My friend Debbie has a big BUT.
…and it has become a serious problem.
Debbie is a creatively-unfulfilled (and slightly depressed) graphic designer.
For years, I’ve challenged her to start searching for a new path to greater creative fulfillment by:
- Starting a personal project.
- Launching a creative side business.
- Developing new, professional relationships via social media.
- Investing in a new skill set.
…and Debbie’s big BUT always gets in the way:
“Sometimes I dream of starting my own creative agency – BUT – I don’t have time.”
(For the record, Debbie does have time to stay comprehensively up-to-date on the latest geek news and TV shows.)
Time isn’t Debbie’s problem. …it’s her big BUT.
How big is your BUT?
Is it getting in the way of your dream?
Read on to find 21 butt-kicking questions that will help you be more focused, effective and productive as you pursue your creative dreams…
1.) Are you tired of creatively unfulfilling work?
…then why waste your nights and weekends with creatively unfulfilling rest?
Regular, measurable progress toward your big dream will probably generate some positive energy.
…and that’s WAY better than yet another digital binge on Netflix or video games, right?
2.) What are you afraid of?
If you haven’t checked something significant off your list in the past thirty days, it might be time for some deep soul-searching.
Procrastination is fear in disguise.
3.) Have you designed the logo? …formed the LLC? …built the website? …found the right collaborators?
Is that ALL you’ve done?
Ephemeral tasks like these are usually just excuses to avoid working on your actual project.
4.) Where’s the fire?
True passion isn’t the explosion of creativity that happens when you get what you think is a good idea…
It’s the slow burn that keeps you going through all the cold, dark nights.
If you stopped because you “lost passion” for a dream, you might not have been passionate about it to begin with.
5.) Have you planned to fail?
Yes. Your project might fail.
…which is a good reason to stop wasting time. You’ll need it for the next one.
6.) Are you practicing productive procrastination?
Make a “Procrastination List” of less-exhausting TO-DO’s which will ensure progress – even when you’re procrastinating.
7.) Who’s in charge here?
If it’s YOUR project, then why are you waiting on someone else to finish something before you can move forward?
Don’t place the fate of your dream in the hands of someone who doesn’t care about it as much as you do.
…and if you DO have to wait on a developer or a designer, there are still a hundred other tasks more important than “Play Candy Crush until I fall asleep.”
8.) When did you give your crappy boss permission to steal part (or, God forbid, ALL) of your dream?
Bad managers and office politics will exhaust your creative energy.
Don’t give in to hate. Plan your escape.
9.) Have you searched your schedule for pockets of productivity?
Your day job lunch break could be the most uninterrupted hour of your day.
Make it count.
10.) What’s on your plate?
Junk food is dumb food. A healthy diet is like rocket fuel for your dreams.
You are what you eat.
11.) Have you been picking your battles?
Maybe you picked too many battles and got overwhelmed.
As often as possible, do one high-impact task instead of five low-impact tasks.
12.) Is there an easier way?
Technology might slow you down at times, but you can’t let it stop you.
Are you complicating the process with “upgrades” or “features”?
What is the minimum, viable version of your idea?
13.) LOL! Click Here To See These 4,815 Hilarious Epic Fails!
…if you want to get depressed and neglect your dreams.
14.) Are you protecting your zen?
Keep your workspace completely free of dream diversions like bills and laundry.
All unpleasant reminders must go.
15.) Are you “experimenting” or just procrastinating?
16.) Are you planning or hiding?
If your project is a giant slingshot, “world building” and research are the rubber band.
The further you pull it back, the further you’ll fly.
…as long as you let go before the rubber band snaps.
17.) Can it wait?
Most distractions can wait.
…but, technically, so can your dream.
So you’ll have to decide which one wins.
Active work is almost always more effective than REactive work.
18.) Do you have a dreamcatcher?
My friend Victoria Ying said “Your brain is a processor, not a storage drive.”
Record every idea in a place where you know you can find it later.
This habit frees your mind and gets new ideas flowing.
19.) What are you waiting for?
Nobody is going to pick you.
…until you pick yourself.
20.) Are you resting or crashing?
When you truly need to rest and “re-charge,” don’t do it as a rash reaction to burnout.
Plan time for your most effective rest.
Don’t dream until you drop.
21.) What does “success” look like?
Of course, you have important, non-professional relationships and other non-work responsibilities.
…which is exactly why it’s so important to make every spare moment count.
Without a clear picture of holistic, balanced success in your mind, one part of your life will always be eating the other part and vice versa.
Trust me. I know from experience.
Take time to write a clear definition of success (illustrations encouraged) so you have a “true north” by which to navigate.
How’s Your BUT?
Which of these 21 Butt-Kicking Questions was most helpful to you and why?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!