You’ve probably read plenty of advice on what you need to do to find and follow the path to right livelihood. Well, I thought it might be time to offer a little counter-intuitive advice on what not to do. For example…
Do Not Automatically Trust the Experts
Even so-called experts sometimes get it wrong. I’m a big fan of the Public Television show Antiques Road Show. If you haven’t seen it it’s basically a roving antique appraisal fair featuring experts in anything from antique or vintage watches, furniture, pottery, paintings, books, and historical artifacts to just about anything else old. People show up hoping to get an expert opinion on the origins and value of anything from family heirlooms to an old movie poster they picked up for a few bucks at a garage sale.
In one recent segment a woman brought in a small green porcelain fish that had been in her family for many generations. According to a local antique dealer its only value was sentimental, adding that she could either keep it or put in a garage sale. Boy was he wrong. It turns out it was the earliest example of American porcelain that the Antiques Road Show appraiser – or any of his fellow experts – had ever seen. That small green fish was worth $30,000.
I once had a big time internet marketing guru tell me in no uncertain terms to change my home page. I did, and in the long run the change ended up costing me probably about $25,000 in sales. I still have the greatest respect for this individual whose results speak for themselves. But again, all experts get it wrong now and then – even me! So when in doubt, get a second and even a third opinion.
Don’t Take On Too Much
I know firsthand what it feels like to desperately want to flee a job that is sucking the life force out of you. I also know, too, that in our frantic attempt to get out of job jail we sometimes make the mistake of taking on too much all at once. “If I can read three books, attend four Teleclasses, sign up for six self-study courses, and listen to ten CDs this week,” we reason, “I’ll be able to reach my goal that much faster.”
But all too often just the opposite happens. In the process of trying to absorb too much information we become overwhelmed, with the result being the mental “memory full” message. And when that happens, just like when our computer is full, our brain actually starts to run slower. Even if you are a master at taking in massive amounts of information when you try to go in too many different directions at once you can end up going nowhere… fast.
Realizing a dream does require you to take action – lots and lots of action. Just not all at once. “For fast acting relief,” says Lily Tomlin, “try slowing down.”
Don’t Make It Harder Than It Really Is
A client named Billy wanted to start his own syndicated radio show. The problem? Like virtually everyone else on the planet (including me) he had no idea how to go about it. “Did you Google ‘how to start your own syndicated radio show’?” I asked.
This simple query led to a site called Syndication.net which offers consulting, a self-study kit, and other resources on how to launch a radio show. From here I hopped over to Amazon and found a well-rated book called The Radio Producer’s Handbook by Rick Kaempfer and John Swanson. I haven’t researched either of these resources, but still it is a great example of how something that feels so hard can be so easy.
Happily, that’s what fellow subscriber Andi Arndt just found out for herself. Andi wrote to say she’d started her own home recording studio this summer and had already found a regular client. “My realtor wants me to be the voice of all their listings, including virtual tours, HomeVoice call-in property info, their voicemail system, and narrating the weekly real estate show!”
But it gets even better. Andi says, “I also Googled ‘travel’ and ‘voiceover’ and found a great company in Brussels, Belgium that does audio city tours for iPods. I’m writing their New York City audio guide, and then narrating it when we record, and I’ll get a 50-50 split of what is sold on his impressive delivery platform. I’m pretty psyched.”
She adds, “I had such a great result from Googling the ingredients of my ideal job, now whenever I have a free moment I put my daydreams into browser language and follow my mouse through cyber-wonderland, picking up leads along the way!” Now how hard it that?
Don’t Do What You Usually Do
Sometimes the best way to jumpstart a dream is to not do the usual. If you usually listen to music while you drive or jog, next time you’re in the car or out for a run don’t turn on the radio or take along your iPod. Instead use the time to visualize your ideal life and the small steps you can take to get there.
Then, instead of rushing home to create yet another To Do list create a “NOT to do” list. Getting rid of things you feel pressured or obligated to do will free you up to spend time on the things you want to do… you know, like change the course of your life.
You’ve heard it a million times before, but small steps really do add up. The hardest part is getting started. “Whenever I get your newsletter,” says Andi, “it always makes me ask myself what I’ve done today to get one step closer to making my and my family’s dream a reality.” Now that’s a bit of advice you do NOT want to ignore!