It was cold, quiet, and I had no internet connection...
Getting away is not just about taking time off. I can do that while staying home.
In my opinion, "getting away" is breaking the patterns of your routine to reflect, refocus and get back on track.
It's easy to lose your perspective when your "every day" feels like Groundhog Day, causing you to forget your purpose, your identity, and the meaning you ascribe to your efforts and to life.
So, I decided to go to the mountains for a few days, alone to contemplate in isolation, step back, and see the big picture.
Not a writers' retreat per se, but this secluded retreat up in the mountains, in an almost completely abandoned village, was my choice of sanctuary for a while.
The sense of detachment and timelessness was all I needed to unwind, generate a few "aha moments" and get a lot of writing done. I covered several thousands of quality words, as well as a bunch of good notes and voice recordings for my upcoming book on motivation.
I even finished "reading" one audiobook on psychology, and I read the first part of a hard-copy book on real estate! Hard copy! Remember those?
I even did some hiking that reminded me of what it felt like to have that innocent child-like sensation of exploring and discovering the world.
Either you're a writer or not, I highly recommend experiences like these. Travelling alone can reveal many things to you about your own psyche, things that the distractions of everyday life can keep buried.
Now it's Monday, I'm back at work, but I feel more relaxed, focused and on a clear course towards my goals.
I suggest that you get away more often, away from locations, situations and people. Only then can you appreciate the things that truly matter to you.
2020 New Year's wishes from your friendly neighborhood Cyprus copywriter (plus one of my stories...)
Oh boy! Another year, another fairy tale.
We all have story to tell in this journey called life.
Looking back, now as a dedicated copywriter based in Cyprus, I recall my career path as it unfolded from the direction laid out by university to my struggle to secure a white-collar job in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, to my "wow moment" and realization that smart work is really what brings success, not hard work.
I was taught as a child that success was always the result of hard work, that even those who seemed like they were handed their riches by chance, that they actually had to work to earn and keep them.
So I studied hard to acquire the necessary degrees, or simply put, pieces of fancy paper with the signature of someone who had never met you certifying that you passed some generic tests in some generic subject. Nobody had told us that it wasn't the degree that counted but what skills you gained while acquiring said degrees.
When I was focusing hard on memorizing every sentence in my textbooks while doing irrelevant odd jobs just to get by, others weren't as interested in grades. They instead focused on unpaid internships, relevant volunteer work, networking and extra-curriculum activities and skill development. They were reading books on subjects outside the confines of their discipline because they knew that studying (per the Pareto principle) has diminishing returns, and therefore, it was more efficient to invest some of their mental energy into other subjects instead on focusing it all on one.
When I entered the white-collar labor force in 2009, I was stunned by how quickly people dismissed my hard work (1 BSc, 1 PG Dip and 1 MSc). They didn't care how hard I had worked to get them. And I didn't understand at the time why I wasn't really entitled to anyone owing me anything for working hard and not being able to provide value to anyone with that hard work.
I felt like I had wasted years breaking rocks and not really creating any value at all...
The harsh reality is that no one gets paid according to how hard they work. We all get paid according to the value we provide to the one paying us. This is why celebrity football players get paid in the hundreds of millions; that's the value they provide to the guy who signs their checks!
So, I concluded that working hard was BS. Sure, you need to be able and willing to work hard when that's required, but what's important is to work smart first.
Otherwise no one would have invented the wheel by now!
This brings me to WHY I do what I do. Simon Sinek, one of my most influential mentors, coined the "golden circle" that highlights the importance of WHY we do something to those who buy from us.
Why am I into copywriting?
Because writing copy is all about working smart, it's all about extracting as much juice out of your marketing campaigns (and you entire business) as possible with less effort.
And in doing so, I'm helping others work smarter instead of harder, with higher conversions, more sales, and with even less marketing and advertising costs.
In 2020, I aim to work even smarter in the way I allocate my time in my professional and my personal life. I aim to further improve my copywriting skills to provide even more value to those who acknowledge the NEED for outstanding copy, and who WANT to work smarter rather than harder.
Tips for working SMARTER:
1. Find the easiest route to accomplish what you want to do.
2. Apply the Pareto principle (or 80/20 rule).
3. Use time management tools, like Asana.com, or even plain old post-its!
4. Schedule "chill time" in your daily agenda.
5. Subscribe to my newsletter for occasional tips on how to write smarter and better. 🙂
I hope you have a great, healthy and joyful 2020, and that you achieve and exceed every goal for it!