(This post is 1st in a 8 post series on living a fuller life. A life where you and people around you are happy, feel in control and consistently tick items off your bucket list).
So new year is here.
First the good news, the opportunity.
The good news is that,
- We have a sea of opportunities open to explore.
- We have billions of people to make new connections.
- We have trillions of dollars in the global economy to earn what we can.
- We have 365 days and 24 hours in each of these days to take action and work on our dreams.
- The air that we breathe and water than we drink is not going anywhere anytime soon.
That’s about the opportunity, now time for a challenge related to each of the opportunity above.
- You and I cannot explore all available opportunities – even if we spend all our lives in exploration.
- Whatever we do, we cannot make meaningful connections with the billions of people on earth.
- We cannot possibly earn all these trillions that are available in the economy.
- We cannot use all the hours available to us.
- It is likely that for many of us air and water is available in plenty but it is polluted or chemically treated.
Situation is not as grim as it reads but this is something that needs attention.
Every year each one of us is presented with the opportunity to embrace change, to identify right opportunities, to invest our time wisely and grow. Infact, we have these opportunities every day in front of us. Except the few, most of us either try to do a lot and accomplish little, or on the other extreme – even worse – we do not do anything to grow – and keep moving with the flow – eat what is offered, earn what looks possible and be happy with the status quo.
I know this feeling. I have been there. Making plans year after year and not doing much about them. At times trying to catch the monster from the tail and not taking it head on. Running after things and then making halfhearted attempts and many a times – accepting defeat already by not trying. Situation is better now – but it took time.
The purpose of writing these words is two fold. First, to remind myself that it is easy to get off track and I need to be vigilant. Second, to make sure that you do not take as much time as I took in figuring this out.
I digressed a bit. Let us get back to where we were. Most of us tend to squander the opportunity that a new day and a new year presents. We find ourselves in a sea of information, choices, and responsibilities. We do not take a decision fearing that it may be a wrong decision or we may end up looking like a fool. We fear failure even before experiencing it. But in action lies the growth, and mistakes are the stepping stones.
Taking action, making mistakes and learning from these mistakes has been glorified a bit in recent times but still people do not walk this path much.
Most of us seem a bit lost. Running from pillar to post, living our lives in a way the world told us. We decide what is right and what is wrong based on what the world think is right or wrong.
In this chaos, our voice is lost somewhere. Initially we do not pay attention to what our heart tells us to do and then comes a stage where we stop getting guidance from within.
It is OK if last few years have been like that for you. There is a way out. It is simple. It is to start with what you have and start small. It works.
Finding Your Place in the Wild World and Picking Right Opportunities.
Take notes, write in your journal and ask questions.
Think and write about what you want, what you need and what is your idea of a fun life? Ask yourself, “How am I doing on happiness scale?” Ask what you need to do for others, and what you need for yourself.
Reply to these questions with an open heart. Be as honest with yourself as possible. After writing down these replies, analyse the real value of what you want or need. Do it with the understanding that only things that matter are relationships, health, personal finance and personal growth (this includes career, work etc).
Out of all that you want pick four goals (one for each of these areas of life). You can pick more but four is a manageable number.
Now assign numbers to each of your goals. For money you can say I want to make a million and then break it into monthly goals. You can further break it into weekly and daily action milestones.
Do it similarly for other areas of your life.
Ideally you should have 4 daily action items (for each weekday) written for each goal. These action items need not be huge. If you run a business and growing your business is one of your goals, identifying industries to target can be an action item for a particular day.
The key is to do it every week for 12 weeks in a row. At the end of 12 weeks, do a review of your progress and make changes. Utilize your review week to take a break. After review, start for another 12 week period. Ideally it should be – 12 week action and 1 week break/review repeated 4 times during a year.
The first part of this process – asking questions and writing down answers – will make sure that you are in touch with your inner core.
The next part – taking daily action on four goals tied to four important areas of your life (relationship, health, personal finance, and personal growth) – takes you closer to your goals without overwhelming yourself.
When you do it, you will find that some of these actions are really simple for you; because you would already be focusing on that area of your life. For example for an entrepreneur – action related to personal growth will be easy but action related to health and relationship may take more effort. This is because for an entrepreneur, the focus on growth more than any other areas in life.
Daily action items will help you find the right places / areas of life for your to explore. This clarity alone is enough to take you places in a year.
Do not worry about a billion or million connections. Rather connect deeply with those already connected with you by birth, through business, or via college. Think of the special ones who really mean something for you and those who have place for you in their heart. Instead on fighting for the attention of your favorite influencer, go and spend time with people already close to you.
Want to build a business? Think of services for these people first if they have an overlap with your audience.
Want feedback? Ask them.
Want to spread the word about your new project? Seek their help. But only after you have done your bit. Not that they will not care for you before you do something for them. But if you give first it will feel good.
Do not have relevant people in this group. Start with one outside connection. Cold call or cold email, without influencer lovefest. After one success, repeat it with 5 more. From there go wide – 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 100,000, 500,000 and then a million. It involves many layers but when the goodness and influence starts to snowball, each stage is achieved quicker than the earlier one.
Finding Your Millions and Billions.
Want to make more money? Do not worry about billions first. Start with the platform, contacts and skills that you already have.
If your job does not pay you well – either you have done a poor job of learning, packaging your skill set, delivering value or choosing the right industry. See what needs a change and move ahead from there.
If you have billion dollar software dreams – start with your first customer. Offer the functionality (without the actual software) using mix and match of plugins and manual processes. Serve this first customer well. Use the learning with the first customer to serve five more even better. Use this revenue to invest in software. Scale from there.
(The other side of this coin is where you already are doing good – making millions – and stuck there. A part of the solution is to step away and look at it like an outsider. Then looking outside your industry for signs of opportunity and innovation.
This topic needs its own post. It will come later.)
Finding Time to Work on Your Dreams.
Want to do a lot and think there is not enough time in your day to do all that you want.
Stop thinking and doing for a day. Find solitude. Experience the sound of silence. Take a long walk and think about all that you want to do. Think about one idea where you already have the maximum leverage available. Think about the software than can be created with your existing programming knowledge. Think about converting your existing services into a product. If you already have a product, you can offer an ancillary service.
If you are in startup phase then start in an industry that you know intimately. You will take the least time to start or make the money fastest or both. This is similar to how living at home is mostly cheaper than travelling abroad. There are other trade offs too but cost in an important factor.
To make a start and to grow you do not need 24 hours a day. You even do not need 8 hours a day. 4-5 hours a day (on an average) in-zone time in enough. Once you pick your big goal – 500-1000 hours a year i.e 2.5 to 5 solid work hours for 200 workdays a year are enough. Unless you like Jack Dorsey are trying to work at two billion dollar companies (Build Square and Help in Product direction at Twitter) simultaneously, you do not need all the time available to you to succeed. There is of course room for days and weeks of hustle in between.
Air and water I am not discussing here, may be some other time.
PS: I need your help. Great if your share related ideas that you want to learn more about. Post them in comments or share on Twitter. Thank You!
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