November 16th, 2010
Total Distance for today: 0 miles
Total Distance for Tour: approx. 377 miles
LOCATION: Richmond, VA
STATUS: Preparing for some talks at high schools in Richmond and calling ahead to Raleigh, NC
I plan to hang out in Richmond for about a week, as I try to make arrangements to speak at some schools. Weeks like this are strange, because I go from spending hours skating each day to sitting in front of my computer, making phone calls, connecting, coordinating, and planning. All of this, mind you, must be entirely self-motivated, because I don’t have a “boss” telling me what to do. I have to figure it out on my own and simply do it. Sometimes my ideas work, and sometimes they don’t work at all. It’s a drastically different feeling to be this in control of my own destiny than anything I’ve felt before. It’s hard work, but it’s a special kind of freedom, and it’s totally worth it.
Responsible Rarely Means Serious
Since today was a very administrative day, it required a significant level of self-discipline, but you should not be fooled for one second into believing that I’m not also trying to have the time of my life. Things can be tedious, tough, painful, and everything in between, but I’m focused right now on producing the lifestyle of my dreams: one in which I am free to do the things that compel me at the deepest level and which are fun to do. Sometimes, it’s not fun to do everything we must do to move toward the things we want, but I’m discovering that most of it truly is a mental game.
Take last night: I really wanted to take some time to hone my speech for schools, because it is important to me that the message the students hear is the one that I’m trying to carry. At first, I was having a hard time getting myself into the mindset necessary to create a speech. My method for creating a speech is interesting, because I don’t write them: I pick main points and just talk through them until I’m comfortable about what I want to say.
Last night, I just couldn’t get my mind there, and I wandered around the Lowe’s parking-lot for quite some time before beginning. Finally I told myself, “Austin this happens to you every time you want to make a speech. All you need to do is just start speaking, and what you need will come to you.” Sound familiar? It should, because it’s similar to my perspective on business and reaching goals: Don’t wait until everything is just right; just start, and what you need will come to you. So, I simply started speaking, even though it didn’t come out how I wanted it to at first. It took me a few minutes to get into it, but before I knew it, I was having fun with the speech. I was experimenting, saying new things, being just a bit obnoxious, and generally giving my mind free reign to go wherever it wanted to go in whatever way it chose. All I had to do was stay focused on the main points. By the time I was finished, not only did I have a speech that I truly liked, but I was having so much fun that I didn’t want stop!
Now, here’s the main point I want to make with all of this: I didn’t start producing anything of value whatsoever, until I gave my mind permission to have fun with the creative process. It might sound ridiculous, but it took serious discipline to convince myself not to be so serious! I typically produce the best and most interesting work, when I’m in a playful mood. Thus, for me, it is entirely irresponsible to be too serious, and it is even more irresponsible for me not to have any fun. I just can’t produce anything!
As we move more and more into what is being called the “Creative Age,” the number of clearly defined and non-ambiguous jobs is greatly declining. More and more, we will be forced not to ask for work to do or “look for a job.” Instead, we will be forced to create our work. If this is true, and if you’re anything like me, it is entirely irresponsible for you too be so serious all the time, and it is practically criminal for you not to be having fun with your life and with your work.