Finding happiness in the pursuit

The Happiness of PursuitThis week I'm reading Chris Guillebeau's freshly published book: The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest that Will Bring Purpose to Your Life.

I've been a longtime follower of Chris's blog, The Art of Non-Conformity, and he even did a Q&A post for our site about his last book, The $100 Startup.

What I love about Chris's approach to Life, the Universe, and Everything is his go-get-it attitude about the things that matter to him. He's designed a life and completed a quest that works for him and his personality. This new book is about his quest to visit all the countries in the world by the time he was 35, and about the many people he met along the way that were pursuing quests of their own.

In talking with others and looking at his own experience, Chris gleaned a number of useful lessons and insights about creating and pursuing quests.

And although the focus of the book is generally on more external pursuits, I can't help thinking there's are great lessons to be learned for our writing lives as well. There are certainly some useful parallels to draw between quests and writing, as you'll see below.

Let's talk about some of the lessons that have stood out to me so far in what I'm reading:

1. "When you sense discontent, pay attention." Discontent is a powerful informant about what's not working in your life . . . but it's not enough on its own to spark a quest or change. Chris says, "If you want to get the embers burning, you have to blend dissatisfaction with inspiration, and then you have to connect the dissatisfaction to a greater purpose."

This is his equation for transmuting dissatisfaction:

Dissatisfaction + Big Idea + Willingness to Take Action = New Adventure

I've definitely found discontent to be a great source of information in my own life about what's not working and what I'd like to change, but it was my willingness to do something about it that really made the difference, particularly in my major career shift from urban design to coaching and ultimately to writing.

2. "A true calling involves trade-offs." A dream that calls you -- whether it's creating something or traveling the world -- will require a deeper investment or even sacrifice -- but it will feel worth it to you because you're called to do it.

Making the time to write often involves a sacrifice or trade off for me, but almost always feels worth it. And I'm certainly willing to make hard choices about fulfilling other dreams of mine in order to make them happen (from staying home with the kids to traveling the world).

3. Refuse to give your fear decision-making authority. Making headway into new territory will trigger fear. As Chris says, "Embracing new things often requires us to embrace our fears, however trivial they may seem. You deal with fear not by pretending it doesn't exist, but by refusing to give it decision-making authority."

Any big dream will trigger fear -- and Chris is absolutely right that we cannot allow it to dictate our decisions. 

4. Have an emotional awareness of mortality. Chris differentiates between an intellectual awareness of mortality versus an emotional one.

Here's how he breaks it down:

  • Intellectual awareness: "I know that no one lives forever."
  • Emotional awareness: "I know that I will someday die."

I've always been vaguely annoyed by the notion to "live each day as if it's your last", because I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be emptying the dishwasher if it was my last day on Earth. But Chris's notion here, of having an emotional awareness, points to something more meaningful for me.

It's about having a sense of personal motivation to make the most of the time we are individually given, by adopting greater goals and pursuits that bring a sense of meaning and fulfillment into our lives. That version works for me.

5. Make your personal passions your quest. A quest, as Chris defines it, includes a clear goal, a real challenge, and set of milestones along the way, and something that involves some kind of investment or sacrifice. He doesn't include writing a book as a quest, though he defines that as a "general life improvement" along with other things like getting out of debt, getting in shape, quitting smoking. Those, he says, are not necessarily true quests.

The examples of quests given in the book range from his own (traveling to all the world's countries), a woman's goal of making a meal from every country for her family, a teen earning every Boy Scout merit badge, and a man using walking as an only means of transportation for 17 years (and not speaking either for that length of time as well).

More to come...

The rest of the book contains what looks like more delightful examples of other people's quests, along with some in depth chapters I'm particularly looking forward to reading.

There's one called "The Love of the Craft", which I think will be right up my alley, with some writing examples, including Seth Godin.

Can writing be a quest?

It occurs to me that writing could still be a quest by Chris's definition -- perhaps by setting a goal of some kind around it, like a certain number of books or screenplays written by a certain date, or like Seth Godin, writing 365 days per year. What do you think? Take a look below for an opportunity to submit your answer about how writing might look like a quest for you . . . and get a chance to win a copy of Chris's book!

About Chris

Chris GuillebeauDuring a lifetime of self-employment that included a four-year commitment as a volunteer executive in West Africa, Chris visited every country in the world (193 in total) before his 35th birthday. Since then he has modeled the proven definition of an entrepreneur: “Someone who will work 24 hours a day for themselves to avoid working one hour a day for someone else.”

Chris’s first book, The Art of Non-Conformity, was translated into more than twenty languages. His second book, The $100 Startup, was a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller, selling more than 300,000 copies worldwide. His latest book, The Happiness of Pursuit, will be published by Crown / Random House in September 2014.

Every summer in Portland, Oregon, Chris hosts the World Domination Summit, a gathering of creative, remarkable people with thousands in attendance. Chris is also the founder of Pioneer Nation, Unconventional Guides, the Travel Hacking Cartel, and numerous other projects.

Read Chris's favorite writing tips here: http://chrisguillebeau.com/good-writing-tips

Meet Chris

You can meet Chris on his tour of 40+ cities in North America. Find out more here: http://chrisguillebeau.com/events

Win a Copy of The Happiness of Pursuit

You can win your own copy of The Happiness of Pursuit by entering our contest to win one of two copies we have available for a giveaway on our brand spanking new Just Do The Writing Facebook page, here: https://www.facebook.com/justdothewriting/posts/677372385688130

Or, pick up your own copy of The Happiness of Pursuit, on Amazon *, Barnes & Noble, and indie bookstores in hardback, paperback, or ebook form.

Thanks for reading!

 

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tiger

Why we procrastinate, especially about the stuff that really matters

I had a lovely chat with a friend recently about applying to a school program she's interested in. She confessed that even though she very much wanted to attend the school, she hadn't yet completed the application.

Ah!

That familiar friend: Procrastination.

Why do we procrastinate about things that are important to us?

Why is that when it comes time to do the hard work, whether it's taking action on our businesses, filing important paperwork, writing that longed for novel or script, or making time for our art, we stall?

I mean, sure, it's hard, but we've also said how important it is to us. We've spent money on classes, books, training, and support. We've written it into our schedules. It's clearly a priority for us, right?

So why so much talk and not so much action?

It's the size of the dream that matters.

I'll say that again: It's the size of the dream that matters.

The more important something is to you, the more fear, procrastination, and resistance you experience. In fact, the level of fear you feel seems to be directly proportional to the size of the dream.

Perhaps even a little bigger, just for good measure.

"The more we care about something, the more we dream, the more fear shows up."

 

~ Robert Maurer, author of One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way

 

The problem: We're wired to shut down in the face of fear.

The fact that our brains are wired to shut down in the face of fear is what creates the entire conundrum in the first place.

As Robert Maurer describes in One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way, when our brains go into fight-or-flight mode, our frontal cortex -- our thinking, rational brain -- is automatically shut off so that we can respond appropriately and quickly to the threat at hand. This is a natural response to fear. Unfortunately, our mid-brains, home to the amygdala that governs the fight-or-flight response, can't differentiate between the fear that comes up when we're confronted with a tiger or when we're contemplating completing the next great opus.

And so suddenly your thinking, rational and creative brain is completely turned off . . . which when you're attempting to create and design new business ideas or a screenplay, isn't so helpful.

The good news

The good news is that when you can learn to expect the fear to show up, you can normalize it and make it okay. Then it's easier to be compassionate with yourself and coax yourself through the tasks at hand.

I've learned to recognize my own resistance routine and treat it like a familiar visitor I know how to handle.

I tell myself, "It's okay, I know you're scared, you can do this anyway." And I do (as my Writer's Circle members can attest).

It helps that I make a point to tackle things in small pieces, just the way Maurer recommends: "Small, easily achievable goals -- such as picking up and storing just one paper clip on a chronically messy desk -- let you tiptoe right past the amygdala, keeping it asleep and unable to set off alarm bells."

This is why, even on really tough days, you'll still find me writing at least 15 minutes a day on my screenplay, six days a week, no matter what.

The really good news?

The more work you do in small steps, the more your brain gets rewired with new neural pathways and new habits, making resistance so much easier to overcome.

Your turn

What's your experience with procrastination? How do you deal with it? Have you experimented with small steps at all? You know I love to hear from you in the comments.

Warmly,

Jenna

 You may also be interested in:

 

maskboy looking through binoculars

Why we don’t do the work

Last week I wrote a post called, “Stop buying stuff and do the work.” It resonated for more than a few people — and I had promised to write more about WHY we don’t do the work.

So why don’t we do the work?

First, an example.

For years (literally) I said I wanted to write, but I managed instead to fill my plate with training after training after training, and volunteer job after volunteer job. I studied with Coach For Life and Sonia Choquette, pursuing certifications with them. I started and ran organizations like the Sensitive Professionals Network, Six Sensory San Francisco, and a Coach For Life graduates forum, not to mention working as a youth leader with a youth group.

I read (and bought) countless books on coaching, intuitive development, angels, high sensitivity and so much more. Some of them I hardly even opened.

Then I spent more time, energy, and money on learning business skills and developing my message with several high business coaches, and completing hand analysis training.

And while I don’t regret what I was doing — after all, I have tremendously deepened my self-knowledge, grown as a person, learned a ton, and met wonderful people along the way, I was keeping myself so busy that I wasn’t pursuing my true dream of writing.

Throughout that time (and for years before it), I had a nagging feeling that I was “waiting for my life to start” and yet I wasn’t taking action to change anything. Instead I was filling my time doing all those other wonderful things.

And they were wonderful — but in hindsight, it was still resistance.

What’s that about?

It’s all too easy to think we are too busy, that we don’t have enough time. Or that we just need to get better organized. Or just get this one more thing done first.

And the thing is, we feel good that we are contributing great things to the world and our community and that we are learning so much.

And we are. We do.

ALL of these things are true.

We are not bad people after all, we have good intentions and we are interested in so many things.

But why does the one true dream always fall to the bottom of the pile? Why do we make choices that keep us from our dreams?

This is not a new answer

In my case — and I suspect it is true for many people if not most — it’s fear.

This is why we buy stuff we don’t need, keep ourselves too busy to think or connect inward to our deeper selves, procrastinate, spin in circles, get apathetic, and all those other things that add up to resistance.

Because it is scary.

Pursuing your truest, deepest dream is the most frightening thing imaginable — you might not even consciously recognize that you are afraid.

It’s your own hero’s journey

Pursuing your true dream — your art, writing, business, or passion — requires massive amounts of courage. It’s your own personal hero’s journey. Every single day you have to be willing to face down your personal demons, fight the resistance, and forge ahead.

It’s no wonder we want to avoid it, right? And we are so clever that we don’t even know that’s what we’re doing.

Time to clear the decks and answer the call to adventure. It’s waiting for you.

Your turn

I love to hear what you think. Post your note on my blog. Can’t wait to hear from you.

And if your dream is writing — registration closes tomorrow for the next session of my Writer’s Circle. Join us.

Warmly,

Jenna

 

Coming Attractions

~> August 2nd. Register by August 2 for the next 4-week session of my “Just Do The Writing” Accountability Circle (starts August 6th). For serious writers and for writers who want to get serious about their writing. http://JustDoTheWriting.com

~> September 6th. Last day to register for the next Life Purpose Breakthrough Group happening on October 4th. These groups always sell out (only 4 spots) so if you want to discover your life purpose through the remarkably accurate tool of hand analysis, sign up here now: http://LifePurposeBreakthrough.com

 

What I'm Up To

~> Ongoing. Mentoring with screenwriter Chris Soth and participating in ScreenwritingU’s Pro Rewrite class after finishing the ProSeries.* (They’re offering their free rewrite* class this month on August 4, which is great — though make sure you have plenty of water — it’s a looooong class.)

~> September 18 to 22nd. Heading to Hollywood for a ScreenwritingU* event to meet with producers and agents then staying on for the InkTip Pitch Summit. (This is getting way too close!)

~> Sacred writing time. Early mornings and Fridays.

~> Finished Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix! We’ve started reading the next one: Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince. I loved (500) Days of Summer, and finally saw The Day the Earth Stood Still (liked it) and Crazy, Stupid, Love (fabulous).

 

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cutting-card

Stop buying stuff and do the work

One of the biggest mistakes I see people making (and I do it myself) is buying and investing in various products, books, and services but never actually doing the work.

It’s tempting to think that if we just invest in X then we’ll automatically have Y.

It’s just like a gym membership — the only way to lose weight or get in shape is to actually go and workout. You can’t just pay for it, you have to use it.

Say and pray doesn’t fly

Even programs that are well designed to give you a regular, daily opportunity to participate, like my Writer’s Circle, it doesn’t pay off to sign up and just “hope it works.” You actually have to do the work, make the hard choices, and face the difficult obstacles to get the results you want.

In our instant gratification society, we want to believe that there’s a single cure-all or an over-night remedy that will just fix everything while we sleep.

Doesn’t work like that, unfortunately.

And when we combine it with a culture where most of us feel broken and like we need to be cured, well, it’s not too hard to see we’ve got a problem.

Ways we do this

Here are some examples of the ways we do this:

  • Enrolling in a gym but not using it.
  • Buying books but not reading them.
  • Going to healers but not doing the exercises or integration work they assign us.
  • Taking classes but not implementing what we learn.
  • Signing up for programs but not participating in them.

I’m guilty of all of these things. How about we make a pact right now to stop the madness?

The sad thing is that so many people are spending so much money on programs and training (I see it in the coaching world in particular, but it’s also true in writing, business, etc.) but never taking the time to integrate or even implement what they’ve learned. And sometimes before one class is over they’re already signed up for another one. Many people are in thousands and thousands of dollars in debt as a result.

Solutions

Here are a few ideas about how we can change this up:

  • Ask yourself, “Is this truly important to me?” If the answer is yes, figure out how to make it happen. Your actions demonstrate your priorities. Period. Figure out a way to be all in. If the answer is no, let it go and move on.
  • Make space for it: Something I learned from Miriam is to block off time in my schedule for learning. I love it.
  • Look at the stockpiled “stuff” you’ve already invested in and make a clear decision about what you sincerely want to use. Let the rest go.
  • Question whether or not you are truly ready to learn anything new right now. Consider your energy, bandwidth, and other commitments. Consider not signing up for or purchasing anything new unless it’s 100% in alignment with your highest priorities.
  • If you don’t have the bandwidth but you want to take something on, be clear on what you’ll give up to make it happen. One of the biggest mistakes I see writers making, for example, is hoping they’ll have time to write instead of creating time for it. I see this with entrepreneurs, artists, and sensitives as well.

Bottom line

We’ve got to stop torturing ourselves by taking on more than we can handle. In a way, doing that is a form of resistance. Look to see what sacred priority is being forced to the bottom of the pile because of the choices you’re making. Is that okay with you?

Your turn

What do you think? I love to hear from you on my blog. 

Warmly,

 Jenna

 

Coming Attractions

~> August 2nd. Register by August 2 for the next 4-week session of my “Just Do The Writing” Accountability Circle (starts August 6th). For serious writers and for writers who want to get serious about their writing. http://JustDoTheWriting.com

~> September 6th. Last day to register for the next Life Purpose Breakthrough Group happening on October 4th. These groups always sell out (only 4 spots) so if you want to discover your life purpose through the remarkably accurate tool of hand analysis, sign up here now: http://LifePurposeBreakthrough.com

 

What I'm Up To

~> Ongoing. Mentoring with screenwriter Chris Soth and participating in ScreenwritingU’s Pro Rewrite class after finishing the ProSeries.* (They’re offering their free rewrite* class this month on August 4, which is great — though make sure you have plenty of water — it’s a looooong class.)

~> September 18 to 22nd. Heading to Hollywood for a ScreenwritingU* event to meet with producers and agents then staying on for the InkTip Pitch Summit.

~> Sacred writing time. Early mornings and Fridays.

~> Almost done with Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix! Saw The Dark Knight Rises on Friday (um, huh?). In the middle of watching (500) Days of Summer (good so far) and recently saw Another Earth (good but depressing). More soon!

 

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choices

Making decisions that matter

I’ve got decision making on my mind. 

Last week I wrote about how there’s always something that will get in the way of our dreams — if we let it. I’ve been hearing from a number of people that they just don’t have time to take action on their dream, whether it’s a business or a creative venture. 

Another vein of excuses runs along the lines of not being ready, needing more training, or having to “get through” something first.

I’ve said all those things myself at one time or another.

The key to making a change is making a decision

A “Life Decision” as Dr. Phil calls it — a life changing, unalterable decision that you know you won’t go back on.

This is not the same as “trying.”

It’s not the same as “seeing how it goes.”

It means making an unequivocal decision to take a course of action because you are determined to make a change.

These aren’t decisions that come along frequently. They are LIFE decisions, after all.

Life decisions

Life decisions involve commitment to a way of being and a sense of identity, combined with taking powerful action.  

Two examples:

1. When I quit smoking (I can’t believe I used to smoke either) I made a decision that I would never, ever smoke a cigarette again. I had been through too many instances of quitting and learned first hand that it was such a slippery slope for me that the only way to guarantee that I wouldn’t backslide was to vow never to do it again. I could feel the strength of that decision in my bones the  moment I made it. That was in 1993. I haven’t smoked since and I never will.

2. When I founded my Writer’s Circle and made a decision to think of myself as a writer, I also made a life decision. It’s not that I hadn’t been writing before — but this time I made a conscious choice to pursue writing like my life depended on it. To that end, I write 6 days a week, and I refuse to stop.

The power of decisions

I’ve seen the power of decisions first hand, particularly with my Writer’s Circle participants. Decisions change their lives. Those that make a decision to write and to use the system succeed. Those that sign up, but don’t make that decision — that soul-level commitment, don’t. The system can help motivate you, but it can’t make the decision for you.

The same is true with any diet, program, or system, isn’t it? The decision to get something out of it — to be all in — it’s yours, isn’t it?

On the subject of decisions

Chris Guillebeau recently wrote a great post about decisions that I think you’ll like — and make sure you also read his article about how NOT to make decisions, while you’re at it.

Your turn

Tell me your thoughts. I always love to hear from you.

And for those of you in the U.S. — Happy 4th of July!

Warmly,

 Jenna

 

Coming Attractions

~> July 5th. Last day to register for the next 4-week session of my “Just Do The Writing” Accountability Circle. For serious writers and for writers who want to get serious about their writing. http://JustDoTheWriting.com

~> July and August. It’s almost time for the next Life Purpose Breakthrough Group. Are you interested in grabbing a spot before we sell out? Email my team and we’ll put you on the advanced notification list. Find out more at http://LifePurposeBreakthrough.com

 

What I'm Up To

~> Ongoing. Mentoring with screenwriter Chris Soth and participating in ScreenwritingU’s Pro Rewrite class after finishing the ProSeries.* (They’re offering their free rewrite* class this month, which is great.)

~> September 18 to 20th. Heading to Hollywood for a ScreenwritingU* event to meet with producers and agents.

~> September 21st to 22nd. Staying on in Hollywood for the InkTip Pitch Summit.

~> Sacred writing time. Early mornings and Fridays.

~> Still reading Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix with my little boy and Kill the Dead by Richard Kadrey on my own. Still in the movie queue: (500) Days of SummerAnother Earth, and The Day the Earth Stood Still. Not watching a lot these days.

 

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older-man

There’s always something

A lesson I’ve been talking about lately is that excuses are endless and there is ALWAYS something that will get in the way of fulfilling your calling — if you let it.

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve heard from who say they will pursue their big dream — but later…

When they have more time.

When they aren’t so busy.

When things settle back down.

After they file their taxes, or finish their remodel project, or …

After the kids die

Have you seen that joke about the couple who goes to get divorced in their 90s? When asked why they waited so long, they respond, “We had to wait until the kids died.”

It’s a great reminder of the way we fool ourselves into waiting.

News flash: This is it!

Unless something truly extreme is going on (you’re in the hospital, a close relative just died, you just had a baby, etc.), nothing is ever going to change. There will ALWAYS be something.

Even worse: you’re doing it to yourself.

The sooner you accept that and make time for your big dream, no matter what, the happier you are going to be.

It doesn’t have to be a lot

Don’t fool yourself about what it takes either. The brilliance of the Writer’s Circle that we can translate for anyone — writer or not — is the power of incremental, cumulative progress. If you’re telling yourself that you’ve got to have big chunks of time to get your life’s work done, I say, bull shit.

All it takes is a little bit of time, every day.

In the last session of the Writer’s Circle, I was thrilled to see one of my participants — who was writing for just 5 minutes a day — say that she now believes in herself as a writer again.

You can have that too — if you’re willing to give it to yourself.

And I know you can.

Bottom line

What are you telling yourself about why you can’t take action on your big dream? It’s time to start seeing that for what it is, and put your energy where your heart is. It’s worth it.

Your turn

Tell me your thoughts. I always love to hear from you.

Warmly,

 Jenna

Coming Attractions

~> June 28th, 29th, & 30th. My first annual Summer Sale — 3 for 1 on my self-study energy skills classes. Particularly good for sensitive, empathic, and creative types. http://JennaAvery.com/SummerSale

~> July 5th. Last day to register for the next 4-week session of my “Just Do The Writing” Accountability Circle. For serious writers and for writers who want to get serious about their writing. http://JustDoTheWriting.com

~> July and August. It’s almost time for the next Life Purpose Breakthrough Group. Are you interested in grabbing a spot before we sell out? Email my team and we’ll put you on the advanced notification list. Find out more at http://LifePurposeBreakthrough.com

 

What I'm Up To

~> Ongoing. Mentoring with screenwriter Chris Soth and participating in ScreenwritingU’s Pro Rewrite class after finishing the ProSeries.* (They’re offering their free rewrite* class this month, which is great.)

~> September 18 to 20th. Heading to Hollywood for a ScreenwritingU* event to meet with producers and agents.

~> September 21st to 22nd. Staying on in Hollywood for the InkTip Pitch Summit.

~> Sacred writing time. Early mornings and Fridays.

~> Still reading Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix with my little boy and Kill the Dead by Richard Kadrey on my own. Still in the movie queue: (500) Days of Summer, Another Earth, and The Day the Earth Stood Still. Not watching a lot these days.

 

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future

Are you protecting yourself from your dreams?

In a creative destiny planning session with a client the other day, we discovered that she was holding herself back from what she truly wanted with her creative work because she was afraid of being disappointed if it didn’t come true.

Does that sound familiar to you?

So many of us, myself included (!), tend to vacillate between wild dreams of incredible success and being afraid to admit to what we truly want for fear that we won’t get it.

We even hold ourselves back from knowing what we want, as if staying confused will keep us safe.

Lessons from little tots

The other day on the way to preschool, my son tripped, fell flat on his hands, and dropped his toys. After he stopped crying and we had a good hug, he said to me, “I was running too fast and I threw my toys.”

I thought about that for a minute and responded, “I don’t think you were running too fast, but sometimes we do trip and fall down.”

I wanted him to know that sometimes, things just go wrong, and we don’t necessarily want to: 1) blame ourselves, or 2) hold back overly from enjoying life because “something might happen”.

Making decisions to protect ourselves

We have all had experiences in our lives where we reach for what we want and don’t get it.

In our disappointment, we make decisions to protect ourselves from even wanting it in the first place, so we won’t get hurt again. We decide that it’s safer to aim low than to proclaim our dreams and be embarrassed when we don’t get them.

I’ve run into this with my creative work and my coaching work — setting my sights high, only to have it all come crashing down, and then deciding it’s not worth pursuing anymore.

In fact, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve given up on my creativity over the years to protect myself, like the time I dropped out after ONE DAY in art school because another student ridiculed my work, or how I decided not to be a writer when I was a kid because my parents told me I couldn’t make enough money that way.

What’s the right lesson here?

So while it’s true that we might be disappointed and sometimes we do aim higher than we achieve, is the right lesson to learn NOT to aim high? Is it truly better to be “realistic“?

I think we have to ask ourselves, “Which risk is bigger? The risk of playing small and holding back, never quite reaching for what I want? Or the risk of going for it, maybe falling hard, but maybe grasping that star I want?”

Let’s all agree to admit what it is we truly want, and to say to ourselves, “I’m going to give this dream the respect it deserves, and play full out to get it. After all, it’s something I truly, deeply want.

What’s your dream?

What’s your big dream? Tell us about it in the comments.

Here’s my dream: To have my writing be paid, published and/or produced.

For the sake of further exploration, next week I’ll write about doing things for the joy of them, even if they don’t “happen” the way we want them too. :)

Warmly,

 Jenna

 

Coming Attractions

~> Ongoing. My Protection & Grounding Jewelry is on close-out. Only ONE necklace is left. Is it yours? Find it here.

~> February 20th, 2012. The next session of my Writer’s Circle starts. Get my Free Writing Tips series too, and receive a coupon for a savings on your first 4 week session. Registration CLOSES TOMORROW, Thursday, February 16th. Sign up here.

 

What I'm Up To

~> Ongoing. Writing in the ProSeries class at ScreenwritingU, which was recently named the #1 screenwriting class by InkTip. They’re offering a free class called, “21 Steps to a Professional Rewrite” this Sunday if you’re interested. Details. It’s a great class that provides a ton of value for screenwriters and may be helpful for novelists too.

~> Daily and especially Fridays. Sacred writing time. The Do Not Disturb sign is up.

~> I loved watching Tales from the Script about real stories of screenwriting for Hollywood. Up next is Super Eight. Plus I’m in the middle of reading a bunch of books about screenwriting and reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to my son. He loves it!

 

How to grow into your dream

Last week I wrote about the most important work you’ll ever do, which is getting out of your own way so you can make your dream real. Along the way, you’ll also need to grow into and trust your dream.

Growing Into Your Dream

You’ll also need to allow yourself to grow into your dream over time.

Here’s how:

  • Step 1. Get Clear: The first phase of making a dream real is getting clear on what it IS, even if the details are fuzzy. What would be deliciously fun for you? What would you be thrilled beyond reason to do? I want to be a published writer.
  • Step 2. Own It: The second phase is owning it — being clear, inside, about who you are, what you are going to do, and why you are doing it. Still okay if the details are fuzzy. This looks like believing and knowing in your heart you are an artist or healer, even before you are doing it in the world. I am a writer!
  • Step 3. Envision It: Now start to imagine the possibilities for HOW this dream can come into being. What kind of writer (or X) do you want to be? What would you be writing about (or working on)? What would be fun? I want to write a sci-fi script.
  • Step 4. Do It: The fourth phase is where your dream become external — where you start taking action in the outside world, without indulging that part of your brain that wants to give up before you even start because it’s too hard or because you think you have to be perfect before you’ll even attempt it. Remember, this whole idea that we can figure it all out before we start is just a way of playing it safe. I am writing — and people know about it.

Then, it’s time to trust and take action.

Trusting Your Dream

Trusting your dream means being willing to pursue it even when the going gets rough (and even when you aren’t totally sure it’s quite the right dream and maybe your mom was right and you should have just stuck with that graduate school degree after all).

Trusting your dream looks like:

  • Showing up daily and doing the work, bit by bit, come hell or high water.
  • Getting up and writing or painting or working even when you don’t want to or when you’re not in the mood.
  • Believing in the project you picked and seeing it through to the end.
  • When you think what you’ve created is pure crap, you don’t give up, but see it as an opportunity to do better.

Can you allow yourself to grow into your dream and trust it?

Your Turn

I always love hearing from you in the comments on my blog.

 Jenna

 

Coming Attractions

~> November 10th. My next Life Purpose Breakthrough ‘Big Vision’ Group. Sold out. Details about future groups — yes, you might want to get on the waiting list.

~> Wednesday, November 16th at 3 p.m. Pacific Time. Something free, fun, and writerly: A Writer’s Chat. Registration details TBA.

~> November 28th. The next session of my Writer’s Circle starts. Sign up here.

 


~> This weekend. Right Brain Business Planning with my buddy Kris Carey. Last two chapters to go!

~> Ongoing. Writing for the ProSeries class at ScreenwritingU. Now working on “plotting and outlining.”

~> FRIDAYS & now daily too. Sacred writing time. The Do Not Disturb sign is up.

The most important work you’ll ever do

Once you’ve gotten clear on your dream — the Big Thing you Believe Beyond Reason, or what you really, truly, deep down want to do — the most important work you’ll ever do is to get out of your own way so you can make that dream a reality.

Getting out of your own way looks like:

Cleaning up all the ways you stop yourself, all the negative things you tell yourself, all the fears that get in your way, all the stories, all the doubts, all the old creative wounds that hold you back, and doing something about them. This is the place for thorough examination, exploration, discovery, and recovery.

For instance:

  • Pay attention to where you are procrastinating and get to the bottom of it. Sometimes you don’t have enough information, sometimes fear is coming up, sometimes you haven’t hit the right thing yet, sometimes you really need some down time. Figure out what it is and resolve it for yourself so you can Do The Work.
  • Pay attention to the limits you put on your own dream — how are you limiting your own thinking about what is possible? How have you crimped your dream by being reasonable or realistic? (Again, I’m not saying that you don’t have to pay the bills, trust me, I do too, but I still let myself dream about what I really want because I know that’s the only way I’ll ever accomplish it.) This is often a way that we play it safe and hold back from pursuing what we really want.
  • Pay attention to the stories, fears and doubts running through your mind and get help to address them on a deep level so they don’t stop you anymore. This might look like coaching, energy work, therapy, training, talking with a friend, or journaling. The main thing is to look directly in the face of the fears, doubts, stories and old wounds to say, “Really? You sure about that?”

If you want to write, act, sing, paint — whatever your dream is — your most important job is to clear out anything and everything that might stop you from doing it so you can get on with doing the work you were put here to do.

Your Turn

I always love hearing from you in the comments on my blog.

 Jenna

 

Coming Attractions

~> November 10th. My next Life Purpose Breakthrough ‘Big Vision’ Group. Sold out. Details about future groups — yes, you might want to get on the waiting list.

~> November 28th. The next session of my Writer’s Circle starts. Sign up here.

 


~> Next Tuesday. Right Brain Business Planning with my buddy Kris Carey.

~> Ongoing. Writing for the ProSeries class at ScreenwritingU. This class is brilliant! I’m already thrilled with my results and we’ve really just gotten started.

~> FRIDAYS & now daily too. Sacred writing time. The Do Not Disturb sign is up.