You: Reinvented. Breaking a Bad, Bad Habit
Are you as addicted to the instant reward as I am? Chances are, if you tweet as ardently as I, that’s a sign right there. Twitter is the ultimate immediate-feedback machine. You say something, someone retweets or replies, and voila: you’ve been validated.
Blogging is another one, only a bit less immediate. You write your thoughts, post it, and wait for the retweets and comments. Combine the two and… man, it’s better than crack!
Please don’t misunderstand me: if you’re doing these two well, you can build a brand, and I’ve certainly been doing that over the past few years. These two endeavors have served me well professionally, and the long hours and dedication are only beginning to pay off. This post is not a complaint.
…But it is at least a bit of a warning. Getting the quick fix can trip you up if you aren’t extremely careful. I started my first blog in 2006. I also finished my second and (to date) last book in 2006. Loathe as I’ve been to admit it, this is no coincidence. I have a lot to say.* I’d probably write a book a year if I had no other outlet.
So here’s how I think I’m finally going to break this unproductive habit: guest posts! That’s right, it’s as simple as that!! For two weeks now, Shawn and I have been blessed with posts on Switch and Shift from some of our most admired authors and bloggers, and I’ve been happy to give them center stage! In a way, I suppose I’m writing by proxy. I’m not completely sure how it satisfies me, to be honest, but I’ve been happy not to post! And here’s the best part: I’m still writing – I’m just not posting it!!! If I can keep this up, I’ll have a finished manuscript in maybe six months. To which I say, “Ahhhhh. It’s about time.”
How does this become about you reinventing yourself? Ask yourself this question: what bad, bad habit are you indulging right now that is holding you back from the success you seek? For me it’s writing, and the quick fix that gets in the way of “the lonely art.”
- Are you hanging out with friends when you should be meeting with sales prospects?
- Are you dwelling in your office/cave pouring over spreadsheets when you should be managing by walking around?
- Are you obsessing over investors when you should be obsessing over customers and employees?
There are a million things you should be doing that will advance your long-term aspirations. What are you doing instead that is easier, or more immediately rewarding, that is replacing what you need to get done?
This is a six-year problem that I only just solved by accident in the past two weeks. I’m not more clever than you. If anything, I’m a tool for taking that long to get over an obvious hinderance. I’ll bet you can do better than me.
*Imagine my poor family if I couldn’t write, or blog, or tweet.
Vitally important note: work with nature, not against it. As any physicist will tell you, nature abhors a vacuum. If you cut a bad habit out of your routine without replacing it, your brain isn’t about to let you: you’ll replace your gambling habit with crack, or your eating addiction with a sex addiction (then you’ll catch nasty diseases and destroy your marriage). So to get over a bad behavior, you have to – I repeat, you have to – stick something else in your life to take its place. I’ve replaced positive feedback from my own blogging with a closely related source of positive feedback: these guest bloggers are making Shawn and me look great by association! So I can check that off my list and get on with my next book. I’m not denying myself of the validation I seek. With me here?
Photograph courtesy of Glen Bowman