I know it’s been a while since my last post and this issue has been much on my mind. The good part is that I have come to a realization…now all I have to do is act on it and keep up the practice. Let me explain.
Our house was stuffed to the rafters this past holiday (US Thanksgiving), with family, the dog and a few friends who could sense the chaos and were drawn like moths to a flame. It was bedlam; it was loud, there were teenage angst and attitude in abundance (have you ever met an Italian who couldn’t turn a hangnail into a three-act opera? Well, add a three teenagers and let ferment for 13 years), but there was also an aura of unconditional love and acceptance encapsulating the whole loud, sticky disorganized mess; I was in my Glory.
Amid this atmosphere of familial chaos, I started to consider topics for the next blog. Of course, because of the Thanksgiving holiday, I could have taken the obvious path and written about gratitude for the abundance in our lives, even if it is just gratitude for life itself. Another thread presenting itself for consideration was the need for more mindful civility in our daily activities, especially heading into the Holiday season. So, I’m thinking to myself, “Great, I have two blogs in the bank. All I need to do is write the darn things.” However, with other writing commitments, speaking engagements that must be prepared for, a journal article coming due, my obligation to my clients and the kids at the Juvenile Center, I realized that a blog would be much more easily said than done.
Which brings me to the topic of today’s epistle; I came to the uncomfortable and semi-embarrassing realization that I had allowed my ambition and desire to please to extend just beyond my reach. I came to realize that I had agreed to deadlines and commitments for which there simply are not enough hours in the day.
Then, all this gas I have been pushing at you all these years came back to me. I realized that I was in a hole of my own construction, with good intentions to be sure, but a hole none the less. Ok; the first rule; when you find yourself in a hole, put down the shovel and stop digging. I therefore reluctantly and apologetically declined two projects at least until the start of the New Year.
Next, I assessed my current obligations and prioritized them according to deadline and word-count (writers don’t do pages, chapters or paragraphs, we’re all about the word-count). Downing a double helping of humble, I contacted those expecting deliverables from me and explained that I had allowed my reach to exceed my grasp and that I needed extensions on those projects where possible and a hard deadline for those items that are not negotiable.
This demonstrates one of my major points. Life is constantly presenting us with what seems like, often insurmountable problems. At these times I feel like, “Holy S**t, I am so screwed. I’ll never get through this”… until I do. I have come to appreciate that when such situations arise, we then have the choice to quit and just sit and look at the obstacle and wonder what life would be like on the other side, or to find a way over, under, around or through the obstacle.
When presented with unexpected circumstances we can either view them as problems or as opportunities for growth. Does that mean that taking on the challenge will mean you automatically win? Nope. In fact, if it’s the first time you have encountered the problem you really have a slightly better than 60% chance of resolving it the first time; meaning you’ll fail slightly less often than you succeed. But, even failure is a learning opportunity. Fail and you have learned valuable lessons regarding the situation and what doesn’t work. Move on to the next probable solution and try again. It doesn’t become an ‘official’ failure unless and until you finally quit.
The punch-line to the story is that I renegotiated extended deadlines on most projects and firmed up my commitment to projects that just can’t wait. I’m still eating an elephant, but I now have a workable plan to eat that sucker one bite at a time. Pass the salt.
A humorous aside; I contacted one client for whom I am ghosting an article to get feedback on the draft that I had sent them the day before. The response I got was, ”Fantastic stuff! I need you to add 500 words to section two.” My response, “No problem. Send me the 500 words you want to be included and I’ll see what I can do.” The final response from the client, “On second thought, it looks great. Don’t change a thing.” Indeed!!
So my Hypnolings, you can keep digging and hope you’ll break through to the other side, or you can sit in the hole, or you can carve hand and foot-holds in the walls and climb out of the hole and continue down your path of life. Because after all,
The Choice is Always Yours