Are you sick of waiting for inspiration to strike? Have you ever used the excuse of a 'lack of motivation' to procrastinate? I'm going to share a cool trick that's made a huge difference in my own work habits and quality of work. Implement it today and others will see an improvement in the work you produce. I'm talking about thinking like and becoming a badass. Not what you were expecting? Hang with me, I'll explain.
The definition of 'badass' can vary in context, but I use it to refer to a person with a few specific traits. For the sake of this article, a badass:
- Is Confident
- Has Strict Morals
- Has Skill
- Takes Action
- Remains Calm
- Is Precise
- Thinks (more than speaks)
- Is Resourceful
- Is Brave (not afraid of failure)
A classic example is Mr. James Bond, 007. He exudes all the above characteristics.
How your work might change if you start thinking like a badass:
You'll Stop Complaining
Most people complain about things they don't like. Rather than complain, a badass holds her tongue and starts thinking about solutions. If you've worked a professional job, you've likely experienced the buzzkill of others' complaints. Think of how lame James Bond would be if he complained every time he received new orders or faced a difficult task. Nobody would watch it! Avoid this pitfall by reframing thoughts. Whenever a complaint starts to rear its ugly head in your mind start thinking of solutions. See how fast and how many you can come up with to gamify it. This habit over time will make you a solution-seeker by default. This will help put an end to those childish complaints that we both say to others and think to ourselves. And for designers, this is a good exercise to use during the exploration or ideation phase of a design project.
You'll Become More Professional
Consider the list of traits mentioned above in the context of your occupation. As a consultant who works from home, I'm often tempted by internet distractions, a pants-optional dress code, constant snacking and nice weather. Staying motivated or inspired while I work from my living room can be a challenge. Repeat business from clients is important to many solopreneurs. I've recieved compliments on my design service by most clients I've worked with. This comes as a result of focusing on professional service. Regardless of my environment, I need to make my clients feel like they're working with a world-class design firm. Be the badass we discussed and you'll come across as a professional to your peers and clients.
You'll Take Action
Creative professionals often discuss Inspiration and motivation. When I was in college, these were seen and taught as must-haves. I've worked in 'the real world' for the past half-decade and I understand the reality of inspiration and motivation. They're as elusive as dreams and aren't prerequisite for good work. As a creative professional, I believe that volume and action lead to success. Volume means a large amount of work and action means diving in and doing. Don't get stuck over-analyzing, planning or procrastinating.
A badass takes action because he isn't afraid of the outcome of his action. Think of Action as input and result as output. When the output of our input aligns with our goals, we're happy and we call it a success. A musician doesn't avoid tuning his guitar for fear of being out of tune does he? He's able to make fine adjustments to the string's tension until the guitar is in tune. Success! In the same vein, you can't afford to be afraid of the results of your efforts. Allow your inner badass to take action and make adjustments until you get what you want.
Now you're aware of what a badass is and the results of becoming one, I want to share how I make that happen. Professional adults tend to shy away from words like pretend and imagine, but that's exactly what's worked well for me. An avatar in this case is a figure that represents a particular person. I want you to craft an avatar. When you think of your avatar, it will trigger the badass behavior you want to use. The more specific your avatar is, the better this trick will work. Try writing a short biography (a few paragraphs is plenty) about your avatar to make him or her more real.
My avatar is a combination of two action movie icons. James Bond from 007 played by Daniel Craig and Arthur Bishop from The Mechanic played by Jason Statham. Both characters are well-paid to do critical jobs. Both live by their own set of rules which align with their morals. Both manage to get the work done without compromising their own rules. Both listen and think more than they speak. And their actions speak louder than words can. Both mean business and focus on client needs when on the job. My avatar's name is Jack.
When I begin a new task, receive instructions for a big job or someone throws a wrench in the works, I ask myself, "What would Jack do?" I close my eyes for 30 seconds and consider what goes through Jack's head, how he reacts to the situation, what solutions he seeks and actions he takes. After 30 seconds, I've become Jack and it's game on! Bonus: If you can listen to an epic film soundtrack while doing this and your work, it'll amplify your efforts.
I encourage you to consider who your avatar is. You don't need to show up to work wearing a cape or share it with others. Your avatar is your secret weapon. It's a little trick to pull yourself out of the trenches when you don't feel like working or aren't inspired. Keep it to yourself and play it like a trump card when you need a win.
If you enjoyed this article, please share it and let me know so on Twitter!