The Art of Getting Things Done.
Life-Changing Lessons I learned from reading 100+ books a year, podcasts, and long periods of solitude.
In the last few years, I’ve tapped into the power of productivity and efficiency: I wrote a book, wrote and executive produced a film called “A Star in the Desert” (which won an international film award), wrote a few feature films that got into the 2nd round of the Sundance Writing Lab, read over 100 books, finished a 2-year vocational intuitive medicine program, and started my own product marketing consulting practice and have worked with over 15 clients, led workshops for Fortune 500 companies — and all through word of mouth.
I also serve on the Board of Directors of Techwadi and am passionate about mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs and especially those living on the margins. And my latest project is hosting the podcast show Gateways to Awakening on Hakawati, where I interview some of the leading experts on wellness and spirituality.
But it wasn’t always this way. For years, I suffered from terrible bouts of distraction every time I sat down to commit to a goal. I always felt like I should be someplace else; if my mind was one place, my body was in another. I was never totally “present” and while I could tap into presence for hours at a time or days at a time especially when I was doing something joyful or working on an interesting and novel problem, a tidal wave would smother me whenever I sat with the mundane “ordinary” moments of my existence.
If someone didn’t share something that captivated my interest, I would start to tune out and think other thoughts, or only partially be there. I’d be on auto-pilot often, making a meal, or on my way to the office, or gym, and then my consciousness would suddenly be someplace else. Often, 90% of my thoughts each day were largely the same. I felt like I never had enough time.
I would often create an excuse from whatever I had to get done and would either deem that my dreams were impossible and out of reach, or these dreams were something that happened to other people, and not me.
And because I went from not being able to juggle more than a job and perhaps 1 side hobby, to executing on multiple goals and dreams and careers at the same time in less than a couple of years, I’d like to share what I’ve learned over these years that made it possible.
There’s a great saying:
“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there”.
Many people do not know what kind of life they want to live. They simply play a reactive role in their existence, ie, reacting to things happening to them, and then complaining when things don’t go the way they think they should, or feeling surprised about their current predicament. If the life you’re leading now is dependent on your existing construct, you will only live a life within the boundaries of that construct.
Oftentimes, when I listen to people complain about their jobs, or their spouse, or whatever else is going on in their life, I am always surprised at how little time is spent on:
1) What the greatest realized ideal could be
2) Possibilities other than what is presently available in their social circle or based on historical data (the past)
When I ask people what other life they imagine for themselves besides the one they’re living in, they look at me oftentimes with shock.
And this does not just apply to career. This applies to relationships as well.
For example, a friend was recently telling me how frustrated she was with her partner, and complained about the “he said/she said narrative”. After 20 minutes of letting her vent, I cut her off, and asked, “Okay, so that’s what’s happening and it looks like neither of you seems happy about it. So what else is possible? What kind of life do you actually want to have with your partner? What would be the ideal range of scenarios that could happen next that would make you happy?”
She stopped abruptly and gave me a confused look. She confessed she hadn’t thought about that. I asked her to think of the best-case scenario, and she carefully said, well, I want a happy and peaceful relationship. Okay great, let’s try to get there, I told her. What does that look and feel like to you? Chances are, if you can’t picture it, or feel it, you might have a hard time getting there.
We spend way too much time distracting ourselves from what our intuitive gut is telling us and creating the construct that we want to live in based on borrowed values and a defined idealized sense of self.
So many people have focused entirely on their “external work” and what we call success in a capitalistic world, which is generally perceived to be financial. We need to constantly stay on par financially with those in our social circle lest we be cast aside because we can’t afford their lifestyle. Friendship becomes a self-selection process based on what kind of paycheck you earn rather than caring more about what kind of person you are becoming.
And what kind of person are you becoming?
Have you questioned your motives and values for why you are doing what you are doing? My belief is that we all just want to be more connected with ourselves. Our collective social programming tells us that we can find that connection through external means. But here’s what I’ve learned: No amount of success, fame, or wealth is going to give you that connection with yourself. In fact, the more success you have without that connection to self, the more disconnected you become.
What people are looking for is how to be more connected to themselves, and the popular belief is that “If I attain XYZ, I will find that connection with myself”. The quest is actually far shorter than we think. It starts with turning inwards instead of outwards.
I am not my accomplishments. My accomplishments are a reflection of what’s happening inside of me. I became aligned and embodied, and then, everything got easier.
It takes stillness and presence to honor the knowledge that is within us when it comes to understanding what we truly desire and what is in alignment with our talents and purpose. We are more than our jobs. We are more than our relationships. We are holistic beings with multi-faceted complexities and all parts of our lives need to be honored and held sacred. Many people define their sense of self through their careers and relationships. But what if all of these things are taken away. Who are you then?
We are all here for a reason, and it was miraculous that we were even born. That creation, that union, means that our lives inherently have meaning and we are all valuable, regardless of what we “produce”. We already won the human lottery. Our lives matter.
Full disclosure, I don’t claim to have answers, but only more questions. But I can honestly say that these tools worked for me.
My hope is that with these exercises which I’ll share in my upcoming book, you can start to ignite the fire within you that is beckoning you to create, to build, to finish things, and to find joy in the process.
In the words of Carolyn Myss, “Many people are living lives that are not meant for them”. I hope that you can find your own unique style of life that excites you and puts a smile on your face when you wake up in the morning. Life is an experience, a never-ending journey of deeper knowing and introspection.
If you’d like to listen to my latest podcast Gateways to Awakening, where I talk to some of the leading and most transformative wellness and spiritual teachers, you can check out the first episode here.
If you’d like to follow me, you can find me on Medium, writing, and staying curious.