You Can’t Keep Doing The Same Things And Expect a Change
I don’t know if you have felt this on my blog over the past six months but I’m definitely trying to find myself lately. The funny things are that I’m super happy with the life I have: I have an amazing wife with three super nice kids. I do a job that I like and even have a nice company built on the side with the coolest partner possible. I love where I live and enjoy it every single day.
So what’s wrong?
Not much, but…
I can already see you thinking “oh Mike, don’t you think you have enough already? Just start controlling your budget and you will be fine, you don’t need more money”.
That’s not what I’m talking about.
I don’t want more money. I don’t need more money. What I need more is motivation. I wrote a piece about having the fire in your eyes a while back. This is what I’m talking about. I want to crush my life like it’s the last day of my life, every single day. The problem is that it is almost impossible when you fall into your routine.
The routine is what’s killing me. And I’m about to seriously enter into the routine: 3 kids, wife, mortgage and a good job. All that’s missing is fido, the white picket fence and I’ll have the “perfect family”. This is very dangerous. I don’t want to sit down on my couch every night at 8pm after my kids go to bed and watch TV until I pass out around 10pm too tired to “take care” of my wife .
How many times do you have a feeling of déjà vu when you arrive home and go through your evening? Same supper, same place to eat, same bath time and bed time for the kids; same routine. What’s the highlight of you day? Dexter is on with a new series (man, I’m so HAPPY to watch a 7th season of this show!). But still, they only run Dexter once a week, I have to keep myself occupied the other 6 days…
Routine is probably your worst enemy and you don’t even know it. By the time you realize that you are incrusted in a minute-by-minute plan and you will feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day; it will be too late. Maybe 5 years, maybe 10, probably even more. But you will have wasted a lot of time doing nothing with your life.
The problem with Routine is that it’s darn comfortable. You feel secure, happy, even feel that you don’t need anything. Plus, Routine gives you all kind of good excuses to stick with the status quo:
You have a new job,
You are working on a very demanding project,
Your last one is sick and you didn’t sleep all night,
Your must rest because you are leaving for a 10 day business trip next week,
You simply too tired to do anything because you already have to make supper, wash dishes, clean the house, wash your clothes and prepare your lunch (and the kids’ lunches) for tomorrow.
Is there any time during your week when you can get out of this routine? It feels that it has taken all your time and sucked up all your energy. This is what Routine does: it’s a time and energy blood sucker. It prevents you from doing something cool and inspiring your life.
Don’t worry; I’m not going to tell you that you need to quit your job to make your life inspiring. I didn’t quit myself, so there must be a way to live a fulfilling life without having to quit everything and run after your dream (and sometimes you are going to run far if your dream is to become a full time blogger lol!). In fact, I think that there are some small actionable steps you can do to make your life exciting and get out of that routine without having to scrap what you have built so far. After all, there must be a reason why you are living the life you are right now and it’s probably because you like a part of it, right?
The first thing I did this fall was to leave my comfort zone; I registered to play in a soccer league. I’m active by nature and in pretty good shape at the moment. But at no time in my life did I spend more than 30 minutes playing soccer with other adults. Playing with my son is one thing, but playing with people that run as fast as I can is something else; especially when “these people” have been playing soccer for the past 5-30 years! I’ll be honest, I run fast and have good cardio that will keep me up during the whole game; but I can’t kick that darn soccer ball with power and accuracy at the same time. At best, I’m accurate, but I don’t have any kind of power in my kick…
It’s quite hard to start a sport at 31 while everyone else has been playing their whole life. Each time you get a pass you don’t feel right with the ball next to your feet. You feel that you will make a mistake and you fear the moment of facing an opponent, or worse, facing the goalie a few seconds before making a bad kick. But this is what is making me feeling alive. For 90 minutes, I run like a demon and push myself outside the limits my brain (with his friend Routine) have set for me. In my third game, I even scored a goal. No matter how nervous I feel before stepping on to the soccer field, I’m looking forward to this moment each day of the week.
By doing something out of my comfort zone, I’ve got another goal in my week, another thing I’m looking forward to. This is another dose of adrenaline in my week.
I’ve also decided to take part in my children’s elementary school council. I have no clue how it works, I don’t even know which kind of decisions will be made but I’ve presented myself and “sold” my competencies (who would not vote for a banker, who’s a soccer coach and already volunteering at school? Hehehe!).
So I got my spot on the school council and therefore added another thing to my schedule. Once a month, we have a 1 hour meeting to cover what is going inside the school. I just attended the first meeting where I was “the new guy”. It was a bit intimidating (trust me, school boards do NOT work like a business!), but I really liked it. I quickly got involved and shared my point of view. This is going to be a fun adventure!
The second thing you can do to get out of your routine is to do more than what you are currently doing. Interesting enough, we all feel that we are at the maximum of our capacity. Here again, our brain (conspiring with Routine) have already set the limit in our minds and we follow them like good boy scouts. But if you shut down the voice inside your brain for a second, you will see that you can do a lot more than you are now. Here’s the secret: the more you do, the more you want to do more. The less you do, the less you want to do!
This is why I changed two things in my week:
- Starting this morning I wake up at 5am to extend my work out program + work more on my online company.
- I’ll be doing 3 cold calls a day (now including cold visits to businesses).
The first modification is to cut out 30 minutes of sleep in order to extend 30 minutes of work out. This should help me push my physical limits further and get into better shape. I will now be able to run at least 30 minutes each morning + lifting 30-45 minutes of weights. I guess I’ll have a pretty nice shape in a few months!
I’ll also wake up at the same time during my “blogging day”. Once a week, I spend 6 hours to work on my blogs in order to make our business grow faster. Starting this week, I’ll extend my working day to potentially 8 hours but still finish around 3-4pm to play with my kids. I want to work on several new projects and need to increase my workload if I want to prevent any potential future kicks in the nuts (I think I have had my share of kicks this year!).
The second modification is to push myself to develop more business at work. If you have ever been working in an office, you probably know that it’s super easy to fall into your routine, shuffle papers all day and not doing much productive work. It’s not that you are not working, you are actually working pretty hard. The problem is that you are not working on the right things! Doing 3 cold calls per day will generate several clients meetings as my closing rate is about 4-5/10. This means that I should generate 5 more meetings per week with this technique. If I close 1 client out of 5 meetings, I’ll get impressive results by the end of the year. I’m also including cold walk visits in my plan. This is when you simply enter a business and ask to meet with the owner of the place. Sometimes it works; sometimes you get turned around pretty fast! Nonetheless, it’s the perfect way to kill 30 minutes between two meetings when you are already on the road!
By doing more, I’m not going to get more tired; I’m going to gain more motivation! By surpassing my limits, by going out of my routine; I’ll be having more exciting weeks! I won’t have to wait until I start my summer vacation to have fun, I can have fun every single week of the year.
There is something awesome about pushing your limits; you become proud of yourself. Your motivation skyrockets and you simply want more. Instead of being discouraged because I have to go to work tomorrow, I’ll be super motivated to close another deal, run another mile and create another site!
The thing that drives me the most in my life are goals. When I can measure and follow my progression on something, I get super motivated, read obsessed. I’m currently following my eBook sales like a maniac, but also finding new ways to improve them at the same time (I’m at 224 now after 3 weeks!!).
In order to get me out of bed, I’ve decided to set new goals:
#1 I want to weight 180lbs by Xmas (I’m currently back to 193)
#3 I want to bring in $2M of business by the end of the year at work
The three goals are a challenge when they are taken individually. They become quite a mountain when you combine them. But I don’t really have a choice right. This is how I feel anyways. I want to feel the surge inside me and I feel that the more I rest, the more I become lazy and the more I need to rest. Sleeping more and being relaxed is not for me. In fact, it’s quite boring! This is why I need some challenges; I need to find myself “obsessed” by something.
When you set short term goals like this, it creates the urge for action. You stop planning and thinking about what nice thing you could do and you focus on actions. The good thing about taking actions is that it’s always fun and interesting. You learn, grow as a person and live a real life instead of watching others lives through your plasma TV screen.
What I like the most is that my wife is following this “new routine”. She actually started activities that she wasn’t comfortable with, she is part of the parent’s committee which organizes activities for the kids at school and she has a new fitness goal, just like me. In fact, she is not only following me but she is more like an inspiration to me.
All my life I have been working on breaking my routine and living a more interesting life. I call it escaping the rat race. I don’t want to wake up every morning, doing the same thing during the day and rushing home to get everything done as fast as possible to get in bed and get some rest. This is a boring life and I don’t want that. At the same time, I don’t want to quit my job and live like a hippie!
In the past 10 years, I’ve done a lot of things to gain more time, get more money and enjoy life the way it should be. If you want to simplify your life, stop rushing and master your time and finally, get more money by working less; I’ve packaged all my strategies and actionable steps in the following book:
This is how I broke my routine, stopped feeling miserable with my life and started having fun every single day of my life. I’ll be using the tricks from this book to achieve my next three goals and start 2013 with a blast!!
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