I want to share a little story with you about how I used to not be happy, and what I’ve done to change that. Maybe it’ll resonate with you. Anybody that knows me will probably tell you I love to talk about myself, but honestly: I’m sharing this with you because I hope it will help you get to where you want to be in life.
I used to not be motivated. When I was in early college (2006-2007), my days looked like this:
- Wake up at 8:30 AM
- Be at work by 9:00 AM (literally rolled out of bed, got dressed, grabbed a Pop-Tart and walked out the door)
- Work until 5:00 PM
- Eat dinner at 5:30 PM
- At college by 6:30 PM
- Home by 10:00 PM
- World of Warcraft until 2:00 or 3:00 AM
- Weekends would be constant WoW, all weekend.
- Rinse, repeat.
Then, when I got a full-time job at a digital marketing firm (where I learned the beginnings of the stuff I’m teaching you now), it looked like this:
- Work 9-6
- Go home and play video games and/or watch Netflix until I went to bed.
- Weekends I would go out and party all weekend.
- Rinse, repeat.
Pretty much the same thing. Most of my young adult life I had no motivation to do anything other than work the minimum amount of time I needed to, and then go home and play video games and/or watch Netflix. When I was going to college for my AA, I was only going just to please my family.
It’s not that I was really into video games or any specific TV shows it was that I just had no motivation to do anything else.
But one day I realized “I am not happy. This is not the life I want to live.” So, I started doing research. I started looking into other things in life. I got some self-help books and read some self-help blogs.
I started to assess what wasn’t making me happy. I started to look into what I thought would make me happy.
Then, I started making a list. The goal was to start trying everything on this list of things that could make me happy.
One thing at a time.
But I still didn’t want to do it. I had built a pretty nice life, I thought. I was making enough money that all of my bills were paid, all of my partying was covered, and I could buy any video game and/or system that I wanted. Yet, I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t happy and I wasn’t willing to get off my lazy ass and do something about it.
I had to make a conscious choice to be motivated.
I still remember sitting there in the office and thinking “I can’t do this anymore.” I forced myself to be motivated and started working on side projects. I started making money using what I knew about digital marketing. My boss encouraged me to use the tools we had to help my side projects grow, as long as I was working on it in my free time and not on-the-clock.
But after a year of that, I still found myself unhappy with those side projects. I wrote my 2 weeks’ notice on the clock and finished out my day. I went home and re-read the email multiple times. I hit send around 10:00 PM.
The next day I went and took out student loans and went back to college. I was going to study video game design.
Even then, I wasn’t super motivated. I took on some contract work and finished out my degree over the next couple years.
It wasn’t until I ended up back at that marketing company for a little while that I noticed a pattern: I was going to repeat this my whole life. I was never going to be happy. I had to force myself to be motivated. I had to build it into a habit.
Motivation is a habit you can adopt as a part of your life.
Eventually, I moved to a different marketing company. Then, I did marketing and public relations at a non-profit for a while as Communications Director, which is where I’m at now. All the while I have been hustling on my side projects. I would try one thing for a few months. Decided I didn’t like it, moved on to the next thing on the list. I would go back and try some things a second time.
I forced myself to keep working at it. I forced myself to keep searching for what made me happy.
It turns out, what really made me happy was writing. Coincidentally, I figured that out in 3rd grade when I was 9 years old. It was that long ago that I had decided I wanted to be a writer.
Now that I know what I want to do, I need to make sure I keep the momentum going. I need to be motivated to get to a point of doing that full time, on my own, without my day job supporting me. That’s what I’m working on right now.
So what’s the big regret? That I didn’t get started sooner. If I had just stuck with writing from the beginning I would be a lot further along than I am right now. But, I didn’t know that was what I wanted to do. I was trying lots of different things.
If I had started trying those things sooner, I would have come to the conclusion sooner. I just wish I had started sooner. I wish I had done more to try different things and I wish I had forced myself to be more motivated. And I wish I hadn’t given up on some things so quickly when I felt stuck.
I will continue to build on my habit of being motivated and just kept trudging along. Day in and day out.
The thing is, it mostly doesn’t seem like work anymore. I’m much happier working on my side stuff and I’m having fun. Writing is what I love to do.
And now, here I am. I’ve never been happier, and it’s because I turned motivation into a habit and I am building the life I want to live.
Of course, having loving and supportive people around me is important to that success. I always say: you are the sum of the five people you surround yourself with. Surround yourself with people who are like what you want to be, and you’ll be surprised how much that rubs off on you. We’ll talk about that in the future 😉