This last week, during a yearly sales meeting for our company, I found myself in an interesting situation. My role during the meeting was primarily behind the camera — taking video of presentations, following the speakers, and getting everyone mic’d up. Even the presenter made a comment to me after I was leaving, saying that I “was a great behind-the-scenes” person that day.
At first, I was a little disheartened. Here was this motivational speaker, someone whose position is something I do myself (only in the online realm), seeing me as simply the person behind the camera. The comment made me feel nice to be noticed, but not necessarily seen as part of the team. I was just someone who lived “behind the scenes”.
But the more I thought about it, the more I found myself thinking differently. On the surface, I was the cameraman for a week, but behind the scenes, I was taking charge of my life. Instead of dwelling on that feeling of being left out, I realized I was actually working hard to take charge of my life. I’ve been taking advantage of my behind-the-scenes work so that I can take charge of myself.
The work you put in outside of your normal work, the stuff you’re passionate about, is how you can take charge of your life. I’ve learned a lot of lessons, and this might have been the one that will change my mindset forever. Here’s how I’ve learned to take charge of my life by applying my work behind the scenes.
Stop comparing yourself to others
We are all at different stages of our life — be that in age, experience, knowledge, skill, or anything else. The path to get to our specific state of right now is significantly different than anyone else. My path to becoming a writer is much different than yours, my journey to become a professional athlete is different than someone else’s, and so on.
Instead of comparing ourselves to others, who are completely different even though society tells us they are “in the same place as us”, we should compare ourselves to where we want to be. When you know where you want to end up, you can figure out the things you need to take action on to get there.
If you want to be a writer, following Stephen King’s model will only get you so far. Instead, take the bits and pieces from multiple people to help you create a path unique to yourself. By using other people’s tools that apply to your life, rather than their exact formula, you’re setting yourself up for success. Take charge of your process and you’ll find the increased commitment to your goals.
What you focus on, you create
I don’t believe in the law of attraction (example: where if you think positively, you attract only positive things). What I do believe, though, is changing your mindset to help you focus on what you want. When you focus on your goals, you then have the obligation to follow through on them. You have to take action, and action requires creating your solution.
I wanted to create a program to help people find successes in building productivity and passion back into their lives. I missed part of my old coaching life and realized that to help other people, I needed to take action. By visualizing my end goal (this coaching business), I was able to see what I needed to do to reach that goal. That inspiration helped me develop a plan for making this website and my coaching sessions a reality.
I was able to take charge of what I wanted to do. I used my behind-the-scenes work to develop an end product that I was proud of. I took charge of my dream and created something to launch in just a short amount of time.
Know and be yourself
You can’t take charge of your life if you don’t know yourself first. It took me a while to get to this point, but learning who you are and who you want to be is the first step. From there, you can focus on what you want to create — yourself, or a version of yourself that you want to be.
Then, you take action. Maybe that’s in the form of expression, or perhaps you decide to incrementally change your habits. When you know where you are and where you want to be, you can determine the best steps to get there. If you want to take charge of your life, you have to take charge of yourself.
Simplify at your own pace
Often, we get caught up in trying to take charge of the entirety of our lives right off the bat. We want to tackle every problem we have and find a solution that works immediately. We want our lives fixed, and we want it now.
But when we bite off more than we can chew, we can choke. It comes in the form of being overwhelmed, stressed, and eventually giving up. We get burned out because we took on too many changes at once.
When you want to change, or want to take control, understand that the work behind the scenes is under your power. Instead of writing a book, write a chapter. Instead of creating a course in a week, simplify your task list and work on one small piece a day. Break your problem into smaller bits so you can tackle them one at a time.
None of these tips will help you take charge of your life without taking action behind the scenes. Simply put, you have to walk the talk.
I said that I wanted to write a book. Instead of sitting around and saying that repeatedly, I did something about it. I broke that challenge up into manageable chunks and I worked behind the scenes to make it a reality. Then I did it again and again.
I wanted to take charge of my personal life by creating a program to help others, one that I could maybe one day turn to as a business. I wanted to write my own future. So, I took action behind the scenes to control my outcome. I put in the hard work to create this website and my business.
Yes, sometimes you have to live behind the scenes for a little while, but it’s that work that will help you take charge of your life. If you want to make a change, you have to put in the work when no one is watching. You have to be the one to take action — to get up early, stay up late, work a little harder, and make changes to follow your goals.
No, there’s not often credit given to the behind-the-scenes work while it stays hidden. The hours of work I dedicate to my writing isn’t seen, nor are the hours of research I do to complete just 25% of my research for this business.
Sometimes the final product — a book, a website, a piece of art, etc. — isn’t always going to get the recognition you think it deserves either, but that final piece is proof that you took charge of your life. You worked to create something out of nothing, and you took advantage of your work behind the camera to get to your final creation. You can take charge of your life by fully committing to those things behind the scenes.