For this entire year, I have been asked why I have zero goals.
That’s right. You heard right. I write all about personal development and how to be a better version of you and yet I have no goals for this year. You must think I’m a total screw up and a liar / cheat. You must think that I am completely incongruent.
How can you be successful if you have zero goals?
Okay, I left out one important detail. I decided this year to have only one mission and zero goals. Having a single mission means I can be completely focused, rather than get caught up in a blaze of half done goals. See the thing is I would rather achieve one massive, ginormous mission that means the world to me.
I am not interested in doing anything else other than playing life all out and you shouldn’t be either. There’s no point in being mediocre. Mediocre leads to an unfulfilling life and I can’t settle for that. In fact, I can’t settle for second best and you shouldn’t do that either.
Second best leads to regret and that feels like total crap to me. I don’t want to feel like that. The only way I can live the life I want to lead is to be nothing short of inspirational. This means I have to make all of you reading actually take action and execute like you never have before.
“This requires me to go first. This is because leaders go first and they eat their dinner last”
A brief interlude…Tracy Morgan
I’ve just finished listening to a podcast about the famous comedian Tracy Morgan. I’ve never taken him very seriously until the man made me cry like a baby this morning. The man was in a bad car accident and nearly died. He came out the other side having realized what his goal is.
His goal is to love people and show us how to do the same through his comedy. That’s his entire goal. He doesn’t write goal lists or live some crazy morning ritual. His ritual is a single mission and a single goal.
There is something about having a single mission that is so damn motivational in itself. It’s simple and easy to execute on just one thing. We all do such a poor job at trying to juggle multiple balls.
“What if all you needed to do was juggle one ball at a time while taking part in life’s circus”
Through the tears I shed by listening to Tracy be the opposite of funny for a brief moment, I finally understood that our life purpose is our single mission. Our life purpose is that one big mission that we should focus all of our attention on.
As we go through life, our mission can change but our purpose does not. Whatever your mission is and whatever way you find to serve people, you’ll eventually realize that you must love people and show them how to do the same.
Now to be vulnerable
The mission I wanted to achieve this year was to find an amazing woman. I’ve turned down every other offer and every business proposal to do just that. Everyone who knows me knows this mission. It’s written everywhere. It’s spoken about more than one hundred times per day.
If I liked tattoos, I’d probably get it stamped on my arm so I don’t forget it. It’s not easy to admit to the world that I’m trying to find a woman. Generally, people keep this sort of thing behind closed doors and rarely speak about it. It’s a secret mission that shows me that we’re all the same.
So I thought screw it. I’m either going to live what I preach and be honest, otherwise what’s the point?
Why bother writing these words if I’m going to hide behind some corporate mask trying to be someone I’m not. There’s something so freeing about sharing your single mission for the year.
Focus is king
By having one mission for this year, it’s made life crystal clear. When I thought about taking a holiday, I said no. When an opportunity to join a business venture came up, I said no. When I was asked to speak about what I do, I said no.
It’s hard to say no. I’ve found that it’s easier to say no when you have a single mission. You don’t feel regret because you have focused all of your energy on just one thing. I feel that simplicity is so freeing and that’s one of the reasons why I live a minimalistic life.
I want to save my mind for my life’s purpose and not waste thinking capacity on having 101 goals that are not that important to me. This advice might seem counter intuitive to every other self-help blog post, book, video you’ve ever seen. So what? Think about it carefully and it will make sense.
Big goals take enormous energy
Imagine the rejection, negativity, hard work and vulnerability it takes to find a woman for a second. I can tell you that it takes everything you’ve got. If you don’t give it all, then you don’t get the result. This year I knew that I wouldn’t have the energy to achieve my one big mission unless I deleted everything else.
You piss a lot of people off when you do this, but they eventually forgive you. The ones who don’t weren’t your true supporters anyway. The reason I have the energy to deal with so many negative emotions is that I’ve stored up massive reserves, by having no other goals.
The most fatiguing part of having one big mission rather than lots of goals is the decision making that comes with it. Making decisions drains your energy so by not having lots of goals I can concentrate my decision making muscle on only things that are relevant to my mission.
Through the process, I’ve simplified other parts of my life to compound my energy reserves further. I try to have a basic wardrobe, eat similar meals most days, have very few emails, have one place to post my blog articles and so on.
The truth that will set you free
Here it is: you’re distracted, over worked and not focused on what matters to you.
That’s a very harsh thing to say but it’s true. Riding along the highway with just one goal for a year allows you to reset. You may not live this way forever although I think it’s good to try it out on a major goal that seems to escape you continually.
Being true to yourself and forgiving yourself for your past failures will allow you to start fresh. This time, start fresh on a single goal that is a must for you.
When a goal becomes a must, and you’ve diverted all your energy towards it, you’ll see the results you’ve always longed for.
“Take that single mission and slap it over the head until you get the monkey off your back that is distraction and complication”
Narrow down, chunk it down and show us all how to love people. Don’t stop until you get what you want. When you get it, remember to be grateful.
Wish me luck with my mission. Peace. Big, scary world I’m coming for you!
If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net
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Working alone at home might sound like a nightmare to some, but as a fully signed up introvert, working alone at home is an absolute dream. No energy-draining small talk, no noisy distractions, just peace and quiet to complete deep and focused work. Well not quite. Working alone at home has more challenges than you might expect. Boredom, lack of focus and lack of motivation to name a few.
When you start working for yourself, you quickly realise that one of the biggest problems you face isn’t the job itself. Maintaining your motivation poses a potentially huge difficulty. Much of that difficulty stems from working alone, rather than in a traditional office setting. There is also the challenge of staying focused on the task at hand. With no boss or supervisor looking over your shoulder, social media can distract or cat videos interrupt you.
But the greatest problem by far is a simple lack of motivation. There doesn’t seem to be a pressing need to finish this project right now, making it far too easy to put it off until later. Left unchecked, a lack of motivation can cripple the work you are trying to accomplish. Over the past few years I’ve developed a few go-to tactics to improve my lone working motivation.
Here are some of the tools I’ve used to stay motivated and on-task.
These first few tips focus on using different tweaks in your personal work schedule to provide some variety and maintain your focus.
1. Include short breaks
My eye doctor once told me that for every 20 minutes of staring at a computer screen, you should look away and focus on something across the room for 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a chance to reset. Do something similar with the rest of your body; don’t just look across the room, walk, jog, or run across the room. Give your body a break, and try to reset your thoughts. If you don’t have the discipline to take regular breaks, use an app to remind you.
2. Block out an afternoon for social activities and networking
Set aside one afternoon a week for your social life. Friday afternoon works best for me. If you feel guilty about not working, think of it as a chance to network. Either way, be sure to spend this section of time with other people. Socialise and network.
3. View your personal schedule as your work schedule
A 9-to-5 job requires getting up every morning, preparing for the day, leaving the house, and commuting to your workplace. In other words, it requires going to work. You want to recreate the same rhythm at home. You may not actually need to leave your house in order to work, but try to stick with the schedule. Filling the old job timeslot with your new work helps to keep you motivated – you can’t clock out early!
These next few tips are little things you can do to trick yourself into staying focused!
This tip may sound cliché, but try listening to an upbeat song loudly whenever you feel unmotivated. It’s a simple trick, but a surprisingly effective one!
2. Have somewhere else to work for a change of scenery
When procrastination sets in, sometimes a quick change of scenery is all you need. If you work at home, going to your favourite café can be a huge help. Other freelancers I know have even gone so far as to hire office space outside the home, and rotate between the two to help stay on-task.
3. Love what you do
This is arguably the most critical point on the whole list. If you don’t love what you do, it will be hard to keep yourself motivated – particularly long-term. Sure, you may be able to push on through sheer force of will for a while, but sooner or later you’ll lose motivation entirely. Do something you genuinely enjoy, and you’ll find it much easier to stick with it for the long haul.
These last few tips are Industry-related!
1. Make sure you have fun projects
Not all of your work projects will be fun, but fight to make at least a couple of them fun. These might even be personal side projects, not particularly related to your main job. Or they might be in the same general field, but not your specific focus.
2. Attend industry events a couple of times a year
Nearly every imaginable industry has an organising body of some kind. Find the local branch, and use it to keep tabs on industry-related events. Attend some seminars, network, and maybe even glean some new tips and tricks from industry insiders.
3. Schedule at least one call a week to learn something within your industry
View this as an opportunity for personal development. At least once a week, try to learn something new about your industry. For me, this might mean calling a new tool provider to demonstrate their gadgets. Whatever your industry, try to expand your horizons a little bit every week. You’ll learn new methods and make new connections at the same time.
These tips worked for me, hopefully, some of them will help you out as well. Above all, strive to enjoy what you do, stick to a “work schedule,” and look for opportunities for constant self-improvement. With those ideas in mind, you’ll find staying motivated much easier to do alone or in a group!
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