This is my first post for 2011. It’s also the post that marks an entire new approach to my blog. And, generally speaking, to my life.

2010 was a very difficult year for me. If you’ve read my (already traditional) end year list about the things I did in 2010, you already know that. I had to face some of the most powerful challenges in my entire life. On all levels: personal relationships (ended my second marriage), financial (had to overcome some of the most profound and unexpected money problems I ever had), and also career (my non-compete agreement after selling my company in 2008 ended last year). But that is already in the past.

Having a lot of free time in the last few days, I reread some of my articles on this blog. I relived some of the situations I’ve been through. And, of course, experienced again the same type of emotions.

At some point, I just felt like I had enough. Like it was too much whining. Yes, it was difficult, but whining is not in my nature. Never was. And never will be. Letting off some steam, even in this highly camouflaged form of some methaphoric blog posts, is acceptable. But remaining in the same space of complaining is not. At least for me.

So, things are going to change around here. Less whining and more action. But even this action will be very different from what you’d expect from a New Year goals post. Just read on.

Twelve Monkeys

I’m not a big fan of New Year goals. I’m a huge fan of goals, but not during this particular time of the year. And that comes from a long experience of failing at New Year goals. Yeap, I epically blundered almost every time I made a list of things I want (or like, or dislike, or intend to change) around this time of the year.

So, as much as “counter hype” this will sound, I decided to ditch them altogether. No more New Year goals for me.

No more measurable improvements in my financial situation.

No more plans for a fulfilling personal relationship.

No more detailed action lists.

No more milestones for my businesses.

Nothing. Nada. Zero.

Instead, all I want from 2011 is to tame twelve monkeys.

What Monkeys?

Yeap, I saw that coming.  Good question.

First of all, yes, it’s a metaphor. Of course. I don’t intend to tame real monkeys.

And second, by “monkey” I understand a complete, easily describable, distinct and also, wild (as in an uncontrollable, erratic) situation about my life that will have to change.

We all have “monkeys” inside us. We all have these impulses, these habits or these unexplainable approaches that are making us behave below our true potential. A monkey is an underdeveloped part of myself which seems almost ok from the outside, but which isn’t. A part which mimics some human shapes, gestures or goals, but which never really reaches to them. Like a potential human being, stopped in the very process of evolution. You know, just monkeying around…

I find those monkeys highly uncomfortable. Because, as cute as they may be, they’re still monkeys. They’re still sketches of what I should be. Blueprints with just enough plaster on them to make them look real. Empty carcasses trying to fool everybody around that they’re the real thing. Annoying. Very annoying.

So I decided to tame them. To put them through some really tough times. Teach them to do stuff. Made them obey my own will.

That’s all I want from 2011.

Now you may somehow understand what I want, but you lack a clear image. In other words, you want some examples. Hang on in there, there will be some examples later on this post and they will also be as detailed as possible.

But don’t hold your breath. There won’t be high concepts or deep philosophical debates here. Those monkeys, those loose ends, are merely unfinished businesses. Promises I made to myself, but never lived up to them. And they are also coming from an incredible diverse field. There will be many areas in which those monkeys are going to show up. Business, social relationships, travels, to name a few that I already know.

Why Twelve Monkeys?

Because there are 12 months, of course. By the end of the year I’d like to have no more than 12 monkeys tamed. I think it’s a worthy enough challenge. I’ll consider myself happy if at the end of the year I will be able to put my finger on 12 monkeys from my life and be absolutely certain that I tamed them.

But even if there are exactly 12 monkeys, I don’t expect the taming to take only one month per monkey. Some months may fit in, one monkey per month, some may not. I may as well start on many monkeys at the same time, and follow through to see which one will be tamed first.

What I will share on this blog will be one monkey per month, though. The monkey of the month, so to speak.

I will also share in advance some of the monkeys I intend to tame, just to give you an idea about what this is going to be.

Managing Tamed Monkeys

This is one thing that I learned in my 10+ years of experience in the business world. Every project you launch must be managed afterwords. Getting out there, finishing your idea, being in the market, well, that’s just a fraction of the whole work. Once you’re outside with your new project, you’re going to manage it. Otherwise, it will die. You’ll have to monitor its progress, its behavior, its results to see of you’re on the right track.

The same thing with “monkeys”. I know there will be a lot of work after I’ll finish the taming, just to be sure the monkey won’t slip back to the same state, than it will be with the taming process itself. So, month by month, there will be a lot of managing time adding up, as more “monkeys” will be tamed.

Also, I don’t know from the start which monkey is assigned to what month. Or, to be more precise, I don’t know all the monkeys for all the months. I only know there will be twelve monkeys for the whole year. As a matter of fact, I don’t even know all the monkeys. Right now I have only 3 monkeys defined, but I know I’ll find the remaining 9 in no time.

So I’ll be picking the monkeys one by one, as time will unfold (the first three are already picked). I will announce them on the blog, of course. I will also update regularly on the progress. I am very aware of the fact that I may fail at taming some monkeys. That will be shared too, along with the reasons (as much as I will be able to tell) of the failure.

Wanna Monkey Around With Me?

The reason I’m sharing this in such a detail is because I wan you to join me. From my experience, when you have two or more people sharing and updating progress on some specific goal, things will accelerate tremendously. I still don’t know why, but I do know it just happens like this.

If you feel like you have your own “monkeys” to be tamed, join in and let’s start together. This time is as good as any other time. Don’t think at something complicated or too time consuming. As I said, this isn’t supposed to be philosophical, or spectacular. Just share it in the comments, write about it on your blog, if you have one, or just put it out in your own social media circle. Again, if you have one.

But there’s nothing compulsory about this sharing,  of course. You can start taming your monkeys without telling anyone.

The First Three Monkeys

I already picked the 3 monkeys that I will start working on. Here they are, in the intended order:

January: Get that app on the AppStore. What app? Oh, I forgot you don’t know my monkeys. It’s just this app that I’m playing with it in my mind for a few months now, and somehow, I’m not able to put it out there. It keeps slipping through my fingers, literally. I even have the name for it, but I don’t have anything written. I won’t share the name of it, instead, I will pick a code name. From now on, the app will be known, until it gets approved in the AppStore, as “33 steps”.

February: Put the New Zealand company on the track. It’s already there, functioning and making some money, but it’s not a sustainable process. In February I will be in New Zealand for a couple of weeks, so it’s a perfect time for making this happen. This monkey is one of the most delusive of all. I know I have everything I need to make things happening the way I want to, and still, somehow, this monkey insists on remaining just a monkey and not make the leap to a fully developed human being.

March: Launch this business project that I’ve already worked on for the last two months. It will be a Romanian based project and, since I don’t want to reveal much about it, I will also code name it. This will be known as “The Club”. This monkey has many, many implications on various levels. It’s primarily about my career, but it’s also about commitment and communication. It’s a whole new way to look at work for me, from a completely new position. Also, I’m sure this monkey will need a lot of management in the upcoming months.

As you can see, it’s mostly about loose ends in my work, so far. Nothing fancy. But as simple as it may look, this area is at the moment the most annonying, monkey-like, part of my life. There will be many other monkeys until the end of the year, in various areas, like relationships or health, but for start, I will focus on this work part.

So, from now on, this blog will be about taming monkeys. And although it sounds like a joke, I can assure it’s not. It may be the most important, profound and long personal challenge I ever started publicly. After all, there will be 365 days until I’ll finish this challenge.

Oh, and the most important thing about this “12 monkeys” project is that, during the entire process, I intend to have a life. A real life, with everything you would expect from it: working and having fun, watching my kids growing up and engaging myself in new personal relationships. If there will be anyone exciting enough to have me hooked. Which, to be honest, is highly unlikely at the moment.

And, of course, traveling. :)

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