Jim Woods

Helping You Write, Live and Tell Better Stories

Dream Jobs Don’t Just Exist

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Grow up.

Graduate high school.

Pick up a degree.

Get a job.

Now you’ve got some money, maybe you settle down.

Have a family.

Get a house with a white picket fence.

The great American dream.

And you are satisfied for a while.

Time goes by and you realize you’re unfulfilled.

There has to be more than this.

You hear about the concept of the “dream job”.

But what does it mean?

This fuzzy, undefined goal is a lot like chasing a unicorn.

For years, I searched for my “dream job”.

And I never found it.

I had to create it.

Dream jobs don’t exist–you must create them.

This means creating opportunities for yourself.

You can’t wait around to win the job lottery or for a genie to give you three wishes.

All jobs have parts that really suck.

The real problem lies when the parts you hate are greater than the parts you love (or even like).

To avoid this problem, you must continually learning new things.

Build on your interests and passions from the ground up, one piece at at a time.

Get out there and experiment and try new things.

Fail—A LOT.

And eventually success comes.

You don’t deserve a job you love because you are breathing.

It is infinitely easier to settle for the status quo.

It’s comfortable.

The masses are there.

Weekends spent drinking beer and watching football.

With the tools available now, there is no excuse for not pursuing more.

The only thing stopping you is fear or laziness. Or maybe both.

Fear wants you to spend your entire life in front of the TV.

God knows that’s the easiest thing to do.

Nothing like a legacy of leaving a big-ass dent on the couch, right?

If you want more, throw a wrench into the system.

Do something a little crazy.

Sanity is very overrated.

Thousands of days in a cubicle farm doing something you hate to buy a bunch of crap you don’t need is the saddest–and most boring–story ever.

Stories require conflict–more conflict than you can imagine.

What could you do that your friends and family might think you’re just a little nuts to try?

Don’t sit back and watch life happen to you.

Lean into what scares you instead of letting it paralyze you.

I used to be an accountant until I realized going to work was like having my soul sucked out of me like a straw.

So I took the plunge and now I’m a full-time writer, editor and coach.

What plunge do you need to take?

Email me now and I’ll help you figure this out if you’re stuck. I know how it feels and it is beyond frustrating.

If you know what it is you want to do, please share in the comments. Thanks.

The Crazy Life Hack I Made For More Focus (Or Why I Said Goodbye To My Smartphone)

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After months of talking about it to my wife, I finally did it.

I replaced my iPhone with an old school flip phone.

Why?

I desperately needed the break. My smartphone became a digital leash on me.

Everywhere I went, I had to have it close by.

Check email.

Check Twitter.

Check Facebook.

Check email.

Play Tetris.

Check Facebook.

Repeat.

Repeat.

Right after making the switch, I wanted to take a picture with my phone of my kids.

Sounds pretty simple right?

Well on my “new phone”, it takes me 10X longer to take the picture let alone send it to someone.

This is tremendous blessing in disguise. Now, I am forced to stay in the moment instead of trying to document the moment.

I’m much less concerned about updating Facebook with a cute picture of my kids.

And this is a good thing for me.

Mental energy is finite.  

And when something drains you, it is time to get rid of it.

And I have been running on empty because of my obsession with my phone.

For me, the choice is simple—do I want to create and accomplish things or do I want to spend my time playing with my phone.

Focus comes at a cost.

I’m forced to be more disciplined.  Having a smartphone near me all day is not far off from having a cookie jar next to me while I’m on a diet.

Email can wait. So can social media.

I know this is really a discipline issue at the core.

Instead of struggling constantly, it is much better to just say goodbye to the problem altogether.

Plain and simple I was addicted.

Discipline hurts.

I refuse to choose my smartphone over being present and doing the work I know I need to do.

How about you? Do you struggle with your phone? Do you think I was a bit extreme? How do you manage to not be always tied to your phone?

The Ultimate Strategy to Maintain Sanity Online in 2015

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The internet is often like high school.

There’s the cool kids (popular blogs), the jocks (sports junkies), the nerds (tech lovers) and the band geeks (musicians).

When things aren’t going well, it is really lonely.

Judgment from a faceless crowd stings.

You may even feel like a loser.

But know you’re not alone–not by a long shot. 

Something inside longs for continual praise–especially online.

Seeking approval is completely normal, but what if the only REAL approval that matters is from those you love?

“You can’t please everyone, and you can’t make everyone like you.”

–Katie Couric

On many days, worth is measured in the number of Twitter followers, likes or web traffic.

A retweet equals a smile, and silence or  negative feedback brings a frown.

People pleasing and comparison with others kills dreams and drains the joy out of life.  (Click To Tweet)

You may think I’m being overly dramatic–but I’m not.

Continual comparison stops growth and progress.

So what can be done about this problem? Well, here are three things you can do–and I included several links for apps and plugins here–all with free trials!

Three Ways To Keep Your Sanity

1. Limit The Time Spent Online.

Know how much time you are actually spending online. To really stay on top of things, get a plug in like Time Tracker and pay attention to the numbers.

And don’t forget the phone. Moment is a new app for iOS which helps you be aware of how much you are using your iPhone or iPad. It even offers a family option so you can know how much time is being spent on other devices. The Android version coming soon.

2. Avoid Known Problematic Areas.

Spending too much time on any specific websites? Facebook or Twitter are my main distractions. Or reading tons of blog posts instead of reading books. You already know which websites are problems for you; get a plug in like Stayfocusd to keep you on track.

Got some negative friends? Avoid them like the plague. Your attitude will improve dramatically. The Debbie downers are draining your joy and mental energy more than you think.

3. Set Guidelines and [Gasp!] Actually Follow Them.

To accomplish the goal of having less stress and craziness, you have to customize it to fit you. Ask these questions and be honest with yourself:

  • What do you really want to do?
  • What are your goals? Why?
  • Are these things in sync with your priorities?

Now go do that. 

My friend Sarah Mae recently shared a great post by Emily Freeman here. This list resonated so much with me I had to share a portion of it in this post.

Here are some of Emily’s words for her strategy for 2015:

I will tell stories.

I will be myself.

I will write to connect, not compete.

I will remember fear is a normal part of the process, but courage gets the final say.

I will not be a jerk.

 

Pretty incredible right?

I want to do all of these and also be more honest with every word I write. No more acting like I’ve got it all together. More raw, less filtered and less censored. This is an important part of honing my voice as a writer. Calling a spade a spade is something I do in real life; I want to do this more with my writing.

Now, how about you?

What are some things you want to do maintain sanity online? I want to hear from you!

Please feel free to share in the comments–thanks.

Tell A Story From 2014 In 6 Words

Bigstock- 21936376 - Typewriter What Is Your Story

I’m changing things up a bit in today’s post. It is really easy to overlook the power of words. A few words can tell a great story. Words are very important as they are often the foundation for almost every story.

It’s been said Earnest Hemingway once wrote this six word story: ‘For sale, baby shoes never worn.”

Here’s the challenge: write a six-word story as you reflect on 2014. It doesn’t have to be like Hemingway’s though–just make a story out of the words you remember most from 2014.

Here’s mine:
Fear.
Uncertainty.
Risk.
Endless days.
Joy.

If you’d like more details of my story, feel free to read here on my old website.

What is your story in six words? Just leave it in the comments.

Thank you for sharing your story with me–I’m very honored.

How the Greatest Brand in The World Uses The Power of Story

Storytelling is the most powerful communication tool in the universe.

Almost every leader (good or bad) or great brand uses stories to move people to action.

Stories change lives in several ways: first, they remind us about who we are.

A story engages us and connects us together.

Stories also keep the conversation going.

A great story takes you on a journey.

Don’t believe me?

In less than two minutes, each of these videos from Apple tells an amazing story.

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As a special bonus, here is a behind the scenes look at “The Song” video.

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If you have breath, you have a story to share. (Click to Tweet)

Your story matters.

What chapter are you are writing?

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