Friday, August 27, 2010

Time For My Best

I've noticed a recurring theme that's been cropping up in my life over the last week, either in sermons I've heard being preached or conversations I've had with other people. It's a theme that's really encompassed by a question: Am I doing my very best?

Have you ever had someone ask you to do something and you tell them you'll do your very best? I'm wondering how many times we actually mean those words when we say them. When we say we'll do our very best, what are we using as a scale to determine what our very best is? Are we just comparing our efforts to someone else's best? Someone else's worst? Maybe we're considering our best to be anything above average, barely walking the fence between the extraordinary and what's needed to get by.

Over the past couple days, I've taken a very serious look at my writing career and I've asked myself if I've come even close to where I wanted to be when I started doing this full time a year ago. Now I know that we all make goals and sometimes it's just not possible or even probable to reach those goals in the time we specify for ourselves, but at the same time, some progress needs to be made. On top of progress, we should be able to look back and say confidently and honestly that we gave it our very best shot.

If I look back at the last year, I can honestly say I've done a decent job. I am right around the corner from releasing the second novel in my Black Earth series, I'm about to roll out a brand new, made-from-scratch, website design, and I have many more projects in the pipeline to reach some new markets I've never tapped before.

But can I say I gave the last year my very best? I'm not sure how to answer that. The last few months I've felt inspired to start on some new projects, both writing and marketing related, but I haven't really dived into any of them. Why? Procrastination is probably one reason. The other might be because I've been pocketing large quantities of my potential and putting the average on display.

See, when I worked a "9-5" job a year ago, I was putting out 32 hours there, then I was coming home and working another 5-6 hours on writing projects. On top of that, I was being a husband, a friend, and was very careful to make sure that the rest of my life continued to stay within balanced means.

Now I work maybe eight hours a day and call it a great, productive day and then go on with my life. I know some people like to tell me not to be too hard on myself, but I really think it's time to take a serious look at this. If I was able to put out so much effort while I worked a 'real' job, then why am I not able to put out at least the equivalent now?

One important thing I have learned being self-employed is that I am my motivation. I don't have bosses peering over my shoulder to make sure I'm staying on task. I don't have a time card that I have to punch every time I walk into my office and sit down at my desk. I set my own hours, I control the projects I work on, and I determine how much effort I'm going to put in each day. It's up to me.

I want to do my very best. I gave 110% of myself to employers that didn't even appreciate me, so why wouldn't I give at least that to the tasks that God has given me to do? It's an important question, one that I think everyone should be asking themselves.

As for me, I've asked the question and my answer is that it's time for me to turn things up a notch. No more procrastination. No more wallowing in discouragement, allowing the naysayers and circumstances to determine how far I'm going to take all of this. Writing is my life. It's my passion. And it deserves to get all of me. This isn't to say I'm going to burn myself out, but it does mean that I'm going to take things a little more seriously, finish the projects that have been on the back burner for so long now, and take control of this writing career.

Photo Credit - storymary


Jessica Thomas said...

Good thoughts. It's important to stay balanced, which is difficult. Too little work and one becomes stagnant. Too much = burn out.

I wish you well. I'm sending you motivated thoughts. :)

Unknown said...

Thanks, Jessica! I appreciate your encouragement. :)