I first found a way to bring my passion and my work together at the end of 2018. That’s when I decided to focus solely on the niche of personal branding and started to build my first personal branding program, I started to recognize the depth of personal branding and how much it could change people’s lives. I realized how important it is in this online society to have established leaders for those who need guidance. I started to develop my content online, and I started to step into what I’d call my ‘light space’. My purpose.
The problem is when you reach that space, you’re likely to feel lost. It’s ironic, because finding a passion is the goal for so many, but what do you do when you get there? For your whole life, you’ve been constantly ‘levelling up’. Every time you overcome a fear or move onto the next level, you have an even bigger monster to face. You climb and climb these levels until, finally, you’ve reached your passion. You’ve found your purpose. And now, after so long of climbing up the same level to reach that purpose, you’re there. But the likelihood is, you hadn’t planned anything past this point - now you’ve reached it, you’re starting to realize that there are brand new obstacles waiting for you and hundreds of directions you hadn’t considered. You’ve been so focused on reaching the end of the first level, you hadn’t thought about the fact there are plenty more to come. First off, anyone who is in this position should already be proud of themselves. You’ve pursued your purpose instead of falling back on the mundanities of life, and that’s an incredibly brave thing to do. Many people don’t have the privilege, or the courage, to get here, so congratulations on reaching the end of the first level.
Failure to fulfil your purpose will kick in after this first level. And I see it all the time. The dopamine and excitement that has driven you to your purpose suddenly starts to drop, as you realize that this is now real life. Of course, you’ll have moments of extreme highs, for the most part, you’re going to need to work your arse off at this next level in order to turn your passion into something fruitful. The reality is that for many people, they want to jump to the next big thing instead. The addiction to that rush of excitement and dopamine as they ‘level-up’ is too much to ignore, so instead of focusing on working hard and finding fulfilment within their purpose, they focus their attention elsewhere and start to get carried away, to the detriment of their purpose and their own fulfilment.
This all, at the end of the day, comes down to discipline. I’m often complimented on my own self-discipline, and when it comes up in conversation, it takes everything I can not to scream from the rooftops how this is the result of training. I didn’t wake up one day and know how and where to focus my attention. I had to re-train my thinking, my learning, and how I approach all areas of life. Discipline isn’t a skill anybody is taught, I’ve cultivated discipline over the last ten years - not overnight. My first experience of discipline, was aged 16. I was in college, I was having fun, I was making friends. I wanted to go out and have fun, I wanted to be the life and soul of the party - but I also knew that in order to do all of these things, I had to put in the work during the day. So, I treated my exams like a 9-5 job. I used every free moment in the day to do the college work I needed, in order to go out and have fun in the evenings and at the weekends. When you level-up, you’ve reached the point where you have to apply this discipline and push yourself to achieve. The excitement is not the thing that drives us to success. It drives our vision, but ‘vision’ is very different to the reality in where you’re at. In order to fulfil this vision, you need to discipline yourself. With a new life, comes a new lifestyle.
For me, the best way to discipline yourself and stick to it, is to work to a schedule. With your new found purpose you now have new things you need to create, learn, think and do.
“From 9-10 I do X.”
“From 10-12 I do Y.”
Set dedicated times throughout your day to get the work done that you need to avoid procrastination and lack of productivity. I do this through a structure known as ‘do, think, create.”
If you look at the table above, you’ll see how I break my working day down into three categories, rather than tasks themselves. This keeps me focused, but allows flexibility within those time slots to do different things that come under each heading.
This is the most important times of the day. During Create, you should be in ‘the zone’ or your flow mindset with little to no distractions. Put your phone away, close down your emails. Your Create time is the time to get your head down and put the work in. These tasks might be designing and planning a website or a product, it might be implementing the strategies of anything you’ve been researching. The bottom line is that Create should be maximum productivity, but too much of it can cause a burn out - so I break up the day with my other tasks too.
Think-time is when you’re in being more productive, but these are repetitive tasks which you know you have to do in order to keep the ball rolling, rather than because you want to be doing them. An example of this could be social media content, or writing a blog. They’re important and they contribute to the journey, but you don’t need to sit in ‘the zone’ in order to complete these tasks. This might also be when you learn new things.
Do-time is for all of the tasks that require minimal brain power. Responding to emails, checking Slack, booking in meetings and calendar calls. This is your time when you’re not proactively achieving anything, you’re simply getting the admin done. Think of ‘do’ time as, I could be doing this in front of the TV time.
When you’re disciplined, the temptation to move on to something new gets steadily reduced as you begin to form your new direction and focus. The more you achieve within your purpose, the less likely you’ll be to chase after the short-term endorphins of another path.