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.
The Professional Writers’ Alliance
At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »