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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.

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    Last Updated on February 25, 2020

    What Everyone Is Wrong About Achieving Inbox Zero

    What Everyone Is Wrong About Achieving Inbox Zero

    Ah, Inbox Zero. An achievement that so many of us long for. It’s elusive. It’s a productivity benchmark. It’s an ongoing battle.

    It’s also unnecessary.

    Don’t get me wrong, the way Inbox Zero was initially termed is incredibly valuable. Merlin Mann coined the phrase years ago and what he has defined it as goes well beyond the term itself.[1]

    Yet people have created their own definition of Inbox Zero. They’re not using it with the intent that Mann suggested. Instead, it’s become about having nothing left in immediate view. It’s become about getting your email inbox to zero messages or having an empty inbox on your desk that was once filled with papers. It’s become about removing visual clutter.

    But it’s not about that. Not at all.

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    Here’s what inbox zero actually is, as defined by Mann:

    “It’s about how to reclaim your email, your atten­tion, and your life. That “zero?” It’s not how many mes­sages are in your inbox–it’s how much of your own brain is in that inbox. Especially when you don’t want it to be. That’s it.” – Merlin Mann

    The Fake Inbox Zero

    The sense of fulfillment one gets from clearing out everything in your inbox is temporary at best, disappointing at worst. Often we find that we’re shooting for Inbox Zero just so that we can say that we’ve got “everything done that needed to be done”. That’s simply not the case.

    Certainly, by removing all of your things that sit in your inbox means that they are either taken care of or are well on their way to being taken care of. The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” is often applied to clearing out your inbox. But unless you’ve actually done something with the stuff, it’s either not worth having in your inbox in the first place or is still sitting in your “mental inbox”.

    You have to do something with the stuff, and for many people, that is a hard thing to do. That’s why Inbox Zero – as defined by Mann – is not achieved as often as many people would like to believe. It’s this “watered down” concept of Inbox Zero that is completed instead. You’ve got no email in your inbox and you’ve got no paper on your desk’s inbox. So that must mean you’re at Inbox Zero.

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    Until the next email arrives or the next document comes your way. Then you work to get rid of those as quickly as possible so that you can get back to Inbox Zero: The Lesser again. If it’s something that can be dealt with quickly, then you get there. But if they require more time, then soon you’ve got more stuff in your inboxes. So you switch up tasks to get to the things that don’t require as much time or attention so that you can get closer to this stripped down variation of Inbox Zero.

    However, until you deal with the bigger items, you don’t quite get there. Some people feel as if they’ve let themselves (or others) down if they don’t get there. And that, quite frankly, is silly. That’s why this particular version of Inbox Zero doesn’t work.

    The Ultimate Way to Get to Inbox Zero

    So what’s the ultimate way to get to Inbox Zero?

    Have zero inboxes.

    The inbox is meant to be a stop along the way to your final destination. It’s the place where stuff sits until you’re ready to put it in the place where it sits until you’re ready to deal with it.

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    So why not skip the inbox altogether? Why not put it in the place where it sits until you’re ready to deal with it? Because that requires immediate action. It means you need to give the item some thought and attention.

    You need to step back and look at it rather than file it. That’s why we have a catch-all inbox, both for email and for analog items. It allows us to only look at these things when we’re ready to do so.

    The funny thing is that we can decide when we’re ready to without actually looking at the inbox beforehand. We can look at things on our own watch rather than when we are alerted to or feel the need to.

    There is no reason why you need an inbox at all to store things for longer than it sits there before you see it. None. It’s a choice. And the choice you should be making is how to deal with things when you first see them, rather than when to deal with things you haven’t looked at yet.

    Stop Faking It

    Seeing things in your inboxes is simply using your sight. Looking at things in your inbox when you first see them is using insight.

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    Stop checking email more than twice per day. Turn off your alerts. Put your desk’s inbox somewhere that it can be accessed by others and only accessed by you when you’re ready to deal with what’s in it. Don’t put it on your desk – that’s productivity poison.

    If you want to get to Inbox Zero — the real Inbox Zero — then get rid of those stops along the way. You’ll find that by doing that, you’ll be getting more of the stuff you really want done finished much faster, rather than see them moving along at the speed of not much more than zero.

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    Featured photo credit: Web Hosting via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Merlin Mann: Inbox Zero

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