Finding Fabulous Focus … and Freedom
"Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What's a sundial in the shade?"
My kindergartener came home from school last month with a new catchphrase.
Lately, I’ve been reminding her to be focused. Let’s face it, my daughter isn’t the most focused person. She’s interested in everything, rarely attentive to one thing. But she neatly flipped my reminder on its head.
Her catchphrase? Focus on fabulous!
She has hand gestures to go with it. When she says “focus,” she uses her fingers to point from her eyes like laser beams, with serious intensity, and then reaches out with jazz hands with her follow-up, “on fabulous” — with a big grin.
What she’s doing is fabulous. Seriously. Because she’s uncovered something critical to success.
I’m thrilled she’s learned this already. When I was in school, I was taught to shore up my weaknesses and not play to my strengths. In corporate life, I learned to attend meetings I found boring, read emails that annoyed me, and interact with people I didn’t find stimulating.
Years of that made me reactive. I learned to react to what’s happening around me and be obliged to do anything I was asked to do — regardless of how happy it made me.
But once we start as copywriters, we have endless freedom. Traditional employment teaches reactivity — but to thrive as a solopreneur, we have to be proactive.
Yes, in whatever we do, we have some boring administrative tasks, distractions, and people who annoy us. But why make those a focus area?
Why wouldn’t we try to consciously spend our time and energy in ways that delight us? Or looking at it another way, why wouldn’t we use our freedom to do what we want to do?
I meet many copywriters who consistently choose mild annoyance or mediocrity. They’ve gotten so used to it, it doesn’t occur to them to strive toward joy.
I’m guilty of this, by the way. I’ve been taught, just like all of us, that nothing’s ever perfect, I should get used to what I get, getting frustrated is a fact of life, et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseam.
To heck with that.
Many of us are so used to being somewhat bored or annoyed that we’ve lost our sensitivity to it. But looking back over the past six months, I’ve found the most personal and professional growth by shucking off old limits, annoyances, and mediocrity, and reaching for new opportunities. For example,
- I bought a new computer instead of tolerating my old one.
- I fired a client who frustrated me.
- I stopped underbidding for projects.
- I’ve been surrounding myself with positive, engaged, supportive people.
- I go fly fishing and hiking when I choose to.
- I’ve unsubscribed to dozens of distractions — newsletters, subscription services, newspapers, etc., which got in my way rather than facilitated my growth.
- I’m challenging myself by leveraging my ability to learn new subjects — and write about them.
And do you know what’s happened? I’m happier. I’m healthier. And I’m making much more money.
I started Zettabyte Content six months ago — April 27, 2012, to be exact. And it’s been a challenging, difficult, inspiring, stimulating, and life-changing experience. You can have the same — if you start focusing on fabulous.
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