[This is part of the Escaping the 9-5: My Road to ProBlogging series.]
As we’re walking through this series on how I left my 9-5 life in the cube farm (and it appears this is a very popular series from the traffic) I realized that one of the consistent elements that helped me clarify where I wanted to head next and how I was going to get there was to define what my dream job really looked like.
Let there be no mistake though – no job is perfect – but I realized that it was still practical and beneficial for me to specifically and explicitly write out what I wanted to do with myself and what that really looked like.
So about a year or so ago I started taking notes, scribbles at first (some on paper napkins) of what “this” was going to look like. Why? Because it was my intent and goal to make my dream a reality.
Begin with the End in Mind
Stephen Covey’s very famous book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has one chapter (Habit #2) that’s titled “Begin with the End in Mind” which shares how effective people have a clear picture of where they want to head before they even start.
Mr. Covey says it best himself:
Habit 2 is based on imagination–the ability to envision in your mind what you cannot at present see with your eyes. It is based on the principle that all things are created twice.
There is a mental (first) creation, and a physical (second) creation. The physical creation follows the mental, just as a building follows a blueprint.
If you don’t make a conscious effort to visualize who you are and what you want in life, then you empower other people and circumstances to shape you and your life by default.
It’s about connecting again with your own uniqueness and then defining the personal, moral, and ethical guidelines within which you can most happily express and fulfill yourself.
Begin with the End in Mind means to begin each day, task, or project with a clear vision of your desired direction and destination, and then continue by flexing your proactive muscles to make things happen.
I couldn’t say it better myself! I encountered Stephen’s material more than a decade ago when my wise father handed me a copy and said bluntly, “Go read this.” And so I did and I’ve been practicing this for myself ever since.
I think that bloggers could use a small dose of this themselves – in fact, I think that most people could use a little self-visioncasting for their own good! Here are some thoughts of how I went about it for myself:
- Be Explicit – I was extremely explicit about what this “job” looked like from how I imagined the floor and the paint colors on the walls to what my day looked like broken down by hour. The more specific I could be the more targeted I could become.
- Write it Down – I know this might be a given for many of you but apparently it’s not. Far too many people keep their dreams in their head and it never materializes beyond their own mind.
- Tell Others – There is something powerful in sharing your hopes, dreams, and goals with someone else. Call it accountability, call it encouragement, call it a push in the right direction – I don’t care. The point is that you need to tell someone else about them so that you can make steps forward in the right direction.
- Create a Plan – At first I didn’t want to do this because I felt like it “cramped” my options (see #2 from my dad here) but it really didn’t. Your plan will look different than others and that’s ok and there are plenty of resources out there to help you with creating one but the fact is that you need one.
- Timeline – This goes well with #4 and even if you “break” your timeline and/or readjust it you stay on track and you have a deadline to meet. I’ve found that this helps me stay on track and focused.
- Finances – I’ve talked about finances here and here and will probably talk a bit more about it later but you have to take into consideration your financial need and make sure your dream can support it!
- Be Ready – Life is full of twists and turns and I have come to realize that I am terrible at guessing accurately how things will ultimately pan out. What I have learned though is that being ready for whatever is a skill that can be developed. As you work through your plan and begin to make the steps toward it anything can happen. Be ready!
That’s my list. Perhaps we should also revisit what Stephen Covey goes on to say (and he says it succinctly):
One of the best ways to incorporate Habit 2 into your life is to develop a Personal Mission Statement.
It focuses on what you want to be and do. It is your plan for success. It reaffirms who you are, puts your goals in focus, and moves your ideas into the real world.
Your mission statement makes you the leader of your own life. You create your own destiny and secure the future you envision.
What About Blogging?
Many of you have your blog as a part of your idea of the dream job but have you ever thought about how much a part of your dream job it really is?
In other words, have you ever given it considerable enough thought to see how much of your dream job has blogging as a part of it?
I had to honestly grapple with this question for myself as I envisioned my dream job and ultimately landed on the fact that blogging, although very important, would not be 100% of my dream job, for more than a few reasons.
This was extremely helpful (and healthy) for me so that I could realistically create an adequate perspective of my dream job as possible.
What about you? Will blogging be everything in your dream job and dream lifestyle? Or is it just a part, and if so, how much?
One additional activity that might be helpful is to blog about it and share it with your community! If you do, please link back to this article and share it in the comments!