Can you guess what it is? Money? No! Time? No! A magical wish from a genie in a bottle? Nope. Not even close.
Maybe this quote from the 14th Dalai Lama will give you a hint.
Consistent effort is the key to success.
So you have a vision for the next exciting adventure in your life? Yay! Go you. That is amazing and it’s a huge hurdle to overcome. We are stoked.
You’ve also broken down your dream into bite-sized actionable steps: you have a plan. We are so proud of you!
(If you haven’t got a vision and a plan, DON’T FRET. We wrote a series of blog posts for that. Your adventure starts here: 5 Fabulous Tools to Help Create a Vision for Your Life)
But now what?
Now it’s time to take your plan and put it into action.
We cover a lot in this post, but don’t worry, we’ve also created a cheat sheet for you that you can print and use every single day.
If you want your dreams to become a reality you have got to be engaged every day. It’s not enough to know what you want, you’ve got to get shit done. Yup, it takes consistent effort, but the great news is…
Consistent effort is all it takes.
Never forget that your reward is NOW. It is not in that far-off someday “successful” life of your dreams. It’s not someday when you have more time, more money, and more focus.
This is life. It’s this moment. It’s NOW.
What you achieve in the future doesn’t matter because the future never comes.
It’s what you achieve today that counts.
Your vision and your plan are a framework so you know exactly what to engage in TODAY.
So gather your plan, your big vision, your dreams, and your goals.
Commit to taking the small, daily steps that will get you there.
Show Up. Every. Single. Day.
My philosophy teacher, Dr. Douglas Brooks, relates the idea of consistent effort to vacuuming your house.
What would happen if you simply stopped vacuuming one day? What if you got so tired of it you just chose never to do it again. What if you chose to abandon that constant upkeep?
You think dust bunnies are bad? Just wait until you see dust monsters!
By applying a “little and often” approach to vacuuming, you keep those dust monsters at bay. By applying a “little and often’ approach to your vision, you build it up little-by-little every day.
Achievement doesn’t come in one day. You’ll hardly notice the change from day to day, but if you make consistent effort, you ARE making progress.
On our epic bike trip we didn’t start off one day in Rome and keep riding non-stop until we got to Bali. We took it slowly, day by day, doing a bit of pedaling, a bit of bike maintenance, some personal maintenance (aka showering), washing our clothes, feeding ourselves, and feeding our souls.
The shit we need to do to achieve our goals isn’t always sexy and glamorous (except for the showering, obv), but it is essential. It is the only way to get there.
Consistency does not mean you have to work every minute of every day. This is LIFE after all. Life stuff takes LOTS of time and energy.
But, if you have an intelligent plan (fortunately for you I made a video all about how to make your plan), you will be able to spare a little time and energy every day for YOUR thing.
Show up every day. Do the work every day.
This is why it is so important that you are working on something you LOVE. It’s going to take time – and a lot of consistent effort – so you need to enjoy yourself along the way.
Trust in science! Newton’s first law of motion says it best:
A body in motion tends to stay in motion; a body at rest tends to stay at rest.
What that means (both for a ball rolling down a hill and for you and your dream life) is that getting started is the hardest part. Don’t keep stopping and starting all over the place.
If you do, you’re putting too much energy in the “getting started” basket and not enough (or none) in the “making progress” one.
And you know what Newton says about energy…
Stay Tuned Up
It is important to remember, especially if your goal means you are self-employed (which necessitates self-motivation!), that you are a professional. This is your vision for your life – it is your JOB to make it into a reality.
In order to do this though, you need to know two things:
1. What you need to do
2. How to do it
Skill maintenance and improvement comes from practice.
As a yoga teacher, I become a better teacher and I become more knowledgeable when I challenge myself to teach the things that I am still learning. I HAVE to know what I am talking about if I am going to talk about it in front of a group of students. But this means intense repetitive practice, practice, and more practice. And study, study, and more study.
In my first teacher training Christina Sell told us:
If your teacher ever stops being a student, it is time to find a new teacher.
And she’s absolutely right.
But I’m not just talking about the training you need to be an actor, a yoga teacher, an anthropology professor, or whatever it is you dream of. There are going to be lots of other skills you need to market yourself, to sell your “product” (which might be YOU), and to expand your market.
Ready to have your bubble burst?
You don’t know everything!
I know, shocking right? But it’s absolutely true.
A big part of making progress is to figure out what you don’t know and to figure out how to learn it.
What are your skill gaps? What could you know better? Who teaches what you don’t know? Search out people who know more than you do, people you can relate to, and then learn from them.
But don’t wait until you know everything to get started. Start now and fill in the gaps as you go.
You don’t have to be THE best, you just have to be YOUR best. You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be proficient. You don’t have to know EVERYTHING, you just have to know SOMETHING.
Success Hasn’t Spoiled Us Yet
Don’t get hung up on the idea of success, of the finish line, or an end goal. We are striving to have an adventurous LIFE. The end goal is just a tool to give direction to your everyday life.
Success is defined as the accomplishment of a goal or purpose. Your purpose, your goal, is a more adventurous life.
If you focus solely on your end game you might forget to experience your adventure as it unfolds.
When we were on our bike trip, our goal was to ride first from Rome to Russia and then from Beijing to Bali. That’s a hell of a long way. If we just rode our asses off every day, going 200 km per day, completely focussed on getting to our goal, we may have arrived a lot sooner.
But we wouldn’t have had time to stop anywhere, see anything, meet anyone, or take care of ourselves. It’s likely that by losing sight of the daily adventure, we would have burnt out and quit long before we got anywhere near the exotic Balinese finish line.
I want you to live a life that allows you the freedom to experience joy, to experience love, to experience everything.
A more adventurous life is the goal. A more adventurous life is success.
By working on your life, by discovering what inspires you, what motivates you, what pushes you to be your best self, you are succeeding.
(On the other hand, by brushing your goals under the carpet, ignoring the things that thrill you, and sleepwalking through every day, you are failing.)
All of life is your adventure. Engage in it. THAT IS SUCCESS.
Your Support Crew
Adventure is not easy. To be brutally honest, there are as many shitty days as there are fantastic days.
Going it alone is really not an option.
Amundsen didn’t set off to the South Pole all by himself. Neil Armstrong didn’t get to the moon without any help.
Your plan should include co-opting friends to your cause or, if your current friends think adventure is weird and scary, finding new friends who understand your desire for adventure.
At times, things will go wrong. Some days you’ll get depressed and think you are on the wrong path. Some days you’ll want to quit. Other days, everything will go just right, and you’ll want to share your successes with someone.
Having friends to share with and friends you can turn to will help keep your head in the game.
They will be able to remind you WHY you are doing this and help you remember that it’s your choice and your DREAM. They will be able to shine a light on your strengths when you are mired in self-doubt and they will help you get up when you fall down.
On the days you have BIG WINS, these amazing friends won’t leave you hanging when you go in for a high five (or a hug).
Jane and I didn’t have real-world friends close by who share in our spirit of adventure (they were all off adventuring!) so we built a gang online.
Guess what? You are welcome to be a part of it.
Adventure Begins at OM is a small, personal, and supportive group. It’s somewhere you can celebrate when things go right and vent when things get dark.
You’ve been wishin’ and a hopin’ and a prayin’ for things to change, right?
You can’t just make a plan and then sit back and hope it all magically happens.
You have to get off your ass and do something.
And then you have to do it again tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that.
If you do that, you win, no matter where it is that you end up.
♥ Happy adventures, Stephen & Jane
P.S. Don’t forget your cheat sheet.