Toss Your Balanced Life in the Trash

Steve Roller here, writing to you from an altitude of 9,200 feet in Quito, Ecuador.

I didn’t plan to spend my stint with The Writer's Life this way, but my little jaunt fits in perfectly with what I want to talk about this week.

Originally, I was going to write these articles before I left for my month-long vacation. I had an overall theme along with a rough draft of each piece, but didn’t finish them.

I’m glad I didn’t.

Once I arrived in this almost two-mile high city, I was inspired like never before. I tossed all my notes in the trash and started over.

Three years ago, I did the same thing with my life.

This week, I'll explain why this was a good thing and show you how you can reinvent yourself and live life without regrets.

(I have to give credit here to Peter Fogel, “The Reinvention Guy.” I had never heard of the term until I heard Peter speak at Bootcamp a few years ago, but it fits my situation perfectly.)

It starts with letting go of something first.

See, I used to operate under the illusion that you had to be well-rounded in order to be successful.

I was really good at setting many goals every year in each area of my life – financial, health, family, personal development, social, spiritual, career. And I did okay at following through on many of them.

Problem was, I had average results across the board. I didn’t feel like a standout in any one area.

Can you relate?

I decided to focus on fewer goals.

My triathlon bike hanging in the garage? Dreams of completing the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii will have to wait.

Plans to become the next Eddie Van Halen? Same thing. My electric guitar has been gathering dust for three years now.

Reading 100 classic novels like War and Peace and Don Quixote (in Spanish)? My list is still stuck at 23.

But you know what?

I’ve made significant progress in the two areas I decided to focus on. My copywriting is taking off, and I’m starting to make some headway on self-publishing and writing a book.

If you’re at all feeling “stuck” like I was, let me suggest three initial steps:

  • Identify your non-negotiable areas. These are the parts of your life that you’re not going to compromise time or energy on while you reinvent yourself and work toward your version of the writer’s life. For me, it was relationships (business, personal, and spiritual) and health. I know from experience that when I neglect important relationships, my life gets seriously out of whack. And if I’m not in good shape, I may not be around long enough to see my goals come to fruition.
  • Stake your claim on one or two other areas, maximum. I decided to focus on becoming an A-level copywriter first. I knew if I accomplished this, the other plans I had (becoming an author and self-publisher, and becoming wealthy) would follow.
  • Give yourself more than one year. I’m not saying you can’t accomplish your #1 goal in one year, but if it’s a big one, this will take the pressure off. Everything doesn’t have to be in New Year’s resolution format.

I’d love to hear about your plans for achieving the writer’s life. What are your non-negotiable areas? What are you willing to let go of? What’s the one area you’re going to focus on? Tell me about it by posting a comment below.

Now, are you ready to kick-start this process? Check out my article, Mini-Sabbaticals: Rocket Fuel to Shortcut Your Path to the Writer's Life.

No matter where you are along the path, you can put this idea into action right away.

And as the week continues, stay tuned for more tips on carving out your own unique slice of the writer’s life.

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Published: August 15, 2011

26 Responses to “Toss Your Balanced Life in the Trash”

  1. Steve, Thank you for being able to read my mind and putting it into your words. Excellent and very motivating article! Quito is a great place...enjoy!

    Guest (Mike)

  2. I liked your comment about setting goals not necessarily in the New Year's resolution format. Some goals just take longer or have to be revised as we find out more. After studying almost literally all of the materials AWAI puts out, I discovered that the real me was in producing my own products (and writing my own copy). Every one of those courses, webinars, etc. played a part in getting me here. I may yet revise again.

    Guest (Pat)

  3. Steve, Your article is timely! Life is meant to be living in passion and purpose. If it doesn't fall into that catagory it's time to fall out of life. Thanks!

    Guest (Gabrielle)

  4. Steve,

    That headline was a real grabber for me- and the content superb. Love to see the progression in your writing, something for me to aspire to.

    Nice work. See you soon.

    Lee Schwarz Black Lion Marketing

  5. My English is not the best, but my best is what I do, I want to tell my perspective of my live, I want to write a book that inspire, with recognision. But I have all I need, I only want to be self supporting, but need my job to cover my needs. I like my live, but he there's more in live than just me. So What an I to do, no money in the pocket, but a lot of love to share.

    Guest (Anita)

  6. Steve - I've been thinking that I have adult ADD - trying to do all, be all, conquer all. Thanks for the great perspective. I look forward to reading more about your journey to an un-balanced life.

    Guest (Susan)

  7. Just what I needed today. Helps me to get my goals strongly in my mind and most important, to GET going! Thank you.


  8. Your comments are so right! My first goal is to complete and become a 1st-rate copywriter by 2012. I would love to write another book, or two, and knit all those projects currently on hold in my office and journal continously and read the 25 books I've ordered from Amazon this year, but one thing at a time!
    The rest will all fall into place.


  9. Your comments were so inspiring. I am at the very beginning of my journey. I have just started the AWAI's Accelerated Program for Six figure Copywriting. I will take to heart your advice as it were, especially the part about taking a year. I'm glad to take the pressure off myself! Thanks again, good job.

    Jacquie B

  10. Tip: I went after a writing job & the editor said the job was filled. On my 3rd call, I said, "I have a win/win proposition." (Where both parties profit.) "Let me take you out for lunch and I'll explain it." (A great way to meet people.) My deal was to work free of charge so I could learn the magazine business. We met & he hired me because of my persistence.> Never give up! Sell yourself w/enthusiasm. If you don't believe in yourself, no one else will.

    Guest (Deborah Owen)

  11. Thanks, Steve, for the inspiration! Copywriting is a third career for me - from aviation to life coaching to writing. Each one is a pure passion but writing is about to become 'front and center'! I have just completed the Copywriting Companion Series and am stoked to put it all together into a money-making proposition. Your timely reminder helps me break it down into 'do-able' goals. It is easy to trip over oneself trying to make it happen all at once! yeesh, already!!!

    Guest (kellie)

  12. Hi Steve, I really enjoyed the article. I have always been an eclectic person and have 100s of goals in all categories. I just realized this week how I need to narrow my focus in order to actually get where I want to be in the next 6 months...your words not only made me feel like I'm on the right track, but motivated me to actually act. Thanks so much!


  13. Hi Steve, Great article! Thank you for talking about narrowing your focus and only working on one or two main goals for a yr to make them come to fruition. This year I will be working on my first book. I have plans to meet with the subject this summer to begin writing her story. My 2nd goal will be to get my first ebook written and published. Thanks for the motivation!

    Guest (Marcialee)

  14. Great article Steve. Seems to be timeless. Thank you for this one and the next one on the mini sabbatical. I'm doing that this Friday. Getting myself on the right track. Thank you!


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