Perception is a strange thing.
I am often left quite baffled by people’s perception of me and my lifestyle. Let some tell it, I’ve all but made it. Okay, so maybe not in the blogosphere, but in life I seem to have reached some mediocre pinnacle of success. I have a great job and a thriving career in digital. I drive a nice car. I live in a nice area and I eat in nice restaurants. I have the material trappings of ‘success’ courtesy of Celine and Mr Choo, and I’m probably just the right amount of ‘successful’ so that your parents would be thrilled if you brought me home (pre Starr days of course). Yes, on surface, and on paper maybe, it would seem that I have made it. But the truth is, the definition of success is both an intimate and individual one, which for me, is always changing. So on that basis, I feel as though I’m a work in progress and only just getting started…
Success for me is not a destination, so perhaps I will never feel as though I have truly arrived. Akin to my view on the pursuit of happiness, I believe that success is a continuous journey as opposed to some state of nirvana which will transform my life upon ascension. Whilst there may not be a definitive step by step guide to success, I think it’s pretty safe to say that there is a correlation between positive habits and positive outcome. I truly believe in the power of habit and how our habits can ultimately make or break us. It is essential that we adopt healthy habits in order to flourish and grow – just as with fitness and wellbeing, or in studying, as with life and success it is important to get into a routine. I have read many autobiographies of wealthy, successful and generally inspiring people. Not so surprisingly, they all seem to echo similar routines or habits, some of which I already practise, others which I have since tried to adopt. I have put summarised those habits/ routines below:
1. WAKE UP EARLY
I am notorious for my terrible morning moods. I’m not an early riser due to years of bad, late night habits which are now ingrained within me. I love the night. I come alive as soon as the sun begins to set. If 2016 is the year of coconut oil then for me it is definitely the year of the midnight oil. You can find me at 1am doing anything from spring cleaning the house to writing lengthy briefs, proposals and blog posts. Trouble is, late nights equal late mornings (which for me is 8am). By the time I’ve gotten myself together and my brain has clicked into gear, it’s already approaching 10 or even 11am. Half the day has gone before I’ve even powered up my Macbook which is no good. Nearly every successful artist, creative or business person I’ve read about starts his or her day between 4 and 5am. I’m currently averaging around 6 am and have already noticed the benefits – particularly how refreshed I feel. How proactive I am. And how much I am able to accomplish in a day.
2. NO SHORT CUTS
Work hard and be proactive – Take it from someone who knows. There’s no substitute for hard graft. When you put blood sweat and tears into a project a number of things happen – you feel fulfilled, you feel proud, you feel accomplished. You challenge yourself and as such, end up producing better quality work. Moreover, you develop an attitude of gratitude because you appreciate and understand what it takes to gain recognition and reward for your efforts.
3. MULTIPLE REVENUE STREAMS
No matter your end goal or current situation you must always have more than one way of making money. If you can be certain of anything it’s that everything changes. Nothing stays the same. Even the way you feel about your biggest passion, project or career may change after a while (I’ve seen it happen with very talented creatives and business men alike). They get trapped in a niche, boxed in and left behind through a reluctance to diversify. Explore new things, try your hand at different roles and industries. I have found working full time whilst freelancing and blogging to be a great mix of income, especially when work dries up in one sector – I am not left cornered. Utilise all your skills and interests no matter how small. A portfolio career is definitely the way forward.
4. FOCUS ON YOUR JOURNEY
And no-one else’s. Comparison, whilst healthy, can be a major distraction. There’s nothing wrong with having a competitive streak, but if you spend too much of your time keeping up with the movements of others, you will soon find your moves become stagnant. Channel your time and energy into your OWN journey. And remember, take your time – success is not a race.
5. TRUE PASSION
Build a career or business around a genuine interest and/ or passion. Besides the obvious benefits of getting to do what you love everyday, you’ll never be bored or struggle for inspiration or motivation to get out of bed in the morning.
6. NEVER STOP LEARNING
Read everyday. This will keep your mind sharp and agile, which I’m sure you will agree is essential.
7. GET ORGANISED
Set goals and make lists. It’s okay to dream big. I certainly do. But sometimes big dreams can seem unobtainable. Break your dreams down in to smaller, bite-sized goals. Write a to-do list of what you need to do to achieve these goals. Don’t let a day pass without doing at least one thing on your to do list.
8. FAILURE IS YOUR FRIEND
Again, a common denominator amongst the successful and influential (especially in the arts or creative fields) is the way in which they look at, and react to failure. The truly great among us have failed a number of times but took each knock back as ammunition to fuel their dreams. Failure allows you to learn, grow, streamline and adapt. Treat every failed attempt as a lesson – analyse what went wrong and improve.
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OUTFIT — MISSGUIDED blazer // SOPHIA WEBSTER shoes