said, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
This piece connects directly with to my earlier article on Z LIving, “Learn to Love the Slog,”
which talked about the creative process and the importance of not giving up before the magic takes place. If you know what the wildly important thing is that you’re here to do (i.e. your calling or your purpose), how do you set yourself up to create it and release your gift to the world?
I believe the key is to approach our work from the perspective of how it serves others and as a craftsman – by not only getting a little better at it day in and day out, but also by loving the process.
When we judge ourselves on the process instead of the outcome we’re far more likely to love our creativity and find momentum instead of sitting there frozen for fear of it not being good enough.
Here are some of the ways I do this:
1. Decide today’s the day.
Create a sense of urgency and presence about your day and decide that the “someday” you’ve been talking about is today and tap into the power of now
Here’s an excellent way of making that happen. It’s an exercise from a book by Todd Henry
called, “Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Everyday”
(2013). He says that when you wake up, imagine someone is there with you all day, taking notes and documenting every single thing you do. E.g., the way you hit the snooze button 3-4 times or jump straight out of bed; the way you focus and create today’s portion of your life’s work or choose to surf on Facebook for an hour before you do anything; the way you interact with those who mean the most to you. Now imagine this day is the embodiment of your entire life and a description of who you are.
How’s that for a bit of kick-butt perspective on carpe diem and the power of now?!
Also by Emma Bathie on Z Living: The First Step To Creating A Life You Love
2. Be creative before you’re reactive.
Notice these are the same words, but the "C"is placed first in the word creative. I’ve said this before in my article on Z Living, "The 1 Thing to Stop Doing Right Now To Become More Productive
," and it goes doubly for creativity. If you want to get your creativity on, do not "inbox" for at least the first hour of your day. Doing so only gets you distracted by reacting to what other people want of you.
3. Work out when your creative energy is best.
And show up consistently during those time blocks. For you that might be 5am-9am, early afternoon or 9pm to midnight. Then schedule your non-negotiable creativity time-blocks around how you want to eat, exercise, and sleep. Be consistent!
4. Take control of your kryptonite.
Get honest about what you’re addicted to that keeps you away from your "creative work," and work out a strategy for what you’re going to do when the urge to X strikes. It’s amazing what a simple awareness of what your kryptonite is and your strategy for dealing with it will do for your creative flow and commitment to consistency.
Our kryptonite is most dangerous when we just sweep it under the rug. Before we know it, we’ve just lost a few hours, days, or weeks to it, and stagger out of fallout, wondering, WTH just happened?!
5. Realize that your “Stop Doing” list is equally as important as your “To Do” list.
Create time blocks for "deep work."
"The Deep Work Hypothesis: The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive.”
~ Cal Newport
, from Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
In this brilliant book, Newport shows us how to be deeply engaged in whatever is meaningful to us and adds value to the world, versus flitting between distractions, and at the end of the day, not getting much of anything done.
One of the ways he suggests to create distraction-free time blocks so you’re able to go deep with your work is to turn your phone to airplane mode, turn the Internet off and focus on only one thing for that "deep work" time block. He wants us to know that being able to multitask is a myth and that by "scheduling" as much of our day as possible, we remove time for distraction… funnily enough, he’s never joined Facebook or Twitter.
Also by Emma Bathie on Z Living: Learn To Forgive Others — It'll Change Your Life
6. Be boring in order to be interesting.
Boring with your commitment to consistency, that is! Get good at saying "no" to what distracts you from what you want to create and "yes" to what brings you closer to achieving your biggest dreams.
7. Make your work space work for you.
This will be different for everyone. For me with my writing, it means lots of sunshine, a de-cluttered but girly desk, and lots of silence. Or, the white background noise of a coffee shop, where a foreign language is spoken and I can’t eavesdrop (that's one of the many gorgeous things about living in the middle of Switzerland!). A mix of the two works well to keep my creative juices flowing. For someone else, it might be a room that is never ventured into by someone else and one they don’t have to tidy up.
Whatever your creative thing is, allow yourself to simmer in this for a little while:
"Before you focus on any one project that you are about to embark upon or are in the middle of, remember that your #1 creative project is: Your Life. Step back and remember that your life is a canvas on which you can your masterpiece. And everyday gives us the opportunity to become just that little more masterful at creating and painting the masterpiece that is our life."
~ Brian Johnson
, the creative force behind A Philosopher's Notes: On Optimal Living, Creating an Authentically Awesome Life and Other Such Goodness
If you haven’t quite yet found your creative thing, don’t worry. The beautiful big canvas that is your life provides you with opportunities on a daily basis to grow and excel in. Start with choosing one thing today and approach it as a craftsman would, by not only getting a little better at it today, tomorrow and the day after that, but by also loving the process.
Emma Bathie is a Soul Happiness Coach. Learn more about her work and how to create more of life's magic here.
Check out more ways to live your best life from Emma Bathie on Z Living:
WATCH on Z Living: Namaste Yoga
calming workout for body and soul. Join hosts Kate Potter, Erica Blitz and a cast of experienced yogis as they guide you through a morning yoga flow sure to start your day off right. See a sneak peek here
Tell us in the comments: How did you find your calling in life? Or if you're still searching, what are some ways you're actively working toward finding your purpose?