Building your dream life

Take the next step

This weekend I went to London to attend a marketing training day. It was fantastic and I learnt some new things about Facebook, I learnt new approaches to creating content and I had a little time to reflect on what I’ve done so far. Did you know that with Facebook you can put your ads in front of audiences as specific as ‘women who got engaged in the last three months’? It’s pretty scary when you get into it but when you know your audience it’s a fab tool for maximising your marketing budget.

As I looked around the room I could feel a mix of emotion. Some people were buzzing, writing down every word. Others were calmer, slotting their new lessons into a framework they already had in their minds. Then some people were quite clearly overwhelmed – arms folded, pens down, eyes glazed. There was so much new information, at pace, that it was hard to assimilate it. I fell into all three camps throughout the day. I started by writing down every word, putting what I could into my model of marketing and my plan for DARETOGROW and then at around midday I stopped. With the rush of new information and the pace of the day, I lost track of my model.

I could start a podcast, I thought. No, no. Finish what you’ve started first, I advised myself silently. Ooh, yes, I could get a virtual assistant to transcribe my videos and use them as blogs too. No, no – just write them yourself, I counselled myself.

By the time I’d finished my internal debate on how to use this information and what to do I realised I’d missed the last session.

How many times do we do this? We get so caught up in new information, in new possibilities, in new ideas that we end up feeling too overwhelmed to complete the ideas we’ve already had. We literally stop half way through a project because there are too many possibilities. It’s too big, too scary to go on! 

Sometimes the immensity of the operation and the range of possibilities overwhelms us so much we make no progress for weeks.

As I was thinking on this walking back to the bus at Russel Square, I remembered something Alice said to me a few weeks ago. She had just started Marie Forleo’s BSchool – an online business course – and Marie had said over and over: “Progress not perfection”.

I couldn’t agree more. Progress not perfection. Thank goodness because there is no such thing as perfection.

You see, what I’ve learnt in changing my life and launching DARETOGROW is that ‘you never truly arrive’. An idea is never complete, a goal is never fully met and you’re never truly done. That’s the whole point. As we learn one thing, it opens up a path for new learning. When the business gets to a particular stage, a huge milestone, that stage soon becomes the platform for the next stage.

We never truly arrive but this need to ‘arrive somewhere’ can often mean the impetus to get started never arises. 

“When I save enough money, I’ll leave my job to launch my business.”

“Once I’ve finished this list, then I’ll do the thing I really wanted to do.”

“I’ll just get to the end of the month, then I’ll start.”

The truth is that we’ll never have enough money to launch our dream businesses, we’ll never finish that to do list at work and at the end of the month, new distractions come along.

Take my book for example. I always say, I’ll just do this list of actions for my clients and then I’ll start the next chapter. But then I’m too tired to get into that creative zone. My clients are important and so is my book so what do I do? I like this phrase I heard from Tony Robbins once: you’ve got to spend equal time on the business you have and the business you’re building. You might extend this to the life you have and the life you’re building. 

But when we focus on what we have, we long for what we want. When we focus on what we want, we feel guilty for what we haven’t done that day. So let me give you some advice, from one futuristic guilt tripper to another: it’s all in the planning and the mindset.

Think of a project you’d love to begin…write that book, build that web site, have the conversation, start that painting, put on that event. Can you carve out two hours over this week to work on it? Maybe on Wednesday morning you could get up a 5am instead of 7am? Maybe you could tell your family you’re going out for a solo coffee on Sunday afternoon. Plan that time in, book it in as if it were an appointment with someone else and then do what you need to do leading up to that time to clear your mind. Tidy that sock drawer, post those letters, finish that work. That way you won’t feel guilty about what you haven’t done and you’ll be assured that you have time scheduled out to work on your dreams.. That’s the planning…now for mindset. 

It doesn’t matter what you do in those two hours. Even if you sit and stare at the wall thinking about your ideas. The point is that you’ve carved out the time and you’ve used it for your dream life. No time spent working towards your dreams is wasted time. Planning out the time and sticking to it is a huge step forward, one that so few people take. When you get into the flow and start to produce outcomes in your allotted time, just remind yourself: there is no rush, it’s all about progress not perfection and every hour spent brings you one step closer. to your dream life. 

Give it a go this week and let me know how you get on.

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