There’s a lot of talk about how you have to love what you do. How you can wake up every morning full of enthusiasm and joy and sparkle, and every moment is a winning moment. Sure, okay, you have a few instances that are tough, but you leap up from the ground, dust yourself off, and dash off in the other direction smiling. How if you don’t have that, what are you even doing anyway? Or maybe it’s time for a change.
I really believe in joy, and in using the gifts and talents you’ve been given in the best possible way.
I also believe in hard work, that you keep doing what you need to do, in small ways, until the joy comes.
And I’ve been thinking a lot about our expectations in work. If our expectations are that every day is full of energy and drive, and we’re nailing it right and left, what happens on the days when things are tough? What happens if we have a few difficult things one after the other?
Joy in your work isn’t a given. It’s not a ‘right’ that the world is required to give you. It’s the accumulation of finding what you’re really good at, what people need and will pay for, and what you enjoy.
Some days, you’ll really enjoy it. You’ll walk out of a meeting or end a video call and be full of excitement. You helped them! They’re inspired, strengthened! Their business or life is better and you’re part of it!
Some days, you’re keeping going. You’re continuing to do what you’re really good at, and helping people to see how much they need what you deliver.
Some days, you’re struggling. There are hard things, and you seem to be going two steps forward and one step back. You wonder what progress you’re making at all.
And most days are a combination of all of them.
Up, and down.
Forward, and back.
Win, and loss.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the little things, and their accumulation over time.
This is really what it comes down to.
All the big brilliant ideas, and new things, and significant changes boil down to the very little tasks which build up to a greater accomplishment: but you must keep going. The ones you’re consistent with are the ones which will deliver the joy in the long run.
Some of the little and big things I’m working on right now are…
PF Dashboard app: We’ve built an app to help our clients manage their marketing actions on a monthly basis. They’ll be able to log in, see their ‘marketing credits’ (our currency of outsourced marketing items), request new work, submit changes, share ideas. And in order for it to work and be useful for our clients, I’ve got to do a lot of very small actions each day on this big area. Have the meeting, send the email, make a note of the changes, record the video. This will look like a huge, big, amazing thing when we fully launch it: but it’s an accumulation of small things over the past full year.
Progress: The app is now, finally, live for beta testing. We’re testing it with existing clients over the next few months.
Losing weight: I discovered a few weeks ago that I’m nearly 60 pounds overweight (over 4 stone). It creeps up on you: a little here, a little there. Overeating here, lack of exercise there. In order to fix that, it’s small daily actions the other way. Counting calories, and stopping when I hit the limit. Going out for a walk every day, even a short one if that’s all I can do. Saying no to sugar, every single day. (I’m using an app called “I Am Sober” which remarkably includes sugar in the list of addictions. And sugar absolutely is an addiction.)
Progress: I’ve lost 7.2 pounds in three weeks.
DIY Campaigns: My creative agency works with accountancy firms to deliver custom, unique content marketing on a monthly basis. It’s what we’re good at and it’s something not many (if any) other marketing agencies truly deliver. But after 7 years of working exclusively with accounting firms on their marketing, we see patterns. Problems that crop up time and time again, with the same issues and the same things that will get them solutions. So we’re now creating little “DIY packages”, crafting what is essentially a product that will solve one specific problem for accountants, giving them everything they need to start. For the past six months we’ve been talking about onboarding, running webinars, listening to the problems accountants have in this area, writing articles, posting on social, and crafting a solution to this particular problem. Little steps here, little steps there (by me but mostly by the amazing PF team!).
Progress: The new Kick Start onboarding campaign launches next week!
Memorisation: One of the areas I want to improve on personally is stretching my mind. All this online and social and being constantly on and able to get answers instantly makes me a bit lazy. It’s hard to pay attention to even a two hour film. I struggle to finish reading a few chapters of a book without distraction. I can’t seem to keep facts in my head. So to stretch this, I’m working on memorisation – and I’ve chosen a book of the Bible called James. It’s full of good practicality on living life well, and with honour, and it’s a good thing to fill my head with. It’s five chapters (1742 words), which is a lot to memorise, word for word. But I began to notice the power of simply reading the same thing every morning, so that’s what I’m doing. Reading it, aloud, every morning. Most days I don’t even have to look at it anymore in order to read it aloud from memory.
Progress: I’ve memorised all of chapter one, and most of chapter two.
See the pattern? Little things. Day by day. All seemingly so small, so insignificant in the grand scheme of things. How can I expect to have a completely changed life if I’m not doing dramatic things?
But when you keep going on the small things, the end result is dramatic.
It’s worth it!