Friday, November 8, 2013

Refining the Process


I’ve been refining the process of my work.  It’s a lot harder to write two blogs a day than I thought it would be.  Interestingly, almost as soon as I wrote that goal, my work schedule changed and then changed twice more.  Still, I’m not giving up.  There are four principles I am learning to apply that will help me in this process and when there are sudden and unexpected shifts.  They are the following:
·      Consistency
·      Balance
·      Persistence
·      Support

Consistency is the art of showing up every day, no matter what.  I’ve been fairly good at this, but I think I can be better.  Specifically, I can set specific times when I’m going to do my radio shows, my blogs and my You Tube videos.  Overall, I’m happy though.  I’ve done a lot of work and am doing more each day.  Perhaps I took on too many goals or perhaps I’m just in the painful part of the stretch.  It’s been hard to be consistent in all my goals.   For example, I haven’t written a chapter of The Brothers Karamazov in at two or three days.
This may be why it’s good to have long-range and short-term goals.  It’s encouraging to say, though I missed a day or two (or three), over a one-month or one-year period, I did significant work in moving towards my goals.  In fact, this may be the reason for having weekly, monthly and yearly goals.  It makes the days a little less stressful and a little more forgiving.  It helps us to be more balanced as well.
Balance is the second principle.   First of all, I think balance is a myth.  Perhaps it’s not even the right word to use.   Experience has taught me that when just as I get one area of life under control, another area suddenly, and desperately, needs attention.  So work is going well, but there are problems at home.  Or my kids are doing well in school, but now I’m having money problems.  Or I may be working well, but my health is suffering.  There’s always something to watch. 
Perhaps the principle is not balance, but vigilance.  In other words, I keep my eyes and mind open to all areas of life regularly and consistently.  Can this create stress?  Perhaps, but I think it might reduce stress in two ways:
1.     I stay focused in the present and know what is needed now or will be needed soon; and
2.     I may prevent problems by being aware of them before they get too large.
So, instead of trying to achieve balance, something that is almost impossible anyway, I’m going to achieve vigilance, something I can do at any moment, anywhere and in any frame of mind.  This may help me be more persistent. 
Persistence and consistency are similar, but they aren’t the same.   Consistency is showing up every day, no matter what.  Persistence is showing up every day, no matter what.  They are the same, but the emphasis is different.  Persistence requires not only showing up, but also doing my best.  Granted, my best is different every day, but if I show up with a bad attitude, poor work habits and a half-hearted effort, then I’m not demonstrating persistence.  I’m demonstrating defeat.
Is it better not to show up at all than to show up defeated?  Neither is better.  It’s better to not give up, even inwardly.  But if I had to choose, generally it’s better to show up, even defeated.  At least then I have a chance of turning my attitude or events.  At the same time, it may be better to not show up, to take a little personal time, to recharge your emotional batteries.  Vigilance includes self-care as well.  And sometimes self-care means getting care from others.
Recently I said in a radio show that we should, each of us, consider ourselves to be completely alone and not depend on anyone but ourselves.  This was exaggeration designed to make the point that self-sufficiency is important for success.  This doesn’t mean, however, that we should really consider ourselves completely alone.  We aren’t designed that way.  We are meant to be with others and others are meant to be with us. 
We need people we love, friends, good coworkers, a mentor, a pastor or spiritual guide.  We might need counseling, prayer or even the wisdom of a good book.  If I’m reading someone else’s work, then I need that work.  I cannot do this alone.  I’m not supposed to.  I don’t need my hand to be held every minute, but I need support regularly and I need to support others regularly.
All of these will help me to Get Started and Keep Going…as I’m refining my process.