We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers. They see things in the soft haze of a spring day or in the red fire of a long winter’s evening. Some of us let our dreams die, but others nourish and protect them, nurse them through bad days till they bring them to sunshine and light.
I’ve been busier in the past month than I think I have ever been in all my life. It’s been one mad rush after another: rushing to get the book done and out into the world; then rushing to promote it; working crazy hours and forgetting about food and sleep… it’s been a wild ride! And I vowed to myself that I would start on the second book as soon as I was done with the first. So here I am, in front of the computer again… But I realise that I don’t feel as ‘with it’ or as energised as I did when I was working on the first book. I seem to be running out of steam–at least just a little bit.
Fortunately, I know what it is and I think I know how to fix it. It’s time to return to my ‘why’.
You see, we all have reasons for doing what we do. These reasons are important because they are our primary motivation for doing what we do. Whether it is a dream or a vision that inspires us, or whether we are driven by more practical considerations, (or both), it is our ‘why’ that keeps us going. And the ironic thing is that it is all too easy to lose sight of the ‘why’ when we are so busy executing on it.
You know when this has happened when you feel a lack of motivation. The fire in your belly (or the fire under your *ss) is all but gone. You can begin to feel your focus waning and your attention wandering. Yep. Any of things are a sure sign that it’s to do with the old ‘why’.
You can choose to ignore the signs and soldier on. But going forward without fixing this is a big mistake, because things are just going to get worse. It’s like illness and disease. You can ignore the symptoms or opt for a temporary fix. But as long as the root cause remains unaddressed, it is going to come back bigger and meaner and stop you. So ignoring the issue is not the way to go–especially when it is so easy to fix.
So how do you fix it?
First, you have to realise that it is a mind thing and not an action thing. It’s about fixing your ‘inner game’. My belief is that when we do this, everything on the outside follows. As Lao Tzu put it:
If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place.
You need to remind yourself why you want to do what you’re doing. You have to return to your dream, to your vision. You need to give meaning to the action that you intend to take.
It can take five minutes or a day. You’ll know you’re ready when you find yourself raring to go again.
I call this ‘stoking the fire’.
Even the biggest, hottest fire can go out if it is not tended to regularly. Without stoking and allowing oxygen into the heart of the fire, it dies out. Similarly, our biggest dreams can die when we let day to day activities and business/busy-ness take up all our attention.
So we need to stop from time to time and stoke our inner fire.