I had someone email me recently that their lack of purpose was driving them crazy.
They felt lost; trapped.
Surely the solution, if you are lost, is to figure out where you want to go. Right?
Isn’t it easy?
When we’re in a city we don’t know, and we are lost, what do we do? We figure out where we are going or where we want to go, and then we might consult a map, our phones, or ask someone for directions.
They tell us how to get there.
Now we are no longer lost.
And so it applies to life.
If we are lost, we must find our direction. We must figure out where we want to go.
But not just any kind of goal or target.
The direction we choose must challenge us.
It is having something challenging to get our teeth into day after day that makes life worth living.
And we don’t want to have a distant goal that doesn’t seem real, or creates a fleeting interest, that we then forget, only to feel lost again.
We need a goal that stirs us into action right now.
We need a goal, yes. But more importantly, we need to commit to being the kind of person that can reach such a target, right now, this very moment.
What kind of person do we need to be right now, so that our dreams will become a reality? Not just kind of. But an actual reality that you can taste, see, feel and smell?
Who do we need to be right now and what do we need to do today?
This is the ‘how’ of direction. If you’re lost in a city, you might take a cab.
This means doing what that kind of person would do EVERY day to get there, even if it feels awkward or painful.
None of this is supposed to be easy. Don’t expect it to be.
Just be that person and do what they do.
So figure this out:
What is it you want that will bring you to life that matters more than anything?
What dream did you have as a kid that you allowed to be smothered, forgotten?
What will you make happen within five years? What’s the one thing?
Are you willing to make it work? Do you have what it takes?
What kind of person reaches a goal like that or lives the life you want? What version of you do you need to become?
What do you cut out of your life to make this work?
Then figure out what the ONE thing is that you need to do every day of the week that will get you a little closer to it.
Write a poem? Draw a picture? Make a sketch? Talk to someone new? Shoot a video?
For me, I want to reach and inspire as many people as I can through my writing.
So my goal is to sell five hundred books every day of the week within five years.
That way I will earn money while doing something that enriches me and leaves a legacy.
Who do I need to be today for that ‘crazy’ goal to materialise?
I need to be a prolific writer. I need to be a beast at putting words to paper with consistency so that they improve.
The other stuff, like improving my writing and reading and being a better marketer will spring out from this. From the daily collection of out-poured words.
The writing is the number one. The key thing.
I have committed to two thousand words every single day of the week. No matter how I feel.
No buts. No more bloody excuses.
If I have to throw out 99% of what I write, so be it.
I make this easier by deciding on a clear period each day when I simply have to write, without distraction: 2.30pm to 5.30pm.
That time is sacred. It is a clear white box amid a sea of colour and chaos. Only I can visit there.
I make it more efficient by being brutal with distractions and ensuring I have everything I need when I’m at my desk. Turning off the Internet. No bleeping phone. No jingling notifications.
I also make this a speedy affair that encourages flow. I time my writing, and I aim for speed and volume first. Editing can come later.
I decide on a place where this gets done too. The same spot daily if I can.
I figure out how I can be in the best frame of body and mind beforehand so that the results are the best they can be within this window. This means intense, sweaty exercise earlier in the day so that my brain and body is pulsing with energy when it comes to sitting down.
Then I figure out how to make missing my vital daily writing period more painful. I find someone I know who can help hold me accountable.
You might get a text coach on coach.me for example, or get a friend or coach to work with you through Stickk.
I check in with them every day, and if I haven’t put in the 2000 words by the end of the day, it hurts.
I also have a calendar that I mark an X on for each day. It hurts when I don’t write that X down too.
I have a daily commitment to writing words on a page. It can be complete junk, but at least I’m committed.
At least I’m doing something that is challenging and moving me towards my dream.
When I complete a day’s critical task, I start to feel real again.
I have purpose.