September 25th, 2017

My Plan: Do Great Work and the Rest Will Fall Into Place

byMic Manaras

What do I want to be? Where am I going? What am I trying to accomplish?

These are questions I’ve often found myself answering, or at least preparing answers for. Coming up with logical business models road-mapping near-perfect strategies has always been natural for me; whether it be honorable life goals or unbelievable dreams. Maybe because I’m a great salesman or a great bullshitter, I’m not sure!

But I always felt, deep down, I was only selling myself.

The confident nature by which I’d explain exactly what I was doing and how I was going to accomplish it rarely left room for questioning; I could walk away from any conversation knowing I wasn’t going to be questioned, it was safe. But the more I repeated my proposed journey, the more I found myself trapped by it, working towards something I never really wanted to do in the first place.

The fact I always have to sound like I know what I’m talking about creeps into my subconscious and makes me believe what I’m saying, as if it were code. To boot, telling everyone in my path exactly what I’m up to innately holds me responsible, and pressures me to stick to my plan.

It’s not as clear-cut as this, as usual I’m looking back, or looking in the mirror and trying to make sense of my current motivations, or perhaps the lack thereof. What do I really want to do? Where do I see myself in six months? Five Years? How will I get there?

Who or what I want to be: an author, a speaker, a rock star, an ice cream man… All those things are titles, tangible ideas easy to digest and imagine, and simple to explain but they all present a trap, at least for me.

The trap is when I start focusing on where I want to be, and forget about where I am. Do I really want to be a rockstar, or is that a mechanism I use to justify to others how I can possibly make a living writing songs? Do I really want to be an author, or am I trying to explain how it’s possible for a guy who writes about his feelings to earn an income.

It’s not that I don’t want to be a rockstar or an author, or a public speaker, but that’s not what I am today, and it’s absolutely not why I’m doing this. I was able to put tremendous effort and consistency into my art when it was fuelled purely by the love of creating it. I write songs because I absolutely love the challenge of conveying a message thru melody; I write because I love to expose my true inner thoughts, as a form of personal therapy.

When I get asked how I’ll “monetize” or what my strategy is, I should just answer “I honestly have no idea”. Because that’s the truth. Instead I’ve always played the game, fallen into the trap and used business growth-hacking jargon to justify myself until I actually start believing it. That’s when I find myself here writing about why I’m not currently as motivated.

Getting distracted with the future, rather than living in the present, is dangerous. I’ve fallen victim to it before and continue to do so. It creates a pressure, a guilty feeling when I’m not working towards those future goals, which are just fabrications meant to satisfy, or silence someone who clearly doesn’t understand passion, the present and love.

I have no idea how I’m going to accomplish the goals I accidentally set out for myself, because they aren’t my goals, so I don’t even care. I’m a firm believer that if I focus on creating things I love, and doing so consistently, then the rest will fall into place.

That’s the key; whether or not people agree with me is really none of my concern.

I only get lost when I start buying into the bullshit that comes out of my mouth. I have to keep reminding myself that the things I say, whatever their intentions, seem to materialize in some way, shape or form, usually in the distracting sense. If I keep telling people I’ll go on tour and I’ll write a book, I get caught up in making that happen.

Such an undertaking is overwhelming and stressful, and counter-intuitive to my belief system. I’m in shape because I enjoy the process of eating healthy and working out; I never would’ve stayed in shape all these years if I was chasing nothing but a materialistic aesthetic goal. Sure I like to look and feel good, but sustainability has come from the love of the process.

Writing songs, writing blogs, having inspired discussions with all kinds of people, that’s my process, and I really enjoy it. Just like fitness, there are ways to fast track for quick vanity results, but I’m just not interested because they don’t stand the test of time. When I start focusing on how I’m going to grow my audience and what tactics will assist, I tend to lose interest and the whole thing falls apart because it’s not what brings me joy; it’s damn stressful.

It’s a vicious cycle.

When I write like I am right now, there’s nothing else in this moment that’s driving me other than the pure satisfaction of diving into my mind and figuring things out. I never have an A-Z plan with my writing, or my songs, only a starting point. The journey to the end is what excites me, it takes me into uncharted territories and allows me to find out things about myself I wasn’t consciously aware of.

Being rather than trying to be is a key factor from what I’m understanding. I’ve written blogs about being present and why rushing is useless, and although it’s a recurring theme, the battle of being present comes in all shapes and forms, and requires constant realignment.

I was feeling guilty for not writing as much, and in tern stressed about how it may be affecting my plan… Wait, what plan? There is no plan! It’s uncomfortable to abandon the “plan” because it almost feels hard-wired, but a little time, some self-reflection and reaffirming that results come from consistent, love-filled work, not focus on results, helps me get there.

In the wise words of Oasis’ Noel Gallagher (paraphrased of course): “You can have the rockstar attitude, the cool clothes, the fancy tricks, but if you don’t have a chorus, no one will give a shit!”

I’ll focus on writing the chorus!

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