It's such a popular fantasy these days to become rich and famous. After all, it could quite literally happen to anybody. The floor is open. Grab a mic and start posting videos on YouTube. Start blogging. Get picked to be on reality TV. Write a book. (That's what I did!) Develop a killer app.
When I think about being a rockstar -- meaning, the person who hits the big time -- my mind strays to the glory: the parties, the fancy cocktail dresses, the fans... and that's why so few of us actually become total rockstars.
Because what it takes to become a rockstar isn't about the parties or having a big personality, and it's not about being wild and impulsive. It's about building a strong foundation that's predictable and kind of boring.
A writer has to sit down to write every day. A musician needs to practice. Even a YouTube video star needs to come up with a steady stream of content. To accomplish our dreams, the number one quality that will get any of us there is consistency.
Ha ha. Consistency. It's funny that probably one of the greatest predictors of success is so unsexy. You could be really smart and really well connected (or really rich, or really educated, or any of those things that we think we need to make it), but if you don't sit down to do the work, guess what? Nothing is going to happen. However, you could have nothing and start with nothing, and then build an empire, as long as you're consistent.
So what about the ones who really break out these days and who can maintain success for the long haul? If they aren't out there being wild and crazy, then what are they doing instead, and how can we get what they have? Here are five things you can do.
1. Protect Your Time
The proverbial rockstars of the world protect the time that they need to create their art or otherwise get their work done. They prioritize it, and they make it happen, come hell or high water. They don't make excuses.
2. Take Care of Your Body
They also protect their instrument -- their bodies. They take care of themselves. They get enough sleep. They exercise. They eat well and healthfully, without dieting and scrimping. They eat real, healthy foods that give them the energy to accomplish their work.
3. Show Up for the Long Haul
They show up, day in and day out, even when it looks on the surface like nothing much is happening. They don't demand instant gratification, because there's no such thing as an overnight success. They put their heads down and enjoy the process of hard work. Because let's face it, no one is guaranteed to become a rockstar. So you might as well make sure you enjoy the work.
This morning when I was at the gym lifting weights, I was wishing for a hotter, fitter, tighter, stronger body -- all of the things that will happen if I'm consistent in going to the gym. The funny thing is, we wish for these things: the success, the hot bod, and so on. And a part of us thinks that just wishing and planning and hoping will get us there. But it's actually showing up, day after day after day... it's not the most romantic notion, plugging away at something, being consistent, staying quiet while we just do what needs to get done... but it's showing up and just doing it that will get us the results.
4. Value Each Day
It feels like such an insignificant thing, that question that arises daily: "What should I do today?" That one day is only one drop in the bucket. It doesn't seem important, what we do with that one day. But all of those drops, added up over time, are a FORCE that can drive your days toward greatness and abundance and health and happiness -- or not -- depending on how seriously we consider that question.
5. Refine Your Routine
Variety is the spice of life. That saying makes us believe that routine is a way to make life bland, but on the contrary. It's by developing the right routine, and sticking with it consistently, that life can get delicious, and bigger, and more exciting.
I used to enjoy wine every night with dinner. It helped to relieve stress, it was delicious, and trying new wines seemed exciting to me. I thought parties were the surest ticket to a good time. But I wasn't sleeping well. I wasn't on my A-game during the day. And I was never going to get anywhere by hanging onto that habit. I wasn't going to get up early and write every morning because sleeping in felt better. Life took on a "groundhog day" repetitive quality. Nothing new was going to happen. I wasn't going to meet new people or have very many new experiences that way. So even though it was challenging, I ditched my daily wine habit.
Once I honed in on the habits and routines that would enable me to access my writing, I was able to get consistent about it. And it's that consistency that led me to publish a book.
It was a consistent, predictable routine that opened up new vistas, new avenues for connecting with people and putting myself out there into the world. From where I'm sitting, routine brings the spice of life.
Katie Morton is the author of Secrets of People With Extraordinary Willpower.