Screw goals - here's something better

You want to make a great living out of work that's fun for you, but it seems a long way off. How do you get there?

A lot of people would get you to set goals. Sigh. There’s a problem with this incessant goal-setting that so many gurus recommend. It places a focus on the future and suggests relentless action and compromise in the present to get there. When you achieve that goal, you allow yourself a brief period of rejoicing and then set a new one. Urg, I feel a sense of existential desolation just writing that!

It’s all very mesomorphic, by which I mean action-focussed. What about how you want to be from moment to moment? There’s no goal you can tick off for that one. Your goals won't make you happy. The fact is, it’s not anything in the future that will make you happy but how you do today.

So what do you do to get from where you are now to getting paid to play?

You turn your focus from some far off goal to the present day. You set about creating some of the experience of your dream life in the here and now. And you do that by picking a project that will give you more of what you want - and starting it now.

Stop researching and ruminating on whether it's possible, and start doing what you really want to do. Start small and start today.

Pick a project

So, what would playing all day and getting paid for it look like to you? What is so much fun for you it feels like play?

Now ask what small project could you start straight away that will give you some of the experience of this?

Remember the point is to be engaged in the thing you enjoy, and worry a little less about whether it will work or where it might lead you - just get into play.

If you want to a write a book for example, you could start writing your ideas out as a blog and assemble them later into a book. My book Screw Work, Let's Play began as my blog Creative Maverick.

If you want to start a business, you could start by exploring the idea or the brand on the web - blog about it, assemble images in a tumblelogtwitter your findings 140 characters at a time. You'll be able play out your idea, get feedback, and at the same time you'll be building followers who later could become customers or clients. Or you could sketch out the proposition then go find a test customer and win your first playcheque.

If you already have your own business but want to nudge it towards something that feels more playful to you, choose a project that will explore a new, more enjoyable, income stream for you. Look for that sweet-spot of doing something you really enjoy which fulfils a need your customers already have. You'll know when you're on track as you'll find you attract interest quickly.

What will your play project be? Leave a comment.

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