In a video game, when you gain enough experience points and you’ve fought enough monsters, you level up. Leveling up generally means that two things happen: First, you get access to better equipment and new quests, and second, the quests also have leveled up and you face a new level difficulty. So how do you level up your real life? How does it feel once you’ve leveled up? What do you do once you’ve leveled up?
Start from the bottom and break down big goals.
You may wander into a few caves where there are level 70 trolls and you’re still rocking your level 5 daggers, metaphorically, of course.
In normal person speak: You may have big goals you’re trying to achieve or big obstacles to overcome. Rather than running full tilt at these things, sometimes it’s best to break what you are doing down into smaller, more achievable goals.
If you want to write a movie and get it made, but have never written a script before, setting a 3-month deadline for that goal is likely to lead to some heartache. That’s making your goal int a level 70 troll, and you’re not ready to fight that troll.
Instead, you might want to take a screenwriting class, or read books on screenwriting. Maybe your 3-month goal is to take a class and have a rough draft of your script, by that point. That’s more like a level 10 troll, and something you can definitely manage.
Leveling up takes work.
In lots of games, there are ways to grind and gain levels quickly. The problem is, if you don’t put the work in, you miss valuable lessons and content along the way.
Most of the people you admire scraped and hustled when they started out. Lots of writers worked a full-time job while writing their first novels, comics, etc. There might be a few that got lucky and somehow got the maximum payoff for minimal effort, but those people are usually few and far between and they often had someone helping them along the way.
There are times that putting in the maximum effort will be frustrating and disheartening, but we don’t get anywhere by standing still. Keeping going. If you work strategy isn’t working and you’re not making progress, step back and re-assess.
How do you know when you’ve leveled up? Things get harder. But they also get easier.
You know you’ve leveled up with the difficulty of things kicks up a notch, but you also find yourself able to rise to the occasion. You’ve worked hard to gain new skills and insight, and though the new challenges are unfamiliar or unventured, you still have a bit of inspiration to go after them.
I won’t lie, there are times “gaining a new level” fills me with worry and anxiety. I wonder if I am able to face the new challenges in my life and still manage my time. You can use that fear as fuel, take it as a dare to dream bigger and do more than you did before. In many ways, our biggest limits are in our head.