The Most Important Action You Can Take to Reach Your Dreams
Back in 2007, when I first started writing online, I’d never really heard of the idea of running a business online. My big plan was simply to in some way increase business as a Personal Trainer in my home-town of Melbourne, and I also wanted to use and better my skills as a writer.
I figured that having an ‘online newsletter’ of sorts would be a good way to get the word out more, maybe help position me as top of my industry and mean I could get some cool new gigs like corporate fitness work and in-house speaking for local companies.
Which it did.
But also –
You know how once you get an idea into your head and start to imagine if maybe – just MAYBE – it might also be POSSIBLE (for you!), you just can’t seem to let go of that thing?
I don’t know where I first really ‘got’ the possibility of making money online; I think it probably just crept up on me, but at some point I realised –
Oh shit! This blogging thing is just the beginning!
I can write EBOOKS …!
And SELL them …!
And coach people online … somehow!
It all sounded very mysterious and exciting and a little scary but any ‘how do I’ fears were fears I chose to ignore as instead I started to look for proof that all of this stuff was possible.
(Hint: one of the fastest and most surefire ways, I’ve found, to catapult you to your crazy ‘how do I’ dreams, is to actively hunt for proof it’s possible. Get your hands and eyes on as many case studies and transformations as you can, because if THEY can do it then so too can you! Not to mention that the default is everybody and their dog telling you to be more realistic – yawn!)
I read blogs like Problogger and Copyblogger daily, and I was a big fan of Yaro Starak who spoke about how he lived his ‘laptop life’ and could work from anywhere in the world – was in fact doing so! – with just his laptop and an internet connection, and make a full time living.
It sounded AMAZING.
Too good to be true …
Overwhelming to figure out …
And abso-freaking-LUTELY what I knew I WOULD somehow figure out and make happen.
‘Cause if this shit was possible? No way was I going to miss out on joining the party!
So I got to work.
I blogged and guest posted and read and commented and even joined Facebook after a year or so! I spent 26 months crafting my first ebook after obsessively learning what I thought was the path to a million dollars via ebooks from Alexis Dawes, and I made precisely $411 on my launch day.
I was STOKED, because it proved everything I’d been working so hard for, and I knew –
If I could make $1 online, I could make $1000, $10,000, $100,000, and then some.
Fast forward to now, and in total I’ve made somewhere in the region of 1.5 – 2 million dollars online. Ask me again a year from now and it will be over 10 million total assuming I hit my next 12 month commitments. Which I certainly am commited to, having recently upgraded my new year income goal to 10 mil plus for the calendar year … aiming for the stars baby!
Only thing was at the time and back when that ball FIRST started rolling … 3 years after I wanted it to start rolling and first tried to get it to …
It was kind of hard going!
After 3 years online I’d made maybe $10,000 total from my efforts, and I’d put in up to 40 hours a week on top of already working full-time as a personal trainer. I’d gone through my first pregnancy, gone back to part-time personal training, had some cool experiences through my blog (a stand out was when one of the people I most revered at the time as a writer, Sarah Wilson, contacted ME out of the blue to tell me how much she loved my writing for Dumb Little Man, a site I often guested on!), and I certainly enjoyed the whole thing but it was also to be honest just a lot of work. It was definitely making it easy for me to have an endless stream of face to face clients as my positioning in Melbourne and even Australia for my niche was pretty high on Google, but where was this laptop life I’d been dreaming of?
I wanted MORE!
I wanted all of it!
And I wanted it now.
But as much as I fought it, I couldn’t help wondering –
What am I doing wrong?
What am I missing here?
Why aren’t I EXPLODING online?
Why doesn’t everyone know who I am yet?!
Why aren’t I famous and rich?!
I have to be honest, I have never questioned whether or not I will ‘make it’. I’ve come close, but my underlying and firmly held belief has always been that I’ll be a wildly successful, wealthy entrepeneur, live life exactly as I please and be famed internationally as a transformative author and speaker.
But in 2010, when I’d been plugging away for so long and really my efforts over a 3-year period online were nothing to write home about AND they were starting to irritate my husband with how much of me they consumed, it was very very tempting to put myself on some kind of ‘just had a baby and this whole blogging thing sucks and isn’t really working anyway’ hiatus.
But for some reason, somehow, and despite often getting frustrated or tired of the whole process and despite somewhat frequently question my own sanity and my WHY, when it would have been so much easier (and more ‘normal’ as a new Mum!) to spend any free time (ha!) or baby nap time resting, I kept going.
Everyday, I rocked my little daughter off to sleep in her stroller, and I made my way to a local cafe, for an hour if I could be so lucky, 40 minutes or so was normal, and occasionally there’d be those tormenting times when she’d wake within minutes or refuse to go down at all and I’d be there with a bottle of expressed milk in one hand (if I was organised, if not then a boob out and a baby on my my lap!) and I’d type with as many fingers and as much speed possible.
And I’d read something that inspired me.
And I’d journal and dream.
And then I’d write.
What would I write?
Anything. Everything. Something.
A blog, an idea, a dream. Notes for books that for years never came to life, some which still have not. New online course and product ideas, some of which I even brought to life.
And a lot of big plans and visions.
I didn’t have a lot of structure. I didn’t have any themes for my blog posts and online newsletters. I didn’t have a publishing schedule to stick to. I didn’t always take action on all my big dreams and goals. In a lot of ways you could say I wasted a lot of time.
I didn’t really know WHAT I was working for, or towards, when nobody was ‘making me’ and perhaps not many people would have even noticed if I stopped, but for whatever reason I just. kept. going.
Have you ever had a calling within you, deep and dark and mysterious, and freaking FRUSTRATING because you know it’s there, you feel it there, you can’t escape or avoid it and yet you also can’t manage to put your finger on it?
I knew I was meant for more …
I knew I was going to go big …
I knew I was going to go ALL the way!
But I just couldn’t figure out how to bring that big big dream and vision into the here and now. How could I, when I couldn’t even fully define what I wanted to do or be known for?!
But most of the time, I didn’t really stop to try and figure it out. Oh sure, I wrote about it (in my private journal, and sometimes publically) and I questioned it and I sure did a lot of coaching and personal development and read EVERYTHING I could get my hands on along the lines of passion and purpose and working from a place of truth and flow, but mostly?
I just. kept. going.
I dreamed my big dreams and then I took action on them.
Unquestionably it was imperfect and mostly completeley naive action, and a high percentage of the time it was action that probably had nothing at all to do with DIRECTLY helping me achieve the money, the fame, the reach, the transformation I desire, but be that as it may it was ACTION.
And action drives you forward.
I don’t know if you’ve ever found yourself wondering, as I so often did, what you’re missing.
What does everyone else know that you don’t?
Why does their STUFF always seem better … glossier … more exciting … more RIGHT …?
Why isn’t your list growing as fast as you want?
You might say I was kind of impatient with wanting success to just FIND me. To this day it’s a trait I’ve often questioned within myself – this insatiable need for MORE, this inability to ever just stop, this DRIVE to keep. on. pushing – but ultimately it’s a trait I’ve come to love about me, because hey –
If you were already happy and had achieved, done, created ‘enough’ then why keep going at all? For me, happiness and my greatest fulfilment comes from the push for more and I know I will NEVER be done. It’s kind of exciting even though it can certainly also be infuriating, not just for me but DEFINITELY for those around me who’ve been waiting years for me to be done and to just ‘stick to something already’ … good luck waiting for that one honey! 🙂
But if you think about it …
And I’m sure if you stop and look back at your own journey …
And even though you might be just as impatient if not more so than me about your success …
Isn’t it true that for somebody so damn impatient and so damn biting at the bit, you’ve certainly done a pretty good job at putting the work in day in and day out even though you haven’t yet got to where you want to be and even though, considering the drive for MORE, you perhaps NEVER WILL GET TO WHERE YOU WANT TO BE.
It’s kind of weird actually.
And definitely a little crazy … no wonder your friends and family have no freaking clue what you do let alone why!
But also –
It is AWESOME.
If I look back over the past now 7 years+ online, for somebody so damn impatient and eager for more, I’ve done a pretty good job of waiting things out.
Paying my dues.
And just. keeping. on. going.
And that’s the thing, isn’t it?
If you look at my story, if you look at your own story, if you look at the story of anybody who has quote unquote made it …
It’s never about that one big thing, is it?
I spent so much time and energy – and perhaps you can relate – trying to figure out how to ‘crack this thing’, with the right product, the right launch, the right sales process. Working my butt off trying to emulate the work of those who I looked up to, trying to figure it OUT.
But it was never about figuring it out.
It was never about finding that magic bullet approach.
It was never about what I was MISSING for God’s sakes!
And it was always, always, always, about just one thing.
Even when –
I didn’t know how.
Or whether I really was certifiable.
And even though I couldn’t – most of the time! – CONNECT that action into the big visions and dreams I had for my life.
They say that imperfect action is the way forward. But I believe and I’ve found that if you take ANY action daily, and you actually DO SO DAILY, towards your biggest goals and dreams and ‘one days’, that that indeed and in its most simple state, is actually completely perfect PERFECT action.
Because action, drives you forward.
And action? It creates more action.
[pq] ACTION creates a HABIT of action. [/pq]
It turns you into that person who continues to TAKE IT ‘even though’, and ‘even when’.
I’m writing this right now from snowy Montana, just outside of Yellowstone National Park (where Yogi Bear lives I think!). We’re on a 3-week RV trip coast to coast across the US … through Winter … it’s month 13 on our laptop life journey … our 14th country … I now make over 100k a month all online and doing what I love … my books are international best-sellers … I am COMPLETELY living my dream (although never done!) and it really is at times UNBELIEVABLE when I think of all I’ve created but if I look back and really try to figure out how I brought all of this to life?
It’s really really simple.
I just kept going.
The ball rolled slowly for a long while.
Stopped and started even after it did kick off.
Went bloody backwards at top speed for a good period of time (think: over 100k debt and nearly choosing bankruptcy!)
But ultimately, and no matter what was going on with my income, my reach, my so-called success, the only constant, the only thing I just kept doing was just keep GOING.
Even now, as I continue to dream bigger than big and once again wonder if I’m crazy with the goals and dreams I have, I spend far less time worrying about the how than what I do just doing SOMETHING.
And ultimately, you could take it all away from me right now and return me to my tiny flat in Melbourne working full-time as a personal trainer and wondering how I’d ever become anything, and even though it might piss me off to lose all I’ve created, to be honest my reaction?
Would be to pick myself up, get over it, and just keep going.
Because I have a message.
I have something to say … a lot of it in fact!
I have a calling.
And I’ve learned that this stuff? When you build your business and your life around it? Is like a gazillion or so times more powerful than worrying about what you’re missing, what strategy or approach you don’t yet know about, what you ‘should’ be doing and DEFINITELY a lot more powerful than giving a fuck about what anybody else might be doing.
This is why I look at the ‘latest and greatest’ of the business world and of online sales and marketing tricks and strategies, and yes I’ll admit it even at the online stars of the moment, and mostly it doesn’t grab my attention.
Not because it COULDN’T … I can be as prey to comparison and ‘not being good enough’ or ‘not knowing enough’ as the best of them! … but because I’ve LEARNED –
It really doesn’t matter.
What anybody else is doing.
Raving on about.
Caught up in.
And I have to say I’m so freaking grateful I came online before the current wave of female entrepreneurs … I think the unspoken and spoken rules of that world have a lot to answer for in terms of making the entire thing so much more complex than it really has to be … never mind in terms of selling a message that success comes from following an approach rather than from being a certain type of person … but that’s a post for another day 😉 … what I see come out of this world is mostly indecision, confusion, comparison, and a helluva lot of wasted time and money …
Because the truth is that if we all just stopped trying to figure it out –
And stopped trying to ask how –
Or why –
And stopped worrying at ALL what the rest of the world was up to or might think –
And just got the fuck on with it! –
We’d have a whole new wave of online millionaires, living with passion and purpose and from a place of flow, in just about no time at all.
If you had have told me, back in 2007, that I’d spend hundreds of thousands of dollars well before I ever made ’em, that I’d take 3 years to even really START getting anywhere, that I’d end up going BACKWARDS and nearly crashing and burning just when I thought I was ‘getting there’, that I’d ‘waste’ literally thousands of hours moving forward but yet not GETTING there, and that even when I WAS there – now – I’d still not be satisfied, well –
I think you know what I would have done.
Maybe tried to find a faster way.
Maybe ‘wasted’ even more time and money doing so.
But ultimately known that none of it, NONE of it, is wasted, when it moves you forward.
And ultimately known that it really doesn’t matter what I know or who I know or how I do things so long as I just. keep. going.
Today, tomorrow, and everyday after.
The truth is, and we so often forget this in our quest to figure it out and do things RIGHT, that whatever you can do, whatever you can dream, whatever you can imagine, is possible.
But for it to happen? YOU have to happen.
You have to begin.
And you have to start now, no matter what and no matter how.
The path to success is, quite simply, the path of she who takes action. Goethe, who I was reading this morning, and who I suppose knew a thing or two, said that bold action has genius, magic and power in it but that you have to begin it NOW. Which makes sense right? It’s certainly worked for me.
Life is Now. Press Play.