Personally, I use Trello all the time. It’s a great tool for planning out projects, keeping track of a to-do list, or organizing your thoughts into actionable tasks.
Lately, I’ve been doing some goal setting and deep diving into some areas that I want to see growth in. With setting goals, I’ve decided to also create guideposts.
Guideposts are the physical reminders of goals and the set direction that I want to go in.
Examples? Visual reminders on a cork board. Custom made signs around my living space. Notes to myself.
For instance, if I wanted to consistently eat healthy every day during the week. Keeping in mind “the why” or the value behind the goal, which in this example would be “I want to eat healthy to lengthen my life.” The visual counterpart, or guidepost, would perhaps be a picture of some great food that I made, and then printed under that photo would be “Eat healthy. Lengthen life.”
How’s that for a headline? Rolls right off the tongue. Let’s dive into creating solutions, getting rid of clouded thinking, and making forward progress.
There are times where I find myself being Artfully Frustrated, again. I have to remind myself that others experience this, it’s a sign that I’m still growing, and to push on forward.
That frustration comes from a drive to constantly be improving. As with all things in life, there is a balance. When that drive escalates to perfectionism, then it can be a problem. Dysfunctional perfectionism is at the heart of depression, anxiety, workaholism, procrastination, and suicide.
How do we change for the better? By focusing on what we do have, being thankful, expressing gratitude, and being authentic.
Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we are supposed to be and embracing who we really are.
When we are focused so hard on expectations, even those that are imposed by our own self, it leads to anxiety.
Instead, we should trade those expectations for appreciations.
The best way to get rid of that worry is to express gratitude. The two can not coexist.
In the book Flourish, author Martin E. P. Seligman suggests keeping a gratitude journal or the Three Blessings Journal. At the end of every day write down three things that went well and why they went well.
When I worked at the Apple Store for a summer in 2010, we were trained to ask customers open-ended probing questions. It gets at the heart of why a customer is shopping and how best to meet their needs. This Forbes article paints a clear picture:
Probe politely to understand all the customer’s needs. This simply means to ask a series of closed and open-ended question so you can match the customer with the right product, not the most expensive product. In the Apple Store, a closed-ended question elicits a simple yes or no such as, “Will this be your first Mac?” An open-ended question is more general and gives the sales associate (specialist) more information to guide the conversation. For example, “What will you be using the iPad for?”
Asking why probes further and gives clarity. That’s why we do it in the gratitude journal. I’m thankful for my brother. Why? He is always there to talk with me when life seems overwhelming. Even further…Why? It’s great to have someone to talk to when you feel alone in your experience.
In an interview, Neil deGrasse Tyson talks about science boosting the economy. He goes on to say, most companies and politicians don’t have the tolerance for the long term view.
You don’t motivate a group of kids, saying “Who wants to be a mechanical engineer and help improve flight efficiency by 15% compared to the airplane your father flew?”
But instead, ask “Who wants to be an engineer and help develop airfoils to help fly in the atmosphere of Mars?” With the latter, you get the best students in the class.
Flow is the intersection of what you are good at and what challenges you— where difficulty and competency meet.
When your competency exceeds the difficulty of a task, you are bored. And when the difficulty exceeds your competency, you are anxious. That was my problem: I was bored.
— Jeff Goins, The Art of Work
There are times where the day job requires me to do the mundane. That’s fine. We can’t always have constant excitement. It’s called work for a reason.
For inspiration, this is one of the reasons that I have side projects. To keep pushing my limits. It allows me to play. To find out how to make user interfaces for VR, tinker with implementing the Acelerated Mobile Pages Project on content, create a landing page for Snapchat, write books, and so much more.
These all funnel back into the collective of who I am. When you hire me, you get a wide variety of experiences. All of which have added something to my career over the years.
A common theme that I see reoccurring in success stories is:
“I stuck it out. I didn’t quit early.”
That extra mile, that commitment, that desire, the action of pushing on when everyone else says you are crazy.
That’s what it takes to succeed.
Finding just one hour a day to work on what you love adds up. It ends up being 7 hours a week or roughly 28 hours a month. Have weekends off? Great, more pockets of time.
It’s budgeting your time. Like Amy Hoy said in her Year of Hustle course, “Time isn’t money. Time is an opportunity cost.”
Anxiety tends to result in a negative feedback loop.
Having anxiety on an issue, which causes more anxiety for having anxiety, and then thoughts spiral from there.
In her book Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert says,
Find something to do— anything, even a different sort of creative work altogether— just to take your mind off your anxiety and pressure.
Going for a walk, taking a new class, or even trying a new hobby can alleviate pressure.