Joel came to my attention fairly recently when I saw his name being bandied about like Google+ being launched.
People I like, like him. So of course I had to check him out. He had me at “The Blog of Impossible Things“. I mean, just how COOL is that name?!
While he has a real job, unlike the previous entrepreneurs interviewed here, I’m thrilled by how relatable his responses are – great insights and thoughts on living your dreams and doing the impossible (like, everything you love!).
Q1. Hey Joel! I LOVE how passionate you are about your WHY, ie, “to do the impossible & tell a great story”. What’s the next most important Q in the Universe for ultimate success and happiness & the answer? Don’t say 42.. 😉
Joel: I think you need to figure out what’s truly important to you in your own life. The question that’s helped me out a ton is “What story are you telling with your life? If your story was a book, would it be worth reading?”
When you start to understand your life in that sense, you start to approach your decisions differently. When you view yourself as a character in this story that you’re writing with your life, you realize that there’s little room for apathy.
Every decision matters and each adventure is shaping your character in a new and impactful way.
This also helps you zoom out to a 30,000 ft view of your life. You’re able to realize that the present isn’t the future and that you can prepare and mold your future in a way that’s unique to you, if you really want to.
Q2. You’re a man living living life your way and charting your own course in work and life. What gets you down / makes the going tough and what are your fave ways to bounce back?
Joel: I hate being wrong. Making the wrong choice, Picking the wrong thing. Being wrong sucks. Failing in general sucks. I hate it. Absolutely hate it, and it can get me down for a bit. However, usually, I bounce back quickly when I realize that I’m in control of my attitude.
I can’t always control every situation and the circumstances around me, but I can always control how I act. When you realize that, you get a sense of strength that you don’t experience if you’re focused on playing the victim.
Also, being “wrong” isn’t always a terrible thing. Sometimes you do something and find out you were wrong, but you wouldn’t have ever figured that it was wrong unless you made that decision.
Deciding to control your attitude, and not let your circumstances control you helps you focus on understanding, learning and (hopefully) making better decisions in the future.
Q3. What are 3 things you’d most want someone reading this to know about doing the impossible and following their dreams?
Joel: Find out what you really want to do. If you don’t know, try a bunch of stuff until you find something you enjoy. Do that until it’s not fun anymore or until you want to try something else. Repeat. You won’t be perfect. No one is. And that’s totally okay.
It’s better than okay, it’s awesome.
Perfect sounds good, but usually plays out terribly. Things that are perfect, never have any ups or downs. There’s never doubt, there’s never failure and there’s never any redemption or surprise either which are the best parts of life. You will fail.
You will screw up, but don’t let that make you quit. Instead, embrace it, learn from it and keep on pressing on. Because when you do finally succeed, you’ll enjoy success that much more.
It’s not impossible. If you want to make a change, you can. You just have to want it enough. If you need help, just ask. People are a lot more accessible than we give them credit for.
Q4. You have a F/T job AND write a popular blog on how to do the Impossible. What are your top success / productivity / mental strength strategies for getting it all done?
Joel: It’s funny you say that because I feel like I’m constantly unproductive!. I have so many things to do and so many unfinished projects! 🙂 Honestly, I screw around and waste a lot of time, but I still have a lot of free time.
I don’t think we really grasp how much free time we really do have.
Even if you work 40 hours a week and get a full night’s sleep, you still have another eight hours left in the day. Obviously you have other things to do in your life, but when you sit down and schedule things out, it can be surprising how much time there really is available.
Personally, I’ve cut out watching TV (I don’t own one) and try to focus on the really important things I like to do (writing, training, business, friends). Work expands to the time allotted to it (Parkinson’s Law), so I try to set a time limit for the things I do and finish them in that time period.
Also, I try to do mostly stuff that energizes me. The stuff I’m not good at, the stuff that drains me, I try to find a way to minimize or delegate to others who are better than me. That helps me maintain momentum and stay focused on things that I enjoy.
Q5. Scanners find it close to impossible to pick just “one” passion. Yet, focus + clarity = success. Conundrum! How can people who want to do everything they love, make that work successfully without giving up in frustration?
Joel: I’ve found that I have the same problem. I love tons of different things, but instead of letting that hinder my focus as a weakness, I turn it into a strength.
Instead of picking one tiny little niche (personal finance, development, location independence, traveling, athletics), I figured out the common theme for everything I wanted to do… they all seemed Impossible.
So instead of focusing on just one tiny passion that I might get bored of down the road, I focused on anything and everything that’s impossible. This allows me to do a huge range of things and still be productive.
If I get bored, I can simply go to my impossible list and pick something new off of it and go do that.
I’m not stuck to budgeting my finances or even running triathlons forever. I pick something I’m interested in the here and now and do it until I don’t feel like doing it anymore. If I get bored, or the thing I picked stops being fun, I let it go for the time being, and pick up something new!
Tia: Thanks Joel, for a smashing interview and sharing your impossible dreams, strategies and straight up inspiration. You’re da bombdiggity. Giggity.