Another Journal

It started with a halfhearted promise to my wife. I wanted to do something significant for my newborn daughter so I promised to write in a journal every day for the first year of her life. Today I am writing in one for my fourth child.

Writing can be a funny thing. Like anything we want to change in our lives, a simple daily routine can seem monotonous, minuscule drops in a bucket.

One paragraph, one page.

Nothing of importance.

But what began with a single word is now a little pile of journals.

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I don’t have a lot of words packed in the bindings of these books but I hope they will be cherished. After all, they are about birth, the struggle for sleep, trying to slow down and savor the quiet moments, and the joy our brief lives can have.

I have written hundreds of thousands of words and will certainly write more still, but there will be nothing I am more proud of than these simple looking journals.

Where Will You Be In One Year?

When we blog or write daily and we don’t have success, we can easily get discouraged. We put in a lot of work on the post and no one came to see it or our words are garbage and we throw away the chapter.

At this point we can either give or keep going. Giving up makes the most sense because the blogging/writing/artistic/creative life is tough. We must work harder than most to push ourselves to the next plateau and the cliff is straight up.

But what if you don’t want to give up? What if you want to fight through the tension, go out on a limb, and dance in a minefield?

Photo Credit: Leo Reynolds via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Leo Reynolds via Compfight cc

Each year I ask myself these questions at least a dozen times. What’s the point? Do I really want to keep doing this? Is writing for me? Then, I write the next post. Why? Because I am focused on the goal ahead not on what happens in the day to day.

Don’t get me wrong, daily success is thrilling. A strong day in sales, a great day in the comments section on your blog, or a promotion. Shortly after that though, roughly eight hours later most likely, the day is fresh, the achievement has faded, and the blank page is there again complete with blinking cursor.

We need to develop the march of the everydayer. You and I must come prepared to put in our work, but not looking at the ground below and the daily miles we have to traverse but instead be fixed on the mountain we want to climb, far in the distance, and move forward with jaw clenched.

So, friend, I ask you this question. Are you looking down at your feet? Or are you looking ahead at the goal you set at the beginning of this year or the last. You want to reach ___, right? Then focus on the long haul.

Where do you want to be in one year?

5 Things I Learned From An Unexpected Challenge

Ever have an unexpected change that caused you to dig deep and work hard at a moments notice? It happened to me this past week. 

This week I was out of the office for a business trip. When I prepared for it a few weeks ago, my coworker and I had a discussion about a presentation one of us had to do while we were there. We decided it would be best for him to do it.

Then, last week, on Friday morning, we discovered another topic would be much more relevant. However, I had more knowledge of the day to day. Thus, it was decided that I would do the presentation. I had two days to prepare.

My first reaction to this change was to ask him to do it because I like to be prepared and I was nervous. But I knew the best way to convey this information was to lean on my knowledge and experience.

Below, I list five things that I learned about this unexpected challenge.

Photo Credit: Nick / KC7CBF via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Nick / KC7CBF via Compfight cc

Low Level Stress Can Be Good.

We’ve all heard stress is terrible and to avoid it. But studies have shown that low level stress releases a chemical called neuotrophins that strengthens connections in our neurons which boosts concentration and productivity. Strange eh? Once I told myself I was going to do it, I was able to focus.

Before Saying No. Prepare As If You Said Yes Then Decide

My first reaction was to say no. But instead of doing so, I gave it some thought. What if I did do it? What information would I need? Once I did this I gained a little confidence and I thought it might not be that bad.

Do You Know It? You Can Do It.

The presentation basically surrounded what I’ve done for their customers and what I do day to day. I realized that no one knew more information about this topic than I did.

Think. What’s The Real Reason The Situation Scares Me?

My main concern revolved around the fact that I thought I’d ruin a highly valuable partnership if I messed up. The pressure mounted. Then a realization hit me, one that deflated my fear. I am being entrusted with this presentation because of my expertise. My company trust me enough to represent it.  

Grab The Stage. It’s Time To Grow.

Their are experiences in life that build upon one another. If I am going to speak, I need to practice. If I am going to write novels, I need to write short stories. This was not something to fear. This is what I felt before hockey games in college or grabbing my diploma and heading off into the workforce. This was an opportunity to seize. Not shy away from. And that I did.

What keeps you frozen to the spot?

Can you dissect and tackle it?