This is a lesson I’ve had to force myself to take too many times to count.

I’m the reason I’m in the situation I’m in.

I’m the reason my folio finds its body in the kind of shape that it is.

I’m the reason …

This isn’t about playing the victim, which is what a lot of people are want to do. So many prefer to look for mistakes they’ve made rather than see them as opportunities lost. And if they do see such a thing, then they consider themselves stupid for having lost them. That’s a waste of time and often only gives one the excuse to do it again.

If all that we posses, from objects to experiences to friendships, is what we have earned from our actions, then there’s great opportunity to change it all for the better.


That rocks so hard.

That gives us opportunity.

No more outside reasoning, it’s all on us.

Let’s pick a few topics.

How about your portfolio? This is a sore point for me, because mine sucks. I don’t even have one online, so we’re going to get personal with this one, but I think many of you can relate.

Once, I found so much pride in my folio of work. Completing my studies I looked at my folio as the physical realisation of years of effort. Every piece in it was one that I loved, one that I had hurt over, one that I had emotionally, creatively, or on occasion, literally, bled for. I had earned the joy of each one because I had worked hard for them.

Then I started to work in the ‘real world’ and things slipped. It’s been years now, and my folio sucks.

The crazy thing is that I think my skills are fine. They’re not great, but their biggest fault is that they’re not worked hard enough.

This is my fault, I’ve earned the poor folio by limiting myself to the work others give me. I could come home each night and work on personal projects that’ll give my folio some depth again (coming soon!), but instead, by deciding not to do such a thing so obvious I’ve earned my poor folio.

But right there is the benefit. If I wanted a stronger folio, one in which I can once again find great pride, then I can earn it back.

Can earn it back. Can. Can, can, can, can. Can earn it back. That’s the magic little word. We could take the suckers way out and say ‘we have to earn it back’, but it’s a negative way to start a project. How about instead of thinking about what you are working towards as a chore, which can easily lead to the decision to not make a choice at all, define the opportunity.

“I get to work on my folio and make it better.”
Nice, good for you!

“I have to work on my folio because it sucks.”
Go away, you make me sad.

Who would you rather hang out with? More importantly, which sounds like the person who’s more likely to have the gumption to stick it out and produce something worth looking at?

This is true of any aspect of our lives. We have what we deserve to have.

It extends to clients – have you noticed all your clients kinda suck? Maybe it’s time to see what the common thread is and cut it.

Are they all friends or in a similar industry? Then look elsewhere.

Do they tend to not follow a process you’d prefer they did? Then explain it more in the first meetings you have with them. You do and it still doesn’t work? Then look at your selling and pitching skills.

Not earning enough? Then up your prices. Losing clients or opportunities? Then figure out what skills you need to develop to be worth the prices you want to charge.

The key to not letting it overtake your heart and blacken the thing is to know what is worth worrying about. Pick something, anything. Your folio? Great! Bank account? Sure! Client list? Smart!

Like building habits, it’s easy to see a thousand things you’d like to fix and do, but chances are you’ll be too overwhelmed to get anywhere. Pick one thing at a time.

I earned this blog post.

It’s cold this morning.

As I type this my legs are starting to get that cold-itch feeling, my ankles are hurting, my hands are going numb, and my neck is throbbing.

That’s all pretty normal. It’s a cold time of year here in Australia. I’ve had that for the last week, and will experience it for the next few.

What isn’t normal is the pain in my stomach.

I’ve no idea what it is, but it’s there and it’s begging me to stop. It’s begging me to go back to my warm, comfortable bed, next to my wife, and maybe treat myself to a podcast. I’m sick. I’ve earned the right to do such a thing.

But by doing so I would have decided through inaction, or deferred action, to not write this article. And that would have earned me the disappointment I would have felt knowing I missed a day.

Which would have earned me the willingness to miss another. In turn, this would have given me the opportunity to stop the whole 30 Day Writing challenge thing, and once again I would have earned my title of “blogger who doesn’t blog, writer who doesn’t writer, designer who doesn’t design”. It’s a long title I get sick of explaining at dinner parties.

I would have watched @scrivs and @lesjames publish their pieces daily and thought it unfair. Luck just wasn’t on my side.

I would have been a god-damn sucker.

But I’m here. I’m here writing when I’m tired, when the ideas suck, when I’m sore, when I’d rather be thinking about R+L=J, when I think I’m a loser for trying, when I think it isn’t possible, when I think I’ll fail again because that’s all I’ve earned before.

This morning I earned my right to hit publish. This morning, by the smallest of fractions, by showing up and typing and working when I almost didn’t want to, I earned my right to say that I can do this. I earned a better reputation for my blog, I earned an ability to write, I earned the opportunity to go pro, I earned something of which I am proud. By the smallest of margins I’m earning it all.

Earning that which is important to me is far easier than earning the right to not deserve them.

What about you? What are you earning today?