Attitude can change everything

Following on from the last post on passion, I’m coming from a different direction this post.

Attitude is what it's all about.

Attitude is what it's all about.

Work takes up about one-third of our life. That’s a lot of hours we are giving to someone else. If we like what we are doing, work becomes fun. If we don’t like what we are doing, it feels like someone has slowed the movie and we can't move faster no matter how much the boss is on our back.

The question arises: what are you expecting from your job? Are you climbing the ladder of success or are you working to earn an income regardless of the enjoyment in your job.

If you choose to become passionate about your job, you will reap the benefits of catching your boss’ attention resulting in that much sought after pay rise or promotion. Being passionate about your job is linked to what motivates you. If you are motivated by a bigger pay packet or a step up the ladder then being passionate about what you do will reap the rewards you are looking for. Maybe you are motivated by just doing a great job, then your passion will no doubt be fired enough for you to continue in that job.

When the motivation to succeed isn’t there though, it’s hard to be passionate about a project. If you are watching the clock, working through the tasks with your mind focused on when the next break is can make for a long day that sometimes feels as though it will never end. It’s probably time to take a long hard look at why you are doing what you are doing. Why are you there? Being there for the money is a good reason because it pays the bills, but this isn’t always a good reason to stay in a job.

Step back and look at how your lack of motivation is affecting the other areas of your life. Do you feel as though your job is sucking the life out of you? Do you feel grey inside with no hint of colour on the horizon? It’s probably time for change and it’s a good idea to take time out and focus on all aspects of your life and ask some serious questions. Because if you lack motivation there is no way you are going to become passionate about your job unless you change your attitude.

To change your attitude, look for those tasks that excite you. By focussing on what you like in your job you might find a way to exploit that and turn it into a passion.

Take time today, to find a part of your  job that you can become passionate about to make your work life more enjoyable. Attitude can transform our life overnight and give us a head start on where we want to go in the future. It may just put more colour in your life, too.

Changing your attitude will change your future...

Ouch...Rejection Hurts

In the beginning of my fiction writing career, I wrote five novels and had them all rejected. My motivation dived and I though I would never pick up a pen again. So how did I keep my motivation going to write that next novel and win that publishing contract?

Motivation helps us to achieve our dreams.

Motivation helps us to achieve our dreams.

I knew I wanted to be a writer. Ever since I started reading in year one at school, words had captured my heart and I had to read every day. I loved writing stories and I would get carried away in my own little world. My teachers said I had a vivid imagination and encouraged me to keep writing stories.

The journey to publication has been one of the most difficult adventures of my life. My first five novels were rejected. It hurt and with each subsequent novel I wrote after each rejection, the writing became harder. Once I realised my first five novels were my apprenticeship and that  I had to learn how to write scenes that had a beginning, a middle and an ending; and the ending of the scene, had to hook my reader so that she had to keep reading the next scene and the one after that, until she finished the book, I was on my way to achieving my dream.

I learned how to create characters and how to develop them throughout the story so that they had grown by the end of the story. I learned how to structure my story of where the crucial high and low points of the story occurred. In this apprenticeship there was a lot for me to learn.

So how did I deal with the rejection letters? I gave myself permission to be disappointed and to shed a few tears. Life is about rolling with the good and bad times and being emotionally honest during those times. In the privacy of my own home, the next step was getting mad at the editor for rejecting me, and then mad at myself for being so naiive thinking all I had to do was write a couple of drafts of a book and send it off to a publisher. I was on a steep learning curve. After I nursed the hurt, I asked myself why I was writing and was I prepared to put the extra hard yards into the work?

I write because I feel compelled to write. A day without writing is like cutting off my right hand. I'm useless. I wander around lost and confused. There is nothing else I'd rather be doing than writing. I also write to entertain and to encourage people in their own life's journey. So, that left me with no alternative than to learn all I could about the writing craft and keep practising until I became published. I am a determined person and I don't accept defeat easily. I read every book I could get my hands on to learn my craft.

Because of my perseverance I was rewarded with a contract for African Hearts. What a thrill that was, but success came twenty long years after I started writing. I knew I wanted to succeed but I had to get over the pain of rejection first, develop a thick skin and believe that I could do the job. The most important lesson I learned was to keep writing, every spare minute I had every day.

Do you believe you have the perseverance to be a published writer? How have you handled your rejection letters? What motivated you? I'd like to hear your story.

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

Have you ever had a dream you wanted to see fulfilled and thought, 'I wish I could do that, but it's just too big a project and I'm not sure if I've got what it takes'.

I've heard these or similar words so many times throughout my adult years that they got me asking myself why people think they can't achieve their dreams. If everyone thought that way we wouldn't have the wonderful inventions that help make our daily life easier.

The biggest reason most people have for not achieving their goals or dreams is because they can be frightened of failing, or worse still, succeeding. These are real fears and are at the extremes on the failing/succeeding scale, and they are ones that must be overcome if you're going to realise your dreams.

So how do we overcome these fears? The first question to ask yourself is how much do I want see this dream fulfilled? This seems like a simple question, but is it really? What's behind your thought process that you're wanting to achieve your goal? Am I doing it because I want fame? Is the goal going to change people's lives in some way? Or is it something I want to do to see if I've got what it takes to complete a big project? Am I doing it because I want more financial independence?

These are all legitimate questions, and each of them impact on how you approach the task of achieving the goal. You can work toward your goal but the journey to the ending is different in each scenario. Fame can be a wonderful thing if you seek attention, but what happens when you get bad attention, will the end be worth it and can you live with negative press? Changing people's lives is a noble thing to do and is a great legacy to leave behind for the next generation. There aren't too many negatives there. Working toward your goal to see if you've got what it takes is another good reason to be goal planning. In this scenario, it brings to mind my philosophy of life - nothing ventured, nothing gained. If you don't try, what hope is there of achieving.

When I wrote my first book all I saw was the end: 200 pages of text. Wow, how was I going to achieve that? If I was going to achieve the writing of the book, I told myself, to get writing and don't stop until I've reached the end. Okay, I started, and after a couple of hours of typing my story I'd thought I'd have several pages done. To my disappointment I'd only done a page and a half. My self-esteem was squashed and for several days I agonised of whether this writing caper was for me.

Many people go through this time of doubt. The project is so large they have no idea how long it's going to take and whether they have the time to do it. They become overwhelmed, but if you're meant to be working toward your goal the project will still be in your head nagging to be done and it won't go away.

If this is the case, you're meant to go ahead with your project, so be brave, step out and give it a go, but before you start think about your motivations for wanting to achieve the goal, because it's your motivation that will be a major part of whether you succeed or fail.

Until next time, think about your motivation and then we'll look at the best approach to take to achieve your goal. Leave me a comment to let me know your motivation or perhaps you need some help in clarifying what your motivation is.

Happy New Year

The first week of January is an exciting time for me as I reflect on the year that's closed and the one that's opening up before me. It's a time to think about whether I achieved my goals last year and why I may not have achieved them and what I want to achieve in the 360 plus days ahead.

2010 was a great year with my goals achieved, ie., African Hearts contracted, meeting many new friends, and my next book, Behind The Masks, working title, well on the way to completion. Also, surprisingly, one of my dreams was realised: we bought a caravan and we're now travelling around Australia; and my son became independent and moved in with friends. These last two were surprises, but nice surprises. Dan is managing very well, and so are Frank and I as we travel throughout Victoria.

My goals always include my writing goals and how I can improve my writing. This year, as I reflect on the mentorship I did last October, I want to continue to improve my plotting structure and my characters' motivations for acting as they do. By asking many more questions of my characters I believe I will get to know them at a deeper level in all facets of their lives. Questions like what makes them angry; who are the people who annoy them most and why; why do they like the particular genre of music they listen to; or read the books they read; and if they could have any occupation in the world what would it be; and many more questions to get to know them better. With getting to know the characters at a deep level makes them real three dimensional characters that my reader will be able to relate to and hopefully see them in the same way that I do.

Also on my list of goals for this year is encouraging others to reach their goals. During our travels around Australia I hope to come across others who have a passion they want to see fulfilled. Walking the journey with others in their chosen field to reach their goal is a passion of mine, although sometimes I can come across as a hard taskmaster. I have high standards for myself and I expect that high standard from others, too.

Sometimes we underestimate what it will take to achieve our goals, and it's so easy to become disheartened when the going gets tough. When the hill seems too steep, it's important to persevere no matter how slow the progress is. Believing what we are doing is the right thing for us is what will carry us through the dark moments as we strive for our goal. Everyone has these moments of doubt that sneak up on us when we least expect. We can be working well toward the goals when doubt hits us broadside leaving us disillusioned and wondering if we're meant to be going in that direction.

Hold fast when this happens! Don't be discouraged, and don't listen to negative comments that seem to come at you from all directions. For various reasons there are people in this world who may not want to see you succeed. Ignore those people. Instead, set you mind on the goal with greater determination than before, say no to distractions, and work until the goal is reached.

You are not alone in reaching for your dreams. Every person who wants to achieve faces highs and lows, it's how you deal with the highs and lows that helps you achieve your goals. During the next few months, I'll be blogging on how to overcome the patches of doubt that creep up when we least expect. Until then write to me and let me know when you're feeling lost on your journey to goaldom, and I hope I can encourage you to step out and continue to look forward.