Beatrix Kiddo’s Guide to Making It Happen

Kiddo

Did you happen to see Kill Bill? Quentin Tarantino, in his infinite wisdom, swirled two good and completely incompatible movies together to create a pair of interesting but confused train wrecks. I happen to like the slow-moving parts, because I’m weird. People hacking each other up with swords bores me, but I really like long conversations where we Find Out About Everything.

I hadn’t thought about this pair of movies since they came out, but lately Beatrix Kiddo, the triumphant and sometimes reluctant heroine, keeps springing to mind. I can see her calm, determined face as she sets herself to the task in front of her and starts methodically punching.

One, two, three . . . one billion and one, one billion and two, one billion and three . . .

Whether she’s recovering from a four-year coma or punching her way out of a six-foot-deep living grave, Beatrix Kiddo’s got something I need . . . focus.

Punching through to the next level

That image of Beatrix methodically punching had been flashing itself into my consciousness for weeks before I figured it out.

Now the complete flake’s way of getting things done has been working extremely well for me for years now. It’s brought me a terrific life. Great job, the world’s most wonderful kid, happy marriage, beautiful garden, and a little blog I love to death.

But I’ve been feeling a call to take it up a notch. The Men with Pens have issued a challenge as they’ve been working on my blog re-design. Do I want to stay little and comfortable, or do I want this blog to really convey something remarkable?

Eek.

It’s so nice, so comfortable to just stay here where I am. To stick with what works pretty well. If I want to really grow, I have to do things I don’t yet know how to do. I have to try stuff that freaks me out. God forbid, I even have to make embarrassing mistakes.

So how do I do all that?

Punch punch punch punch punch.

Knowing Why You Want What You Want

Quentin Tarantino gave Beatrix a pretty strong (some might say cartoonishly strong) reason for moving forward. On her wedding day, when she was 9 months pregnant, the villain (that would be Bill) shot up her wedding, killed her bridegroom, shot Beatrix in the head and put her in a coma, and stole her unborn child. Getting revenge on all that is pretty good motivation.

I’m pretty glad I don’t have that kind of motivator. But I do have two forces that drive me to work nights and weekends, get up early and go to bed late, and focus my naturally flaky mind on getting my projects done and pushing through to the next level.

The first is the freedom of self-reliance. When I was 17, I went on an extended wander around Europe. I was 100% responsible for my own well-being. If I needed more cash, I scrounged a job. I went where I wanted, how I wanted, when I wanted. Ireland looked cool, so I made my way over there and spent about two months hitchhiking the circumference of the island. (Note to 17-year-olds reading this, don’t hitchhike, it’s a terrible idea. Besides, this was about 1,000 years ago, it’s more dangerous now.)

I still remember what it felt like to make my own circumstances. When you rely completely on yourself, you actually become more secure, not less so. You’ll always be able to take better care of yourself than someone else will.

I lost that habit along the way, but I’m taking it back again with a vengeance. Punch punch punch punch punch. I’m creating my own wealth, my own opportunities, my own (and my family’s) destiny.

My second motivator is the millions of little kids around the world who desperately need some help. They can’t make their own destinies. They’re too little, and there’s nothing to make a destiny out of. AIDS orphans, disfigured kids whose parents can’t afford to fix their cleft palates, kids who are just plain hungry because there’s no way to grow enough food.

I contribute 10% of my remarkable communication income to helping kids in bad circumstances. My two favorite groups right now are World Vision and Smiletrain. The more money I make, the more kids I can help. I have some pretty optimistic financial goals, fueled by the idea of helping hundreds and eventually thousands of kids.

Steve Pavlina has a pretty neat exercise to discover your life’s purpose: keep writing down possible answers until you write one that makes you cry. This one’s mine. It helps me think big–not playing the game for “comfortable” or “good enough,” but playing to win on a big scale.

Practice, Man, Practice

You don’t learn the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique in an afternoon, you know. If you want to get really good, you’ve got to practice.

I’ve been writing for a long time. I’ve written plenty of stuff that’s no good. I’ve written blog posts I thought would be popular, that ended up fizzling out. And on the other side, I’ve written stuff that got an amazing response far beyond my expectations.

If you want to get good, you’ve got to keep training yourself. Punch punch punch punch punch. You train when you’re tired. You train when you’re in a bad mood. You train when you’re short on time. You train when you have no ideas left in your head.

I’ve written pretty close to every day for about 20 years. (OK, I did take four days off for the C-section.) Writing comes more easily to me than it does to some, because my instincts are bone-deep at this point. But I also put more time and effort in than a lot of writers, because I care more.

Don’t let any of this freak you out or scare you off. Just know that it’s all about showing up. Keep showing up and you’ll start to get really good. Time’s going to pass anyway, so you might as well spend it working toward something remarkable.

At the End of the Day, Connect

One of the things I like about Beatrix Kiddo’s character is she’s not cold. Sure, she’s a ruthless assassin who can win a fight by tearing out her opponent’s (remaining) eye, but that doesn’t mean she’s not a warm person.

It doesn’t really work in the movie, but it works for me. There’s a dopiness and a humanity about Beatrix that shines through the kung fu cliches and Tarantino’s giddy affection for violence. Underneath it all, even if she is the deadliest woman in the world, she’s just a mom with a mission.

Beatrix’s happily-ever-after doesn’t come from killing everyone. (Although it does come after killing everyone. That’s the difference between Beatrix and me. I’m destroyed by guilt if I squish a spider.) It comes from finally making the connection with the human being who matters most to her. So go ahead and strap on that Hattori Hanzo katana sword, smite your enemies and triumph over the evildoers. But then make those connections. That’s where your real success will come from.

Punch punch punch punch punch. Wish me luck.

Comments

  1. James says:

    Great post. A reminder that if you stop you fall.

    Have no fear, and never give up on a good idea, are two of my guiding principles.

    James

  2. Dave Navarro says:

    “punchpunchpunchpunchpunch”

    I’ll be carrying that line with me all day when I need a boost of motivation :-)

    Dave Navarros last blog post..Wednesday is “Rock Your Business” Day – So What’cha Want?

  3. Karen Swim says:

    Sonia, I plan to sit ringside and watch you knock out your opponent. Punch punch punch punch has just become my new mantra! Nice new home, perfect place for punching!

    Karen Swims last blog post..Hitting the Pause Button

  4. Casey says:

    Love the new site and deeply love this post. Very, very inspirational.

    Caseys last blog post..Butterscotch Bliss

  5. Christie says:

    Thanks for this super motivational post.

    Parents always bang on about persistence and consistency when you’re young. Then you grow up and think ‘You know what, they’re right!’.

    Christies last blog post..Juicy, creamy, sweet n nutty. Who, me?

  6. Wow! It looks awesome. They did a great job. Taking it to the next level is always a big step. Now your blog matches your great content.

    Karl Staib – Your Work Happiness Matterss last blog post..30 Seconds of Laughing and a Few Minutes of Learning

  7. Sonia Simone says:

    You all get a giant hug. Thanks for all the lovely words, and for following me to the snazzy new pad!

  8. Bet you punch punch punch punch punch becomes a mantra… hehehe

  9. Sonia Simone says:

    When you need it, it’s a good one. :)

  10. Dave Navarro says:

    Is punchpunchpunchpunchpunch.com taken? :-p

    Dave Navarros last blog post..Wednesday is “Rock Your Business” Day – So What’cha Want?

  11. ooh…and big ahhhh…..this is one lady in waiting who is very very pleased to be in queue …those Men With Pens…look what they can do.

    Pretty mom on a mission great, Beatrix. ;-)

    With you all the way. Punch punch punch.

    Janice Cartiers last blog post..Not this Color, Exactly

  12. GirlPie says:

    Bookmarked the too-long-for-now post but had to tell you how lovely the new blog is, just a pleasure. (Minor tweak: consider having your header extend all the way to the right to match the margin that it has on the right. In my foxfire browser at nearly full screen, it stops short an inch too soon.)

  13. Sonia Simone says:

    Thanks, and good to see you here, GP! I’ll pass that along.

  14. @ GirlPie – Actually, that would be something for the theme developer to look into. It’s the way the theme is built, not an error of our design. Sorry to disappoint!

  15. GirlPie says:

    MWP – I’m surprised you let that go… you’re the designers. I’ve customized my own themes before, you could certainly tell whomever you bought it from to fix the obvious error — letting it stand is a design decision. Funny you would choose to let that go, but not terribly surprising. Guess you did your best, thanks for pointing off the responsibility. very telling.

  16. RB says:

    @GirliePie: You know, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen you snarking about a blog design. What’s up with that? I think your comment is very telling, too. Nobody likes a heckler, and it’s an insult to Sonia as well.

  17. Sonia Simone says:

    OK, settle down. GP, that’s not acceptable here, if you want to pick a fight, take it outside.

  18. GirlPie says:

    Someone’s looking for trouble and it’s not me — RB, I don’t what you’re talking about — I don’t snark about blog design or anything else, thank you, do you have something in mind that you define as “snarking”? I’m neither heckling nor insulting Sonia, I’m a huge fan of hers, as every other comment I’ve ever left attests. I was replying to a comment made to me directly by MWP, speaking only to their decision as designers to allow a template to define their product.

    Gee Sonia, I don’t know what you find unacceptable, but I’d like to. Was it replying to MWP? Or is it unacceptable to disagree with a professional decision? Or was it in alerting them that templates can be changed?
    I’m puzzled that an exchange of ideas, and replies to direct comments, are considered picking a fight… maybe any reply to or about MWP is verboten? Is that the rule here? Really?

  19. Sonia Simone says:

    GirlPie, I respect you and like you, and I have always found you a constructive critic. I have been on the Web for a long time, and my tolerance for trolls is zero. The only reason this comment thread isn’t pixel dust is because I do have that respect.

    Having said that, you don’t have license to troll here. You’re not two years old and I’m not going to point out the snarky parts of your post. Your tone with James was snotty and unhelpful. I’m actually pretty disappointed in your trying to be disingenuous about that.

    Here’s the rule here: If I feel like you’re acting like a butthead and putting a chill on the conversation, I remove your posts. You’re standing right on that line. You’d be over it, but I’ve always respected your thoughtfulness in the past.

    If this conversation continues to be unproductive, I’m removing it. My joint, my rules.

  20. GirlPie says:

    I respect your joint Sonia, as I always have, and I thought it was a place to agree to disagree. I must assure that I am not being disingenuous when I insist that I intended no snarkiness, no snotty tone, and genuinely felt I was helpful: in the compliment to your new design, in pointing out what looks like an oversight, and in replying directly to a comment to me that themes can be altered so it must have been a design not to.
    I sincerely hope you do leave this conversation Sonia, as instructive to your other readers about what is considered snarky and being a troll here, but I’ll just read and enjoy and keep out of your comments, out of my respect for you. No need for name calling, thanks.

  21. Sonia Simone says:

    A classy response. And I do appreciate the feedback on the design issue, thank you for that, as for the excellent suggestions you’ve made over the past year.

  22. Judy Dunn says:

    Wow, Sonia,

    Looks like I missed all the excitement!

    What a phenomenally cool blog design Men with Pens created. I absolutely love the dark blue-starry, planetish look. (Tell me that’s what it is.) I get that feeling when I read your blog posts. Ideas I’ve never encountered before, like unnamed planets. Okay, that’s a little weird.

    I never saw Kill Bill yet I could related to your analogies.

    And World Vision? OMG! I was Manager of Grantwriting there back in the late 80s and you have picked one fine organization to support. I went to sub-Sahara Africa to evaluate some health and agriculture projects and was amazed at the community development stuff going on at the village level. I actually witnessed a tiny baby being saved by oral rehydration therapy.

    Thanks, as always, for the thoughtful post. And congratulations on the new design!

    Judy Dunns last blog post..Old-Fashioned, Real-Time Networking: The Day I Ditched Web 2.0

  23. Soooooooooooooo much prettier!

    I know it’s ultimately about content, and I’d read you mimeographed, but it is so nice to bring your look up to where your stuff is.

    Good show, kiddo!

  24. Sonia Simone says:

    Thanks C! I’m feeling pretty spiffy in these shiny new clothes.

    Judy, that is so cool to hear! There’s a lot I respect about World Vision. And sometimes things in my life (and I think most of our lives here in the wealthy first world) get so abstract. WV is doing some incredible stuff bringing anti-retrovirals to communities that have been devastated by HIV–literally seeing moms get up from their death beds and start to live again and take care of their kids. Completely non-abstract. We all have that thing that lights our fire–that one really does it for me. Awesome to get your confirmation of the work they are doing, thank you so much!

    Love the unnamed planets thing! Hm, maybe I need to do another Star Trek post. :) I think I’ve maxed out my quota on that over at CB, so I’d better do it here!

    I think of the design as combining space (infinite possibilities) + connections (the network of bright points connected together). Plus I’m fairly sure that texture is concrete. No toddlers or monkeys, but that’s what the post images are for, right?

    Harry’s hair is probably falling out at my goofy analysis of his lovely design, but that’s how I see it. You may see it differently. ;)

  25. *checks hair* Nope. It’s all still there.

    I think the image is fiber optics. At least that’s what I was searching for.

    I guess if you stand on your head, light a candle and squint a little you could see some monkeys. Or that could just be all the blood rushing to your head.

  26. Sonia Simone says:

    I will tell you the truth, I don’t have to work very hard to see monkeys. Somehow they just keep showing up.

  27. J.D. Meier says:

    Bravo! Knowing why you do what you do is key. Nothing’s worse than finding your ladder was up against the wrong wall.

    “Why” you do what you do is key. Next is “How” you do it. The “What’s” are flexible if you’re living your values and driving by your Why.

    I think Vision, Mission, Values, and measures help a lot, even in a blog. I recently moved one of my blogs and lost all my reader base — so it’s basically from scratch. Yesterday, I added a Vision and Mission and it helps — it feels like I have clarity on my quest (world’s best insight for work and life). I realize I forgot to add my values, but I’ll add those at some point.

    To your punch punch punch … right on! Sometimes the right metaphor is dynamite — blast through it. Other times, it’s like a stone cutter … keep chipping away until one day you break through. Punch … punch .. punch.

    J.D. Meiers last blog post..Social Loafing

  28. Lexi Rodrigo says:

    Thanks for writing this entertaining and inspiring post. Punch, punch, punch, punch sure beats “work your b**t off.” Moms on a mission – that’s what we are!

    PS Congratulations on your beloved blog’s new look. Guess it’s “growing up!”

  29. Julie Stuart says:

    Love this post Sonia. It’s super inspirational. I’m going to get myself a mission that makes me cry. Thanks for setting that bar up! Love it.

  30. Pinar says:

    I could only see the beginning of Kill Bill. Please don’t hate me, but I don’t like Tarantino. Well, I have nothing against the guy, I just don’t like his film-making. Any actress’ feet on camera for about 10 minutes, and I am out…
    But I love revenge movies, inspiration and dedication. I have no choice, I am addicted to writing. But sometimes I really do feel like crying. Nope, I don’t feel like giving up.
    But I really need more hours in the day. Any ideas on how to sleep less and write more? I read Pavlina’s posts about how to sleep less and get more rest+ how to give up coffee and it just isn’t working on me…
    .-= Pinar´s last blog ..Actors, Getting Naked and Their Take on Nudity =-.

  31. Wow – look where the punchpunchpunch got you, girl! Thank you for being so open and honest, this post is now bookmarked for when I need a boost of confidence and motivation.

  32. Sonia Simone says:

    I know, Denise, it’s weird isn’t it? It’s funny for me to think about not knowing what the path in front of me would look like when I wrote this.

    So far, it’s been pretty damned interesting. :)

  33. Emily Rose says:

    I love those movies, the corniness the over-the-top gore fest and all the story telling, so dramatic.

    Putting my focus into this perspective is ideal for me right now, i have alot that i feel i am up against, and its just a matter of punching through any and all resistance (including myself)!

    You’ll never know what will happen until you try!

    Punch punch punch punch punch!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] how consistent we are with action. Whether you’re building a blog, developing a new habit, or punching your way out of a living grave (thanks, Sonia), taking focused, non-stop action on a daily basis speeds up your results [...]

  2. [...] September 11, 2008 at 11:13 am (self improvement) (motivation, time management) Beatrix Kiddo’s Guide to Making It Happen | Remarkable Communication. [...]

  3. [...] Beatrix Kiddo’s Guide to Making It Happen: I do love The Bride, and I also believe that you should know why you want what you want. [...]

  4. [...] I’ve written about before, I donate 10% of my self-employment income to these organizations, or ones similar to [...]

  5. [...] up the escape route when the cabin starts to fill with smoke, and giving me the ninja strength to punch my way through obstacles and make things [...]

  6. [...] the Author: Sonia Simone is Senior Editor of Copyblogger and the founder of Remarkable Communication. [...]

  7. [...] I now need to get a Beatrix Kiddo figure for Sonia, who just gets out there and goes punch punch punch, and something magical as my Scottish Joanna who would probably know what that Chanda Mama [...]

  8. [...] And be too damned stubborn to quit. [...]

  9. [...] We’re not confident in our writing, in our own products, and in our own value. So we do that half-punch thing…where it feels like it should be right but ends up pretty darn [...]

  10. [...] longer. It’s time I got off my tail, punched through a few obstacles, and put this out once [...]

  11. [...] Be too damned stubborn to quit, but not so stubborn that you won’t try new approaches. And will you succeed?Yes you will indeed!(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)~Dr. Seuss [...]

  12. [...] Be too damned stubborn to quit, but not so stubborn that you won’t try new approaches. And will you succeed?Yes you will indeed!(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)~Dr. Seuss [...]

  13. [...] Be too damned stubborn to quit, but not so stubborn that you won’t try new approaches. And will you succeed? Yes you will indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.) ~Dr. Seuss [...]