Article by Wendy McCance
I am picturing myself swimming in the ocean. There is a boat I am trying to swim to. It’s out a ways and I am determined to swim to the boat, jump on and feel the satisfaction of getting there. Once I’m on the boat, safe and sound, I will sit back, have a drink and enjoy the fact that I made it.
In this daydream I am having, I imagine that the waves are rough. Swimming to the boat is, quite frankly a little scary and a daunting task. I am a strong swimmer and I know how to swim in those waves to get to the boat-at least I thought I knew how.
I can feel myself making progress and then, without warning, I see that I am being pushed back towards shore. Essentially I feel like I am spinning my wheels. Should I just give up and head to shore? Should I ask for some advice on how to get to that boat? Maybe I should slow down for a minute and reevaluate what isn’t working and then try again.
This is how it feels to carve out a career as a writer. You get some big breaks and make progress. You can see the boat coming closer to you, but you are suddenly swept back towards shore. It’s a challenge to stay above water, to not give up or get tired out. There has to be another way to get towards your goal.
I have had an appreciation journal for over a year. I remember how the smallest details used to thrill me. Hell, they’d make my day. I might have written that I had broken the 100 follower mark on my blog or I got a valuable connection on Twitter. Everything was exciting and new and everything I did seemed to gain speed so quickly.
If I saw into the future back then and was able to see how I have progressed, I would have opened a bottle of champagne and celebrated. That’s the sad thing about making progress. At some point it takes much more to impress me. The simplest things don’t register on my radar anymore. In the bigger picture, each little step is crucial to the final outcome. I should enjoy the ride more and recognize the leaps and bounds I have made.
Instead, I feel impatient. Haven’t I put in the hard work for quite a while now? Where is the steady flow of income that I am hoping makes me feel too busy to take on another assignment? Am I still charting the right path or have I gone off course a bit? These are the type of questions I ask myself to keep me grounded.
I have often heard that there comes a time when people expect to see the big success. If they aren’t moving as fast as they had hoped, they give up on the whole idea. I can’t understand why someone would throw in the towel when things get complicated or seem like you have hit a brick wall. This is the when you should celebrate. Honestly, this is the moment you are half way there.
Think about it. You have worked hard and used up all of your creativity to get where you are. If you can step back, analyze where you want to be and make a plan on how to get there, many more moments that will thrill you will begin to come your way. You will have a deeper appreciation for yourself because you are a survivor. You don’t give up because you know you are destined for something great.
Sometimes you need to rethink your strategy. Do some reading, talk with friends, watch an inspirational movie, by all means allow yourself to relax and stimulate your mind so that you can recreate and move on to the next level.
If you read about any successful person admired by many, you will find out it took years to make the major dent that they were looking for. perseverance is the name of the game. Challenge yourself and realize that if you are passionate about what you are doing, the success will follow. It can’t be forced. It is a gradual development that happens so quietly that if you blink, you will miss the signs of progress.
Next time you hit the wall, picture swimming in the waves. Think about that boat you want to get to. Chart a course with the best method to achieve that goal. Never give up. Realize that when you finally make it on that boat, you will have fulfilled something tremendous. You will have succeeded.
To contact Wendy McCance about a writing assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]
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