This is really all about Doing The Work. And it is something I struggle to do with any sort of consistency.
In this site, I do loads of work, constantly.
But the work is of a varied nature and often separate from the work that actively reaches out to the rest of the world, at least directly.
I work in cycles, bursts, and unplanned segments
It’s how my head works. It’s also a big part of what makes the rest of life harder for me.
Well, harder, in that, I have trouble doing the things that keep my life running smoothly, as well as the lives of those closest to me.
I’m unpredictable, even to myself
And yet…the work must get done.
Too much harsh self-criticism and you may find that the work sops altogether.
And that would be bad.
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- Do The Work!
- Because there is ONLY the work!
- Enjoy the work!
- Discover how to make items 1-3 merge and become your daily life, and then you will have won!
- In doing the work, we demonstrate what we offer thereby clarifying why anyone would want to work with us
- The goal is not “success”. The goal is to deepen the value we give and get from doing the work
- When it all comes together, your success will come in the form of getting paid to love what you do
- (Consistency helps)
The War Of Art: I’ve read this book about 4 or 5 times now. But I no longer remember the particulars.
What I can tell you is: if you’re struggling to do the thing that needs doing; the thing that gnaws at you in your dreams and nightmares.
The thing that whispers to you while you’re at your shitty job; the thing that makes the rest of your life impossible, but you haven’t addressed yet, then get this book.
Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work: I’ve read this book about 4 or 5 times as well. And I no longer remember the particulars.
What I can tell you is: once you’ve made the decision to start your thing and have been doing at for some time, you will eventually build a body of work that lights the rest of the way forward.
This book will help you start building the new you, the you who is capable of handling the new stresses this outlook will bring your way.
Do the Work: Overcome Resistance and Get Out of Your Own Way: I’ve also read this book about 4 or 5 times. And I no longer remember the particulars.
What I can tell you is: maybe you’ve reached the point where the ideas are flowing and a lot of projects are getting kicked off…but never completed.
You keep running into The Wall. Been there so many fucking times myself that it a personal cliche at this point.
Steven Pressfield will again provide you with the motivation and plan to move forward past that little voice in your head that’s fucking with you. (Have I mentioned yet that Steven’s a former-Marine, like myself. Hmmm.)
- Photographer of top image: Malte Wingen
[The following article is reprinted with permission from Jason Leister at www.IncomparableExpert.org]
The Chop Wood Carry Water Method For Getting Clients
By Jason Leister
You’ve probably heard the saying about “before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water – after enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”
That’s what I do in my business. I chop wood, I carry water.
Today, I’d like to tell you the story of how that came about and why it’s become such a valuable business building tool for me.
It all started back during my time as a music student in college.
Year one was inspiring. I was a talented musician who ended up studying in the studio of one of the best organists in the world. During that entire first year, I was drinking from the firehose.
From the weekly four hour performance classes, to the academic work, to all of the hours in the practice room—it was all work, all the time. (Side note: I also had a full-time “second job” while all of this learning was going on. I had to get on the radar of my future wife. At the time, she had no idea that I existed, and I was clueless about how to fix that.)
Year two was different. Things started to fall apart. All of the “new stuff” I had learned now had to be assimilated and worked through. This created a huge amount of stress, angst and all around discomfort.
I got through with lots of coffee and lots of wine (red please).
Near the end of year two, things started to come together. I won a national music competition (my teacher had only ever placed 2nd 🙂 and my “voice,” my unique value, started to become clear to me and those around me.
During year three, the momentum picked up. I started to pull free from doing what I was told to do and started to think and make music on my own terms.
During year four, I won a job (paying a whopping $31,500!) that included other applicants way older with advanced degrees. Me, the little punk, got the job.
So why am I telling you this?
Through struggle we grow. In fact, it is through struggle that we grow most.
No matter what you’re going through right now, you are prepaying for the future.
Everyone has to pay. You either pay now or you pay later.
What’s the currency?
My recommendation is to do that work, not to “get” somewhere, because the destination will most always disappoint.
Do the work because it’s worth doing.
Because not much will change at your destination. Even after you become “successful.” Whatever that word means to you.
I don’t think I’ve ever worked harder in my life than over the past few months.
And yet, when I wake up each day, I’m more energized than ever.
But I’m energized by the quality of my work more than by what the work is “getting me.” I guess it’s the artist thing coming out.
What’s weird is that what I thought I wanted most (success) suddenly takes a back seat to something I value even more.
I thought I would value the results. It’s clear now that the work is what is most valuable.
It reminds me of the expression, “before enlightenment chop wood carry water, after enlightenment, chop wood carry water.”
I’m a wee bit shy of enlightenment, mind you, but I’m happier now to chop the wood and carry the water than I’ve ever been.
I realize now that the goal isn’t to finish chopping or to finish carrying. The goal is to deepen the value I get and give in that action.
How Chopping Wood and Carrying Water Can Attract Clients
The best part is, “chopping wood and carrying water” can actually become an excellent way to attract clients and business.
Back in my music days, I wasn’t exactly the world’s most disciplined when it came to practice.
We were supposed to practice four hours a day. Luckily I had talent, which apparently got me through. I just imagine what I would have done if I had really put in the time.
But I was too busy wanting to “get” somewhere to just sit in one place for too long and focus my attention on doing something truly great.
I only learned later in life that my apparent inability to just chill out and sit there for four hours was the sign of a person who, on the inside, was completely overwhelmed. Too much nervous energy and no idea about how to focus it.
It made slowing down a challenge I wasn’t prepared to overcome at the time.
I’m getting better at it. But only because I practice it. Every day, actually.
My process for “getting clients,” “getting customers,” “attracting opportunity” is probably the slowest method in the world. If there was an award for it, I’d probably win first prize.
There are no fireworks, no loud bangs, no amazing displays of dazzling achievement.
Instead, I attract through demonstration. I chop the wood and carry the water out in the open. People see it. Things happen.
It takes time. But when it works, the level of trust on which that relationship is built is a very beautiful thing.
Every so often I meet upon a stranger who says something like, “Hey, I heard you are great at ‘chopping wood and carrying water,’ could you help me?”
If you think about it, I get paid to practice what I love to do. It’s magic.
What’s your “chop wood, carry water” work? How do you demonstrate who you are and what you do on a consistent basis? What are you doing to develop that attractive force towards you?
[Ed. Note. Jason Leister is a direct response copywriter, internet entrepreneur and editor of the daily e-letter, The Incomparable Expert Daily Journal, where he empowers independent professionals who work with clients. He has seven kids and lives and works in the mountains of Arizona.]