This is a guest post by Jeff Goins of GoinsWriter.com. Jeff was a recent guest on the SPI Podcast (Session #79), which was a very popular episode for all of authors out there.
Earlier this year I published a best selling book called Let Go, thanks to the help of Jeff and the marketing strategies we discussed during his interview. Let Go was originally published on the beautiful Snippet App platform, and Jeff has just recently launched a brand new Snippet of his own too called The In Between.
Today, we’re doing a “guest blog swap,” and together we’ll both hosting a free, live Google+ Hangout today at 1:00pm PST. It will be an hour long, and we’ll talk about our writing careers, storytelling, and take questions from the audience too! Click here to sign up for the hangout later today!
Here’s Jeff below who writes about a very important part in the journey of any author or entrepreneur. Hopefully, you don’t have to learn the hard way like he did. Enjoy!
It’s going to happen: One day your dream will come true. You’ll get everything you ever wanted, if you only work hard enough, seek out opportunity, and take a few risks at the right time. It’ll all come true… but will you be ready when it does?
One thing I’ve learned since quitting my job of seven years and taking the leap into full-time writing, speaking, and blogging is the importance of enjoying the journey.
With an online business, there’s always something to do. Since the Internet never sleeps, you’re always “open.” And if you’re not careful, this can steal your joy and destroy the freedom you’ve worked so hard to create.
That’s what happened to me, anyway.
Ever since starting my blog in 2011, I dreamed of being able to write and speak full-time. It was the one thought that constantly consumed me. And when the opportunity finally arrived, it was no longer enough. I wanted more. Having climbed the mountain, so to speak, I realized there were even higher peaks to ascend. And my greedy eyes scanned the horizon for what was to come.
At the same time, I had recently become a dad and was learning how important being present in parenthood is. Kids grow fast, and life moves quickly. “If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile,” as Ferris Bueller famously said, “you just might miss it.”
And I don’t want to miss a thing.
I learned the hard way to slow down, almost burning myself out and losing my family in the process. Soon after I had started my dream, I almost killed it because I didn’t know how to handle the responsibility.
There’s an important takeaway here worth paying attention to, whether you’re just beginning the journey towards self-employment or are well on your way: Don’t make your biggest potential supporters your worst enemies.
On the way to fulfilling my dream, I discovered how much I needed other people in the process, especially family, friends, and the community I found online. As part of this, I discovered three lessons that helped me succeed without letting the success destroy me (which it almost did at one point):
- Celebrate the small stuff. Every day you get to take another step towards the work you love is a gift. Count it as such and remember to share the joy with those closest to you, the people who have cheered you on since the very beginning.
- Invite others along for the ride. This means every struggle, triumph, and opportunity isn’t just for you; it’s something you can turn around and give to your community. When you authentically catalogue your experiences so that others might benefit, you realize your dream isn’t just about you.
- Let go of expectation. The truth is none of us completely deserves our good fortune. We sometimes get lucky or stumble into the right opportunities and can’t completely take credit for our success. Sure, you need to hustle and not depend on luck, but more than that, you need to ready yourself for an adventure. Be prepared for the unexpected, because that’s what makes this so much fun in the first place.
The other day, I was eager to get to work. I’d spent the whole weekend with my family and was ready to put my nose back to the grindstone — I’m one of those weird guys who actually looks forward to Monday because I love what I do. But sometimes when you enjoy your work so much, you can forget why you do it.
The weather was perfect, which is odd for November in Nashville, and my wife wanted to know if I wanted to go to the zoo. Immediately, I got defensive and scared. Today was a work day; I couldn’t just take it off. That would be irresponsible… or would it?
After thinking about this, I realized that if I can’t take the day off to watch my son chase goats around, trying to pet them while he screams “Baaaaa!” then I’m working for the wrong reasons.
Yes, you should work hard for your dream; you may even have to make sacrifices. But never forget why you’re chasing it in the first place; never let what you do compete with who you’re doing it for. And above all, remember that this is a journey without a definite destination. In fact, the journey is the destination.
So you’d better enjoy it.
Hope to hear from you below, and don’t forget the hangout at 1:00pm PST today! Click here to sign up for the hangout!