The perfect day is going to bed with a dream and waking up with a purpose. – A. J. McLean
It’s been 43 posts into this Getting Started book project and we’re in the final section of the first draft that I’m writing in these blog posts.
The first section started by looking at where you are right now.
The second looked back at where you had come from, and what you had gathered during your journey.
And now we’re ready to go into the future – shaping it to suit us and what we want.
So we have to start with that.
What do you want? Really, really want?
It’s time to do the perfect day exercise, which is described in Barbara Sher’s book Wishcraft.
Find a piece of paper and a pen.
Ready? Let’s begin.
What you have to do in this exercise is picture your perfect day and write it down.
Start from the very first moment in the morning.
How do you wake up, when do you wake up, where do you wake up?
This is your perfect day so it can be anything you want – there is nothing in your way apart from the laws of physics.
You could be in Australia or the Caribbean. You could be in London or Lhasa.
You could have a mansion or a beach hut.
What happens next after you wake up?
Where do you go, what do you eat, who are you with?
Picture the day unfolding in your mind, minute by minute, hour by hour.
What happens next each time?
Write down how it goes, what do you do or not do in the morning, how and where and when do you have lunch?
What happens in the afternoon, how does the evening pan out, what do you do late into the night before you finally get back into bed – at the end of a perfect day?
When you’re done you should have a page or two filled with notes.
Have a look and make sure that this day is about you – not about someone else.
Be selfish – write about what you want in detail.
Be honest – this is about what you want and no one else need ever see your notes.
Also, don’t settle for vague descriptions, such as getting a particular job – dig into exactly what you do in that job and how you spend your time – not what label you have.
Before you read on, this exercise will be most useful if you have done this first.
Looking back at your perfect day
Say you’re a photographer and your perfect day goes something like this.
You wake up at your mansion in rural England.
Breakfast is served at a long table; you have your own chef and butler.
After that the Bentley whisks you off to a private gathering of some of the most influential people around – who are here to listen to you speak about branding and marketing.
After that you go to an exclusive restaurant, which has been reserved for just your party – and you have a fabulous afternoon talking to your tribe.
In the evening you go to the best nightclub around, to your own private section with just the people you choose to have.
Eventually, your personal helicopter picks you up from the roof and drop you back home where you sink into bed.
Now that you have this down what does it mean?
Last chance to write your own now!
Looking back at your perfect day
Now, what does your perfect day tell you about what you want?
Let’s take our photographer friend above and look at his perfect day.
There’s a lot in there about what money and fame can get you – the luxury lifestyle, the adoration of others, anything you crave.
Does your perfect day have many of those in there as well?
Now look at it again and see how big a part the project you want to start has in it?
Our photographer, for example, has not left much time in that day to do actual photography.
If you want to start on a serious project – starting a business, changing a career, committing to a product – then how much time would you spend doing that project if you didn’t have to?
If you could have and do anything you wanted – would you still do that project?
If the answer is yes – and you can find it in your perfect day notes – then it looks like you’re planning to do something you’re truly passionate about, something that’s important to you and you would do whether you were successful or not.
If it’s not in there, you might need to take some time to consider whether it’s really what you want.
If you’re trying to decide what career path to go down and you choose to be a lawyer because your parents think it’s a good idea – then this exercise will help you clarify if that’s in line with what you really want.
Do you like reading, discussing, arguing a point of view?
Or do you dislike confrontation and prefer creating, playing and recording your music?
Now the point of the perfect day exercise is not to put you off pursuing your idea.
But it is to question what you want as a consequence of pursuing that idea.
For example, if you want to write a book so that you can become rich and famous but your perfect day doesn’t involve spending any time writing the book – then perhaps writing isn’t your thing.
You don’t enjoy the hours of research and drafting and redrafting that go into the creation of a book – word after word after word.
But you’d like the feeling of being a published author – so maybe instead of spending time writing you should hire a ghostwriter and work with them instead.
Or if you want to be famous – perhaps there are other ways that suit you better based on what your perfect day is telling you.
Either way the benefit of this exercise is to give you some insight into whether the project you’re starting is one you really want to do.
If so, you’re ready to move to the next step.
Which is what we’ll talk about in the next post.
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