What Are You Willing to Do to Get the Job Done?
Every January, we sit down, pen in hand, and make a list of the things we want to accomplish during the upcoming year. Our lists are long and the entries noble. We start out with a bang and are always certain that this will be the year!
This will be the year that I will lose 20 pounds!
This will be the year that I will change careers!
This will be the year that I will go back to school!
This will be the year that I will improve my relationship!
And the list goes on and on.
Then, usually within a few weeks, we slip back into our old, familiar habits and our lofty goals get pushed aside.
Experts offer sage advice to help us achieve success, we believe we can do it, and yet, we fall short of our expectations. From my personal experience, I have found that the key element missing from the equation is the answer to the question, “what am I willing to do to make this happen?”
It’s wonderful to have dreams and goals, but as Jim Rohn said, “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse. And, we are master excuse crafters.
Case in point. Three years ago I was approached by a book publisher who requested that I write my story. I was ecstatic because it was a golden opportunity, not afforded to most writers. I began the project, and actually submitted an outline to the publisher, only to realize after that what I wrote was horrible (my words, not hers – she was too kind). I wrote about my journey, my life, like I was an objective observer, a newspaper reporter stating the facts of an event; not as someone who was thrust into darkness and clawed her way out to share the story. I was given another opportunity to submit a draft, but I gave up and put the project on the shelf (pun intended).
Then one year later, I was approached by a book agent who offered to represent me on the book project. Another golden opportunity. I was thrilled, but again, nothing happened. I continually told myself, and others, that I would start after I … (fill in the blank).
For three years, I have been talking about the book that I am going to write. Most writers spend their entire life working for the kind of opportunities that have been presented to me, but still no book.
Words usually flow out of me like a river, but every time I attempt to write this book, I am dry. Nothing of significance gets put on paper.
I admit, the thought of actually writing a book terrifies me. The negative voices swirl round and round in my head: What if the readers don’t like it? Who am I to write a book? Who would care about what I have to say? What if people laugh at me?
But, I understand the importance of releasing such thoughts, and I have never let fear keep me from trying something new. It is my philosophy to push aside what others think, throw caution to the wind, and “go for it.” So, what is different this time? What is stopping me?
Then it hit me, I wasn’t willing to do whatever it took to get the job done. I have been unwilling to reveal a deep part of myself; unwilling to be vulnerable; unwilling to appear less than perfect.
For most of my life, my identity has been based on my strength, my ability to be in control. I take care of others. I handle situations with nerves of steel. I am the energizer bunny – I keep going and going and going. If I reveal my vulnerability, as this book challenges me to do, I will show a part of myself with which I am uncomfortable. I will be flawed…exposed…human. Am I ready for that?
Writing this book presents me with the chance to make a difference in someone’s life, but in order to do so I must be willing to be authentic, open, and rise above the mediocrity. A true challenge … but a worthy endeavor.
So, after much self-examination, I have determined what I am willing to do and am writing again. This time with a very different approach – I’m writing from a place of truth, vulnerability and humility. Who knows where this challenge will lead me but it will definitely be an interesting ride.
The moral of this story: If you want to achieve something worthwhile in life, if you want to fulfill a dream, achieve a goal, or reach for the stars, you must be willing to dig deep to a place that makes you uncomfortable. You must be willing to do whatever it takes.