Friday, September 7, 2007

Focus on Your Goal with Google Reader

So today we're taking a little rest from the real dreamy, conceptual stuff to focus on a practical tool that I am finding to be extremely helpful in keeping my eye on the prize.

Just by virtue of the fact that you're reading a blog, you are likely light-years ahead of me when it comes to the miracle that is the feed reader. But on the off chance that you're more like me, and not entirely sure about all this newfangled technology, or perhaps you just haven't considered all the uses of a feed reader, then this post is for you.

Here's what I've recently discovered. You have a goal. You want to become an entrepreneur, or freelance, or learn how to repurpose Ikea. Whatever it is, there's a blog about it. With a feed reader--I use Google Reader--you can syndicate this content to your desktop or browser--or in several locations. (Probably. I'm getting into waters a little too deep for me here. All I know is that I can add Google Reader to my iGoogle page, and voila, I'm set.)

Right now, my Google Reader is chock full of blogs posting about a few things:
Do you remember those battery-operated refrigerator pigs they used to sell? Every time you opened the door and the light went on, the pig would oink at you. Now, if you still felt like reaching for a slice of chocolate cake, OK, but hey, guess what? Oink, oink! The idea there, obviously, was to keep you focused on your diet. I'm not sure I like the idea of a tiny, judgmental pig, but it must have worked for some people, because those things were everywhere.

Anyway, the point is, frequent reminders of your goal is one method of staying focused. If you are trying to find your bliss, I am suggesting that it may be very helpful to use a feed reader in a couple of ways:

  1. Explore subjects that interest you. If you are thinking of doing landscape architecture, find all the blogs you can on the subject. Because they are so niche specific, you will find they get into the nitty gritty minutiae that only true enthusiasts can tolerate. If you find that you aren't interested in the minutiae, you may want to give that leap a second thought. If, on the other hand, discussing soil density and hardiness zones gets your pulse going, then Bingo! You may have found a viable career path to your bliss.
  2. Get encouragement, advice, ideas in your subject area. If you want to go after that landscape architecture path, before you take the leap, you may want to examine the ins and outs of getting there and discover where you fit in within the field.
  3. Make contacts. Unless you're dealing with megastar bloggers, most bloggers are very approachable and excited to discuss their passions. You may solicit advice from a few, or see if they have contacts in your part of the country who might be willing to help you pursue your interest.
  4. Remind yourself of what you're after. I find that after a long day at work, or even 30 minutes in, but after a 15 minute hell meeting, I can get disoriented, discouraged, frustrated that I'm where I am. I can find myself doubting that I'll ever escape cubicle hell, worried that I will turn into the Vogons that I run into on the elevator, their bodies soft, their posture a defeated slump, their eyes rolling loosely in their sockets, with no real focus. Ack! I think, What ever will I do? And then I get a beautiful missive from the Universe (via my feed reader) reminding me that there is hope, there is practical advice, there are people who have succeeded! This keeps me from falling into a useless morass of despair, and sometimes that kind of reminder is all you need to keep going.
So try a feed reader. You just might find it's the refrigerator pig you never knew you always needed.

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