Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Only 80 Per Cent?


“You can't have a million dollar dream with a minimum wage work ethic.”

“All the so-called "secrets of success" will not work unless you do.”

Author Unknown


Once more we go to work.  We sit at the computer, or with the open notebook, or the tools, or on the stage, or in front of the classroom, or in the office, and we wonder, “What will I do today?
            Maybe you already know, or think you do.  Maybe you have a schedule or a list of commitments.  Maybe you have a list of tasks that lead to your objective that lead to your goal or goals.  Maybe your day is completely planned and maybe it will even go according to plan. 
Maybe your work is more spontaneous in nature.  Maybe you’re just supposed to show up and see what happens.  This doesn’t (or shouldn’t) mean that you won’t do any work; it just means that you don’t know exactly what the work will look like.  Your work may be artistic, or you may deal with people, one at a time, each with different needs and desires. 
Neither of these ways is completely good or bad by themselves.  They are each what they are.  When I begin writing, I rarely know what will happen.  Sometimes the Muse whispers a word, a sentence, or an idea in my ear and I know how to start, but I rarely, if ever, know how it will end.  I just Get Started and I Keep Going.  Perhaps it’s this way with most artistic endeavors. 
Even in situations where there are clear and written plans, surprises may occur, and spontaneity may arise.  In fact, this may happen just as much.  Often, the more I have planned, the more spontaneous I can be.  But I have to show up.
Woody Allen said, “Eighty percent of success is just showing up.” 
I wish it were that easy.  I wish that all I had to do was “show up” at work, make an appearance, and I would be successful.  Perhaps that number is true, but if it is, it makes the other 20% pretty difficult. 
Perhaps you’ve had a job where all you did was show up.  I did.  I showed up and put in my time.  That was about all I put in.  I rarely put in more than the required effort, if even that.  I didn’t put in a good attitude.  I certainly didn’t put in any good work.   Mostly, I watched the clock.  Sometimes, literally.   Yes, I “showed up,” but often I wished (as did others, I’m sure) that I hadn’t.    Even if I hit the 80% mark, I wasn’t successful; 100% of success, (all of success) is showing up and then doing your best.
I’m no longer interested in having 80% of success.  I don’t want 4/5 of a house on the beach.  I don’t want relationships that are almost satisfying.  I don’t want to do work or leave a legacy that’s just at the bottom level of good, that’s just a point above average.  I don’t want to meet only 80% of my financial obligations.  I can’t live that way any longer.  I need 100%.  Or more.
And that’s why I show up almost every day with my writing.  That’s why I give 100%.  Purpose requires this.  My Muse doesn’t want me to be good; she wants me to be great.  She wants me to reach my fullest potential. 
We are all meant to reach our fullest potential.  This I believe with all of my heart.  Not everyone will, but everyone can.  If we are serious about reaching our goals, we have to do more than show up – a lot more.