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How to Do What You’ve Always Wanted

How to Do What You’ve Always Wanted

    I’m willing to bet that there’s something you’ve always wanted to do.

    It could be that you’ve always wanted to write a novel.  Maybe you want to visit Africa or want to see the Northern Lights.  Perhaps you’d love to open a little coffee shop or brasserie in your neighbourhood or maybe you’ve had brainwave for a neat little product that just might change the world.

    You’re not alone.  We all have things we dream about and things we’d love to do, and it’s rare that these things ever see the light of day.

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    Fear steps in – sometimes in the guise of practicality and sometimes wearing the hat of playing it safe – and provides all kinds of reasons why you can’t have what you want.

    So you persuade yourself that it’s a pipe dream and that it could never actually happen because you wouldn’t know where to start, couldn’t afford it and it probably wouldn’t work anyway.  You lose faith in your ability to make your dream reality, and lose a little faith in yourself in the process.

    The tragedy is that the more you apply a filter to what you wish for and train yourself to think small, the less confident you become in your ability to do anything that matters very much.  Worse than that, you set yourself tiny dreams that aren’t hard to reach, and you reach them.

    But hang on a second. What if those big things were possible?  What if you really could make some or all of it happen?  What if it turned out that you did have what it takes to see something special come to life?  Wouldn’t that be something you’d leap at?

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    Here are my 3 steps to doing what you’ve always wanted to do.

    1. Open it up

    First of all you need to do some leg work.  Investigate what might be needed to get going, look for resources that can inform and help, seek out other people who might have done something similar and talk to those who’ve been there, done that.

    There’s no risk here – it’s simply learning about what’s involved, picking up the key strategies that have been used successfully before and gathering together the ideas and resources that you believe will help you to get things moving.

    Write down all the questions you have about what you want to do and then go answer them.  It’s possible that as you open things up you find that the reality isn’t what you expected and that it isn’t really your thing after all.  That’s fine – now you know.  But the opportunity to answer the questions you have and fill in those blanks is invaluable, and you might just find yourself getting pretty darn excited about what you’re discovering.

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    2. Make your choice

    You’ve opened it up and answered a heap of questions you had – now you need to make your choice.  There are 2 ways to help with this decision making.

    1. Look at what really matters to you, not what doesn’t matter. If engaging with this project is something that really resonates with you then listen to that.  If you’ll grow and get enjoyment out of doing this, no matter how it turns out, then listen to that.  Don’t let any fears you have squash and stamp on what matters.
    2. Consider where your priorities are and what might need to change. You have other things going on (your family, finances, career, hobbies, relationship, etc) and you need to be clear about what’s at the top of your list.  You need to figure out what compromises you’re willing to make in terms of the time and energy you have available, and you need to figure out the boundaries and deal breakers of your priorities.  You might find that your priorities are such that now isn’t the right time to get going with this, but that doesn’t have to be the end of it.  Just figure out what criteria needs to be satisfied for you to start.

    Once you’ve figured those 2 things out, make your choice and commit to it. That commitment is what will carry you through, and it’s an attitude and a way of behaving that shapes your experience and behaviour as you go forwards.

    3. Do one thing

    When you’ve made your choice to start, do one thing today.  Just one thing.  Then do one more thing tomorrow.

    That’s all.

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    Do one thing, then another, then another (no matter how big or small) and you’ll make progress.  By doing just one thing a day you’ll be 365 steps forward a year from now.  Don’t get overwhelmed with the apparent size or complexity of what you’re tackling.  No task is bigger than your capability and you just need to chunk it down into bite-sized pieces and tackle each one in turn.

    And if something doesn’t turn out the way you expected or hoped, don’t sweat it.  You have the next day to try things a different way or tackle things from another direction.  You’ll never be able to control how everything turns out so don’t beat yourself up – just keep checking where you are, making your choice and taking another step.

    These 3 steps can be applied universally to do the things you’ve always wanted.  So tell me, what do you want?

    Image: source

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    Steve Errey

    Steve is a confidence coach who helps leaders build confidence.

    New Years Resolutions Don’t Work – Here’s Why How to Be Confident: 62 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence 7 Ways to Stop Being Treated Like a Doormat I Like You a Lot How To Muster Your Confidence And Tell Someone You Like Them Stuck in Rewind. 7 Beliefs That Will Help When You Get Stuck

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

    5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

    In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

    Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut only to get back into another one.

    How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

    • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
    • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
    • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
    • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
    • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
    • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

    When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnancy in life, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help.

    Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

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    1. Realize You’re Not Alone

    Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths.

    Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

    2. Find What Inspires You

    Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation.

    What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

    On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem.

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    If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

    3. Give Yourself a Break

    When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

    Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave.

    Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future.

    These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

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    4. Shake up Your Routines

    Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

    Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’re 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

    When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

    5. Start with a Small Step

    Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

    Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward.

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    Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years.

    On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

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    Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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