One of the things that really pushed me to develop this blog further was, early on, a couple of messages from people telling me that hearing my stories was an inspiration to them.
Then, as the weeks went by, and those weeks turned into months, I fell into the habit of just churning all this work out and – whilst it was often very good quality – I didn’t really think too much about the why. Why I was here, why I was doing this, why I cared about it so much. Why it wasn’t, and hasn’t ever been, secondary to my novel writing.
I’ve talked before about how over this summer I had a bit of a crisis about the lack of improvement. I know
But I still didn’t think about the why.
Until very recently. I have a friend – who will at some point read this. Hi! – who has supported me from the beginning, and with whom I have an ongoing, mostly reciprocal life coaching campaign. I say mostly because he’s actually trained in mentoring people, whereas I am just earnest.
He suggested I try this vision exercise which would help me get back in touch with that why. The aim is for it to be an inspiration to you as you work on something. It wasn’t complicated; he showed me an example of it and I got the idea pretty quickly.
Basically, you write down sentences covering all the things that you want out of whatever it is. In my case, it was my job as a whole – this brand, and all the work I do for you.
I got that bit down pretty easily, when I thought about it.
My sentences contain things that you’d probably guess at – like wanting to give an honest account of mental illness. Like having the room to try different things. Wanting to share my personal story with people who can benefit from it.
It also contained more personal things, like wanting the job to remain flexible and able to work around my mental health, whilst also using it as a way to challenge and spur on my recovery. Or wanting to earn a respectable income from it.
All of these things are things I’ve known most of the time I’ve been working on the blog, but they’ve never really been at the forefront of my mind. This exercise already pulled them that way. Even as I was working on it I started to think – okay, how does what I’ve got planned for the next weeks work with this?
Next, I turned those sentences into a list of key words.
I ended up with things like create, share, honest; flexible, varied, writing; personal, challenge, inspiration.
The aim here is to get those key words – twelve of them – down into one ultimate key word. Your true focus. Except I looked at that list and couldn’t pick one. I liked all of them. They were all hugely important to me.
So…I cheated, just a little bit. I skipped to the next part.
Once you’ve got that key word, you use it – and the other key words as necessary – to create a vision statement. The answer to the question that you posed at the beginning of this. For me, that question was what do I want this job/brand to be?
I want a platform from which I can create and share things that will inspire and entertain people.
I didn’t write this sentence out like I had everything else. Instead, for some reason, I stood up and paced around the room and tried saying sentences aloud. When I got to saying this sentence around, I burst into tears. Good ones.
Because two things had happened. One, I had coalesced what I want into an actual statement that I can look to. By thinking of this statement, I’m inherently thinking of a lot of the things that matter to me most about all of this.
Two? I’d found my key word. My focus. Platform.
Because if I want anything from this, for you and for me, it’s for everything I do to be a platform by which I can improve the world. Whether it’s sharing a mental health experience that will make people feel less alone, or playing computer games for everyone to watch, or writing novels that will offer an escape from reality.
I want to use it to be an inspiration to other people – just like, right at the start, I found that I could. Funny how that works, isn’t it?
I’ve got such exciting things planned over the next few weeks, including…actually planning the next few weeks. So I hope you’ll stick around for all of it – remember to follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Twitch to get all the updates!