The Big Idea
Whether you can or you can’t… it’s up to you.
Questions I Answer
- How can I achieve a big goal?
- What are the steps I need to take to accomplish my goals?
- What’s the best goal setting strategy?
Actions to Take
- Create and maintain your own customized productivity systems. Learn more about The liveWELL Method™, my newly designed online course created to guide you toward your peak productivity.
Key Topics in the Show
The important question to ask yourself to help propel you toward your big dream.
Why negative experiences are pertinent to finding & achieving your passion.
The key to changing your mindset for the journey ahead as you work for your end result.
Examples of how others have shifted their paths and plans to make the journey more ideal for their lifestyle.
Resources and Links
- Related Episode: Episode 053: Become Your Future Self
Hello, hello, everyone. Welcome to Productivity Paradox. I’m Tanya Dalton, owner of Inkwell Press, and this is episode 40. Today’s episode is sponsored by the Live Well Method, a brand new course from Inkwell press that I’ll be sharing more about in just a little bit, but first, let’s talk about the fact that today is the start of brand new season and what’s really exciting is that this season will take us all the way through the beginning of 2018. This is a time of year when we really begin to want to reflect on how we’re doing, who we really are and where in the world we are going, so I thought it would be the ideal time to do an entire season focused on big goals and dreams. We’ll be talking about the stumbling blocks that might be in your way, how you can create a life where big goals are the focus and how to structure your life so your big dreams are no longer your dreams but are your reality.
What does this have to do with productivity, you might ask? To me, the definition of productivity has never been about doing more. Yes, there are productivity experts or articles and tips on how to write a week’s worth of emails in 20 minutes or how to make homemade chocolate chips in less than 45 minutes. I kid you not, I really did see a pin on Pinterest that said that. It’s not about doing things faster. Instead, it’s asking is this something that I think is important, and if it is, that’s what I want to spend more time doing. Now, I, for one, don’t want to spend 45 minutes making chocolate chips. I would rather spend 45 minutes making the cookies and probably eating them, so my definition of productivity is not getting more done, it’s focusing on getting the important things done. It’s about living with intention, so this season is designed to help you look at where you are and who you are and where it is you really want to be taking yourself.
Yes, the joy is in the journey, but how are you going about this journey? Living a life that fulfills you makes that journey enjoyable, so we’ll be talking about topics like fear and failure, motivation and the power of choice. My goal is that as we approach the new year, you begin to have a better idea of where you want your productivity to take you. What is it that you really want to do? Let’s start with the million dollar question. What is your dream life? Is it a dream job? Is it a different lifestyle? I don’t know, but that’s the big question, and what that question assumes, though, is that deep down, you know what you really want, but do you know if this dream you’ve been thinking about for a while is really something you want?
We often say, “I’ll be happy when X happens.” When I lose 10 pounds, when I get a promotion or when I whatever, and then we achieve that benchmark, and are we happy? Maybe, for a little while, until we figure out some other pain point in our
lives, or reality sets in, like the promotion you were dreaming about really just means you have to work longer hours or be on a team with people you don’t like. It’s like when we’re standing in the checkout line and we impulse buy a candy bar that we think will make us happier, and then we regret that purchase five minutes after we’ve eaten the candy bar.
What’s the real question you should be asking yourself? What’s the question that’s at the heart of how we really want to live? Because asking “What do you want
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out of life?” Is usually answered with, “I want to be happy, have a great family and a job I like,” which really doesn’t mean anything. It’s too vague. It’s too generic, and you, my friend, are not generic, so instead, ask yourself what pain are you willing to go through to get you what you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for?
We have this idea that doing what we love means it should just come easy. Think about it, we’ve all heard the saying, “If you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life.” That, my friends, is a lie. There’s positives and negatives to every job, so for example, maybe you look at a job and you admire people who get to travel for work. You have to realize there’s good parts and there’s bad parts to this. There’s some wild stories that are amazing and sound like a lot of fun but there’s nothing glamorous about spending time in planes or living out of a suitcase in a hotel room, so make sure that you’re really accepting what this really looks like.
When you begin to accept this, you stop holding yourself to unrealistic expectations and you begin to gain the freedom to deal with the negatives in the path that you really do want to choose. Happiness actually requires some struggle. The happiness is actually a side effect of dealing with the negative in our lives, and what we get from life is determined by what bad feelings we’re willing and able to sustain to get us to those good feelings. To get good at dealing with negative experiences is really to get good at dealing with life. Our struggles help determine our successes.
I love what Charles Bukowski, an author and poet, says, and he says, “What matters most is how well you walk through fire.” Finding passion and purpose in life is a trial by fire process. You have to try something, see how it feels and try it again, and when you get it right, it’s liable to change, because, well, you change over time. We’ve talked about this in several aspects of productivity. You’re always growing, always evolving and changing, so a lot of times your big dreams and your big goals, those change too. So, yes, do what you love and love what you do, but doing what you love is not always loving what you do. Not every single day, because there’s sacrifice involved, just like choosing a spouse.
Your partner doesn’t make you happy every single hour of every single day, but you chose someone that you wanted to be with, even when they made you mad. You have to take the good with the bad, and it’s the same way in life. No matter what we’re looking at, when we put it on a pedestal and we call it a big dream, we have to make sure that we’re looking at that dream realistically. It’s not going to be all sunshine and lollipops once we achieve this dream. It’s the yen with the yang or as Tich Nhat Hanh, a Zen Buddhist monk who’s called “the world’s calmest man,” says, he says, “No mud, no lotus.”
You have to be willing to have a little dirt in order to enjoy the beauty of the garden, and that’s true no matter what dream you’re pursuing. Your dream job, your dream family, your dream life. There’s gonna be some dirt to go along with the flowers, and I’m actually going to be sharing a little bit about the struggle I went through myself with starting up this business, with bringing Inkwell Press to life in the weekender episode that’s going to go live on Friday.
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It’s a little bit of a peak of what it was like for me to answer this question, because, no, it was not easy. There were so many sacrifices and struggles and ugh, the risk, but I was willing to go through that to get to where I am now, and there are still times where it feels like I’m walking on broken glass, but I’m willing to do that, because I am so passionate about what I do and what I create, I will do that to keep this dream going, and with that in mind, I want to break for our sponsor just for a second, because the sponsor for today is Inkwell Press, because I have a brand new course called the Live Well Method.
Now, the question I get most often, especially when I’m being interviewed, is “How do you know what your priorities are?” That’s a tough one to answer. Here’s why. It takes some digging to know and understand your priorities, because, well, they’re your priorities. I can’t tell you what’s most important to you. Only you can do that, but it’s so important to know and understand your own unique priorities and purpose. Let’s be honest though, digging into something like that can be overwhelming and maybe a little bit daunting.
That’s why my course, the Live Well Method, begins by understanding your own foundation. What are the things you want to pursue, the things you want to focus on and the things that matter the most? I created a series of exercises that are designed to make it easier to understand and discover your own unique productivity system and I personally hold your hand throughout the process. With direct access to me through our private course Facebook group and live Q & A’s, we will work together to understand what is important to you and then we begin to build your own unique productivity system around that foundation.
Does this sound like something you’d like? Head over to InkwellPress.com/ course for more information. I wanted to keep this course limited, so enrollment is only open for a few days, so head there now if you’re really interested in discovering your own unique productivity. Okay, let’s get back to today’s episode. Let’s talk about this. When we’re talking about the fact that we need a little bit of darkness with the light, a little bit of negativity with the positivity, let’s ask ourselves this question. Is the dream that you have in mind, is it really your dream? If you find yourself continually watching the same thing and yet never moving in the direction to get closer to it, is it that this is your dream or do you maybe enjoy watching it?
Are you in love with the results and maybe not with the process? It’s like imagining being at the top of a mountain but you have no interest in actually making the climb. Now, this does not mean that you have failed or you’re a quitter or you don’t believe in yourself. It just means you thought you wanted something but it turns out you didn’t. That’s okay, there are other dreams out there. It really is a question of what is it that you really want? Sometimes we get caught up in the ideas of other peoples dreams or their goals, so if it’s not something you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and put in the hard work to do, it’s not your dream. You have to really enjoy that hard work to some degree. You have to enjoy the dirt you’re digging in to get the flowers, right? Or at least accept the possibility that you’re going to have to work through some tough things for a short period of time.
It’s like people who are in really good shape. Generally those are the people who enjoy the struggles of the gym and the physical challenge. It’s hard work but
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they’re willing to go through that to get their end result, but if you aren’t willing to struggle through, then perhaps it’s time to let that dream, I don’t know, float away. That’s okay. It doesn’t mean you have to get rid of all your dreams. Just the ones that you really don’t want. Having pie in the sky dreams can be amazing, but not if you’re not really willing to pursue them because it can actually make you feel the opposite. It can make you feel unhappy because, well, you feel like you’re missing out. You have this idea in your mind of this dream life where you have a dream job and a dream family and this dream lifestyle and then there you are with just your regular old life.
For example, if it’s a dream job you’re thinking about incessantly, you begin in your mind to make the division between, well, normal, boring jobs and exciting dream jobs, so if you’re thinking that way, it makes it really hard to do the long term work in your current career that you need it to grow into to maybe become something deeply fulfilling. Instead, you spend mental energy on these vague daydreams, so what’s the best predictor of figuring out what we are willing to struggle for? Speak to other people who currently do what you’re considering, whether it’s a job or a lifestyle or whatever, and let me give you an example.
I recently met a woman named Lisa who told me that she had this dream of driving around the country in an RV with her family. She wanted to get in the RV and she wanted to travel to all 50 states with her kids, and this had been her dream for years. Honestly, it was her dream before she even had children, so she really romanticized this idea of this big family road trip. Then she met a woman who had done that very thing, so she asked her about it and that woman, who had loved her RV trip, told her about how amazing it was, but then she told her about the logistics, the homeschooling and all the things it entailed, and after hearing all of that, the idea of RVing around the country no longer appealed to Lisa.
She loved the idea of it, but not the actual day in, day out aspect of it, so she had a choice. She could completely kill her dream and just move on from that or she could shift it and she decided she would adjust her dream a little bit to fit more of what she did want. She decided that each year she and her family would travel in an RV for two weeks and she mapped out this new dream so that by the time her kids were old enough to move out, she would’ve actually traveled through all 50 states, so her dream made a shift and this shift allowed her to feel happier with her current life and actually has made it even more conceivable that she’ll be able to achieve what she really wants: time with her kids, traveling in the RV.
What helped her was really finding out what the struggles were on the path to that dream and then deciding if it was right for her. Now, as I mentioned, the lady she spoke to had a fabulous time and she could not say enough great things about RVing, but her dream and her ideas of what she was willing to struggle through were very different from Lisa’s, and the same might hold true for you. As a matter of fact, it may be possible that your dream life is right before you, that maybe the life path that you’re on right now just needs a little bit of shifting. You may just need to make some adjustments to really make this dream life that you want happen. It’s just a matter of really looking to see what disruptions or uncomfortableness you’re really willing to live through.
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How do we pursue our dreams? It’s not abilities and luck that brings us success, it’s our mindset. I think I say the word “mindset” at least once an episode, but our mindset is our established set of attitudes and belief, and we need to take inventory of what it is we really believe. What are the stories we’re telling ourselves? What are the scripts that go through our head? Ask yourself, do you believe your life is ready for growth or is your life fixed? Let me explain what I mean by that. If you have a growth mindset, you see yourself as fluid. A work in progress. Your fate is one of growth and opportunity.
If you have a fixed mindset, you view talents and abilities as, well, fixed. Basically, you are who you are. Your gifts and your talents, including intelligence, well they are what they are, and your job is to go through life avoiding failure, which can also mean avoiding challenges, and challenges is what leads us to our big dreams and goals, so which one are you? Are you a growth mindset or a fixed mindset? Are you ready to affect some change in your life which does come with the possibility of discomfort, or do you want to stick with the status quo? You’re comfortable with where you are, you don’t want to deal or worry with disruption, because that’s what change is. It’s a disruption, and because it’s a disruption, it’s something that people tend to avoid, even if it means staying on the same old path you’ve been on or unhappy with.
Staying with the same path means you’re not necessarily chasing down your big dreams. Now, I’ll be honest, sticking with the status quo is the easier route. You know the path, you know where it turns, you know where the rocks are in the way,
but you don’t really like where it’s heading. The road of change is full of uncertainty, so it can be a little bit scary, but we can be a little bit like the cowardly lion. All he really needed was a medal to suddenly feel brave and all we need to do is change our mindset. It’s really that easy, and that’s where we’re going to begin this season.
We’re going to be talking all about mindset. I’m going to be walking through with you, talking to you about the obstacles in your way, the stumbling blocks, the things that scare you a little bit. To be honest with you, the whole reason I came up
with this idea for this season was because of my Facebook group. I posted a question in there asking them about what was holding them back and the number one answer I heard in comment after comment after comment was the word “fear.” Fear of failure, fear of not being enough, fear, fear, fear, fear. So many ways that fear takes shape, and I thought, “These people in this group have so many amazing, big dreams and so many big things they want to do in their lives.”
We have to do something to change this. We have to overcome fear. We have to overcome these things that we tell ourselves that tell us a story that we’re not going to be able to do it, and that’s my goal for this season, that when we get to the end of these next 13 episodes, you are going to feel stronger. You are going to feel ready to chase those big dreams and I know that you can do that, so we’re starting off next week with an episode on, you guessed it, fear. It’s a topic I’m really excited to tackle because I think it’s something many of us struggle with. In the meantime if you’d like to connect with me, you can find me on social media using the username @InkwellPress and, of course, if you’d like information on my new course, you can find it at InkWellPress.com/course. That course will only be open for the next few days, so if you’re interested, head there now to find out more.
Alright, until next time, happy planning.