#30minutes30dayschallenge or An Exercise in Accountability

An old friend of mine from Penn State and I were talking about marketing and social media videos one day and decided to challenge ourselves.

We wanted to post one video a day on Instagram for 30 days. How hard could that be?

I made it 23 days. This is how the month went -

Day 1 - excited! motivated! MAKE ALL THE VIDEOS!

Day 5 - keep that momentum going!

Day 10 - Hmm how can I switch this up and post a more interesting video?


<Insert break because Dani came to visit>

Pick back up on Day 20 - I have no motivation. This is hard. Why do I even harp.

Day 21 - I am drawing straws here. What the heck should I post?!

Day 23 - Last video (unintentionally)...I’ve got other things going on that are more important.

So, what did I learn?

Well, first of all, I gained 100 followers in only 23 days. If I did this every day for a year I’d probably gain more than 1200 followers! Pretty cool. If I spent 30 minutes a day practicing for a year, that would be 183 hours total per year. 183 hours I most likely would have spent time doing something more “important” or immediately gratifying - you know, things like unloading the dishwasher, emptying the garbage, rubbing my dog’s belly, etc. (OK- the rubbing my dog’s belly IS pretty important).

I’m learning about the importance of persistence and routine from this book “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy. Side note: one of the best pieces of advice I can give when you are “soul searching,” “going through a quarter/mid/whatever life crisis,” or “need some inspiration” - read books by successful people. Listen to podcasts or TED talks by successful people. A lot of them give the same message but in different forms. I tell ya, there’s something there!

Anywho, this book talks about how an object in motion stays in motion. There’s no reason why I can’t find 30 minutes a day to practice the harp, right?

Although, it is easy to come up with excuses. Such as -  

The harp is high maintenance because it requires daily tuning - of 48 strings.

I can’t just sit down and and sight read.

I have so many things to do.

Blahbitty blahbitty blah.

I learned to make the harp a priority again.

I’ll admit - I had a friend come visit and it was difficult. This forced me to make the videos days before she came. However, life does simply get in the way. Now I work a full time 8-5 job so my videos are made either before (hello 7:30 am), during my lunch break, or in the evenings. I’ve discovered when I’m least likely to do it (evening) and when I’m most alert and clear minded (lunch) and try to plan accordingly.

Something else happened. I keep a running tab of music to “play on Instagram.” Pieces I hear on the radio that I think could translate well to the harp. On days I was feeling particularly uninspired, I had to muster up the enthusiasm to find something and make it work anyway.

I learned that sometimes you have to draw from inspiration even when you don’t feel like it. Stick your nose to the grind! Or whatever they say. You’ll feel better after.

I discovered the amazingness of the Acapella app. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to do exactly what this app does on YouTube. The hours spent on the program Garageband, syncing clips, playing with a metronome in my ear, counting out loud “1-2-3” then clapping and trying to sync two videos of that clap together. But no more! I can even collaborate with friends all over the world. How freaking cool is that?!

I learned about accountability. When you have someone else cheering you on and trying to accomplish the same goal as you, it really makes your work effective.

Videos that I thought would be awesome and took a lot of time (I did a video combining Sia’s “Cheap Thrills” and Toto’s “Africa”) weren’t in fact as impressive to my audience so much as say, a Justin Bieber video. SMH (is that shake my head or smack my head?)

Moral of the story? Keep showin up. Keep on keepin on. It’s just Instagram followers, right? Who cares? Well one of those Instagram followers could turn into a lead one day and turn into a client who in turn through word of mouth spreads your business. It’s a great form of free advertising. And it holds you accountable.

Has anyone tried an accountability exercise like this with music? What has your experience been like? What were the expectations, surprises, downfalls, struggles, accomplishments?

Check out my "#30minutes30dayschallenge" on my Instagram account!