You’re a creative person with a giving heart and big dreams. You want to be happy and successful, give back to others, and leave a legacy for your children and grandchildren. But, you don’t even know how to stay focused long enough to complete one task or check off one goal, let alone a life’s worth.
Focus is a multi-armed monster, and today’s arm is the concept of your quiver full of arrows. Archers keep their arrows in a bag called a quiver; they pull one arrow at a time, set in on the shelf of the bow, nock the arrow to the string, and focus on their target. To focus on what they’re hoping to hit, they silence the noise around them. They carry nothing with them that doesn’t improve their chances of success.
You, with all your dreams and talents have many things you like, movies you watch, people with whom you associate, and distractions; you must learn to quiet the noise. Turn down the volume of your life and only allow in people and things that will help you hit your target. The only things in your quiver must be things that will help you succeed.
I’m a football fan. I enjoy watching football and if I allow myself I can indulge in all of the talk that surrounds the game, teams, and players. From sports radio and tv channels to football Twitter accounts and friends and family, there’s no shortage of ways to satiate my football indulgence. This football season however, I have opted out. I decided to say no to all things sports related in the name of focusing. I am learning how to stay focused.
There’s nothing wrong with football, sports, or entertainment, but to remain focused, my quiver can contain only things that help me hit my target. Just because there’s nothing wrong with it doesn’t mean it’s something I need to spend time on right now. Besides, the athletes I’d be watching are already living their dreams. I, however, am not yet, and therefore must focus.
Before you decide that an inability to focus is your problem, make sure it’s not just a lack of target clarity. If you know exactly what your one (and only one at a time) target is, then focus begins by checking your quiver.
What’s in your quiver? If you have your sights set on a goal, a specific target, what you allow in your life’s quiver must not only help you hit your target, but it must not draw you farther from your target.
The more detractors and distractions you allow, the farther your target gets and the harder it becomes to focus.The more distractions you allow, the farther your target gets & the harder it is to focus.
My example of football is a simple one because I can simply remove the people and things (arrows) that have to do with football and replace them. For you, whatever your target, removing the arrows may mean literally cutting off friendships, turning off your phone or notifications, or giving up something you enjoy for a short time.
The quiver test- does it help me hit the mark? Not will it in the future or could it possibly? Answer in one second, does it right now help you reach your goal? If there’s hesitation or the answer is no, remove it. You can justify why you should keep it/them all you want, but lying to yourself only hurts you.
Our world is loud and our lives are noisy. From notification lights and sounds, to people who won’t be quiet, our days are full of distractions. It is your job to filter the noise and fill your quiver, meaning equip yourself and fill your life, with only the people and things that will help you hit the bullseye. Once you do, you’ll have time to indulge in those distractions before setting up to hit the next target.
Focus is about deciding what’s important, consistently reminding yourself of your target, keeping your goal in mind, and training your thoughts and actions to do only the things associated with the task before you.
About a year ago I had the idea to compile all of the moments of honesty and vulnerability that I had seen from YouTube creators. I put that idea off for a while because it seemed like the amount of time it would take to compile all those clips could be time better spent creating something of my own.
Last week, after seeing another creator share a real-life hard truth, I decided it was a video worth making and would be time well-spent. I looked through my YouTube subscription box and found YouTubers who had uploaded videos where they shared something personal, got honest about things on their mind, and who’d risked vulnerability and let their viewers in. People don’t talk about the hard things going on in their private lives, so when someone does, especially someone with a large following, I remember.
I chose 20 YouTube creators I’m subscribed to and featured their real-life moments as well as my words in a video called, “Dear Creators” that is on the Launch youtube channel.
The purpose of the video is to ask content creators (those featured and the thousands not featured) to join the movement of transparent living. I know Youtubers, vloggers especially, like to upload videos that are happy, positive, and well-edited. And I know we all like to keep aesthetically pleasing social media feeds and to snap and tweet the fun and happy parts of our lives. That is the highlight reel, the collection of picture perfect, movie-worthy moments that we are grateful to experience and that we should have lots of. There’s nothing wrong with a highlight reel, I sincerely hope you have lots of wonderful moments and memories in life.
The danger of a highlight reel life comes when there’s no balance. When there are no “low-lights”, that’s an inaccurate depiction of a real life, because real life is full of highs and lows. I mean, I get it, sharing real moments may mean losing followers or having to deal with haters, but only sharing the good is dishonest.
Some of the best conversations occur as a result of letting people in. Look at the amount and depth of the comments under videos where creators share about things going on in their lives. Those moments resonate deeply with people because we’re not always open or honest about the things we’re dealing with. We convince ourselves that no one can relate to us, and we hide our problems, when in reality, there are thousands of people going through similar situations.
I know the value, benefits, and freedom that come from sharing, for both the person opening up and those who listen. I hope you, as a creator continue to put out content that is fun, happy, and visually stunning because you do have a great life, most of us do, and I like watching what you upload. I hope you will take the transparency pledge. This call to action is a call for balance, not sharing one moment of pain for every moment of happiness, because hopefully your life contains an abundance of happy. Balance, not equal, meaning an honest sharing of your your not-so-good days amidst all the great days to remind those watching, that you too are human.
We know the power the YouTube platform holds. We have a powerful potential to start a movement, to be the people who no longer push their issues aside or ignore them, but who face what’s going on and to seek help with resolving them. Let’s be the people who tell our truth and not our business and who are happy instead of faking happy.
You can find the pledge page at launchyoungadults.org\pledge; it’s a simple call to action I hope you’ll live by. We, the most globally connected, technology savvy group of people have the ability to enjoy each other’s happiness and be a source of comfort for each others’ sadness. Pledge to share your reel and your real.
Featured YouTube Creators:
BfvsGf | The Michalaks | SuperwomanVlogs | Gabby- Gabriella Lindley & Gabriella
Joey Graceffa | Dose of Fousey | Travis Williams | More Zoella | Kevin Edwards Jr2 & ADayWithKev | WhenTheKidsGoToSleep | Jim Chapman | pixiwoo | BaileyLiving
SamanthaMariaVlogs | Latoya’sLife | SprinkleofChatter | bitsandclips | ProductJunkieXoxo
PsychoSoprano | Grace Helbig
I was familiar with the name Siobhan Curham, so when I checked out her blog and saw she’d written a book called ‘True Face’, I was intrigued. I decided to get in touch with her and after a friendly exchange, she invited me to write a piece regarding the difficulty of dreaming in the midst of racism. You can read my guest post on her blog here.
Though not her current book, Siobhan was kind enough to answer some questions regarding ‘True Face’. Like the work of Launch, Siobhan recognizes the importance of authentic living and helping young adults shed their masks and lead a life unmasked.
When did you first recognize young adults not showing their ‘True Face’?
“I do a lot of work in high schools giving talks and running workshops and I see the pressure on young adults to be something they’re not. That pressure has always existed, but it’s more prevalent today with the online world and social media. Young adults are constantly being told how to look, act and be, and so often they’re being presented with an image of perfection that isn’t even real or achievable, for example the air-brushed photos or carefully edited highlights reel of a celebrity’s Instagram feed.”
What led you to writing ‘True Face’ specifically for girls?
“My novels for young adults are for girls so my publisher wanted True Faceto be pitched at that same market. However, as the mom of a teenage son, I’m acutely aware that boys are under just as much pressure to “fake it” to fit in. As a woman, I’m not sure I’m qualified to talk about the male experience, as it is different to that of girls. I feel that a male writer would probably do a better, more authentic job of writing on this subject for boys.”
Did teenage Siobhan show the world her true face? Why or why not?
“I began to mask after my parents split up and my mom left. Her leaving was a massive shock to me and I can remember thinking, I must never let another person close enough to hurt me like that again. So I put on a mask of indifference and tried to numb the pain with alcohol and drugs. The irony is, I only ended up hurting myself more. My education suffered and I made some really bad relationship choices. It took me a long time to find the self-love needed to find my way back to my true self. This was a major factor in me writing True Face – I wanted to give young adults the tools and exercises needed to remove their masks a lot quicker, to help them avoid wasting years of their life in fear and pain.”
How can we empower and teach more young adults to live authentically?
“By showing our own authentic selves and speaking up about our so-called imperfections and making it cool to be different. We can share tools that help boost confidence and self-belief and teach young adults to honor their passions and follow their dreams no matter how different from the so-called ‘norm’ they might be.”
How can creators and influencers collectively do a better job of helping others live authentically?
“By coming together to launch initiatives, speaking out on our social media, opening our platforms for young people to have a voice. Collectively, we can force against all the phony crap young people are bombarded with by certain sections of the media.”
Huge thanks to Siobhan for her work and interview.
Siobhan Curham is an award-winning author of several books for adults and children including Finding Cherokee Brown, True Face, Dear Dylan– which won the Young Minds Book Award in 2010, and The Scene Stealers. Siobhan is also an editorial consultant, motivational speaker and life coach, and has written for a variety of publications including The Guardian and Cosmopolitan. You can buy a copy of her book True Face here, and read about what she’s currently working on her blog.
I have a friend who doesn’t tell the truth.
I don’t call her a liar, (although that’s what you’d call a person who doesn’t tell the truth) because she doesn’t know she’s lying. To her, she’s telling the truth as she understands things in the moment. It’s not until things go wrong that she realizes she chose to ignore the red flags and warning signs.
After the guy she was head over heels in love with, broke her heart, then she clearly saw the red flags. Post-breakup she told me parts of his story she’d previously left out- his relationship history, the vices he indulged in, his behavior when he got angry.
In the beginning, I was happy for her, I encouraged her to pursue her relationship with him based on what she’d told me, because I believed she was painting a complete and accurate picture of him. When I asked her why she’d left out the ‘bad’ when sharing the ‘good’, she said she thought she was telling the full story. The truth is, she wanted so badly for him to be ‘the one’ that she chose to ignore the things that later eroded their relationship. She lied to herself for so long that she believed it as truth.
Tell yourself the truth, first. The more you lie, the less trustworthy you become.
Ever seen the Youtube challenge tag called, “Two Truths, One Lie”? One person states 3 things and another person guesses which two are true and which is the lie. That’s cute for a harmless video, but it’s detrimental in life. It’s bad enough to lie to other people, but it’s truly damaging to lie to yourself. If you can’t trust you, no one else will either. Tell yourself the truth, your word is all you have.
A lie is anything that erodes a person’s ability to trust you.
Tell the truth no matter how ugly, hard, or how much you wish it were different. Then you can start the work of making the ugly truth, prettier.
Episode 53 of the seanwes podcast was my first podcast. Ever.
I consumed it all and freeloaded until I was told that I was a freeloader.
I paid for a one-month membership (to the seanwes community) and didn’t use it.
In 2012 I “overlapped”, before doing so had a name. I worked a full-time job (that didn’t exhaust me) and I saved enough money to live on for a year. I quit that job June of 2012, and ten months later an injury forced me to move across the country, back home with my mom, exactly what every 33 year old wants. Not.
I had a choice, anger or action.
I chose action. I chose action after a month of sulking. Mistake #2
When the sulking was over I taught myself WordPress, plugins, and enough html and css to make a respectable website. I borrowed my brother’s camera and learned photography basics. I wrote blog posts, newsletters, scripts, and tweets. I recorded, edited and uploaded videos of myself and others. I woke up early and wrote 1k+ words per day and turned it into a book. I funeralized my bio dad and stepdad within a year, which reconfirmed that life is but a vapor, and that time waits for no man.
Everyone is waiting on me. They don’t know it, but everyone my life and its work will touch, is waiting on me to perform, produce, and build a business.
The longer I underperform, the more people I let down.
For me to improve and my business to grow, I needed to find my tribe. I needed to surround myself with a group of people who were smarter than I, and who thought like me.
I joined the seanwes community July 1, 2016 and forced myself to be all-in for 60 days (instead of 30 so I couldn’t get my money back). Yesterday was day 60. I’ve wanted to cancel my membership a few times. I’ve doubted whether it was the place for me, whether I can be of help to others and whether others could or cared to help me. I don’t always say the “right” things in there; I’m still learning. Along with being introverted, I have a sarcasm and east coast air that doesn’t always translate well in text, so I usually just read what others write and stay quiet, but I return every day. I know as I settle further in, I’ll be of value to others, as they have been to me. For years I let the cost of entry deter me. I was right to be cautious, but wrong in being fearful; the experience has been priceless.
I tell you all the time to surround yourself with people who are on or above your level, people who match or exceed your ambition. I was a hypocrite in telling you that, because I wasn’t doing the same. I thought I could go it alone, and for years I did. After years of building what I thought was a business, 60 days into being a community member, it feels like I’m back to square 1, as though I did it all wrong for all those years. If I allow, I can let the thoughts of wasted years and time beat me down, but I don’t.
When you know better, you do better.
I shared in the last post that changes for Launch are coming, those changes are the direct result of investing in myself, my work, and ultimately, you.
If you have a hobby or passion you’d like to turn into a business, if you have a product or service you want to grow- find your tribe. I recommend the seanwes community of course.
1. Don’t not invest in yourself, first. (Double negative intended)
Find a course, person, or group who challenge and drive you, and jump in with both feet.
2. Don’t spend time being angry or worrying about things you can’t change, like “wasted years”.
Focus on what you can change and be grateful for the time spent learning what not to do.
Thank you for bearing with me as I found my footing.
Let’s get ready to Launch.
I feel bad because I think I’ve failed you. I failed to provide you with the education you need, I failed to effectively help you solve your problems, and I failed to make this website and organization an actual resource. I didn’t meant to. I didn’t realize until recently how much deeper my work here should go.
Launch was legally formed in 2013; there was 6 years of work, reading, writing, trying, and failing before that and there has been more of the same since. On July 1, 2016 I made the decision to join a community of like-minded thinkers. I joined a group where global creatives and entrepreneurs gather online to teach and learn from each other. Joining has been wonderful and overwhelming because I realized how much I wasn’t doing. I did what I tell you, find people who think like you, but who are smarter than you, (meaning who can offer you an objective opinion and advice based on their outside viewpoint) and that’s what this group is for me.
Through the sharing of their stories, work, and struggles, I have realized that Launch Young Adults needs a change. Change is good when it’s the result of growth and insight.
October 1, 2016 the changes will kick off with a new website look. The new site will reflect Launch’s new mission, premiere new blog post content, and a new video series. Launch is an educational resource and the website will be a hub, a library of all things real-life; free and paid courses, ebooks and published books, stories from ambitious young adults like you, and an actionable weekly newsletter.
The new, focused, mission means I’ll be able to help more of you, and in turn, you’ll be able to help others.
Thank you for sticking with me through years of clouded attempts, major failures, and small successes. I’m tempted to delete every blog post and video I’ve posted in the past, but it’s all part of the journey.
If you’ve ever asked yourself or someone else, what is Launch? Thank you. I have asked myself that as well, and not having an answer challenged and drove me to concretize the abstract. I knew I wanted to help and I knew who I wanted to help, but I didn’t get clear enough on how best to help and of what value I could be to the people the work served. I encourage you to do the same with whatever you’re working on or struggling with; start at the finish-line of your success and then walk backward until you reach the work you can do today.
See ya soon!
“Work hard and have fun” was something I learned this past year from my history teacher. She applied it to the material we were learning, and to real life.
Her classroom served as a testament to this statement. It wasn’t gray and bare like others; she had quotes, and colorful paper covering cork boards. There was always Bon Jovi playing and students always working. She fit the description of “Work hard and have fun” perfectly. Somedays we would spend the first half of class just talking and laughing but when it was time to work, everyone got to it. There was this unspoken agreement that this is how class worked and we all followed it without question.
I think this teacher left an imprint on me that this isn’t always how life works, but this is how it should.
To reach something you really want, you need to put in the time and patience to achieve it, but you also have to have fun or you’ll go mad. I don’t mean go to a spa resort or have a five course meal every time you feel over worked. But listen to your favorite music, eat the cake that’s taunting you, have a friend over to help boost your morale, or just get some fresh air.
Even though history isn’t my favorite subject, and for half the year I dreaded her class, I’m so glad I had that teacher.
Written by Maddie R