The One Thing that Will Dramatically Influence Your Ability to Succeed

Do you want to live the writer’s life, but you're still trapped in your day job?

You work eight or more hours every day.

You have a wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, kids, grandkids, parents, and/or pets that need and deserve your time and attention, too.

Then you have to find some extra energy at the end of it all in order to get your freelance business going.

It is not always easy to stay positive and keep a good attitude.

Doubt, frustration, and discouragement can and will set in from time to time.

But remember, your attitude is what you make it.

And having a positive attitude helps you to stay motivated and accomplish your goals. It allows you to see opportunities where others see problems. You will think more creatively and stress less. You’ll find that you have more energy. (Negativity is very draining.)

Fortunately, there are a lot of things you can do to develop and maintain a positive attitude. Here are five key action steps to take:

1. Create a vision board.

This is one of the most important tools you can have hanging on your office wall.

It’s easy to say, “I have a dream” or “Ultimately, I want …” But what happens when you get busy? You lose sight of where you’re trying to end up.

A vision board is made up of photos and images that display specific things you want out of life …

Your dream house, where you want to live, what income level you want to achieve, what kind of vehicle you want, how many children or pets you’d like to have … The list goes on and will differ from person to person.

If you put this together and display it in a prominent location, it will help you focus on what you want out of life.

2. Set realistic, attainable goals daily.

This doesn’t need to be something big, but it does need to be something that propels your forward momentum. Write down your goals and review them daily.

My typical day goes something like this:

  • Wake up
  • Brush teeth
  • 30-minute workout
  • Shave and shower
  • Daily devotional, review email, read articles during Breakfast
  • Go to my day job (which consumes no less than 10 hours daily)
  • Dinner
  • 30 minutes to review email (and then close it)
  • 2-3 hours to work on writing/freelance business (client projects, website development, etc.)
  • Go to bed

You can see that I only have two to three hours per night to work on my freelance business. That means those hours have to be completely devoted to whatever project I am working on … no interruptions or distractions.

So let’s use the scenario that this week I need to complete the following: one article, one white paper, and a weekly blog post. These are my goals:

  • Monday – Write Article
  • Tuesday – Research and outline white paper
  • Wednesday – Write white paper
  • Thursday – Complete white paper
  • Friday – Write blog post

Weekends obviously would look a little different, but you get the idea.

Don’t forget to include tasks that keep your business going, like lead generation, website maintenance, billing, etc.

Make sure you allow some downtime in your week. All work and no play … will kill you.

Setting clearly-defined goals allows you to measure your progress. As you do, you will find it easier to stay on track, reach your target dates, and build your self-confidence.

3. Surround yourself with like-minded people.

People that are interested in your success will be your biggest source of inspiration and support. Find and join a support or mastermind group. With all of the social media sites available today, this is easier than ever. However, don’t rely solely on the digital world; real human interaction is important.

I personally belong to two small accountability groups and one mastermind group.

In one of my small groups, we check in daily via Skype instant messaging with our “must accomplish” goal(s) for the day and then at least one stretch goal.

My other group meets once a week via live conference call. Each member is given 15 minutes to update their progress from last week and announce what they hope to accomplish in the next week.

The people from these smaller groups are also part of my mastermind group, which has a private Facebook page for ongoing communication. We also meet in person at least twice a year. We’ll typically plan a social event like a nice dinner. The following day we’ll spend updating each other on our progress and future goals.

This type of support and interaction is invaluable.

The key is to find a group that fits you; you will gain numerous new friends and develop a family-like bond.

4. Never stop learning.

Look at how fast things are changing in our industry.

One example: A few years ago, social media exploded and it created a whole new niche for freelancers. Many clients now expect you to have social media skills.

You MUST invest in yourself if you expect to stay on top of your game.

So grab a new program from AWAI or attend a seminar or workshop for copywriters.

AWAI events like Bootcamp and the Web Intensive allow me to …

  • recharge my batteries
  • learn something new
  • connect with like-minded people

These two live events are packed with industry experts sharing more experience and real-world knowledge in three to four days than you can get anywhere else.

Can’t get away?

No excuse!

These events are recorded and available for home study.

I have also invested in myself by becoming a Circle of Success member. This allows me to access any program I need to continue my education and serve the needs of my clients.

5. Celebrate your successes.

Focusing on the negative and ignoring the positive can be a confidence-killer.

Learn to recognize when you have accomplished something worthwhile on your journey. And when you do, find a way to reward yourself.

Make the celebration fit the success.

My celebrations range from patting myself on the back to taking a trip.

I know full well that there will come a day when I treat myself to a new truck and eventually move to my dream destination: Alpine, California.

But one of my favorite celebrations now is taking some well-deserved time off and getting on my bike for a 25-mile ride.

How are you going to reward yourself?

  • Go out for a nice dinner
  • Enjoy a night on the town dancing
  • Purchase that new pair of shoes you’ve been wanting
  • Or maybe sail away on a Caribbean cruise

However you decide to reward yourself ― DO IT!!! You earned it and you deserve it.

Is any of this easy?

Not at first. But it does get easier with time. And when you practice these techniques regularly, the result will be a consistently positive attitude, which will help you stay on the path to the writer’s life.

The AWAI Method

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Published: April 3, 2012

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