Hi, I’m Ken Mazaika and I’m the CTO & Co-founder of The Firehose Project.
It can be tempting to think about the next version of your life. You know, the one where you’re more successful, doing what you love, and existing as an all-around happier person. Most of us tend to think about our current stage of life as the one before our real life starts.
What we’re doing now doesn’t really count, right? It’s the regular season, and we’re just waiting for the playoffs to start before giving it our all. So we coast along, thinking that we’ll eventually step on the gas and become a better version of ourselves at some undetermined point in the future.
But the problem is this: if all you do is wait for version 2.0 of yourself to happen, you’re forever going to be stuck in version 1.
The only way to launch the better version of your life is to start doing it today. And there are 13 ways to do so.
1. Just Show Up
In order to make the next stage of your life radically different than the one that you’re currently living, you need to start putting in the work.
Say you want to run a marathon, but have no athletic experience whatsoever. The first step is always the same: you need to lace up your running shoes and hit the pavement. The first time you run, you might only make it half a mile. But at least you’ll know that you’ll be about 2% closer to your ultimate goal. You’re far closer to the end result than if you just imagined running a marathon and didn’t put in any work.
2. Start from the beginning
The better version of your life isn’t just going to appear out of the blue. In order to launch it, you need to take a high number of small steps, not just a few big leaps.
So while you may not be ready to apply to that new development job at Facebook, Google, or an exciting VC-backed startup quite yet, that doesn’t mean that you won’t be in a position to do so in time. Remember that it’s ok to start at the beginning. Start working on your craft, and make sure that you’re leveling up every step of the way. Everyone has to start from somewhere.
3. Don’t count the hours. They don’t matter.
I like running analogies, so here’s another one:
Think about the last time that you decided to run on a treadmill. If you couldn’t resist the temptation to look down at the timer every few seconds, you probably didn’t enjoy your run very much. This, in turn, made it far more difficult for you to run very far. Overall, it was probably a very frustrating experience.
Now, what if you managed to take the opposite approach? You plugged in your headphones, lost yourself in the music, and took it one stride at a time…while resisting any temptation to look at the timer at all. If you did this, you probably discovered that you enjoyed the experience and were able to run pretty far.
In life, if you constantly stop to count the hours, it’s going to make it a lot tougher for you to get where you need to go.
You’ll probably be ready sooner than you expect to launch your new self and it likely will take far less than 10,000 hours.
4. Recognize that version 2.0 is solely your vision of where you want to be, not anybody else’s.
Maybe you want to become a software engineer. Or a filmmaker. Or maybe a world-class chef.
Whatever you want to be, remember that you are 100% in the driver’s seat of your own life. Don’t spend any time or energy living up to what someone else thinks you should be. You need to be happy with the goal that you’re trying to achieve.
5. Stop looking for a secret trick.
Often, people spend a ton of time looking for the secret trick that will give them a head start, only to realize that it doesn’t exist.
There is no shortcut to Version 2.0 of your life. It’s going to take a lot of work.
6. Use Twitter To Network
It’s never been easier to get in touch with influential and powerful people.
Earlier in my career, I reached out to the CEO of a company I was interested in working for who was hosting an AMA session on Twitter. I asked him for advice about how to get hired for his company, and not only did he reply with helpful advice, he also connected me with the specific people at the company I should talk to for an open position.
There are so many people out there who want to help others launch Version 2.0 of their lives. You can reach them with something as small as a tweet, and it could potentially change the course of your life. That’s a pretty incredible opportunity.
7. Don’t sweat the details. Just make sure that you’re moving in the right direction
You don’t need all the details in order to make progress. So don’t treat every micro-decision that you face like a life-altering event. Doing so can prevent you from making any progress at all.
Say you’re applying for a new job. You know that you like product management. But you’re unsure if you want to work at a startup or a big company. If you sweat the details too much, you might wait and wait, deciding that you’re not ready to apply for anything until you do more research. This behavior can get in the way of you taking steps in the right general direction.
The fact is this: you don’t have the knowledge you need today to know the shortest path to career happiness 5 years from today. But you probably have some idea about how to move in the right direction. So take those steps.
8. Recognize The Opportunity At Hand
Over the past 20 years, the Internet has fundamentally changed how we can accomplish anything. Previously, knowledge was locked away in the minds of industry experts and in the pages of books that you needed to buy or check out from a library.
But now, it’s far easier to learn new skills. And learning new skills is one of the main ways to launch version 2.0 of your life.
20 years ago, if you wanted to switch careers, you really only had one option: return to college and study a different major.
But today, with the democratization of information, you can switch careers without going back to formal school or even without ever leaving your home. You can start your own online business, take some free or low-cost online courses, or decide to enroll in a bootcamp-style program, like Firehose. No matter what you want to do, there are far fewer barriers between you and version 2.0 than you might think.
9. Launch a personal website
It’s never too soon to launch a personal website to start documenting your journey. Think about it. If a future potential employer Google’s you (which they will), what do you want them to find? A polished personal website that communicates your story is a great way to help you get discovered and give a great first impression.
In the process of launching and fine-tuning your website, you could also gain the opportunity to learn the technical skills of HTML and CSS. No matter which field you enter, having a general understanding of these can only help. Learning the language of the Internet is worth the time it takes to pick it up.
10. Accept help from other people.
If you’re looking to make a meaningful change in your life, remember that other people will likely be excited to be part of your journey. Think about it. Most of these people have made a similar journey themselves, so they’re eager to give back.
Don’t let your pride get in the way of accepting help from people who could really make a difference in your career. Contrary to popular belief, most successful people did not become successful by doing everything on their own. Most of them probably had some help along the way, and you should seek this out too. Doing so can accelerate your path to version 2.0.
11. Write a Thoughtful “How To” Post.
Somewhere along the way, you’ll realize you’ve learned something that could be useful to other people. Sharing your knowledge early and often will not only help motivate you, it will also help you reach your own goal.
So how about creating an account on Medium.com and quickly writing about something you’re passionate about? You can use the platform to teach others, while also building your online precense at the same time.
If you need inspiration about how to write a “How To” post, feel free to check out the rest of our blog for examples.
12. Help others on their path to 2.0.
Pay it forward. Doing so will keep you motivated on your own path to 2.0, and you’ll find that the lasting connections that you build by helping out others will greatly benefit you in every aspect of your career.
13. Launch Your MVP Early.
What are you waiting for? If you’re not satisfied with version 1.0 of yourself, the quickest way to a different life is to begin working towards version 2.0. So stop waiting for your real life to begin. Launch the MVP of version 2.0 of your life today.
I urge you to take the first step today. If you wait, you may never get there.
If you enjoyed this post, share it on Twitter using the buttons below!