Have you felt yourself aging gradually, or did you have that slap-in-the-face moment, like I did, when you woke up one morning and you realized you were 50?
Of course, I noticed a stray gray hair and a little extra weight that just wouldn’t come off, but I just thought that I’d be young forever…until I wasn’t.
There was a time when I was content just doing the same things I’d done for the previous 30 years. I had resigned myself to having “missed the boat” on making a change or going after my dream of writing.
Boy, was I wrong.
Here’s the first in the “It’s Never Too Late” Series of posts where I share MY story of getting out of the mindset that I had stopped learning and growing and finding a path to “living the dream.”
You can do it too, because…
It’s Never Too Late.
What if you’re too old to start freelancing?
You knew this was a trick question, right?
Of course, you’re NEVER too old to start a career in anything your heart desires. Mine just happened to be freelance writing.
I was “one of those kids” who did really well in school. I got straight A’s in almost every class (except math, but I always liked words more than numbers anyway). I always thought I’d be a journalist “when I grew up,” but that plan got derailed by a creative writing teacher who just didn’t think I had the stuff. I’m not sure why I believed her, but she stole my confidence and my would-be career.
Looking back, I know I took the path of least resistance. Getting an Associate’s Degree in Secretarial Science at a two-year college, getting married soon after graduation and jumping into a job as a junior secretary seemed like a good idea at the time, but I could have done so much more.
What About My Dream?
Funny thing about dreams … if you’re really passionate about them, they’ll always find a way to be part of your life.
Writing was definitely my passion, and regardless of what that creative writing teacher told me, I knew I was good at it.
Throughout my career as an administrative assistant (it’s taboo to call me a secretary now), and over the last 30 years working for a home builder (Geez, I’m old!), I’ve ghostwritten hundreds of newspaper editorials, ads, web copy, blog posts and customer letters.
I was pretty sure I was a good writer—my boss would always gush over what he called my “Pulitzer-prize winning” creations. But whenever friends and family would suggest I write that book I’d always talked about, I’d just shrug my shoulders and say, “I’m not smart enough to write a book.”
I was intrigued by Ryan’s take on getting your story out there and that people DO care. It really has inspired me to re-think how I blog. Putting myself out there for people to “judge” is a little scary but probably something I need to do more if I’m going to make my “second act career” successful.
7 years ago I was a broke, depressed, recently-laid-off security guard.
My life had no direction.
I had no purpose.
My self-esteem was in the toilet.
I was lost, swaying to and fro on a sea of circumstance.
Today, I am a pro-blogging island-hopper. My wife Kelli and I blog from paradise. We’ve traveled the world for 51 months straight, living in places like Fiji, Bali, Thailand and Costa Rica. I am an Amazon bestselling author. I’ve written too many Blogging from Paradise eBooks to count. I publish a podcast. I may even start Blabbing after seeing Darren’s inspiring Blab sessions.
I’ve lived my dreams because I discovered the secret blogging weapon years ago.
This secret weapon helped me to gain recognition in a crowded, star-studded blogging field.
This secret weapon levels the playing field for every blogger on earth.
The Secret Weapon?
Every blogger’s story.
No two human beings are alike, just like no two snowflakes are alike. Every creation is unique. This miracle of life does not exclude bloggers. Nor does it exclude their stories.
Nobody has lived your story and nobody can tell your story in your voice. Only you have lived your special, inspired life, and only you can write in your special voice.
This is why storytelling levels the playing field for every blogger.
Nobody has lived Ryan Biddulph’s life and nobody in human history can tell my story in my voice, as I can. Which is why I’ve lived a neat life in paradise. I use the one branding tool, the secret weapon, that makes me stand out from all bloggers: telling my story in my voice.
What if Your Story Has Been All Struggles So Far?
Tell your struggle-laden story. Then share your dream.
If you’re new to blogging your story needs to include a dream. Nobody wants to follow a pity party. We’ve all been through nightmares but we’re all inherently hopeful. Share your dream. Hook readers.
Your story becomes your secret weapon, leveling the blogging playing field, if it ends with a dream. I want you to inspire me. I want to root for you. I want to watch you overcome the odds. I enjoy watching you crush obstacles.
Once you add your dream to your struggles, you have set the stage for a happy ending that we all want to see. You’ve whetted your blogging dagger. You’ve hammered your blogging scythe.
Billion Dollar Industry
Readers and viewers buy into stories. Literally. Books, movies and TV shows are billion dollar industries. Everybody has a billion dollar story within them just screaming to be told. Be bold. Tell your story.
Practical Tips for Telling Your Story
Write for at least 30 minutes daily. Writing regularly helps you to find your voice. Writing regularly also inspires you to let go the self conscious “my story is not significant” limiting belief.
Read voraciously. Skilled novelists can teach you how to write emotional, inspired stories. I am reading George R.R. Martin and Lee Child now. These two bestselling authors inspire me to become a better storyteller through their masterful writing skills.
Tell your story regularly, offline. Get comfortable chatting up your story with strangers. For example: I drop my blog name and personal story casually into conversations with strangers I meet during my world travels. Doing so gives me greater confidence to tell my story regularly through my blog.
Surround yourself only with confident, inspired bloggers. Allow their transparency and faith in self to rub off on you. Bloggers like Darren freely share both their successes and failures. If he only spoke of his successes his story would be boring because good stories need highs and lows. Learn from him. Follow one of his great success secrets: transparent blogging.
Weave some part of your personal tale into every blog post. Blogging from Paradise readers often comment that they love when I share my personal travel stories. My stories are unique. Nobody on earth can re-create my experience with my writing voice. I remember this before I publish any blog post.
Do You Think that Nobody Cares about Your Story?
7 years ago I was a nobody. I didn’t even know what a “blog” was.
Today I am a fulltime income-earning, island-hopping blogger.
My metamorphosis started with one story. One day I just decided to blog about how I became a pro blogger. I thought for years that nobody cared about my story. Who would really be interested in a security guard turned blogger? It turns out, a lot more folks than I initially thought. Everything changed the moment I opened up. I had to speak up. It took courage to tell my story. It took a willingness to accept criticism. But I am so happy that I chose to tell my tale.
We care about your story.
We want you to tell it.
You have the great equalizer in your blogging arsenal. It’s begging to be used.
Tell your story.
Are you telling your story?
RyanBiddulph is an Amazon best selling author, blogger, world traveler and the creator of Blogging from Paradise.
This is a must read for anyone that’s struggled at work. I know I have.
For decades we heard that hard work was the number-one factor in a person’s success or failure, in business or in any other arena.
We worked hard in school and were rewarded with good grades and approval from the grown-ups, so we brought our hard-work mindset into the workplace.
Hard work is important. I subscribe to the old adage that anything worth doing is worth doing well. Still, I learned long ago that hard work is not the key to success — not by itself. I hope you got that memo, also!
Re-posted from Liz Ryan, CEO & Founder, Human Workplace
My tagline says it all, “Giving Your Vision A Voice.” And it starts with me.
I started writing like so many young girls – in my “private” journal. While I thought it gave my vision a voice in a safe environment, I’m sure my sister may have had a laugh or two at my expense. No matter. I continued to pour my heart out, hoping that by seeing the words on paper, I’d somehow find solutions to impossible problems, solace in insurmountable heartache and joy in achievement when no one else seemed to care.
As an adult revisiting my earlier passion, I find many of the same reasons still exist. My thoughts are less private when I share them through blogging, but somehow I trust that my followers will be gentle with their criticism.
While I am anxious to build this into a viable career, first and foremost, it’s about the writing. I’d like to use my gift to help others get their message out, share experiences so others can learn, and be the voice for those that need one.
Image Courtesy of bugphai from FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Always have, always will. It’s not personal. I just don’t like to get up early.
I’ve tried, really. When I was a kid, my mom would literally have to drag me out of bed to get ready for school. Her nickname for me? Elmer’s Glue – because I was always stuck to the bed.
I’ve tried everything from going to bed earlier to cutting out caffeine to putting my alarm clock across the room to force myself to get out of bed. Like most “Night Owls,” I thought it was something I was doing wrong, and therefore, could change. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that this “defect” in my sleep cycle is actually genetic! National Geographic has done studies on this and concluded that it’s something you’re born with. What a relief!
Once I established that I couldn’t do much to change my DNA and miraculously become a morning person, I began seeking ways to work around it. In addition to being a wife and mom, I work a full-time job outside my home and have my own business as a freelance writer. Needless to say, without a few time-management techniques, I’d never get anything done.
Here are 5 of my favorite tips:
1. Get Organized.
Anytime I’ve been stressed about running late or not getting to something I had promised, it’s been because I wasn’t organized. With so many things to fit into my day, it’s imperative that I actually write down what I need to accomplish. I find that I need more than a “to do” list, so I put sticky notes on everything, use a calendar with audible reminders on my computer, and apps on my mobile phone to record everything from grocery lists to doctor appointments.
The key to making this work is getting into the habit of recording everything and updating it regularly. It’s easy to become blind to the tasks requiring attention, so when an item is done, I discard the notice and reminder. I also look at my lists before I head to bed at night, so I know what’s happening the next day – especially to coordinate with my family’s schedule. If I don’t plan ahead, I can be sure everyone in the family will be fighting to get in the shower at the same time.
2. Prioritize and Re-Prioritize.
It seems only logical that I have to determine a priority order to my chaotic life. Surprisingly, I still find myself trying to fit “one more thing” into a few extra minutes before work or shaving off some time by multitasking. The problem with that plan is that I always miscalculate how much time it takes to do each task. While it seems simple enough to throw a load of laundry in while I’m waiting for the toast to pop, inevitably I get sidetracked with an unexpected phone call or the smoke detector going off. I ate a lot of burned toast and ruined a few silk blouses before I figured out I had to prioritize.
Now, I check my list in the morning, determine what HAS to be done that day, and work toward getting those things done. Whatever didn’t make the cut that day moves up the list the next day.
While I like to think that I’m Superwoman and can handle everything alone, reality has proven that I’m not, and I can’t. This is still difficult for me to do. I take great pride and joy in doing it all. In other words, I’m a bit of a control freak! In order for me to maintain my sanity, I’ve had to let go of a few things and let others help. Surprisingly, the dishes still get just as clean if someone else loads the dishwasher. There are many things I have to do myself, and asking for help doesn’t mean my Superpowers are slipping.
4. Say No.
This is another challenge for me. I’m a people-pleaser by nature, and I never like to disappoint. If you’re like me, you’ll want to extend yourself to the max just to avoid saying no. Continuing on this path will certainly help you accomplish two things: burnout and dropping the ball on something. Time management is only successful if the amount of work you’re trying to accomplish is reasonable. If you take on more than is humanly possible, or at the least, establishing a standard no one could possibly maintain, bad things will happen. Instead, learn to manage your workload, and kindly defer projects with impossible deadlines to a time when other obligations have been completed. Trust me, your client will appreciate your honesty and commitment to doing the best job possible.
5. Give Yourself a Break.
I know it goes against every logical bone in your body to manage your time by taking a break. I used to think it was crazy to not fill every waking moment with something productive. Of course, I was wrong, and so are you. A groundbreaking study in the journal Cognitionsuggests “that prolonged attention to a single task actually hinders performance.” I used to think that my shortening attention span was tied to the fact that I was a night owl living on an early bird schedule. But actually, once I started taking short breaks throughout the day – even just walking around the building for a couple minutes, or the unthinkable, taking a lunch – I found I had more energy and drive to finish the task at hand.
I’ve given up thinking I’ll ever be an early bird. In fact, I kind of like how quiet the house is late at night when I’m up writing my blog. Hopefully, these tips will give you a better perspective on how to manage your time better and be more productive, especially because you’re a night owl like me. Now, if I could just figure out how to get rid of that pesky alarm clock!
Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. I’d love to hear some of your ideas on this subject.