You’ve got the itch, now scratch it: how to light a fire under your ass

Since you’re reading this, we both know you’re interested in starting a consulting business.  But how do you get from where you are to where you want to be?  You might not even be clear on where you want to be, much less how to get there, where to start, or how to get motivated about it.  But don’t fear–I’ll help.

Light your fire

Light your fire

Where you’re at

You may like your day job–if so, great.  But I’m betting that you don’t, otherwise you probably wouldn’t be thinking about becoming a consultant.  But start wherever you are.

Now I’ll give you part of the trick in all this:  figure out what you don’t like about your current situation.  Think of all the specific things you hate or just dislike.  Better yet, write it all down.  Brain dump every measly thing.  (I know, there are probably plenty of good things too, but for now, stick with me, and just focus on the bad stuff).

Picture where you want to be

Next, you need a picture of your ideal situation.  You might want to think of what your ideal day might be like so you can make things more concrete.  Jot down your thoughts, feelings, ideas, inspirations, whatever.  Get it out and on paper.  What do you like about it?  Where are you?  What makes you feel energized?  Who or what types of people are you with?  Visualize it in detail.  Make it as real as you can, right down to your coffee cup.

That’s your fuel, now light the fire

So far, so good.  You’ve got a list of all the junk you hate about your current situation, and a glowing picture of how you’d like things to be.

Now let’s light the match.

Compare your 2 pictures. Put yourself in your worst day with everything you hate about your situation now.  Imagine the stress.  Maybe you feel frustrated in your job, micromanaged, unappreciated, underpaid, like there’s no opportunity for growth.  Fill in the blanks with the specifics of your life as it is now (well, just the bad stuff for now).

Now, imagine enduring that every day for the next 30 years.  Day in and day out, the same crap, with no prospects for improvement.  Go to work, come home, then get up and do it again.  And again.  Ad nauseum, week after week, month after month, year after year.  Every birthday or New Years, you vow to do something to improve, even though you know it’s pointless.  And each time you make the promise, you know it’s a lie, that it’ll never come true.  The world is a grey and dark place.

It’s bleak and hopeless.  And that’s the point.

Now, picture yourself in your ideal day.  You have a sunny place, challenging and fulfilling work, colleagues who are witty, capable, and supportive, and you feel valued for what you do.  You have a good balance between your work and personal life, time for friends, family, and hobbies.  You’re no longer worried about making ends meet.  A weight has been lifted.  Things are good.  You see possibilities.  You’re successful and content, knowing that you’re challenged but not overwhelmed.

Which life do you want?

I think you get the point.  So what to do now?  How to take action?  Where to begin?

Start a journal of your progress, and resolve to do something–no matter how small–each and every day.  Some days you’ll make great strides, while other days you might just read an article or ruminate about how your job sucks.  That’s OK, because it’s all progress.

Your positive picture gives you something to aim for, but in itself, it may not be enough to get you to make the changes to get where you want.

That’s where the negative stuff comes in.  Focus on all the big and little things that you DON’T like, and use them for motivation.

Get angry.  Get irritated.  Get mad.  Now you’ve got some energy to do something.

Now get going!

What do you think?

Leave a comment saying what you don’t like, what you’d rather have, and what you’ll do TODAY to start your journey.

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Don - June 27, 2011 Reply

I’m up at 4am every day, just to get into the office in time. Lemme tell you where THAT ranks on my “bad stuff” list…

Great idea on writing both the bad and good! I’ve seen suggestions to draw the picture of your ideal life/job before, but not in simultaneous direct contrast with the motivating negatives. Thanks! Now, where’s a match……

    Greg Miliates - June 27, 2011 Reply

    Thanks for the comment! I’ve found that keeping all that negative stuff in my head actually makes it much more likely that I’ll take action to change my situation. Thanks again!

How football player Danous Estenor lifted a car: the key to accomplishing the impossible | Start My Consulting Business - June 29, 2011 Reply

[…] I’ve talked about this before, but you can focus on all the lousy things about your current situation to motivate you to take action and move yourself toward a better place.  Don’t like your long commute?  Hate your boss? Whatever it is, get mad about it. […]

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