Eight Months on My Journey of Beer, Wine, And Spirits.....Annnndddd
It has been eight months since I retired from the military and set off on this quest to learn all about beer, wine, and spirits, sharing my experiences and what I have learned with all the social media platforms. One thing I have learned is that starting something like this is very difficult.
My vision and mission is to continue to learn, grow, and bring value every day through my exploration of beer, wine, and spirits. I want to tell the stories of brewers, distillers, and winemakers from all over the world in hopes of bringing you closer to the products you enjoy.
The number one question I get from people when traveling is, “Why don’t you focus on just beer or wine or spirits? It would be easier.” I don’t want easy. Not that studying just one would be easy when there’s so much to learn, but diving into all three is an undertaking. I’m having a lot of fun making the connections and finding the crazy commonalities between all three.
So, let’s get to it. Where am I coming up short after eight months?
Problem #1- No question about it, daily scheduling has been my biggest issue. Prioritizing what was on my schedule was not working. I used to write a checklist, but that was not effective. I was traveling and was only accomplishing half of what I actually wanted to get done because day to day things kept piling up.
Problem #2- Asking for help. I don’t do it! Why? My ego, to be very honest. I am slowly learning that attending school, holding a part-time job, writing, traveling, and learning about beer, wine, and spirits is a lot to do for one person. Trying to cram 10 pounds of stuff in a 5-pound bag doesn’t work. You’re only getting 5 out of the 10 pounds into the bag, no matter how hard you try. That leads me to my third problem.
Problem #3- Doing too much or putting too much on my plate. Is there such a thing? Some days, I would say yes. Okay, most days I would say yes. But what is too much? If I don’t get eight hours every night, does that constitute too much work? I have seen my relationships suffer and had trouble with communication between my friends and family. I’ve learned that the essential thing is to find work/life balance. I mean, hard work pays off. Right?
Problem #4- Worrying about how many likes and followers I have. This drove me insane the first couple of months. I would post something that I thought was amazing and it wasn’t well-received. Then, I posted me swinging a kettlebell and it was the most popular post I’d had in months. While it’s nice to get likes and followers, giving value and providing quality content is my main priority now and going forward.
Problem #5 - Listening to that f&*king voice that is fearful of everything. Actually listening to it. Should I start a website or vlog? Should I reach out via email to breweries, wineries, and distilleries? Umm no, because they will say no and it hurts to get rejected, so it’s best to not even go down that road. There’s a reason I hear that voice. I have a real hard time in front of the camera, so vlogging is tough for me. I am not an open person. While this is a challenge, I’ve always liked the saying “be comfortable with being uncomfortable”. So, I’m going to start ignoring that voice, and I hope it pays off!
So, what’s working, Mr. Know-it-all?
Tactic #1 - I started to schedule my priorities for the week every Sunday, and this fixed nearly everything. I would set aside time for social media, writing for my website, traveling, and meeting with breweries, wineries, and distilleries. I’d stick to a schedule for my online college classes, professional development, the gym, learning French, and unavoidable tasks like grocery shopping. I have been using various tools over the past year, and the one that really works for me is the panda planner. It truly is an amazing product, and I’m not getting paid to say that. They make an extremely effective daily, weekly, and monthly planner that has additional features like space for tracking gratitude, an hourly schedule, affirmations, an exercise log, tips for maintaining focus, and so much more. This tool has helped me be proactive instead of reactive.
Tactic #2 – Not being afraid to ask for help or of what people think. I will pitch what I am doing to airlines and ask them to sponsor me on flights. I will email and call breweries, wineries, and distilleries to explain why it makes sense for a guy to travel around the world instead of attending school to learn about beer, wine, and spirits.
Tactic #3- Sacrificing and making good choices in my 20s and early 30s. None of this would be possible without the choice I made early in my career to stay in the military. I invested in real estate and created a passive income that allows me to travel around the world.
Tactic #4- Making time for daily gratitude and affirmations. Writing these things down first thing in the morning starts my day off with a positive mindset and instills a clear vision of what I want to achieve.
Tactic #5- Getting rid of the negativity in my life. When I was traveling and learning from brewers, distillers, and winemakers, people would ask if and how I was making money. I wasn’t making anything. I didn’t care. People had doubts. They said I need to do this and that, or go work at this place, make this amount. Getting rid of the negativity helped clarify my goals and how I would achieve them.
Here was my initial list of goals when I started in August 2017, going through 2018
· Create a website
· Write two stories a month
· Travel to 12 different countries
· Create social media profiles
· Start a vlog
· Reach Level 2 in wine and spirits from Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) in London, UK
· Start my Beer Sommelier course in London
· Be vulnerable, and write one journal blog a month
What I have accomplished after eight months
· Website created
· Posted 12 stories in five months on the website
· Traveled to eight countries
· Reached Level 1 in wine and spirits from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET)
· Currently filming and creating episodes for a vlog – still very nervous but getting better
As for social media, I initially wanted 500 followers on each platform, but I quickly said, F&*k this. I am not worried about followers and likes anymore. My goal is posting a minimum of 365 posts a year that will bring value to an open dialogue about beer, wine, and spirits. I know that focusing on quality content is the key to reaching that goal.
And when it comes to learning? Sometimes I feel like my head will explode. My knowledge has increased by leaps and bounds, and I’m so excited about what’s to come.
I need to think and dream bigger to achieve things I never thought were possible. I can see the possibilities now, and I think that personal growth is the biggest, best, and most unexpected thing to come out of this journey. I look forward to checking in at the end of the year to see what I have and have not done to keep me focused on my journey. Thanks, everyone, for listening.