Do you start and stop a lot of projects? Do you know what you love but cannot stick to it?
Do you miss doing what you love?
I share my simple 3 step process to help you stay on track with following your passion.
Listen to the episode below:
On my computer, I’ve got this folder called Development Hell.
This is a Hollywood term for films that are started but never completed and released. And just like Hollywood, that folder on my computer is where all my projects go to die a slow, painful and yet not complete death.
For a long time, I kept thinking that this is just me being me: committing to something but not finishing it. Or maybe I had a severe problem with attention and couldn’t keep it on one thing long enough to see it till the end.
This was all ok, because those were just random projects that didn’t affect my life directly (or maybe I never let them become important enough to).
However, I started to take notice of how this habit had spilled over into other parts of my life, especially with my passion for music.
So I sat down and started to think about how bad this problem was.
Here’s The Pattern I Found:
I’d have the “epiphany” (for the 100th time) that music is where I belong. I’d come up with some sort of an idea for a song or lyric or melody, and sit down to put it all together. I just needed it out of my head and in the real world. This got me started on other kind of things related to music — my old music and lyrics, stuff I kept saved as templates for a song in the future and so on.
But, as some time went by, real life started to hit back a bit harder and I went back to my usual routine. So all that was left of a passion that I had had for life were bits and pieces of ideas. Some half complete, but never fully done.
If you know inside that there’s something you ought to be doing, something you were built for, something that’s your calling, something you could have been good at only if you tried a bit harder, and you keep coming back to it but never quite stick with it, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.
I sat down there reflecting on this, and I hated it.
If I ought to be doing this, why wasn’t I doing it more instead of less, or none at all?!?
Why wasn’t I able to stick with what I love to do?
I wanted to turn this around.
But, the thing with creating things and following your passion is that none of the advice about finishing what you start works properly. You can’t set milestones and break them down into smaller milestones, you can’t turn off distractions as that’s no guarantee of you focusing on getting it done and you can definitely not “just do it”.
If you start and stop on your passion, or you simply start and stop a lot of things in general, you can break the pattern.
All you need is a pattern interrupt.
The 3 Step Process To Stick With It
Here’s how I’ve come to understand this 3 step process.
When you’re creating something that matters to you, when you’re doing something related to it, first recognize that you’re starting to get distracted: the words don’t flow, the next note or beat doesn’t fit, that next stroke of the brush doesn’t feel obvious. Feel it in you. Notice it. Really notice it, because it starts to slowly swell up.
This will be hard to do the first time you do it. But, you’ll get better at this each time you do it, and you can practice by doing the same thing in everything you do. Distractions are everywhere, and if you’re doing something — work, chores or your passion — you can notice this feeling building up in you.
Next, acknowledge the built-up. I’ve seen that saying it out loud (or just to yourself if there are others around you) helps a lot. And positive language works far better.
So, instead of telling yourself “No, focus on this”, say, “Ok, I feel like I need to do something else”
This in itself is going to be very powerful. A lot of people are doing these two steps already, and you’ve probably done this without even knowing it.
Many times though, we just tell ourselves that we’ll do just this one thing quick: respond to that text, get back on that email or check out this next cat video and THEN get back to it… and we never do.
I think it’s important to understand why we never get back. I feel that it’s not a matter of breaking the flow or just losing your focus.
It’s all about the big picture.
I think it’s because nothing happens if you don’t do what you love to do. Nothing of matter changes in the world when you stop doing it. Sure, you may have a little regret the next time you recall it, but you won’t get back to it just because of that regret. Or you may just decide, really decide to do it again but you know that doesn’t achieve anything.
So here’s the third step, the pattern interrupt:
Think back to why this matters.
Why did you start doing this? And don’t just say this is your passion — that doesn’t mean anything really. It won’t get you to do it.
Remember what it makes you feel like — how happy and content doing what you love — this pesky little thing you’re about to stop doing right at this moment — how amazing it makes you feel.
I’ve come to believe that people would be way more happier and content with what they do, if only we decided to follow our feelings about things, and not the goals or results because of doing those things.
We lose sight of our why — this is why we don’t follow through on our passions. And the why is not the success or money it will bring us. It is how it makes us feel that makes us do what we do.
This is why it’s so simple to live with any kind of regret. We regret not doing something but we still don’t do it because we forget why it was important in the first place. Why did it matter at all.
When we lose sight of how something makes us feel, it is not important and we will never stick with it.
This works the other way around as well. You can use this simple hack to add passion to a boring job — you’re not doing it just for the money, you’re doing it for the feeling of security, the joy of being able to take care of yourself and those who matter to you and most importantly, the luxury of being able to do what you love without having to worry about anything else.
I hope you find this useful and that it helps you stick with your passion.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, insights and questions! Please leave a comment…