Maker/Mistaker is the personal development blog of Jeff Finley. That’s me. Some of you might know me from Go Media or WMC Fest. Or maybe you read my book or follow me on the web. Either way you know that I’m kind of a hyper active maker of things.
But first, the name Maker/Mistaker comes from the duality in all of us. We make things and we break things. We mess up. A lot. But the world never sees it because we don’t talk about our failures much. We don’t want to look like we’re complaining. But the truth is failure is growth. And that’s what this blog is all about.
Over the years I’ve had ups and downs in my career. Most people know about the ups because that’s essentially what we are all comfortable sharing online. But the downs are the hard parts to share. As sort of a DIY entrepreneur, I’ve been able to make a lot of things happen in my twenties. At 31, my biggest claim to fame outside of Go Media is probably starting WMC Fest, which is going into its fourth year this August. It attracts over 1,500 people to our city over a three-day weekend and by most accounts is one of the most promising indie conferences in the country. I should be completely stoked right?
I am stoked. I think. I’m confused. I have felt just about every emotion imaginable as a result of this festival. The negative ones tend to take precedent; anxiety, fear, depression, stress, worry. People would say, “Oh I bet putting on such an amazing event is pretty stressful!” It really is, but there are days, weeks, and months where I feel like I just don’t care. I don’t want to get out of bed. I’ve considered giving it all up.
But I would tell myself I can’t quit because I would disappoint so many people. I would let everyone down. People would think I’m a failure and I didn’t want that. I felt like quitting would be the most terrible idea ever because only an idiot would walk away from something with so much potential.
I had fantasized about taking a year off and letting my fantastic team around me take over and see what they would do with it while I watched as a fan. It would give me some perspective that I never get to see.
But why did I feel this anxiety? Certainly it was a lot of pressure to pull off an event that featured 40+ bands across 3 stages with 20 speakers on a different stage, an art gallery with vendors, a breakdance battle, a live podcast recording, workshops, breakout sessions, and art battle, a cafe, food, beverages, etc. And that’s not even talking about money! I don’t need to tell you how I stress about money, I’m sure you can imagine.
About two months ago I was feeling like shit. It happens every year. Every damn year. This year it was longer; like the whole fall, winter, and spring.
But today I am pretty fucking calm and we’re only a month and a half away from the festival.
Shit’s about to get real. But I am feeling positive and happy and quite frankly, this is the best I’ve ever felt in a long time. I feel guilty just admitting that, but something has changed in me in the past 30 days.
I’m going to use this blog to explain how I am getting myself out of depression. How I’m surviving anxiety and how I’ll probably slip and fall back in at some point. That’s life. But I’ve been journaling now for about two weeks. I’ve been waking up two hours earlier every day and I feel amazing in the morning. I actually went to bed before midnight twice this week. On purpose! For the first time in over a decade.
Something in my mind has opened up in a way it hasn’t before. I’ve been learning about how emotions work, how good habits are formed and bad habits are broken. I’ve been diving into the world of inner peace and enlightenment and discovering your true self. For some, this can be new-agey bullshit. For others, it’s a way of life. But something about it attracts me. And it’s working.
I don’t want this blog to just be a journal of my own problems and discoveries. I want to actually help people. I want to help YOU. I know most of us only like to share our happiest and most proud moments on Facebook and Twitter, but I know we are all struggling as artists and makers of things. Let’s do this together.
I encourage you to subscribe to the RSS Feed of this blog and stay connected. I’m also looking for contributors if you feel like you have some good insight to share. This is the start of something special and I’m glad you’re with me.