It’s not selfish to do things your way

Sep 10, 2016

At some of the best restaurants in the world, you don’t get to choose your meal. There’s no such thing as going back for a favourite dish. The chef decides the menu, to take you on a journey – because it’s his work, his art, and he knows best.

The chef creates based on what he knows believes in, because he trusts his abilities and his instincts.

It might seem arrogant (and perhaps even selfish). Some people say they’d hate to go to restaurants like that. But it really isn’t. It’s about the belief that your vision will provide the best experience – beyond anything the customer could imagine for themselves.

Sometimes, that’s the best way to provide the best experience – both for you, and for the people around you. When you try to listen too much to those around, you risk diluting your own vision, and losing the impact.

When you do things your way, you’re able to go in a direction that you fully believe in and are passionate about. And because of that, the results are going to be better.

3 myths (and 1 truth) about doing what you love

Sep 3, 2016

As anyone who’s met me for more than 5 minutes probably knows, I’m a huge believer in doing what you love. That’s the main message of this blog after all. And there are lots of quotes and sayings about doing what you love that get shared online – but not all of them are true. And today I wanted to dispel a few of the more common myths I’ve seen.

“Do what you love and the money will follow”

As any struggling artist proves, this is clearly false. There are plenty of people who are doing what they love, but never make money. But here’s why I believe you should do what you love anyway: because the money isn’t going to follow either way. Whether or not you’re doing what you love, money isn’t going to just magically appear. It’s going to take time and effort, you’re going to have to put yourself out there, and go get it. But if you’re going to put in the effort anyway, you’re better off spending the effort doing something you love and are passionate about, don’t you think?

This brings me to the second myth that I see everywhere online:

“Do what you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life”

Doing what you love still takes work. In fact, it probably would require you to work even harder. It’s going to mean so much more to you, so it’s going to be scarier. You’ll have to put so much more of your heart into it. And don’t listen to anyone who says it doesn’t feel like work. It’s so much more emotionally draining. When you’re just counting the hours in a job you hate, it’s easier to disconnect. It’s easier to leave at 5, and leave all the work in the office, and not worry about it. But if you’re doing something you love, you can’t disconnect from it. It’s going to be on your mind all the time. You’ll be constantly thinking of ways to do it better. It’s a struggle. And it’s tough. But it’s much more meaningful.

“If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to build theirs”

There seems to be this train of thought these days that says everyone needs to build their own business and work for themselves. But here’s the thing: not everyone dreams of being an entrepreneur. And not everyone is meant to be an entrepreneur. It’s okay if your dream is to work in a company, doing something that you find meaning and joy in.

So, what is true about doing what you love? I love this quote by Brian Tracy:

“If you do what you love and commit to being the best in your field, you will find success”

Doing what you love is great. And it can bring you lots of fulfillment and meaning. But alone, it’s not enough. You still need the second part of the equation. You need to put in the work, and commit to being the best. If you do that, though, whatever field you’re in, you can succeed.

“Do what you love” isn’t the end point. It’s the starting point of the journey. You still have to walk down the road – and it’s a tough one. But it’s so much more meaningful.

For more insights on the challenges and fears that come with doing what you love – and how to overcome them – check out PassionBlueprint. I talk to amazing people who have done just that, so you can learn to do the same.

3 things that helped me overcome my own fears

Aug 27, 2016

I talk a lot about overcoming your fears and doing what you love. But I’m not perfect, and I struggle with that sometimes myself. My new project, PassionBlueprint, is a great example of that. I’m really happy to have launched it, but to be honest, it’s taken much longer than I wanted. The whole project itself has probably been years in the making. I’ve been wanting to share stories of people doing what they love and do something in that space since 2011.

Why did it take me 5 years to actually get to this point? In a word: fear.

For the longest time, I’ve felt like I wasn’t good enough to do something like this. I told myself that there were plenty of other people in that space, who all had more worthwhile value to contribute than I did. I was held back by fear.

So how did I finally get over those fears? It wasn’t easy, and it took a long time. But here are 3 things I did that really helped me – and which can help you overcome your fears too.

1) Get the right support

One of the biggest reasons I’ve been able to get to this point is Ishita Gupta. A couple of years ago, I made the decision to hire her as a coach, and it’s been one of the best choices I’ve made. She’s helped me learn how to get over not feeling like I’m good enough. She’s provided great support throughout the whole journey. She’s helped me figure out the right direction for me when I wasn’t sure where I should head. In short, I couldn’t have done this without her.

It’s not just her. I’ve been really lucky to have awesome friends and family around who support me. I’ve also connected with fellow entrepreneurs who are going through similar stages in their business.

All that has been hugely important. And that’s one of the most important parts of doing what you love: having the right people around you. People who will support you and inspire you and push you. As Lisa Howe said in the first PassionBlueprint episode, “it’d be a mistake to think you can do everything yourself.” Doing what you love is a risky and difficult journey, and having the right support system will make a world of a difference. So if you’re wanting to take that step out, that’s one of my biggest suggestions: surround yourself with the right people. Join communities of people who will give you the support you need, reach out to people who inspire you, connect with the right friends who will push you towards your goals.

2) Find ways to make the process easier

One of the biggest fears I faced when launching the podcast was the fact that I hated listening to my own voice – I don’t like how I sound. I had recorded a few interviews, but to get them up I needed to have them edited. That required listening to my own voice for 30-40 minutes. And that was a huge mental struggle for me. That issue alone probably set me back by at least 6 months.

I talked to Ishita about it, and she basically told me that it wasn’t worth it to stress out about it – and to just outsource it to someone. So I did, and I got the first episode going within a month.

Doing what you love is often a really scary act in itself. The work means much more to you, which also means there’s much more fear involved. So it’s okay to take the path of least resistance and work around obstacles – by outsourcing, getting help, or even just not worrying/thinking about them if they’re not essential at the moment. You’re already taking a difficult scary path, you don’t need to put additional barriers in your way.

3) Practice doing things that scare you

Courage – being able to push past the fear and do things that scare you – is a skill. You can practice it and get better at it. One thing that really helped me gain courage and get to the point of being willing to launch PassionBlueprint is altMBA. I took the altMBA last year, and it was an intense 30-days of learning to ship and do things that scare you.

3 times a week, I had to publish work – work that involved being vulnerable, and that scared me – and accept that it might not be received well, but that’s okay. I had to learn that it’s okay to do things that might fail. I’m still not the best at this, but I’m learning. And as I continue to ship and put myself out there consistently, I’m getting better at it.

You can too. Start small, and take action regularly. It could be one blog post a week. Or perhaps it’s reaching out to one new person. Take small steps regularly, and your confidence and courage will build. And suddenly, the things that scared you once won’t be so scary anymore.

Get the right support, find simple ways around obstacles, and practice. 3 simple things, but they’ll make your journey to doing what you love so much easier.

Tired of letting your fears hold you back from doing what you love?

Get my free PDF action guide, where you’ll learn about the 5 most common fears we face, and get simple action steps to help you conquer those fears.

One great shot isn’t enough

Aug 20, 2016

Making one half court shot doesn’t mean you’re great at basketball. Cooking one great dish – or even one meal – doesn’t make you a chef. Being able to draw one thing doesn’t make you an artist (I should know, I can draw a great Donald Duck, but nothing else).

Lots of people can succeed once. What makes a great basketball player is the ability to hit shots regularly. Being able to do it night after night, consistently – that’s what sets them apart.

That’s true in everything we do. It’s not about single acts. It’s about whether you can show up and execute regularly. Consistency is what counts.

Photo by Kevin Luu