7 ways to do more of everything.

(Today is a guest post from Kari Denker!) 

Some people think I’m amazing.

I’m not.

Some think I’ve totally got things together because I do “so many things”.

I don’t.

Some think I’m successful and brave.

But really I have so far to go, and I’m constantly teetering on the edge of scared to death.

But the question I hear the most is: How do you do everything?

I’ve found that when I’m asked that by people, it’s really more of a shake their head and smile and walk away kind of question, not a real “I truly want to learn” kind of question.

So my usual answer (which is VERY true) is:  “I don’t do everything.”

I can guarantee you that you are better at staying on top of a bunch more stuff than I am.

I let things slide.

I get discouraged, overwhelmed and tired.

My desk is a mess.

I have a million ideas on a thousand scraps of paper.

And I waste time like it’s an unlimited resource if I’m not very careful.

But on those days where I do have success, and for those people who truly want to know how to improve and see “how to do it all” (again, it’s a lie, NO ONE does it all), I can tell you the things that work for me, learned over 30 years of doing nothing too spectacular and a couple of years hustling.

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1 reason you have a hard time with haters.

Frame

One reason you struggle with haters.

Sometimes criticism crushes me.

A one star review wrecks my day. An online barb served up via Twitter knocks me off course. A comment via email throws me for a loop.

Why do I get stuck so easily by random strangers and their words? Because I’ve confused my art with my identity.

That is a mistake.

Your art is not your identity. Your work is not who you are, it’s a byproduct of knowing who you are. The difference is subtle but critical.

If you believe that what you make is who you are, when people criticize it, you receive the criticism very differently. They are not commenting on your book or business or blog, they are commenting on your soul. Your very identity is up for grabs for the faceless Internet masses if you make the mistake of thinking you are your art.

You are not.

I am not.

I write books.

That is my work.

When someone criticizes my books, they have not criticized me.

They have commented on something I have created. Not who I am.

The challenge of course is that to create your best art, you have to put your identity into it. You must lean into it with your heart, opening a vein, pouring into the project with the very best of you are. But once it is created, once it is finished, you have to divorce yourself from it in a way. You gave it your heart, but you did not leave your heart with the project.

You took your heart with you. So that you can create something else with it next time.

That is the tension of art and life. In order to create something meaningful you have to put yourself into it, but at the same time you have to let it go.

Because that thing you made, is not you.

You are bigger than a book or song or a project or an anything.

Your identity is not up for grabs.

Your art is.

And those are two very different things.

Don’t forget that.

If you don’t do this, you’ll give up on a dream.

Recently, I walked on stage to speak to about 700 people.

I sat in the front row, watching the other speakers first so that I could get a feel of the room.

As I stood to climb the stairs at the front of the stage, the crowd started roaring in laughter.

I immediately thought, “That’s weird, they’re already laughing. They must really love me! This crowd is already laughing and I haven’t even said a single thing yet. Wait until they hear what I have to say.”

As I turned around to face them, people on the front row were yelling and pointing at me.

Turns out the crowd wasn’t laughing because they’ve heard I’m funny. They were laughing because I had this sign on my back:

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Dreams are free.

According the the Internets, a guy named Stephen C. Hogan is the first person who said this. A talented artist named Noel Shiveley designed this image.

And the truth is, it’s dead on.

Most people will pay that first part.

Dreaming is easy.

Hustle, the art of doing, is when things get expensive.

Pay it. Both parts are worth the investment.

Dreams

How fast is the world changing? Watch this video of Steve Jobs to find out.

In this video, Steve Jobs debuts wifi to a crowd at an Apple event. (I initially saw it on the Consumerist.)

At the 55 second mark he carries his computer away while looking at “CNN Interactive” and the crowd goes bonkers.

He gets a standing ovation for using the Internet without cords, something you can do at McDonald’s today for free.

The craziest part is that this was in 1999.

That’s only 15 years ago.

A technology people thought was borderline voodoo, something worth a standing ovation, is now so common place that when a hotel doesn’t give it to you for free you’re frustrated.

Change is coming. For all of us.

Get ready.

What we gasp in awe at today will be commonplace tomorrow.

Innovate or disappear.


 

 

Everything is a lesson if you look at it the right way.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they quit learning when they graduate from college.

The student part of them switches off as they switch on the employee part of them.

Don’t do this.

Stay in school even if you never enter one again.

You have to keep learning if you want to keep growing.

It’s easy because everything is a lesson if you look at it the right way.

Recently, Philip Galanes interviewed Kobe Bryant and Arianna Huffington for the NY Times. (You can read the article here.)

One particular comment from Kobe struck me. He never went to college, but from this statement, it’s clear he never stopped learning:

When you watch me shoot my fadeaway jumper, you’ll notice my leg is always extended. I had problems making that shot in the past. It’s tough. So one day I’m watching the Discovery Channel and see a cheetah hunting. When the cheetah runs, its tail always gives it balance, even if it’s cutting a sharp angle. And that’s when I was like: My leg could be the tail, right? – Kobe Bryant

What’s one way you could learn something new this week?