A movie plays in your head every time you imagine what your life should be. Pulling espresso for customers in your chic coffee shop, standing over the drafting table in your wildly successful and innovative design business, watching the guest post requests flood in when you’re the Freddy Krueger of blogging.
You’re going to make it and make it big. That is, as long as the mundane day to day doesn’t get in the way of your shiny, colourful 80s montage of glorious achievement.
The reality of hard work is dreary compared to the seductive charm of living the dream of overnight success, isn’t it?
Overnight success can take a thousand nights to achieve. A thousand days and nights of paperwork, blistered fingers, HR nightmares and bill payments. It’s enough to make the casual dreamer hang up their vision and ride their desk to a distant and secure retirement.
But not you. You can endure.
I used to see my future success unwinding before my eyes in an epic 80s montage of kick-ass moments. Me sitting at my desk getting it done. Me pulling books from the library shelf. Me handing in perfectly crafted, genius level papers that would make my professors rethink their entire field of study. Me getting thumped on the back by enthusiastic team mates.
Yup, success is sexy.
Except when you’re actually AT your desk and have to actually DO the work. Except when you’ve stayed up all night reading terrible reference material to pull together a barely passable paper.
You can endure. You can stick with it and claw your way to the life of dreams.
Flip the script. Don’t embrace the 80s montage as a picture of what life should be like. That glitzed up dream is the way of disillusionment. The montage isn’t something you watch, it’s something you’re building. The work you’re doing right now is raw material for the movie that is sure to be made about your life. Just imagine it, you’re seconds away from quitting, chained to your desk with a zillion empty coffee cups and cookie wrappers scattered around your disheveled shell of humanity.
This is your moment.
Cue the music.“It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight…”
This is you drinking your coffee and furrowing your brow over the forms you have to fill out. This is you, tired and worn out, waiting in line at the Municipal office, but never defeated. This is you, unshaven and sticky, toughing it out, climbing those stairs like a champ and sweating like an animal.
Every time you want to give up cue the music and remember that if you don’t do the work, there is no montage. Success is not a destination, it’s one foot in front of the other. You will achieve moments that stand out as a photo op of winning. Collect these moments and paste them into your scrapbook, but don’t let them be your everything. You will have to go through a thousand normal moments in between the Kodak moments, so don’t waste them wishing you were living in a photograph.
The warm cup of tea you are holding in your hands is your life. The feeling of the keys clacking under your fingers is your life. Cuddling with your family in those quiet moments between all-nighters is your life.
And when you wipe the greasy, crummy counter of your coffee shop for the hundredth time, be fully there in the moment. This is your 80s montage moment. This is the glory shot from your motion picture. Take the time to appreciate where you are and how far you’ve come.
You’ve done it and you’re still doing it.
Cue the music.