Using Your Passion To Unlock Success In All Areas Of Your Life

My passion is my writing, and in that, I am seriously results-oriented. Tracking results creates an environment conducive to competition – and what a compelling motivation that is.  I’m just as competitive with myself as I am with other people, maybe not. Maybe it’s more. That’s why I record my goals every year and push the next year’s goals just a little further out than what I accomplished in the previous year. I strive to improve myself, and it’s a system that works for me in writing.

A light bulb or two flashed for me these past few days. If I approached everything in my life the way I approached my writing (and my parenting is the only thing that comes even close at the moment), then I could be more successful in the rest of my life.

For example, my work projects. The projects are getting done, but I’ve been accused of not keeping track of my work accomplishments. It’s true, I don’t. It’s done, and I move on. Why don’t I celebrate these accomplishments they way I do with my writing? I even have the proper format in our three times a year evaluation process. What the hell have I been thinking? I need to compete with myself at work! I’m making a chart of my accomplishments, keeping track of how long certain tasks and projects take, and looking for ways to cut my time on them, that is, do them faster without sacrificing the quality my work is known for.

Then there’s the fitness. I’ve been struggling to get in shape and lose some weight, and in my failure to do so, I’ve been gaining instead of losing. Depressed about it, I’ve been eating crap. It’s no wonder I’m sleeping worse than ever.  Yet my writing is in an amazing place. I need a results goal other than losing pounds. So my friend and I are signing up for a 5k in November. I don’t know that I can run the whole thing, but I’m sure as hell going to start my training program and give it my best shot. It’s 7 weeks away, and the training program I’m using is a 10 week program. Even if we (my running buddy and I) run half of it and walk the other half – it’s a start. And the next race, we can try running the entire thing. And the race after that, maybe we can try running it faster.

Will this work? It can’t be worse than what I’m doing now. I have to try it. (and in this, I feel very much like one of my characters, except that this had better work, and I’m heading for my happily ever after!)

I challenge you: look at your writing successes, or the success of whatever else your passion maybe be. Look at how you can apply it to the rest of your life. You don’t have to love the other things as much as your passion, but your passion can give you the tools to do those things better, and in doing them better, perhaps you’ll enjoy your time spent on these – or at least your successes.

For me, it’s competing with myself. I’m going to try and out-do myself this last quarter of the year in all aspects of my life. How about you?


4 responses to “Using Your Passion To Unlock Success In All Areas Of Your Life

  1. I’ve been getting more goal-oriented in my writing. At the beginning of 2010 I wrote out a five-year plan, and I’ve been keeping an eye on how I do.

    I have a habit, though, of setting goals and then changing my mind. For example, deciding to write a short story for an anthology would mean falling behind on the novel I was writing. Or getting involved in tennis next spring means less time training for a triathlon. The overall goal–making progress towards submissions or getting in better shape–stays the same. But it makes it hard for me to track things. 🙂

  2. I do the same thing. If something pops up I really want to do – I add it and sacrifice something else. In my mind, as long as I’m progressing forward, it’s achieving goals. And those choices reflect what’s really a priority in our minds. That I’m choosing the short stories over the novel indicates I’m putting more importance on them than the novel. And at this point in time, that’s okay. Although it’s going to reverse at some point. To get the novel done, I’ll have to sacrifice some short story work.

    Oh… and tracking? I have a sheet where I track projects by start and stop date. Then I have sheets where I track short stoires, one for novels, etc, with more specific details like status (edit queue vs out for crit vs In submissions).

    While it seems like a lot of data entry, it’s not, and it gives me a very clear picture of what I’ve been working on.

  3. I have a ridiculous database where I track a bunch of stuff. I can tell how many hours I spent on various aspects of writing, how many stories I submitted, how long it takes me to get a short story from idea to submission. But it’s hard for me to check “did I meet my goals for 2011” when my goals changed halfway through.

    I keep making plans anyway. Even if they change, I’m still moving in the right direction. I just can’t say I completed 4 of 5 goals last year.

  4. Some good advice here. I’m a pretty competitive person, too, so maybe I should be a bit more proactive about setting direct goals for myself and striving towards them, especially with my writing. Thanks for the post!

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