How to do what you want: 4 Steps to Live your own life
You may have read the “about me” page on this site, but I am going to go in to a bit more detail about how I got to where I am now. Hopefully, after reading this you will have an idea of how to do what you want in life. Also, this post may help you to get an idea on what you want to do.
Where I am now
I live in Morzine in the French Alps. As I write this, I am looking out of my kitchen window at an amazing view of the mountains. The weather isn’t great, which is fine, because it means I can catch up on work. Also, I don’t mind because yesterday, I took this picture of my wife Carolyn, while we were splitboarding (that is Mont Blanc in the background by the way).
I have managed to forge a life in the alps with the flexibility of being able to do what I want most of the time. I work from home managing my affiliate marketing websites. This is hard work and takes a long time. There are sacrifices, in the fact that I will work late in to the night at times. However, usually I will have been snowboarding or mountain biking for a few hours in the morning.
How I got here
I have had many careers over the years. Each one was exiting to start with, but soon got boring. Spending time in offices or factories always left me wanting more out of life.
My last job in the “old life” was working as an engineer for a large engineering company in the UK. I was designing high voltage electric motors. It was pretty good, but it was becoming a bit “same old, same old”.
Carolyn and I always said that, if something happened to one of our jobs, we would go and work a winter season in the alps. Then one day, Carolyn was made redundant, so we decided to actually do it! It was super scary, considering we were going to leave our family, friends, four bedroom house, cars, pensions, careers and possessions all behind us. But, it was the best thing we ever did!
We started off as chalet hosts and worked our way in to management positions in a holiday company. We loved living in the mountains so much, we decided to stay all year round. However, I was getting a bit frustrated with sitting behind a desk when the snow conditions were amazing. This is the problem when you work for someone else on their time. I have always wanted to work for myself, and this made the will stronger.
I looked in to many different business ideas, but not many gave me the flexibility I wanted. Therefore, after doing some research on how to do what you want, I decided I should have an online business.
Step 1: How to do what you want
There are a lot of people in the world that are over 40 and still don’t know what to do with their life. If you are struggling with finding out how to do what you want, you are not alone. In fact, it makes you more interesting, so don’t worry about it. Don’t work to satisfy other people’s opinions, it is your life not theirs. Do work that can help your passion become a reality. Here are some steps on how to do what you want.
1. You have nothing to lose
This step is the most difficult, especially if you are established doing something else and have a mortgage and a family. But, anything is possible. You don’t need to do what society and people you know say what you should do.
- To start with, it is easier to do what is expected of you. However, to do what you want is your decision, and working towards your passions is the best thing you can do.
- Working to someone else’s expectations will lead to a less satisfying life for you.
- Chose something that is fun and that excites you, rather than what someone else says you should do.
I remember handing in my notice at work before leaving for France. My boss said I was stupid for leaving my job behind. And what I was doing is for 19 year olds, not for someone in their 30s with a mortgage. I didn’t care what he said, because it was my choice and I could manage my own circumstances.
2. Take Ownership
Your goal may take a long time to reach, but if you want it that much you will persist. Do what you need to do to get where you want to be. Whatever your goal is, do something every day that will help you get there.
3. Solve Problems
There will always be barriers in the way of what you want to do. These barriers may be lack of qualifications or lack of skills. Find a way of obtaining those skills, by getting educated. This may be via online courses, college or volunteering at work to move in to an area you are interested in.
A problem solver thinks about potential ways of doing things, evaluates those ideas and executes them.
4. Risk Taking
Risk is accepting the worst thing that can happen. You may have to fail before you succeed, this is part of life. Trial and error should become your friend, which will allow you to follow your instincts.
5. It is OK to be scared
Making a big decision is scary, but if you live by your fears, you will not fulfil your dreams. Be aware of your fears, but don’t be controlled by them. There will be difficult times, but don’t let that stop you!
Step 2: How to Decide What to do
It is all very well finding out how to do what you want, but what if you don’t know WHAT to do? Hopefully this will help you decide, or at least get you in the correct mind set.
1. What skills do you have?
There is so much in the world you can do, and each thing requires a skill. You will have a skill that you can offer others, that will ultimately lead you to your goal. If you have a passion for something, but not yet have the skill, this is a start. Your passion can become your way of earning money. This is because there are people out there that require someone to have a skill.
You don’t need to limit yourself to one particular skill or passion. But, if you choose more than one, find a way that they will compliment each other. For example, I learned about affiliate marketing and my first website is offering advice on my passion of mountain biking.
2. Learn about what you could be interested in
As you gain more experience and knowledge about the what you could be interested in, you will find yourself gravitating toward a specific area. You should always be looking in to the ideas and practices of the areas you are interested in.
You need to be learning about your interests all the time. Read books, magazines, blogs and anything associated with your interest. This will make you well informed about your passion. If you find this boring, you are not interested in that area enough.
3. Make Friends
Every field has an active community. If you live somewhere with lots of people, it will be easy to find a group of people who are also enthusiastic about the your passion. These people are great resources and you already have a common interest. They can help motivate your growth in that area.
If you struggle to find these groups in “real life”, you can easily find them online. There is 7 billion people on the internet, there will be someone that can help you. Join Facebook groups, forums, mailing lists…..the list goes on.
4. Talk about it
Talk to people about what you want to do, but do it with assertiveness. Don’t be nervous about sounding silly or too ambitious. Some people will give you great feedback, others will poo poo your idea. But either way, sometimes just saying stuff out loud to people triggers other ideas and ways to do things in your head.
Some people won’t understand your dreams (like my old boss), but that is OK. Try to speak to people in the know about what you want to do. You will get great feedback from people who may be more experienced and have gone through it all already.
Honest feedback is a great resource. You may not like what you hear, but feedback is invaluable to your progress. Just take it on board, fix any problems and improve.
5. Make a Road Map
Create a plan starting where you are and finishing where you want to be, and how you are going to get there. Everyone is different, from their skills, personality and status. This means everyone’s road map will be different. There will also be diversions along the way, so you will need to adapt to change. This change may be your own doing or come form an external factor.
6. Revisit Your Goal
As we go through life, there are few things that can change us. For example, life experiences and relationships can alter what we are passionate about. This is why you need to be flexible and responsive to change. However, you will need to use your developed skills to work with your new passions.
- It is OK to change your mind about what you want (this is why I have had lots of different careers). This means that you are probably just learning and growing a lot.
Step 3: Learning How to do What you Want
It is OK to not know what you are doing, even Olympic sports people were beginners at some point. There are a few things you can do to make sure you learn about what you want to do.
“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”
1. Start with the little things
You can do a few small things that will set you off in the right direction and help you with your mindset. For example, if you want to learn how to play the guitar, have your guitar close to hand. You will find that you will pick it up more often than if it was in a case under the bed.
For me, when it came to learning about affiliate marketing and starting my business, I bought an office chair to put at my kitchen table. It became a good place to sit down without distractions to get learning.
2. Stay Focussed
Going back to the example of learning guitar. You want to be a good guitar player so you can play in a band. However, you may not feel the importance of the goal when you have to practice in the morning before work.
You need to visualise and focus on the thing that you want to be doing. There will be times where your feelings differ from what you want to do. You need to picture yourself doing the thing you want to do and the steps you need to take to pick up your guitar in the morning. This may be the tea or coffee that will wake you up. Think about which chords, scales and songs you need to practice.
3. Get Up!
Starting your day with good momentum, makes you much more able to be productive and carry out the tasks you have set yourself. If you do not get up on time, you will not start your day with this much needed momentum.
Set two alarms, one for the wake up and one two minutes later. In the two minutes before the second alarm think about the things you want to achieve for the day. This means, when the second alarm goes off, you will find it much easier to get out of bed.
4. Try Again
Some days are more productive than others. This can be due to many things including your feelings, we are human after all. So, when you have a day when you haven’t quite managed what you set out to do, reset over night and smash it out the following day. The more wins you have that bring you closer to doing what you want to do, the more your feelings will start to line up with your goal.
Setting measurable goals is really important, not only for productivity, but for your head too. For example, you may want to write a book, so you will set a goal of so many words per day. Or in my case, I want to write three blog posts for my websites (depending on length) per day. You will feel a sense of achievement every day, which keeps you going. Just make sure your goals are realistic, because this can put unnecessary pressure on yourself. I once set out a goal of about 27 blog posts in a week…. funnily enough I didn’t get anywhere near that figure.
6. Revel in your Challenge
You will set yourself tasks that are more challenging than what someone else would give you. There will be days when you feel that you have taken on too much. This is when you feel deflated, but these days are temporary and when things start to work, you will start to feel great. This is when you revel in the challenge you have set yourself. You are working hard, kicking ass and doing what you want!
Step 4: Start Making Moves
You have decided what you want to do and started leaning how to do it. Now it is time to get going!
1. Get a Job
The chances are, you will need to make some money while you are pursuing your dream. You need a job that will allow you to pursue your passion. Eventually, you will be able to make money from your passion. Before I started full time affiliate marketing, I looked after social media accounts for a holiday company and a bike shop, while writing blogs. But, I could have easily have been working behind a bar, waxing skis, cleaning chalets or selling my body (joke).
2. Make a Plan
Ideally you should make a five year plan.
- Decide what you want to do first. Think about what lifestyle you want in five years. For example, do you want to be earning money as a lead guitarist in a band?
- You need to set timelines for the steps that will get you to your end goal. For example, write down goals like take guitar lessons, get a jamming buddy, form a band, get your first gig, get your first paid gig etc
- Write down your goals and put them somewhere where you will see them all the time. Tape them to your bathroom mirror or to the dashboard of your car, so you are reminded of them every day.
- Track the progress that you make. If you cannot afford guitar lessons, for example, cross out that goal and replace it with a goal that will have the same result, such as using free online resources.
- Reevaluate your 5 year plan. If you change your mind about what you want, that is okay. Make another 5 year plan.
Why I Chose Affiliate Marketing
When I decided that I wanted an online business, I looked at what other people do to make money online, especially those that live an adventurous lifestyle. For example there are quite a lot of people who live in vans, that travel for surf, snow or mountain biking. Examples of online businesses I found, were running social media accounts, copywriting, drop shipping and affiliate marketing. I was already doing a lot of blog writing for a chalet company. I got some good feedback from guests, so I thought that writing reviews and helping people find what they want was a good idea. My first website was to help mountain bikers get information on products, clothing, components and destinations. This was and is one of my passions.
Affiliate marketing gives me the ability to work my own hours. This means I can take advantage of the conditions on the mountain. I have certain tasks I set myself each week, as long as I do those tasks I’m happy with my productivity.
Some days I am terribly unproductive, this is when I give myself a shake, reset and make sure every other day of the week is more productive (even if it means missing a powder day).
How to do what you want
I hope this has helped or motivated you to do what you want in life. I have done the corporate lifestyle, and my experiences since leaving it, have shown me that getting out was the best thing to do.
Now…go and do what you want!