Many moons ago I decided to write a novel. I had no experience in novel writing so I signed up for a course. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. Not only did the course teach me the basics of how to get started, it left me with a nugget that I've carried around ever since. Please allow me to share it with you.
At the beginning of the seminar, my instructor asked a simple question. He said, "Do you know the difference between you and every published author out there?"
Other than the obvious fact that they were published and I was not at that point, I wasn't sure what the answer was. All my classmates looked equally puzzled. So the instructor answered the question for us. He said, "It's not what you think ... It's not their intelligence. Some of you can run rings around them in brainpower. It's not their skill. Many of you are much better writers than they are. It's not their ideas either. I love the ideas this class has already shared ... It's none of that!"
He had our attention.
"The biggest difference between you and all the published authors you see on the drugstore shelves, is the fact that they took ACTION. They removed their books from their heads, their desk drawers or computer hard-drives, and did something."
He was right. We all knew it. Just about everyone in that room had either written a book and shelved it, started writing one and got stuck, or hadn't taken the time to get the one in our heads down on paper. We were all guilty of stalling—of telling ourselves or our friends and spouses of our intentions that never materialized.
Our published counterparts were no smarter than we were. They were people of action, and that makes all of the difference. I walked away from that seminar convinced that I would no longer allow fear, self-doubt, laziness, negligence or any other rationalization keep me from writing my novel. I have a goal during this 52-week blog challenge to finish my second novel and I won't allow anything to keep me from making that deadline either.
I won't make any excuses. I will take action.
Now let's talk about you. What project have you sidelined that needs to be frontlined? What is it that you've put off doing that you need to attack right now? What faulty belief is sprinting through your head that needs to be adjusted?
I can't tell what reasons are keeping you from getting started, but I can tell you that they are, in fact, excuses. There isn't a single obstacle to your goal that can't be overcome. You can have what you want. You just have to get started.
Here are my three best ideas to get you out of neutral. If you follow this three-step process, you will be shocked how fast your idea will become reality.
Step One — Run Away From Perfectionism. Waiting for perfect circumstances—perfect anything, is like waiting for Godot. Some of you may not recognize the reference. It's the title of a book I never understood. As far as I know, the main character is still waiting. Maybe that's the punchline.
My point is that perfectionism is a trap. Life is about learning and growth. The first attempt at whatever you're doing will never be immediately successful. Many famous authors, for example, got buckets of rejections for books now recognized as classics. That is the nature of life.
I'm thankful that people like Margaret Mitchell didn't give up when "Gone With The Wind" was rejected 38 times. Or Beatrix Potter, who wrote "The Tale of Peter Rabbit," one of my childhood favorites. Add to that list authors like Stephen King, J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame, Agatha Christie, Rudyard Kipling and James Joyce, among others.
They could have folded up and gone home after the first rejection. They would have died with their stories untold. The world would have been poorer for that. We would all have suffered the loss. Don't rob us of your contribution.
Step Two — Break it Down. Everything seems overwhelming if you consider a project as a whole. The trick is to break your assignment into smaller pieces. Peel off chunks that you can accomplish in a reasonable time-frame. Completing parts of your goal will provide a sense a triumph and will build momentum.
For example, one of the things I learned in my writing class was the skill of outlining. I was taught to first outline the book before attempting to write it. I would not be wedded to my outline. I could change things as my story developed, but the outline gave me a frame of reference—a North Star to come back to when I felt lost. Without this tool, I would never have finished.
Step Three — Get Mentored or Coached. This can be as formal as you like. Our world has become sensitive to the need for performance coaching in just about every aspect of life. If you'd like one, you can find a coach near you or one who is available in an online or virtual environment. The options abound.
You can also partner up with some girlfriends, fellow students, workers or a spouse. The key component is getting another person to partner with you in your goal. It's the annoying reminder you need to take action until your goal is complete. No one enjoys going through this, but the results are worth it.
There is nothing separating you and the dozens of humans who've already completed a form of your goal. The only difference is action. If you've got a goal on the shelf, it's time to dust it off. There's nothing more bitter than the taste of regret.
Thanks for reading my post. I'm an attorney and Christian minister. I'm also a #keynote #speaker and an author. I write about business, life and faith, focusing on how to know God's vision for your life so that you may fulfill your purpose. You may connect further with me here or by clicking below!
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