“The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.”
There are so many times when I avoid or delay writing because I have no idea what I want to say. So I avoid writing, like someone waiting until the last minute to go to work. Finally, I can’t stand it anymore, or I remember the answer, or I give up and sit down. All three forms of surrender lead to the same thing, the solution that presents itself every time: Get Started.
That’s the answer every time.
With all the writing I’ve done, with all the work that anyone has done, that so many have done, it’s always the same answer: Get Started. Then something will happen. Something always does. I’ve rarely seen it fail. Yes, there have been those times when I can’t seem to string two coherent thoughts together (and that’s why I have to Keep Going), but 99.9% of the time if I just sit down and do my work, then something happens. This almost never fails. In The War of Art, Steven Pressfield says,
This is the other secret that real artists know and wannabe writers don’t. When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete.”
So here I am sitting down and doing my work. As I work I realize that perhaps I’m not writing anything new. This might even be a rehash of previous blogs. Then I remember another quote by Pressfield. He says, “Is it any good? I don’t care.”
That’s a very freeing idea. It’s not that I want to do something poorly. I just want to do something. In my job, there are days when my work is better than others. Some days I’m a good parent. Other days, not so much. The trick, once we find our Purpose, is to just show up every day, even when I don’t want to.
Once I had a job working at a middle school. My first day was horrible. My second day was a little better, but not much. It was the same for the third and fourth day. On the fifth day, standing in the parking lot, feeling completely discouraged, I looked at my cell phone and considered calling in sick. I felt incompetent and useless. I held my phone in my hand for about 30 seconds. Then I put it in my pocket and trudged to the classroom. That day everything turned around. I made the connection with the students and from that point on I had very few problems.
Maybe today is the day things turn around. Maybe today will make a difference. Or maybe it won’t. But I won’t know unless I show up. And if I show up, then ultimately it will make a difference.
So if today’s blog is nothing new or different or original – so what? I showed up. I got started and I kept going. Over the long run, this work gets me one step closer to my goal (1,000 blogs written by the end of the year). This makes a difference. Every time I show up, good day or bad, failure or success, as long as I’m in my Purpose, this makes a difference. William Feather said, “Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.”
But I think success is also a matter of hanging on when I want to let go. It’s hanging on when I feel like I have nothing to hang on to – no ideas, rejection by family or friends, not knowing what to do – I hang on.
I Get Started and I Keep Going.