Category Archives: Motivation

The problem with thinking too big…

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"Dream big. Reach for the stars. The only limit is in your mind." How often do you hear these words? We're filled with the power of positive mantras in motivational texts, books, and seminars. The problem with expansive thinking, however, is that too big can be just as much of a problem.

The problem of thinking too big, however,

is that you’ll forget to get started.

Or you’ll become afraid of getting started.

The more you dream, the bigger it becomes, the harder it can be to begin.  And sometimes, dreaming can get in the way of taking action. Over time, the practice of not starting becomes the best habit you have—another day to practice not starting, not doing anything.

Action is difficult. Deciding is painful. Manifestation, by definition, requires limitation. In order to make something real, you need to carve out and throw out all of the possible ways that something will not be. To make requires substance and grounding. It requires physicality and reality. It inherently means you limit the dream.

As you sketch your dreams for your life and career, you can have multiple jobs. You can own multiple businesses. Make multiple projects. But dwelling in dream land can hinder action.

The longer you hold onto an idea, the more the idea becomes a part of your identity, and the more wrapped up you become in making sure that idea is what will become the reality. The more goal-oriented and dream-oriented, the harder it gets to start. And if you hold on for too long, that idea of perfect execution becomes so big and monstrous, that if you take action—especially if you take action and fail—you’ll have killed or damaged part of your identity, part of what you’re yearning and hoping for. By chasing the dream with action, you put yourself in a scary place: a place where you might not get what you want.

Making dreams become real is a scary business.  Ignorance can be a blessing. You sidestep the part where you get distracted by all of your fears of failure because you haven't been able to imagine them yet. 

Sometimes hope and patience can turn a dream into an enormous mental glorification, resulting in the worst sin of all:

Not starting.

Specifically, not starting because of fear of failure. Because if you fail, you’re not what you thought you would be.

Our minds get in the way sometimes. Stop that thinking. 

Get started.

Big-picture thinking has its place. So does action. Sometimes you have to get out of your head, into the world, into the making, and start testing. Start building. Make a small thing, make a bunch of mistakes, shake it off, keep going. Over time, you can iterate. Test a couple ideas.

Worry less about getting there and more about being here.

But if you don’t start—you won’t go anywhere.

Do something.

Do Something — Book excerptWant a bit more motivation? A few years ago, I put together a mini-book on motivation with hand-drawn notes, quotes, and words to get you going. The book is available by donation or for free through Gumroad. If you want a copy, grab your own—it's free if you'd like it.

 

Words to fill your mind: the power of a mantra.

The words that fill our minds… We all have words that we cycle on repeat in our minds—from worries about being late to songs we sing or words we repeat. Don’t be late, don’t be late, don’t be late, we repeat to ourselves as we rush from subway to office to meeting to appointment. Gotta finish, gotta finish, gottaContinue Reading

Are you letting the numbers deflate you?

The thing about numbers is, we give them far too much power to make us feel bad. “Only” have 100 people reading your blog? That’s like speaking to a jam-packed coffee shop or on stage at a live speaking event. Alexandra Franzen reframes the expectations we have around blogging (and online writing) and I thinkContinue Reading

When your ego starts yelling at you… remember this:

Ever have those voices in your head, while you’re working or trying something new? That ego. The voice that tells you, whispers softly, cruelly inside of your mind: “You aren’t good enough. This wasn’t very good. Why did you bother? You’re not in shape enough. You should go to yoga class, but it’s not goingContinue Reading

A little note on letting go…

Clear your plate. Let go of things that don’t serve you. That don’t inspire you. Give up things that aren’t working. Release. Let out a deep sigh. Pause. Inhale. Exhale. Take a shower. Dunk in a waterfall. Wash it clean, letting water drip down around you, pour over your head. Feel the world rinse you off, like aContinue Reading

Hustle is a dial, not a way of being.

There are appropriate times to hustle in your business. Sometimes you’re hustling for a year or two on the side, creating your escape route and freedom business to jump ship from your corporate job. Sometimes you stay up late and hustle the night before a course launches, or when you’re putting the final tweaks onContinue Reading

Darkness and light: why writing is an act of bravery.

“Only when we’re brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our life.” — Brene Brown Writing is an act of bravery. Each year, when I teach our writing workshops, I get to work with a small group of twenty-some writers, thinkers, and creatives. Inevitably, the process gets difficult in weeksContinue Reading

Easy?

When did someone sit down and promise you that it was supposed to be easy? Or better yet, fair? It’s not guaranteed to be easy or fair, and the people who get what they want go after it–in spite of and because of–each and every advantage or disadvantage they are thrown.Continue Reading

Your job is to create.

Your job is to create something in this world. With your human hands, your brain, your vision, your dreams, your desires. Make something. Make something with your mind, with your hands, with your heart. Put ingredients together and craft a batch of bread. Fold paper origami cranes. Make ideas come to life through words andContinue Reading

Finding your creative flow: 17 writer’s tricks to get un-stuck and start creating

I wrung my hands, trying to figure out what to write next. It was a typical afternoon at the computer: Somehow I had amassed more browser tabs than laundry quarters, each of which was threatening to pull me into an endless loop of reading more things on the internet — all conspiring to collect asContinue Reading

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