4 Tips for doing, not just dreaming.
Daydreaming (or night dreaming) about things you might like to do one day is so easy. There are all of those comfortable words that you can hold tightly to: “might”, “like to”, and the king of them all, “one day”.
One day is such a comfortable distance away that anything could happen in the meantime. The world could implode! You could become king! Grow a moustache! Get bitten by a spider and suddenly grow very brave and strong, with sticky fingers that can climb up walls! We lie to ourselves and put disclaimers on our dreams and goals like “when I’m braver”, “when I’m in better shape”, or “if I win a million dollars”.
I am by no means a pro at this but I’ve definitely learned a few tips, particularly in the past 4 years of freelancing and running my studio. Here are 4 of the best tips I’ve found for doing stuff and not just dreaming about it.
1. Choose something already! If you have a dream or goal, choose a single action that will help get you there – it can be almost anything as long as it’s tangible and can be checked off a list once it’s done. Apply for this conference, email Miss So-and-So, read this book, sign up for this class. The secret is that once you make contact, the thing you’ve contacted tends to ping you back and the next step becomes much easier. They email you back with a question? You answer. The conference sends you registration papers? You fill them out. All of a sudden you have someone or something helping you with the progress-killing question “What do I do next?”.
2. “Being ready” is a ridiculous notion that should be ignored completely. “Are you ready?” is the silliest question in the world. If someone is asking you this question it usually means you are about to do something that you’ve never done before, something that is scary, intimidating, nerve-racking or all the above. Of COURSE you’re not ready!!! There will always be uncertainty when you are talking about a future action that has not happened yet. A ridiculous question like “Are you ready?” should be answered with an equally ridiculous reply, which would sound something like “Yes!”, “Of course!”, or (best/most ridiculous of all) “I WAS BORN READY!!”.
3. Karma is real, and she’s not always a bitch. I really believe that you put something out in the world and you have a 100% better chance of having that thing happen. I can’t tell you how many times in my life I’ve announced blithely to the world “I love doing X!” only to have someone say almost immediately, “Really? Cool, I actually need someone to do X“. At which point I blink and think, oh my god, I’ve just signed up to speak in front of 180 people. And then the person asks me “Are you ready?” and I yell back “I WAS BORN READY!!!”. Or write it in all caps, depending on the situation. Or whisper it to myself as a mantra of survival for the next 4 months.
4. Find the good. Once you’ve checked an item off your list or completed some small part of your goal, scour that experience to find something – anything – that you did really well. Even if 90% of it was a disaster, I want you to find the 10% that was good and focus on that. Pat yourself on the back for that 10% and celebrate it. Then look at the 90% disaster and learn from it. Congratulations, this experience is now a 100% success.
And… repeat indefinitely.