I’ve got an intense month coming up.
Andy Andrews, the author I manage, has a new book coming out on October 1—The Noticer
Returns. It’s his first novel in over two years, and the sequel to his New York Times best-selling book The Noticer.
The term “Noticer” refers to the central character of both books, an old man named Jones who has the unusual talent of noticing the little things about life most people overlook. His ability to notice gives people the ability to see their lives and problems from an entirely different perspective, allowing them the chance to think differently about common problems that plague millions—debt, marriage difficulties, and parenting problems, just to name a few.
I’m beyond excited for the world to get to read this book, but, like I said, the next month is going to be intense. A book launch adds a ton of critically important tasks on top of the usual to-do list, which is usually daunting enough on its own. I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t been feeling a little overwhelmed from time to time lately.
I was starting to feel that way while thinking about the launch the other day when I forced myself to stop. What would Jones say about how I’m feeling right now? How can I look at this from another perspective?
Instead of thinking, I have way too much to do, I started thinking, Look at all the activity built up around this project. That means it’s important! That means it can help people who are hurting in a massive way! And I get to be a part of launching it! WooooooHooooo!!
Instead of being nervous about generating more pre-orders, I decided to take a moment to celebrate the fact that The Noticer Returns already has more pre-orders than ANY of our recent releases have had this far from the launch.
Lastly, I chose to focus on being grateful for still being in the book business over a decade after publishers rejected Andy’s first book 51 times.
Here’s the list I came up with, based on the most common problems I hear people complain about:This process of shifting my perspective only took about 15 minutes, yet it made a HUGE difference in my state and productivity. I was immediately ready to tackle that intimidating to-do list with massive action. It was an incredibly effective exercise, which got me thinking—what other common problems can be easily tackled with a little shift in perspective?
Common Problem: I don’t have enough time.
Perspective Shift: You have an abundance of people and projects that need your talent, attention, and love. If that statement isn’t true, then whatever you’re focusing your time on is not worth it.
Common Problem: I’m too old to start doing X.
Perspective Shift: Colonel Sanders started KFC in his 60s. Mary Kay Ash started a little makeup company you may have heard of when she was 45 and newly widowed. What’s your excuse again?
Common Problem: I don’t know what to do.
Perspective Shift: Instead of saying, “I don’t know what to do,” ask yourself this question: If I did know what to do, what would I do? I know it sounds silly, but it’s a good way to break up a negative thought pattern. It will lead you to do something. Anything. Change your environment. Do the opposite of what you would usually do. Meet an old friend for dinner. Write an email. Make a phone call.
Action is always better than inaction.
Common Problem: I’m not happy.
Perspective Shift: William James, the father of modern psychology, said, “We do not sing because we are happy; we are happy because we sing.” What people and places make you the happiest? What activities bring you joy? What can you do today to “sing”?
Common Problem: I don’t know what my purpose is.
Perspective Shift: Do the 15-minute purpose exercise. Right now.
Common Problem: The project is so big I don’t know where to start or what to do next.
Perspective Shift: Make a list of five small 15-minute tasks that you know must be accomplished in order to move things forward. Let’s use the example of writing a book, since many people want to write one, but few actually do. Here’s what the list might look like:
- Task #1: Schedule specific writing time in which I block out all distractions.
- Task #2: Come up with a list of five potential titles.
- Task #3: Write the unique sales proposition for your book proposal. Yes, you should be working on a proposal—even if you’re self-publishing. It’s the best way to get a sense of clarity and direction on your project as a whole.
- Task #4: Start a content outline by coming up with at least five chapter titles/subjects.
- Task #5: Write a single sentence of your book. Then write another. Then another. Then one more. You now have a paragraph, the building block of a chapter.
Common Problem: I don’t have enough money.
Perspective Shift: True, maybe you are lacking enough money to do what you know you need to do. What you are not lacking, however, is the ability to create an idea that will bring you more income. While cash may be scarce, there is always an abundance of ideas to be had. Forget about scarcity; seek the abundance.
Question: What’s the “perspective shift” for the main problem you’re currently facing?