In my new book Start, I talk about the need for us to rescue 30 minutes. I really believe that, with just 30 minutes, you can change the world.
But does 30 minutes really matter? I mean, at this point, that’s only 1/8 of the amount of time singing competitions are trying to drag out their episodes to. Can a half an hour make you awesome?
It can. Because you don’t just rescue 30 minutes–you rescue the first 30 minutes.
The first 30 minutes are the hardest to rescue because you’ve trained every part of your life to rail against living that way. We’ve all programmed ourselves to fill our days so fully that there’s absolutely no space left for thinking about how to be awesome. That’s why you have such great ideas in the shower. It’s the only time of day when you’re quiet enough for them to sneak up on you. There’s nothing to read in there to distract yourself. I’ve tried. I’ve read that Pantene bottle a million times. They don’t do animal testing, and it’s perfect for soft, luxurious follicle repair.
Rescuing the 30 minutes isn’t easy, and I didn’t stumble on mine casually. I didn’t one day decide to get up 30 minutes early cause I’m such a go-getter and realized “Gee Whilikers, that’s the ticket! I’ll rescue 30 minutes in the morning! I sure am a hardworker when it comes to being awesome!”
If only. I didn’t teach myself to write in the morning. Failure did. A client with a project I had messed up on offered me a chance to fix the project. All I had to do was write and manage the design of a new brochure.
Only I didn’t have any time to do that. I had a full-time job, other freelance clients, a beautiful wife, two kids under the age of 3, and an Atlanta commute. The traffic in Atlanta is horrible. The worst thing is that the electric road signs say things like “4 right lanes closed due to accident.” They can’t all be “right lanes.” I see what you’re trying to do there, Atlanta. You’re trying to trick me with words. “Oh, perfect! If the 4 right lanes are closed, then the 4 left lanes should be open! Yay!”
Recognizing that I was stuck, I was forced to set my alarm clock 30 minutes early so that I could write the brochure before I went to work. For about 10 days I got up early every morning to work on the project.
Months later, when I started my first blog and realized I needed 30 minutes to work on it, I knew where to look. The same place I found the other 30 minutes. And having rescued it for a few weeks, I had muscle memory built up. It wasn’t easy, but a crisis had already taught me it was possible.
I’d love you to learn from my crisis. I’d love for you to rescue your own 30 minutes without failure cracking the whip that drives you out of bed in the morning or keeps you up late at night.
And a funny thing happens when you rescue the first 30 minutes. You tend to find a second 30 minutes and then a third 30 minutes. Working on your awesome is fun. Once you do it for 30 minutes and discover how enjoyable it is, you can’t help but look for more time to do it. You knew 30 minutes was taken hostage by the calendar, but once you kick the door down to rescue it you realize it’s got 12 friends. You’ve got a clown car full of 30-minute segments.
You’ll be getting up early or staying up late more times a week than you can possibly fathom right now.
But it all starts with the first 30. That’s what we’re going to do this week. That’s it.
30. Find it. Rescue it. Spend it all on awesome.
Where, in your day, could you find 30 minutes to work on your dream?