Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Back to Work

I recently started listening to a podcast called Back to Work. It took me a while to realize what the purpose of the show is. I mean, I realized it probably had something to do with working or business or something, but why was it called "Back to Work?' Sounded a little boring to me.

What finally hooked me was their show titled Vocational Wheel where they discussed a listener's so-called "quarter life crisis." I tend to have a quarter life crisis on an almost annual basis, so an entire hour and a half discussion on the topic really peaked my interest. After getting sucked into their (sometimes franticly) entertaining conversation style, I naturally felt the need to listen to every single one of their episodes from the beginning. I've made it through 10 so far and one recurring message has stood out dramatically.

Both of the guys in this podcast would be considered "inspirational" types. They have a lot of great advice and people (like me) spend hours listening to them talk about how to get stuff done (and other less useful topics), but I think their best advice is that inspiration doesn't get anything done.

Seems an idea fraught with irony... and potentially a dangerous thing to tell your faithful followers...

...but for some reason, this just clicked with me.

I've been in the midst of my yearly quarter life crisis and trying to figure out how to make my skills and resources work for me rather than pulling me in so many different directions and causing me stress. I want to find ways to be more successful, especially with the projects I already have in motion, yet I have been finding it difficult to move on many things. I was seeking inspiration when really I should have just gotten back to work (ohhhh... now I get it).

Merlin Mann says in his podcast that new ideas don't come from some external inspiration... they come from doing work. My favorite analogy he makes is that it's like someone who is always asking for tips on running but never actually goes out running... you're never going to get better at running. Run or move on to something else because, really, you're wasting your time worrying about something that will never happen. If you want to be a writer, stop spending all your time buying new notebooks and just write something.

I tend to be a big picture thinker. With big life decisions, I like to have everything figured out before I move forward. Sometimes, when I can't figure out the big picture, I just forget about the whole thing and move on to something else. I'm starting to realize how much this sometimes hinders my success. Sometimes a project gains momentum and I start to doubt the plan, freeze up until I can find my inspiration, then get overwhelmed by the amount of work I have to do.

My big light bulb moment of the week. Do work. How did it take me 28 years to figure this out?

[My other fave advice from Back to Work: Count your priorities, if you've got more than two, you're going to need more hands.]

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