There are objects in this life that change us, motivate and inspire us. They act as tools to help us unlock hidden treasures deep within our souls. Sometimes they help us discover something we didn’t know or think we had. While this may sound overly dramatic, it’s honestly how I’ve felt with my recent purchase of a brand new, glistening whiteboard.
I’ve had blogs in the past, ran a community website, and written a decent speech or two in my time, but like many authors I’ve read on Medium, I’d never really considered myself a ‘writer’. Ridiculous when I think about it.
Despite being in primarily writing roles in the public service for over ten years, it’s been hard to call myself the W-label out loud. Strange hey? I’ve had people read my work with some level of interest and even pay for my effort, but somehow I'd never felt comfortable going with the word.
But now I have a whiteboard. And it’s changing my world.
I bought the whiteboard on a recent trip to the stationery store for other supplies. I was standing at one end of the aisle — the whiteboard was at the other. It was so glossy, wrapped in an unnecessary plastic film, complete with four coloured markers and a duster. It may have been the two coffees I’d had that morning, but I felt like the whiteboard was calling to me. ‘It’s time’ I could hear, ‘now or never’.
I had thought about whiteboards before, but the time, and my space, had never seemed right.
And so I bought the whiteboard. I took it home, mounted it on the wall and took a step back. There was something very official-looking about the whiteboard. It was very much serious ‘office’ equipment, rather than Kmart ‘study’ decor.
The whiteboard made my desk, my monitor and my swivel chair look refreshed and ready for action. The room now seemed more grown-up and professional. The study I had been using for nearly a year looked anew. It had transformed. It was now an office.
Within a short time, I started to notice my own transition. The whiteboard was making me feel confident and in control. I was taking myself more seriously. I was using the whiteboard for exploring my writing work, and so, in turn, my writing was feeling more focused and professional. I felt powerful with my pen, and the work just flowed out of me.
So what have I put on my whiteboard? Well, so far, there’s a mix of weekly focus and future planning using the headings:
- Weekly goals (a limit of four to drive direction)
- Six-month plans (a limit of two specific and measurable achievements that I am in complete control of achieving)
- Upcoming project list (jobs/competitions/writing for pleasure), and
- Reasons why I am a writer (for inspiration)
There’s also a considerable space in the middle where I can write down my ideas. There’s something magical about standing at a whiteboard and jotting down thoughts. It’s active. In the moment. Thrilling. It’s like saying that an idea is so good that you don’t have the time to sit down and open a book to write it in — it must appear in the world as soon as it can.
The whiteboard experience has firmed up some key beliefs for me. Here are my top takeaways. They are based around my passion (writing) but can be tailored to any dream you’re pursuing.
- Design your space to match your mindset. If you want to be a writer, get yourself the tools (however basic)to be a writer. Make your space reflects your focus. It doesn’t have to be a fancy, dedicated office. It could be a corner of your lounge room, a calendar and a notepad and pen. You don’t always have to use this space when you write, but you will know it’s there. It can be your base, an anchor to your dreams. A place to re-set yourself if you get off track.
- The world will not take you seriously until you start taking yourself seriously. Use your dream title. Say it out loud. When people ask what you do, be confident in your answer (even if it’s pretend). This will help cement your mental narrative about who you are and what you do.
While putting yourself out there can be hard, there’s a time to step up, admit what you want in life, and give it a real shot. Branching out of your comfort zone and striving for potentially unachievable goals takes serious dedication, and this is where I find myself now. The whiteboard has turned a switch on inside me. It has changed my mindset, and now it’s full steam ahead.