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Visualize, Execute, and Learn to Let Go - Lessons for Life

When I took a seasonal position at Chapters-Indigo a couple years ago, I did so with a purpose. Yeah it was nice to have some extra cash in my pocket, but my goal was to get one step closer to realizing my vision of one day having "Thoughts of a Fractured Soul" on the shelves of Canada's biggest bookstore. My book wasn't even published yet, but I knew I had to take steps to assure its success and make good on what I had been visualizing for years before that, and if that meant taking the opportunity to literally immerse myself in the very venue I hoped my book would one day occupy, then it's an opportunity I couldn't pass up, despite my aversion to 9-5 work.  Over a year now after releasing my first novella, I was not surprised when just last week Chapters sent me an email saying they will purchase 10 copies of my book for one of its stores. In other words, I will be on the shelves, a fulfillment of my visualization.

I say I wasn't surprised not to be arrogant, I only mean that I had a goal I believed in whole heartily, took all the steps I felt necessary to achieve that goal, then let it go. I think the final step is worth some detail. Being able to visualize is crucial, if you can't see where you want to be you'll never get there. Executing is just as important because without action there can be no results. But what has helped me not only to be more productive, but to also see through some of my goals is actually moving on from them; letting them go.

Before getting into this practice, I would obsess over things, check back in over and over again, make revisions that were ultimately unnecessary, think of new strategies even after I had executed the original strategy top to bottom. It lead to me being overly stressed out, affected my progress on other projects I should have been working on, and when I reflect back on these instances, I don't ever remember it working out to my benefit, not moreso than if I had just let everything work itself out on its own.

Now don't mistake what I'm saying, it's perfectly OK and actually necessary that you be thorough. What I'm saying is you have to reach a point where you know within yourself that you've done everything you can to make that particular goal work, and once that point is recognized you need to move on to other matters.

Learning to let go has been the final step to my success, the one small change in my psychology that has had a significant impact on my well being and on the my results. Give it a try and see what happens.

Don't Fight For Perfection

Coming from me, someone who took six years to finish my first book, this piece of advice may seem hypocritical. But it's actually something that I've learned over the years and has helped me to advance through some tough projects. Opaint-315803_640f course you want your work to be the absolute best it can be, as near to  perfect as possible, but you can't get trapped by fighting for perfect. You  can't  let perfectionism prevent you from moving forward, from submitting  a manuscript, from taking part in an event or starting a project. I'm not  even sure  if perfect even exists.

I remember watching an Interview with the Foo Fighters a couple years  ago while they were on the red carpet of the Grammy awards. They spoke  about  making what was then nominated for album of the year from Dave Grohl's garage (or maybe his house) and how music is not supposed to be perfect. I  always remembered that interview, and recently began applying it to my own life and career.

And I have to say it's been working, to perfection none the less! Releasing that burden of having to get everything right, having to do everything right, pretending as if I don't make mistakes has been liberating and has actually helped me produce better work and be a lot easier going in my personal life.

The key is to find a balance between being obsessed and being satisfied. Having someone you trust be a second set of eyes could be helpful, but I know that can be tough for many creatives out there. My suggestion is to step away from your work for at least a day, maybe longer if possible (this means no procrastinating) and then going back at it to see if it accomplished what it's supposed to accomplish.

Be hard on yourself, but not too hard. If you're confident in what you do then let that confidence be a gauge for your work. And most of all, enjoy it. Most things aren't as crucial as we make it out to be.

Till next time...

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