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Some Beats None

I stole the title from a main takeaway idea from the book Start by Jon Acuff. (This isn’t really a book review, but a focus on what I’m thinking about now based on this one idea.) I have to keep reminding myself of these three words of wisdom because I am so often an all or nothing, perfectionist type of person.

Well, if I can’t get it perfect the first time, I just don’t want to do it.

or

I don’t have time to do all of it at once, so I just won’t start it at all.

But… we all have to begin somewhere, right?

I have a huge revolving to do list and I feel like I add more to it than I am ever able to check off.  Accomplishing one thing often leads to more that needs to be done to keep up.  This is because I am a writer getting ready to release a new book, and because I am a bit neurotic.  No, seriously, I feel I must remain busy because I have no “real job” anymore since I left the teaching profession, and I am now always trying to find ways to continue participating in contributing to society.  Otherwise I would feel worthless, and being able to do this was part of the reason I left my job.  It all ties together in one vicious cycle, but I can only keep my sanity if I hold onto the “some beats none” mantra.

I cannot do it all at once, but I can do what I can when I can do it.  You follow? I have learned to break down my to do list with more subcategories so I can still see my progress even if I do not yet see results.  It really helps.

In writing this post, I have already done a little of the some I have on today’s to do list.  One small victory.  Now onto the next!

GOOOOAAAAAALLLLLL!

I have been reading a book called Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job & Your Dream Job by Jon Acuff.  (Ok, so I was reading it, but then I had to quit for a while because my day job was taking up all my dream job time, and I just picked it back up.)

I know you’re asking yourself why in the world a high school English teacher would want to give up all the amazing perks of her job (sometimes sarcasm is hard to read, so I’m letting you know it’s here); the answer is simple: I am becoming exhausted, and I do not want to burn out or become one of those ineffective, jaded teachers who just go through the motions of the job.  For now, I’ve still got this, but the day is coming when I know I just won’t be able to do it with a passion anymore. It’s better to prepare for that now than to wait for the breakdown to happen.

Aside from teaching, there are only a few career paths I ever considered following: writer, singer, M&M quality tester.  I’m too shy to sing in front of anyone and am probably best in the car…alone; I’m not sure where the nearest Mars candy factory is; but writing has always been a passion of mine.  I also have recently discovered a new passion: doing something in the way of creating awareness of or helping survivors of human trafficking.

So in this book I started reading again about an hour ago, Acuff talks about the “plan myth” (all references to this book in this post come from “Chapter 5: Wait on the Main Stage”).  We all think we need a detailed plan in order to become successful, but in reality, we first need passion and practice, and then a plan will sort of develop itself.  I’m a planner, so I think before I read this I was overwhelmed by the fact that I don’t even know how to develop a plan of success for these two passions of mine.  Apparently that’s ok, which is good, because I was trying to develop a plan just to develop a plan (which I would probably then color code…).

Examples: Acuff gave an analogy of a soccer player scoring a goal. He could never predict the exact conditions of the moment of the goal.  Sometimes everything just lines up.  The soccer player had the passion and practice, and the rest worked itself out.  Another analogy was of an extreme skier.  He knew he could only plan about four moves at a time because as he got closer to obstacles/choices, exact predictions would be impossible. To quote Jon Acuff, “The conditions of your dream will change as quickly as that mountain face [reference to the skier analogy]. New opportunities will come into view. Unexpected obstacles will arise.  And while your passion will remain the same, your plan has to be flexible enough to accommodate them.”

I’ve always been a believer in writing down my goals.  I heard or read somewhere that when we write things down, we are more likely to accomplish or achieve whatever it is. So, I guess writing down the final goal and waiting to fill in the details of the journey when we can makes the most sense. Depending on where we write these goals, we may also increase accountability.

This blog is part of my practice for my writing passion.  Not only am I practicing my writing, but I’m also declaring that I will work on getting my adolescent novel published in some form as soon as possible.  I am going on a mission trip to Costa Rica this summer to try to get some practice for my other passion of working with survivors of human trafficking.  My true and ultimate goal is that one day my passions can collide.

One other idea from Acuff’s “Chapter 5: Wait on the Main Stage” is that it’s good to start out invisible while we practice our passions.  It gives us a chance to mess up without pressure.  Now I can continue to practice in this blog and not worry about my small following, which does not even include my own mother, because this is my Nebraska phase (read the book if you want to know what that means).