Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Doing it all

Often when I read what Chris Guillebeau has to say about life, work and travel, I'm stunned by the following: a) how much I agree with him; b) how smart, clear and grounded in reality he is; c) and how simple it all is.

I'm often left thinking, "Huh. Well, that makes perfect sense. Why didn't I think of that before? How is it that I've not read this elsewhere?"

A great example is a post Chris wrote about accomplishing everything. As a blogger, book author, world traveler and entrepreneur, Chris is always on the go and always seems to complete the tasks on his busy schedule with ease and grace.

I'm in awe of him and other bloggers who seem to be able to "do it all," like Jenny Blake of Life After College (who is a book author, yoga coach, personal development coach, and on all kinds of advisory boards on top of working a full-time job at Google) and Caitlin Boyle of Healthy Tipping Point (who is a book author, Girls on the Run coach, competitive runner, secretary, wife and home-cooker of vegetarian/vegan fare on top of running two successful Web sites).

And don't even get me started on the many talents of Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman.

Chris's post explains how much behind-the-scenes thought and work he puts into everything he does (and it's a lot), even though the results appear effortless to others. Makes sense, right? But many of us will look at him and other successful people and marvel at how they accomplish all these great things, yet never put the same time or effort into our own endeavors and then wonder why we fall short.

Chris sums up his not-so-secret tips for "doing it all" like this:
Don’t accomplish everything; just do what counts.
Spend as much of your time as possible doing work you love.
Work smarter and harder.
That’s pretty much it.
It all makes so much sense and is so simple. I have a tendency to overanalyze and overcomplicate things, but Chris's writing always brings me back to reality.

Instead of being intimidated by people who magically seem to be able to do it all, I need to realize how much hard work it actually takes for them to succeed, and then decide what in my life deserves that much attention.

Right now, running and photography come to mind as things I'd love to spend a lot of time on and become really good at. And as much as I'd love to start blogging on a frequent and regular schedule, that's just not what I want to focus on right now.

I need to be at peace with the fact that I can't be awesome at everything (darn!), but I can be awesome at anything if I have the right focus and put in the work.

Side note: I've found that this principle of moderation also works well for areas like managing my money and my eating. For instance, I can't buy everything I want, but I can buy anything I want if I choose to budget and save for it. I can't eat everything I want, but I can eat anything I want if I choose to eat it in moderation. (Cheese, I'm talking to you.)

The idea is the same across the board: Figure out what's most important to you. Focus on that. Do your best work. And, as Chris says, that's pretty much it.



  1. Hey Devon! Just wanted to leave a comment to let you know I'm reading (both blogs!) and I think you're an awesome writer. I'm still a pretty crappy blogger but it's something I'm excited to be working on. I sent you a request on 20SB, so thanks for, yet again, getting me interested in something new and fun! :)


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