How to Get Your Butt in Gear and Figure out What to Do with Your life.
I’m home in front of my computer, again, brainstorming so I can produce another ground shaking article. Hopefully.
This is my second attempt today.
I just want to get it done once, so I’m not staring a blank page. This is where I want to be and it’s where I end my day.
Eight hours a day I am admin. assistant, slave. But hey, I now have over 800 followers on Medium. I’m getting there.
My friends and family have complimented me on my writing of late. A very brilliant co-worker, a philosopher, no less, who gives Ted Talks, told me I should write a book.
Coming from someone who’s accomplished what she has, I am beyond flattered.
I’ve decided I’m a writer and I’m never worried that nothing will come to me. Because once you know what you want to do, that limitless thing called imagination kicks in.
When it comes to doing whatever it is that makes you, you, trust that your drive, desire, and your creativity will kick in, too.
1. Who You are Now and What You ‘Want to Be’ is Always Changing.
Six months ago, I didn’t even know about Medium.
Hell, three years ago I wasn’t even writing, never mind publishing on-line. Life got in the way and I gave up on my creativity.
Then the urge struck me again, so I started to write. But I held my words close, afraid they weren’t good enough or my ideas would fall flat.
But words are meant to be shared.
So I here I am and it’s made a huge difference in the way I feel about myself.
And there’s a bonus.
I’m making some money.
In my youth, I wanted to be a writer. I wrote all the time. Then I rebelled and lost sense of who I was.
My mother loved my writing, so when she suggested I major in English and write, I majored in Art.
We really do cut off our noses to spite our faces sometimes.
After years of exploring the tributaries, I’m back on the main path. I have seen too much time pass and there’s no more to waste. I’m no spring chicken, more like an old hen, but hens can strut their stuff.
You change, life changes, and you’re in flux along with the rest of the world. Sometimes you’ve just got to go with it and eventually, you end up where you should be or should have been all along.
But it’s never too late.
And there’s an added bonus to my finding my way back in this high tech. age: I get to publish on-line and instantly connect with people.
I now have the chance for more freedom, to escape the fluorescent lights, and not dread that someday, I will be the old lady on the subway pushing people out of the way with her cane.
I use to write reviews of local cable shows for the town newspaper. I’ve written many meditations. I’ve used my master’s degree to research and write scripts for clinical hypnosis sessions.
No, this was not why I attended graduate school, but it came in handy. It kept the juices flowing until I got back here and found the key.
At my age, I see and feel the mortality of this physical life and I want to leave the story of me and what the world was like when I walked the earth plane behind. In words.
Like the great generation of World War II, some day everyone of us Baby Boomers will be gone. And if we, or I, don’t leave some permanent account, some history of it, a time will be lost forever. And my place in it will be lost as well.
This brings me to my next point.
2. Telling Your Story will bring You Closer to Realizing What You ‘Want to Do’ Now.
“The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on the success, but the significance, and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning.” ~ Oprah Winfrey
I chased the ambition of having a hypnosis practice. It used my skills as a writer, my background in healthcare, and my desire to be self-employed. It kept my mind sharp and active.
It gave me a chance to heal and use my words and my voice, literally, to make a difference.
I was good at it, but it was a time of recession, where you had to sell, sell, sell, sell myself, and I’m a lousy salesperson.
It was a small step in the right direction, but my writing had yet to hit the mother load.
But if you know the why, the how will eventually reveal itself. When you express yourself, you tell your story. You take small steps, form a pattern, and the thread connects all your experiences.
Listen to your own voice, your own words. Just keep going.
Eventually you’ll find the path that leads to the top.
And the top will take you back to your roots, where it all started.
“There are two great days in a person’s life — the day we are born and the day we discover why. “ ~ William Barclay
How To Figure Out Your Purpose.
Since you’re reading this article, you must be searching.
Here’s how to pinpoint and then focus on what you’re meant to do.
Step 1: Don’t Focus on the Money or the Title.
You’ve went to college. Or you didn’t. Maybe you studied a trade and were then ready to join the work force, earn a decent living at something you like, and make your mark, in a good way.
What does this mean, really?
It means you might start at the bottom. It means your wage and title might not be what you want.
But it’s experience.
It means you start at the bottom, with the intent of working your way up. You learn what it’s like to work in that industry, and if you get the feeling you could spend a few years there, you stay in it.
It’s not permanent, but you’ve got to begin somewhere.
It means, that if you don’t like it, you can focus on some tasks that you do like and the skills you honed to complete them. And you look for a job that uses those skills, maybe a different industry altogether. You take something forward and discard what doesn’t serve you.
Keep an open mind. Don’t give up. Trust yourself.
Step 2: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone.
The research I learned in graduate school, plus my writing skills made me a great hypnotist. But I had to market myself.
And I worked my butt off for that degree. My goal was to be a medical journalist. But alas, it requires experience, which you can’t get without a job.
So on to Plan B.
As I already mentioned, I hate sales and I’m not good at it. Still, I joined a networking group, BNI (Business Networking International), and got up every week touting my abilities to get referrals.
And I did.
(These meetings started at 7:00 A.M., so I also had to get out bed before dawn. This was also an accomplishment.)
It was great for awhile, but it wasn’t a great time for alternative medicine. People were struggling to pay for health insurance and they wanted to use it. They didn’t have the luxury of trying something new.
But for the time I was able to sustain my practice, I learned how to articulate and promote my skills. I learned to trust myself and how to network.
This is why I am here now writing, building a following, and a new career.
It was scary to stand-up in front of a group of 25 people and promote myself and claim I could help them quit smoking, lose weight, or control their anxiety. I was the only person in any type of healing arts in the room. I learned there were others in the room with nerves and in the end, we’re more alike than we know. This is why I can now talk to people with more ease.
Step 3: Believe in Yourself.
Be logical. If others can do it, so can you. Why should you be the exception?
Believe in yourself. Start by faking it and as you fake it day by day and see you are really doing it, you’ll start to lay a foundation and build your confidence.
You’ll fool yourself into doing it.
When I started this course, I knew I could write, but I wasn’t as confident about making money. I just knew I wanted to write again.
Then authors and readers clapped and commented and many were positive. I think I can, turned into I can.
Two of my pieces were curated in one week. Another publication added me as a writer. Noteworthy wrote and asked me to join and this was after only three weeks on Medium Mastery.
Step 4: Work Hard as Hell.
“Success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration.” ~ Thomas Edison
I’m writing six days a week and reading, responding and building my tribe every day. I love networking on Medium and reading other writers.
But sharing and building a community also takes time. And that’s a big part of being successful.
After joining the Partner Program and enrolling in Medium Master, I pretty much stopped doing everything else, except yoga. I don’t have time for the gym or the television.
Because I work eight hours a day and then go home and sit in front of the computer for three hours. And write. Even when I’m not publishing, I make writing a priority.
I’ve seen the results. I conquered my ambiguity and honed in on the type of writing I want to do, and only one thing remains:
Do the damn work.
I found the right road and it’s time to switch in fifth gear and keep the gas petal to the floor.
I didn’t know it in grad. school or when I was writing hypnosis scripts, but what I loved most was the writing, writing the facts, but expressing them creatively.
Up at 7:00. Work until 5:30. Get home at 7:00. Take care of the cats. Feed myself dinner and then write until 10:30 or 11:00.
My life is limited to my office and my home. I’m putting everything into this. Anything else is a distraction.
And it’s working.
I’ve taken the steps and I’m moving along. I got my first payment from Medium, so the results are tangible and I need to keep building on them.
The work is worth it.
Step 5: Don’t Stop Now! Continue to Evolve and Try New Things.
Now that I’m here. What’s the next step?
This is very important.
I have years of working in healthcare and research. I love music and it has always been around me. I am an animals rights activist and environmentalist. I took ballet, ballroom dance. I grew-up in a simpler time where I had more freedom, but less technology. I am a yoga instructor, medium, grandmother.
How do I hone all these interest, experiences and skills and work them into my writing?
I need to innovate, brain storm and research, which to me means I read and read and read and finally found the common thread.
My personal mantra is that everything is connected. I make lists. Take notes. I see patterns emerging. I dig, and the more I dig, the more I see the intricate matrix evolving. This is my voice as a writer.
I know following these steps got me to where I am. They worked for me. And they’ll work for you.
Go through them, one by one. They are universal. Work slowly if you need to, but work steadily.
You’ll feel the shift in a certain direction. You’ll have that ‘ah ha moment,’ and as you look in that direction, you’ll know exactly what you’re looking at.
And that’s where you want to go.