Why don’t we do the stuff we really care about?

You get your important work done just fine in your job (even if it’s at the last possible moment).

So why don’t you make such consistent progress on your own projects?

What happened to your plans to change career, start a business or write that book you’ve been thinking about?

Did you put it aside for another week? Another month?

There’s a very simple reason for this: no one’s making you do the fun stuff - the stuff you really care about.

At work, you have a boss to answer to. Or if you’re self employed, a client. And that means you have a deadline. And there’s a consequence if you don’t meet it.

So you do it. Even if you have to pull out all the stops.

But what happens if you don’t write that book? Or meet someone to talk about that new career direction? Or experiment with that business idea?

Probably nothing.

Except of course the familiar pang of disappointment.

You need to make what you want to do into a must do. And that means getting other people involved to support and challenge you to get it done.

Do one thing today to make this happen.

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  • Pete

    Today, I sent the pitch for my web startup idea to a potential backer.

  • Yay! Nice one Pete.

  • My husband is my biggest supporter/challenger, which, depending on the day, can either move me to happy tears or be annoying as hell. 

    Thanks for this post, John.  It'll help me reframe the conversation!

  • John - I read your book sometime ago and found it quite helpful. I have started already!  I have a portfolio which includes coaching, career counselling and a venture which provides "encore" career programmes (www. tafutures.ie).


    Brian Ward
    Director - TA Futures

  • 🙂

  • You would have loved Barrie Hopson's talk at Scanners Night on that subject

  • Maria

    Does encouraging, assisting and supporting someone else (all in one day) to finally quit their dead-end job, and pulling it off, count?

  • Arp

    Breaking the big picture down into smaller chunks seems to help - as does a short & doable task list!  Now to figure out how read 3 books for 3 different projects while working & being a good husband & father!

  • Anonymous

    Hi Iohn, I have tried to get fellow entrepreneurs interested in meeting up but to no avail.... I have gotten darn good at setting my own deadlines though!

  • Anonymous

    Fran and I were talking about this on the FR mastermind group. We have set ourselves a deadline of Saturday to complete the tasks we need to. Just made a date and comitted to it. It's lovely to have no boss, but I need to make sure the new boss (ie me) does actually deliver.

  • Yes, as long as you're doing what you want to as well - or if helping others IS what you want to do

  • Good one Jenny!

  • There are plenty of entrepreneur meetups on Meetup.com Joe - try one of those

  • Very true. (Good luck with it all!)

  • Fikilezulu

    The reason we don't do consistent progress in our projects is when we don't value our selfworth & the believ that we ar the power&everything else is centered around us.We need self-motivataion& a Desire strong enough to be able to visualize the desired outcome.
    Instead of" must do" I prefer "I love to" this come frm willingness to achieve fr my sake,not frm fear.
    John have u ever started a project enthusiastically only to abonden it because its lustre is no longer de/u got bored even if it was a great idea.

  • juliemac

    I am working with your book, (which is great by the way), I now know that I am a scanner,:-) not just some weirdo whose head is full of ideas and does a new thing once & never bothers with it again! With wealth dynamics, I'm a supporter, so does that mean I'll have to find someone to work with to be successful rather than try to go it alone? I seem to be stuck with how to get my ideas 'out there' in the big wide world - think I'll start with a blog. Thanks

  • You're unlikely to be satisfied working on your own. A blog (or twitter or similar) is always helpful to clarify your ideas and direction. Ultimately it's likely to be about working with people, supporting others, being a leader, and making projects happen.

  • kim

    I am writing my stories at the moment (having saved up enough money and left my job to do this), but I'm not making as much progress as I'd like - I seem to put everything else before story writing.  Is that because everything else is 'safe'? 
    Added to that, I don't know what to do with stories when they're written....any ideas anyone?

  • The usual thing to do as a potential writer is to send stories to publishers or magazines that publish short stories.  I used to buy Writing Magazine which has advice on how to get published which is a good start.  Also if you have a blog you could post your stories on that to get feedback.  And I'm sure there is a website for original stories you could post on (the original writing equivelant of Fanfiction.net or somewhere like that).  Also would be good to get yourself a beta (proof reader) - there are plenty of people online willing to help if you don't know anyone in your current social circle. 

  • Postforjess

    After many years and trying many ways of getting a shift in my life I have finally got a life coach and a copy of your book, John which I am steadily working my way through.  I feel rather scared as if I have just begun falling down the hole that Alice fell down in Alice in Wonderland- but excited at the possibility of something new and believing it could happen now

  • Isla

    I have recently taken the decision to not move into another corporate job after my 8 year contract came to an end as I know I'm not on my flow.  So now, earning nothing, I'm in the process of searching for my flow and simply spending some time playing around with things that I love and thinking about how I can make money from doing them.  John, I'm working my way through your book, which is absolutely fabulous and just what I need.  Thank you.

  • Kellyanne Wynd

    I generally don't do anything towards my goals unless there's a deadline involved and I put off general non-important stuff too until the possible last minute as well, yet I saw this last night on ted.com which completely contradicts received wisdom about telling people, in order that you'll be motivated:


  • Kellyanne Wynd

    Sorry, that link doesn't work for some reason.  It's the talk by Derek Sivers called "Keep your goals to yourself".

  • Dear John,

    When I am reading your post I have to think about Anthony
    Robbins who put the power of change so well:

    “If you do what you've always done, you'll get what
    you've always gotten.” And it’s so true for everything! Change is only possible
    if we change, even if it is only a small change. My motto for this year is therefore
    “experimenting” since it keeps me in the trying out new things and ways mood….and
    I love the results!!

    Thanks for your post and thanks for writing your book.
    It had a great impact on my life and me when I first read it about a year ago.


    Greetings from Amsterdam,


  • You
    raise a good point. It’s necessary, for our own projects, to make an
    appointment with ourselves to do it. We have to convince ourselves why it’s
    important to do it today, this week, this month, or this year. Additionally, we
    have to be able to imagine what will or will not happen in one year, if we don’t
    do it now. Gardening is a great example. You can leave the garden, if you have
    one, on its own from March to November. It’s not going to move anywhere. If you
    didn’t plant the bulbs the previous year then you won’t have tulips this year.

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