Do you ever find yourself waiting before you accomplish something? I believe Dr. Seuss put it best when he talked about …”a most useless place. The Waiting Place… Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go, or the mail to come, or the rain to go, or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow, or waiting around for a Yes or No, or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.”
And yes, I’ll use any opportunity to quote Dr. Seuss.
Most of us have decided to put off life until after the kids grow up or until we retire. I’ve started to hear (and even make) some of the most dreadful statements lately. Things like:
- We’ll travel more when we’re retired
- Someday I’ll write
- I would like to learn how to surf
- It would be nice to spend more time with our kids
But why not now? Why do we need to wait to do the things that we actually want to do in life? The things that excite us, challenge us and fill us with energy!
Most people are drowning in debt, which can put a wrench into travel plans, but for the most part I think the majority of the things on our “someday list” are simply a matter of making a commitment and prioritizing them.
We all have goals. Things we’ve always wanted to do. Places we want to see. Most of the time we put up artificial barriers and when we ask ourselves the tough questions, the answers staring back at us are simply too painful to confront.
I’ve known, whether consciously or subconsciously, for a long time that I’ve wanted to write. I remember a time over 9 years ago, right before I left for business school, that my cousin asked me “what do you want to do with your life?”. My answer took less than a second and I said that I wanted to become a writer. So obviously I decided to get my MBA.
I didn’t think about that moment much over the last 9 years until I began to hit my quarter life crisis. I have a good job, but not one that makes Monday morning fun. I have a wonderful wife and 3 amazing little kids, but something is still missing.
I still want to write! I’ve pursued a path that almost totally avoided what I really enjoy doing. So like any good MBA, I began to research how to efficiently write a book, how best to contact publishers, how to self publish, how to…. I called it research, but the rest of the world knows it as hardcore procrastination.
I finally asked myself better questions. I looked at accomplished writers and asked “what do they do, that I don’t?” The answer was amazingly simple. They write. Many of them, like Stephen King, write every day. Like any professional, they challenge themselves each and every day to perfect their craft.
The fact is that writers write and if I want to work on writing projects which excite me, then the best way to do that is to simply write.
It hasn’t been easy, but one thing has led to another and I’m slowly beginning to work on projects that challenge and excite me.
- I’ve started a blog, which you are reading and the number of readers is growing all the time
- I’ve started a copywriting company so that I can write content for great companies that I believe in, to help them grow
- I’ve started to write a book
None of this means I’ll ever make a living writing, but it does mean that I’ll constantly work on projects that interest, excite and challenge me. Plus for me, writing is a perfect hobby. It costs me nothing to do and may actually generate income.
Writers Write. Runners Run. Craft Brewers Brew Beer.
Most people don’t want to become a writer, but we all dream about what we’d actually be doing if we weren’t lawyers and accountants (and MBA’s). I believe we make the pursuit of those dreams more difficult than it should be. We complicate it by asking ourselves the wrong questions and by avoiding the real work.
The answer to how to get started is usually pretty simple. Take one step today, and tomorrow take another. You will make mistakes and learn. Then you’ll take another step forward. By the end of the year you will be 365 steps closer to doing what you actually want to do in life!
I’ll leave you with a letter that I’ve come to love because, to me, it puts life into perspective and reminds me that we should all be living our lives without the fear of regret.
So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.
Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none.
When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.
When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”
~ Chief Tecumseh (March 1768 – October 5, 1813)