Sunday, October 13, 2013

"Every Day"

“The professional shows up every day.”

Steven Pressfield – Turning Pro

Lincoln Chafee, Governor of Rhode Island

Harsha Bhogle, Journalist

It feels good to just sit here and write.  I think it’s one of the best feelings in the world.  I still get sidetracked by fears and doubts.  I still wonder if this is going to lead me anywhere or help me accomplish my dreams.  I still wonder if I’m blessing God, the world, my friends and family and myself.  Yet despite all that, it still feels good to be in my Purpose. 
This morning I overslept.  By that, I mean 7:30.  That’s still late for me.  I prefer to get up at 5:00 because that gives me such a great start on the day.  Then I dawdled on Facebook for a while.  After about 20 minutes though I got into my routine.  Now I’m writing and I feel good.   Last night I listed some of Steven Pressfield’s qualifications for the professional, from his book, Turning Pro:
·      The professional shows up every day,
·      The professional is committed over the long haul,
·      For the professional, the stakes are high and for real,
·      The professional acts in the face of fear,
·      The professional endures adversity.
·      The professional defers gratification,
·      The professional does not wait for inspiration,.

When I look at these I realize each one is a topic unto itself.  Today, for example, I am showing up every day.  However, these are also the same.  Showing up every day means that I am committed over the long haul.  These are the same and they are different, like St. Paul’s love, joy and peace or the fruit of the Spirit.   When I am in one, I am in all of them.
Today, however, I just want to show up every day.  Not just today but now because I don’t know what today will bring.  I don’t know if I’ll get the chance or the time to write again today.  My plan is to bring my computer and my journal wherever I go so that I can write today.  I might even write another blog.
When I approach writing, I often have three questions I struggle with:
·      What should I write?
·      Is this really the best use of my time, or should I be studying or exercising or doing my radio show?
·      How can I keep the distractions away?

The answer to the first question is to not worry about it.  Just write.  This is the same advice I would give to anyone who is pursuing Purpose.  Just do it.  Just get started.  Stop thinking so much.  Stop worrying so much.  Stop being afraid.  Stop self-criticizing.  Just go.  Make something happen.  Make anything happen.  The worst that will result from this is it will be a form of practice, of perfecting your craft.  Don’t worry if it’s good or bad.  Good and bad are judgments anyway and all judgments are nothing more than opinions not necessarily on truth, but on belief and opinion.   Just do your best.  That is all that is required.
The answer to the second question is similar to the first.  Yes, I could be doing something else, but it’s not necessarily better…or worse.  It’s just something else.  What guides me are the following questions:
·      Does my current activity align with my Purpose, or with one of my Purposes?
·      Am I having fun?
·      Am I in the moment?

If the answer is yes, then I’m doing the right thing.  Had I chosen another activity in which the answer was yes, then that would have also been the right choice.
Finally, the third and most difficult question:  How do I keep distractions away?  There are two answers to this:  I do.  I don’t.  The first answer means, I just do.  I just get started and I Keep Going.  This isn’t just a daily decision; it’s a moment-to-moment decision.  I Keep Going even if I just got challenged in Words With Friends, or even if I notice that the kitchen needs to be cleaned or even if I want to check e-mail.  I Keep Going.
The second answer, I don’t, means I don’t keep the distractions away.  I simply recognize that they are always going to be there.  Yes, I could shut down Facebook, turn off my phone or clean my place before I start writing.   But that wouldn’t help, because I’d create other things to distract me.  Yes, I said, “create.”  Distractions are not external.  They are internal.  I create them by allowing them.  So I Keep Going, like a football player running down the field for the touchdown.  I evade or jump over every distraction that is trying to knock me down.  I Keep Going.
I show up every day.
None of this applies only to writing.  It applies to every kind of Purpose.  The writer, the teacher, the artist, the pastor, the chef, the singer, the parent – any one who approaches his or her task with love and Purpose struggles with the same three questions and has to Keep Going.  We have to show up Every Day.
Interestingly, I started this blog feeling discouraged and uncertain.   Now I’m excited about the day and the possibilities.  Where did those bad feelings go?  I don’t know. What I do know is that I’m looking forward to writing some more and doing other things, everything with Purpose and presence.  I have indeed blessed myself.  If you are reading this, I hope you will do the same.