Ever since I’ve gone over to Europe, the most common thing I hear from people is, “Oh, I wish I could do that!” And, my answer is usually the same, “Why can’t you?” Is this insensitive? Snobby? Bitchy? Because, to me, that’s a ticket out of mediocrity. Those three simple words, “WHY. CAN’T. YOU?” are freedom and empowerment and if you really wanted it, wouldn’t you be going for it?
I think one of the worst things in life is thinking about all the things you wish you could be doing, instead of doing them. It’s a terribly helpless feeling and I’m not immune to thinking this way, but I find that when I’m acting on my desires, that little voice seems to fade away. So, without further ado, I’m going to explain, straight out of my playbook, how I make things happen, instead of waiting for them to.
1. Decide and be clear about what you want
This is the quintessential HOW TO GET WHAT YOU WANT first step. Uh, decide what you want. Clever! And, believe me, I suck at this. I’ll be real honest with you there, because deciding what I want makes me go, “What about all the other things I’m missing out on!? WHAT IF I DIE AND NEVER GET THE CHANCE TO GO IN A HOT AIR BALLOON BECAUSE I WAS DOING SOMETHING LESS EXCITING?!” Irrational. Especially since I don’t even really care about going in a hot air balloon, but whatever.
When I’m feeling particularly restless and I get that feeling in the pit of my stomach, I sit down and figure out what’s causing the dissatisfaction. When I find the root (usually someone has something I want and I’m envious), then I decide what I want from that. Do I want what they have? Do I want something similar to what they have? Once I decide on that, I…
2. …Make decisions that are only in line with what you want
This is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING EVER ON THE PLANET. Ok, no, not really, but it’s really quite important if you plan on ever getting anything that you want. People tend to think that if they scatter their efforts enough, if they have their hands in enough projects, that one of them will surely come to fruition and that’s the one they’ll focus on. This is completely backwards! Where’s your passion? Where’s your determination? When you have a million different things buzzing around, I think it becomes pretty clear that you haven’t found something that works for you yet. Every choice you make should fall in line with what you want. Whenever an opportunity is presented, ask yourself if this will propel you closer to what you want. If no, then decline. Simple as that. Don’t waste your time.
For example, when I was starting Shatterboxx, I had a bunch of opportunities up in the air. I was doing part-time Community Management with a tech company, was talking to someone about doing social media consulting for Napa wineries, was doing website design, and was trying to figure out how I could monetize my blog. You know what happened? I half-assed every single one of those things and got nowhere until I focused in on web design. I put the blinders on and devoted myself to becoming the best in web design, not pretty good at print design, web design, consulting, blogging, social media, etc. Focusing will, furthermore, release you from the anxiety of indecisiveness.
These tips work for everything in life, really. Do you want a healthy and amazing relationship? Well, you should probably be clear on that and then stop taking ten steps back by settling for a mediocre relationship or trying to find someone through one night stands or random hook ups. Do you want to be location independent? Then, only make decisions that are on course with that.
Just, please, for the love of god, don’t waste your life on wishes. I’m not lucky that I’m in Italy. I worked my ass off to start a company, then aligned myself with the decision to travel. Plus, I work with Rome (ROME!) in my backyard. Let me tell you that this is not an easy feat. And, truly, I’m not someone more blessed or lucky or special than you are. I’m just some chick that’s determined to never settle for second best and who truly believes anything is possible, because I can make it so.
So, don’t go on thinking that I’m this crazy lucky person who gets to live in Italy because the stars aligned for me! It’s not true. I MADE this happen by being determined and focused on what I wanted. And, seriously, if I can do it, SO CAN YOU. Now, GO!