Is there or was there an expiry date on your passion and dream? The ideal case is that there should not be and can never be an expiry date unless you have actually set it yourself because finally at the end of the day, no one or no situation can cap your growth unless you allow it. Of course, this is easier said than done and this article addresses how to craft your success story, one hour at a time. When I say your, I mean ‘ YOUR’, because the success could be as anything from getting up half an earlier every day to building another company like Google…and still it remains yours.
Your one-hour success story!
As your eyes read these words, it means, well, it naturally means that I have written it and published it and you are reading it! Sounds downright simple and not a very interesting introduction, especially with a topic like a success story, right? Can’t blame you if that is how you feel, but hold on – this is actually a feat.
A success story of conceptualizing the idea, actually getting down to writing and publishing it.
A success story of a few hours.
And most important, the success story of pushing myself to do it, when I had so many things to take care and the feeling that my attention alone is required for a hundred and one issues.
And the success story of one among millions across the globe.
And this success is not packaged in laces and frills of huge monetary returns or of the growth of a flourishing business. This is just about getting down to actually doing what we want to do and in my case writing. I have always been appreciated for my writing skills and I wanted my thoughts to take shape as words, ripple across this planet and make a difference in the lives of some who needs it.
And for me, that is the sense of accomplishment – each step we take we ensure that we complete it to fruitions…one hour at a time.
It is also my path of self-defined success markers. My profile is but one among the very big lot crisscrossing this tiny planet. Growing up in a small town, nestled among lofty mountains, I was (and still am) a voracious reader and occasionally used to pen a few stories that a young mind could come up with. The writing was shelved after I moved to a flying career in a global telecom company, managing projects and travelling across international borders. After 16 years of corporate life, I quit my job to spend quality time with my kids and it was after that, old dreams came back – thoughts ripened to words and wanted to glide from pen to paper. Dreams and passions equally matched my conviction that I spend the best time with my kids but finally the mundane daily routine tasks of running a home took over. Your story could be different.
It doesn’t matter, in which role life has placed you now – you could be a wonderful stay at home parent, you could be breaking glass ceilings at huge corporates, you could be in a career which pressing financial demands pushed you to, you could be just wallowing in luxury or you could be a student expanding your knowledge boundaries from books. What matters is that if you are really OK about what you are doing or is there something more that you would like to accomplish or redefine in your life. And those, are not feats defined by fame and fortune but chiseled from your perspective of growth and self-evolution and finally moments that give you pure joy.
The question looming now might be “Of course I am aware but there are so many blockers in my path and how do I even start? “.
Most of us are so tuned to our daily routine, that it becomes ingrained in us. Shifting gears seems difficult or unnecessary or worse fearful. Taking that few steps every day could be a mammoth task and of course, there is always a tomorrow which never comes. And for that my dear reader, there is finally no one to blame.
There is always some chore to be done, reports to be sent, targets to be met, meals to be prepared, cleaning, laundry, and the ceaseless list. And yet here I am writing, learning animation, and even joined a course on cosmology. The secret recipe (which I learnt the hard way) for this is, 95 % attitude change and 5% time management. So am just listing out the hurdles that we need to thrash out. Not giant strides but small steps that you can actually take.
Be serious about yourself: If you do not take your passion seriously, who else will? The single thought that you definitely need to do something for your personal growth, is the root from which your success sprouts. If you are not serious about what you want to do, you just can’t blame anyone else for not taking you seriously. So get your inner resolve a notch up.
You don’t need the ‘ I handle it all’ crown on your head: Stop trying to paint an image that, everything runs on your head. It is never the case whether it is at work or at home. Think about you consider your ‘duties’ and move some out. One cool way would be to list down each in separate pieces of paper. Keep two small baskets or bowls, one for ‘must do activities’ and other ‘I can skip this’ activities and keep dropping the papers in which you think is the appropriate basket. At the end, a glance at these bowls will show how your life is currently balanced. Get domestic help, delegate work and drop some tasks completely. Allowing children to handle some home chores teaches them a lot of responsibility. There will be initial hiccups and teething problems, but remember it is more important that this routine falls into place rather than the actual job being done perfectly. Only if you move on from that, can you take the next step.
Open the time lock: This might be your biggest barricade ever. Only if the above two aspects are taken care of, can you even jump into this one. When I initially started writing blogs, an acquaintance of mine (who is also a Stay at Home Mom) asked me in scorn” how do you ever get time for this? I am totally occupied with house work” and I just had one answer “You will create time for what you actually want to do. The choice is yours”.
Managing time boils down to being very conscious about it. Decide which part of your daily routine you cannot compromise on and which parts can be compromised. One good tip is to write down your detailed routine (of an average day) and trash out the time stealers. Allocate few hours across the week as your ‘exclusive ME time’. During those hours avoid social media if you are type who is addicted to answering every message and seeing every post.
Drop it like a hot brick: Once you fix a time, of course there will be one chore after another which pushes its head into that time – that is a natural cycle, but just drop it like a hot brick. Fix an hour or two for yourself, drop everything else and get down to what you have to do. An hour of focus can achieve so much. An hour during which you can explore, or train yourself, reach out to people or to just pen your thoughts. Let me tell you, that unless you have a child who is an infant or toddler (where routines are more unpredictable), you will definitely find more such ‘one hours’, especially on weekends. Early morning on weekends works best for me.
Erase the guilt factor: For centuries people have been put on the pedestal for self-sacrifice and clinging on to that glory could be your hurdle. It is very easy to feel guilty when you take a chunk of time for yourself or worse, someone else could make you feel guilty. Just brush it off (It is not worth a penny) and continue. Else many years would roll by and you will have to deal with that horrible feeling “I could have done these years back, but I missed to do so.”
It is not only about having clarity in what you need to do and sticking to it, but also about conveying the same to others in healthy way. Rather than expecting them to understand on their own( in case they don’t which might not be intentional at all), say it in a clear and calm manner, for ex.” for the next one hour am not available as I need to work on this’. Let me tell you, this works wonders and wards off any misunderstanding.
Identify your interests and train yourself: You either know what you’re passionate about or spend the initial few weeks, or months, whatever it takes, to explore and find what motivates you but do it. How much you want to monetize it is of course, based on your personal situation and the budget caps that your set for yourself. There are umpteen online courses available for free or at low budgets. Once you select one, the key is to make sure you actually complete it. You might get blogged down by certain interests, some might feel dumb after the initial euphoria – that is normal and ok. Try something else, but try it for a considerable time before moving on to something else- every activity has its boring side.
Consistency pays off: Take one hour at a time, make sure you spend it effectively and then plan for the next hour or next day. Once you have actually kick started something, it might be overwhelming and thoughts like “how am I even going to handle this” will plague you but take it by the hour. Step by step – if you have learnt something more compared to before, that is a step well taken and a success. Know when to push yourself. Know the difference between taking a break and feeling plain lazy.
Knock of ridicule with a straight punch: I hope it never happens to you but there could be someone who comments or mocks or ridicules what you might be doing and ignoring them is easier said done.
Remember two key aspects :
o First – It is just their opinion and why should you allow yourself to be bothered about it? You continue to do what you know to do i.e. pursing your passion and let them continue to do what they know to do i.e. ridiculing. Never ever step into their role for someone else. The control should be within you and once you become aware of that, it gets automatically conveyed to them, that their scorn has no impact on you. I have learnt this from personal experience and I assure you, this taunt fades away.
o Second – Your genuine well-wishers will always encourage you, interact with them about what you are doing, your step by step achievements, your fears etc.
Define your golden hours: Have some small goals setup for an hour of time spent or for a week and celebrate when these goals are met. When I know my ‘golden’ hour is well spent, that feeling is just great!! Focus on that and move to the next step rather than worrying about what you have missed. Understand that faltering along the way is normal and you can always pickup and move on.
So finally, and I really stress the word ‘finally’ it all comes down to how we handle ourselves – there will be moments of happiness, moments of frustration, moments of ‘I feel like giving up’ – Remember they too will pass and that great feeling when you have actually achieved something is irreplaceable because at that time, it is your work which will speak volumes.
At the end of the day, you decide what you want to feel good about!