I had a coaching call with a client recently and it was a trainwreck. I’m trying to get them to create content and they keep peering into the future. Instead of creating content they’re obsessed with:
- Sales Funnels
- When to monetize
- How to convert inquiries into customers
- What camera to use when filming videos
- Writing a whitepaper
I told them this:
“Screw all of that. The key to success is in the doing.”
Your Ideas change over time.
When I first started blogging in 2014, I was doing interviews with entrepreneurs and turning them into blog posts. I had no idea what I was doing or even why I was doing it.
The blog posts sucked and sounded like press releases.
I hated the process.
None of the blog posts got any engagement at all. Hearing entrepreneurs talk about raising money and selling widgets was boring to me.
Then, one night at around 8 pm I wrote a blog post about changing my life. It was all the lessons I learned from studying personal development and it was nothing more than a brain fart.
It took about 45 minutes to write and was published with spelling and grammar errors all the way through it. This post got shared 84,000 times on Facebook alone.
All of a sudden, through focusing on the doing, I found something I liked.
“What starts as an idea changes over time and you’ll never predict where things will end up. Trust in the process”
Your beliefs change too.
I told my coaching client that his beliefs would change too. What he believes right now will change in the future. This will shape his creative side and his content most of all.
“Trying to predict where you’ll be in the future is like trying to predict when you’re going to die - it’s impossible to know”
My beliefs initially about what I was doing came from a very self-centered view of the world that was all about the cliché version of success.
I thought the nice car, suit, house and bikini babe was what mattered. Pretty quickly, as I produced lots of content and began reading, after not touching a book for more than ten years, I saw a different side.
My beliefs about the world changed and the idea of money went to last place. Add on a couple of near-death experiences like a cancer scare and my beliefs are now completely different.
I’m no longer trying to figure out how to suck out as much value from the world as I can for my own benefit. What I do daily is about a purpose far bigger than myself.
I told my coaching client this story because I believed the same was true for him. He’s trying to impact people’s lives by getting them to fall in love with the work they do.
Whenever he starts talking about this topic, I feel inspired. I told him that I say no to so many clients because I don’t believe in what they do.
I believe in what he does and that’s why I’m obsessed with getting him to focus on the doing.
You learn as you go.
People have this obsession with the idea that you have to do a course, be mentored, study for years (insert excuse) before you can start doing what you love.
This is a ridiculous idea and I challenge you to a duel if you think this way. As you continue the doing aspect of what you love, you’ll learn at the same time.
Even if you’re not conscious about the learning side, the doing will reveal way more than waiting for accreditation, permission or a mentor’s approval to proceed ever will.
Everything I know about social media, blogging, inspiring people and entrepreneurship came from the doing. Yes, there was deliberate learning along the way but that was always a distant second to the doing itself.
Consuming vs. creating.
My coaching client also suffered from the battle that is consuming vs. creating. He spent too much time watching what everyone else was doing and he didn’t spend enough time creating his own art.
He’s currently posting one video a week and I told him that’s not enough. He has it within him to do at least one video a day if he quits consuming everybody else’s content.
He also told me that he feels the need to respond to every comment he gets on social media. I told him this is nuts!!!
You cannot respond to every comment or email you get online. This time is better spent creating than it is pumping up your ego with “thank you’s” and “yes I know I’m so smart.”
The tools change.
I started blogging on WordPress and now I do most things on Medium and LinkedIn. If I’d become too obsessed with the tools, then I would have wasted the time I could have been spending refining my craft.
All the tools you use to execute on doing what you love will change, so treat them secondary to creating your unique art.
You can’t preplan the doing 9 times out of 10.
Your best work is often done when you’re spontaneous. For example, today is a public holiday in Australia and I wouldn’t normally write on a Wednesday.
I felt inspired this morning though, so I decided to jump on the computer and do some creating. Some of my best work (if I look at the stats) has been done on public days and times when I didn’t plan to create anything.
Over planning is a trap you need to avoid if you want to get down to the doing which produces results.
The doing is the hardest part.
The reason why many of you reading this are so obsessed with mentors, education, online courses and consuming someone else’s content is because all of these things are easy.
The doing is the hardest part. Being creative takes up all of your energy and putting your work out there to be judged is hard on your ego.
“Creating truly inspiring work takes every ounce of your emotions. You need flow states, time, resources and the belief that you’re enough to do the doing”
What stops us from the doing is either procrastination or fear. These two evils prevent you from the doing without you often realizing.
My coaching client wants to make a massive impact and he’s scared that he doesn’t have the ability. As his coach, I know he does and I’ve seen it.
The battle that exists in your mind daily is whether you should be doing the doing or settling for something easier (often this looks like the same thing but it’s not!).
Spending time doing the very thing that is hard, is how you leapfrog everyone else that never gets what they want and never lives a fulfilled life.
How do you win so frequently?
That’s what my coaching client asked me. He wanted to know how I produce so much content and have so many people watching online.
I told him the truth: I just spend as much time as I can doing the doing.
Everything else seems to take care of itself when I embrace this simple hack. You must become obsessed with the doing.
Spend a disproportionate amount of time doing the doing and you’ll produce the results that are 10X of what you think you’re capable of.
Are you ready to win?
If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net
How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals
Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.
What is Motivation?
The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.
Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).
Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.
However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals.
How to Get Motivated
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.
This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.
4 Ways to Make Starting Easier
1. Schedule it
One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it.
When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.
An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”
2. Measure something
It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.
3. Extrinsic motivation
This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.
4. Make it public
Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.
How to Stay Motivated Long Term
When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.
These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:
1. Stay in your goldilocks zone
The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.
For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging.
The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.
2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals
Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within.
For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.
3. Use “chunking”
Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.
Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.
For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.
4. Be flexible
We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.
5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion
Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.
This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.
Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.
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