You should always strive to grow in whatever it is you’re doing and I have come to a crossroads on my journey. There’s a big certification called the CCNA. Without going into too many details of the certification itself, just understand for the longest time this was the Holy Grail of certifications that would separate you from the rest of the pack. In February, they are making a big change to the certification so if you have been studying for it, (which I have been) now is the time to take it. The CCNA is very challenging, expensive, and there is no refund if you do not pass. If you combine that with a passion that has been slowly fading for IT, it makes for a very difficult decision.

Another issue…

My content posted here is largely centered around health and wellness. Now, I have a lot of hands on experience in this area but what I don’t have is a formal certification. If you’re going to listen to someone, they should have something formal to back up what they are saying. I believe this and that is why I never dive too deep into one specific topic because the work needs to be credible. However, my vision for the site and brand is to start diving deeper into more specific topics. Do you see where this is going? If the vision for the site is going to work, then credentials to back up the site are a must. That is why I have been looking at health and wellness certification options. The same risks apply here as well; it’s expensive, time consuming, and there is no guarantee of passing. What’s even scarier is unlike a job where you know you will be compensated for your work, there is no compensation for the website, at least not now anyways.

One more issue

As if the battle between those two things weren’t stressful enough, there’s another element that’s been battling for my time as well. Project Hercules. This is my first business endeavor that I’ve started and it’s a pretty serious one. This project runs through my mind nonstop, my brain is always coming up with ways to make it better, advertise it better, get people more excited, make the product the best it possibly can be, and release something you are all going to LOVE. I’m up very late working on the details of how this is going to be a successful product, it takes up a ton of real estate in my mind, and I’m so fired up about it. If I thought the other two things were a risk, that’s nothing in comparison to this. This is a big investment in every aspect. Business license, distributors, packaging, designs, and so much more has gone into this and it’s only in the beginning stages. What is Project Hercules? I can’t tell you yet but I can tell you that it’s not fitness related.

Okay, we need a solution.

Life puts you in these different scenarios to push you and allow you to grow. Sometimes you are forced to sit your butt down, take a hard look at what’s going on, and make a stinking plan. That’s exactly what I did. Feeling overwhelmed isn’t going to get you anywhere so I started the process by taking a step back and looking at this from the outside. Here are the results.

First:

Take the CCNA. It’s one exam, so take it and be done with it. If you never use it, oh well, but it may be a game changer down the road.

Second:

Get certified in the health and wellness area. The vision for the site is one I know is going to be impactful and I want to continue this journey with all of you. I also want to provide the best content I can produce. In order to do that, I believe the certification will help me tap into areas I haven’t even thought of yet. We are in this for the long haul so I hope you’re as excited as I am about the future of the site.

Third:

Let Project Hercules play out organically. This is such an exciting endeavor and even though I wish I could release it tomorrow, it’s a big project that deserves the proper time to get everything in place to make it a great success.

All that stress and anxiety that was weighing on me was able to be broken down into three steps. Yes, these steps will take time and be a lot of work but now I have a plan. Remember the importance of a plan? That’s exactly what we are doing here. If you have a problem or feel overwhelmed, often times you just need to sit down and put a plan in place. Your brain is amazing at making millions of decisions per second but it’s not very good at creating an entire road map on the fly.

Do you need to sit down?

Do you feel like you’re being pulled in every direction? If so, maybe it’s time for you to sit down and make your own roadmap. This can be applicable with anything in life. If you start feeling overwhelmed, you may just need to take some time to be by yourself and really go over what is causing those feelings. Then come up with a plan to resolve them! I’ve found that in my own life, the problems aren’t as big as I made them out to be when I just give them the time they deserve.

Become Better Each Day

Donovan Armstrong

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