I think there are two types of people in this world. Those are able to motivate themselves almost at will, and those who need a giant kick up the ass to do something.
Okay guess what category I belong to…
Thank you for that.
My problem is that I have many great ideas and plans that I wish to execute and deliver on. The thing is I lack the motivation to do so, at least generally speaking. I seem to be only able to do something when I have that flash of inspiration. Of course anyone who is creative knows these sparks come and go a bit too quickly for my liking. That means I have a lot of downtime where I want to do something but I just don’t seem to have it in me to accomplish it.
I wanted to quit my job and do something where I could use my creativity. I have played the guitar for almost 15 years and this is one area I quite fancied a career in. Mainly because the thought that I could make money based on something I had helped create was inspiring to me. For the same reason, it’s why I was so into art as a child and now why I am really into writing.
The thing is how do you find the time or the effort needed to put everything into your passion? Unless you’re lucky and you are naturally motivated then it can be incredibly frustrating.
I tried for years to give up menial employment without success. I would always try to hold down a job while at the same time write songs or practice the guitar. I just couldn’t find the energy to do both and I often thought about giving it up and I would go several months without doing anything creative just because I was so mentally tired from work.
What is the solution?
Well I decided that the only way I was going to be able to kick on and focus on what I wanted to do was to give up my job for good. So I could embrace the all or nothing mentality. The only way I was ever going to realistically do this was to put all of my eggs in one basket. The theory being that I HAD to make a success of myself as I had nothing as a back-up.
Very risky I know but I couldn’t think of another way to get this started.
So there we have it, I handed in my notice and I don’t regret it for a second. It was important that I had something in mind to transition to, which I did. I designed a website to enable me to advertise myself as a guitar tutor.
www.bournemouthguitarlessons.co.uk (shameless plug)
It took a few weeks to get going but from there on I started getting a steady trickle of students. I can tell you right away that working for yourself is 500x more satisfying than doing any job I had previously. There is something undeniably awesome about setting your own rules and earning money by passing on your knowledge to someone else.
I would never be able to get this going without the free time that being unemployed gave me. That is just the way that I am and it took me so long to come to this conclusion.
If you intend to use the all or nothing approach then it is very important to embrace the ALL aspect of it. It sounds obvious but after the initial buzz of excitement it is very easy to become disillusioned with a lack of progress. You have to keep plugging away. Hard work is what separates those who succeed from those who give up and go back to work and their depressing daily routines.
When designing my website, it took about 30-40 hours of research focusing on how to set it up, web hosting, website design and things like how to use Photoshop for my logo. Then I had to learn about SEO (search engine optimisation) and marketing and then the actual hours needed to make the site and write out all the content.
You would think once it is up that is all I needed to do, well I then had to promote and get the word out. The frustrating thing is Google takes weeks/months to gather all the data needed to rank highly in search results so it really is a case of patience and hard work.
As I write this now, my guitar tuition website has jumped from page two on Google, to page one and currently lies in 6th place for my chosen key phrase. This change took roughly two months to occur from the date the website was created.
The point being that success, even small victories like this one can take time to come through so don’t become disillusioned and keep working hard.
When dealing with motivation and working hard towards a goal, it is important not to become overwhelmed with the task at hand. If you have a big goal then it is beneficial to break it down into smaller steps and to focus on just one thing at a time.
When I wanted to build a website I would just pick one thing and make sure that was my only task. For example when looking at logo design I had no idea where to start. Obviously I knew Photoshop would play some part in it but I had no knowledge at all. So I just started watching YouTube videos on how to use the software and I didn’t worry about anything else. Once I felt I had a rough Idea of where to start, I then opened up Photoshop and began following the steps in the video. I spent a whole day doing this and while I had no logo, I learnt a lot.
The next step was to actually make something. This took a few hours, and I was actually quite surprised by how quickly I created the logo that I now use on my homepage. After this I just had to work out how to place it on my site and how to optimise it for SEO.
The initial idea of having a logo was something I felt I could never do by myself. Yet by breaking it into smaller steps it was actually very simple.
So what happens next?
From now on I have to keep applying myself and continue to work hard towards my goals. If I slack off, even for a short time, it could cause me to develop unhealthy habits that could really impact future success. It has to remain all or nothing because without the ‘all’ the ‘nothing’ will quickly turn into reality.
The whole point of giving up everything was to ensure that I had nothing to fall back on. It is high risk but the rewards are also high and it is just my preferred method of doing something. It doesn’t work for everyone but we should all do what we feel is right at the time.
I believe it is very important to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and say that you gave it a real honest shot.