Lining Up the Dominos:
Part 1 – The ONE Thing

I’m back!

I’m not here for long, but I wanted to stop in and say hello.

It’s been quite some time since I’ve written. Over the months, I’ve longed to write more, and I hope it’s not so long between now and the next visit.

But, there’s a good reason. Something amazing has happened.

3 months earlier…

When I last wrote, I was bouncing off clouds of happiness and fulfillment, having recently completed the first draft of an exciting new creative offering that I’ve been referring to as the ‘as-of-yet-untitled-new-tap-show’. The project was delicious, grueling and highly enjoyable – I immersed myself in the creative process and shared much of the experience on this blog.

Mapping out the script.

Upon completing the first draft, I sent the script to a small group of trusted readers to provide honest thoughts and constructive feedback. One was a professional script reading service.

Then, something happened.

I stopped all work on the ‘as-of-yet-untitled-new-tap-dance-show’, and promptly shelved the project. I didn’t even open the feedback report I received from the script reading service, and still haven’t.

Why?

Well, it’s certainly not because I’m worried about what the feedback will say. In fact, I relish both positive or negative feedback if it’s truthful and constructive. It’s also not because I don’t want to read the feedback (I’m aching to, and the decision to hold off for the right time has tested my resolve, to say the least).

It’s because, right now, that particular project is not my ‘one thing’.

Let me share a little with you about my last few months, and the dramatic shift in mindset, priority and productivity that I’ve undergone.

The ONE Thing.

In August, I turned 32.

For my birthday, Tiarna gave me a copy of ‘The ONE Thing’ by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan*. The book was recommended to me by Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income (Thanks Pat), and I’d subtly dropped the title into conversation a few weeks before my birthday, hinting at a potential present idea (Thanks T x).

Whenever I read a new book, I have a packet of small, sticky coloured tags close by, which I use to mark a sentence, paragraph or page when it particularly resonates with me. I quickly discovered that on this occasion, the exercise was pointless – I was sticky-noting virtually every paragraph on every page and quickly ran out of tabs.

‘The ONE Thing’ has become the most important – and life-changing – book that I’ve ever read.

As the title suggests, the concept of the book is simple: It challenges you to truly focus on only one thing at time. But not just any one thing, the one most important thing that you can do right now to achieve the one most important goal in your life.

There are many important things to be done in life, but at any one time, there can only be one most important thing.

 

Wake Up Call.

I got it.

I instantly understood the strength of ‘The ONE Thing’ mindset.

I realised that this was how I was able to conceptualise and complete a fully-formatted script of a two-act stage production in less than 3 months; I’d channeled my focus and creative energy into one project.

Immersion. No distractions.

In the past, I’ve made no secret of the fact that I enjoy a variety of projects, often working on 2 or 3 at a time. I’ve gladly embraced my identity as a ‘multipotentialite’, thriving (and ultimately coming alive) through many different things. The thought of choosing just one career path for life (still) fills me with anxiety.

But, I’ve been doing it wrong.

A few months ago, I realised that despite some marginal improvement at juggling projects, I was not making any significant progress on any of them. It was unsustainable, and the all-too-familiar signs of burnout started creeping into my day.

”Success is built sequentially. It’s one thing at a time.”
– The ONE Thing.

Grateful Change.

Things changed after ‘The ONE Thing’.

With my newly honed mindset and organisation skills, I shifted my focus to the one task that I saw as the most important at that particular time: prioritise.

Connect today to all my tomorrows.

Line up the dominos…

…then, whack away at the first one until it falls.

I got to work.

As it turns out,

there is one thing I want to do (aside from endlessly afternoon adventuring, of course): Create.

It’s how I thrive (and come alive). As long as I am breathing, I’ll be creating.

 

The First Domino.

Through experience and time, I have discovered that the most important factor that dictates the quality of my creative work is the amount of external pressure that I am under when creating it. The less, the better.

For me (and for most, I believe), when an overriding feeling of freedom and happiness is present in our lives, the most useful ideas come forth, as does the willingness and motivation to act on them.

The first domino had to be a highly strategic one. I realised that if I’m going to create – happily and efficiently – for a long time to come, I needed to provide the ideal conditions for inspiration to come forth. I needed to organise myself – my mindset, workflow and finances, clearing as much pressure and frustration as possible from the path ahead, paving the way for a long life of creativity.

…and of course, in order to do achieve this, I needed (and wanted) to provide something useful to the world; something that helps.

Fortunately, there was a way to do this that existed within the realm of possibility.

– To be continued soon –

P.S. The ‘as-of-yet-untitled-new-tap-show’ has certainly not been forgotten. Far from it.


* The book is refreshingly concise and gets straight to the point without a hint of ‘waffle’. While the ‘The ONE Thing’s single-focus-oriented over-riding concept was initially confronting to the multipotentialite in me, the book has since become virtually my favorite of all the books (the non-fiction ones, at least), that I now see as the holy grail of time management.

I cannot overstate how grateful I am that I found it.

Needless to say, I would recommend ‘The ONE Thing’ to anyone.  If you’re curious…grab a copy here – free shipping and everything 🙂

Song: September Song by Agnes Obel.

This is the haunting piano music that closes the first episode of the HBO TV series Big Little Lies (which, if you’re into character studies, I would highly recommend).

It quickly found its way to the ‘to learn on piano’ list. Working on it now.