Thursday, October 25, 2012

Make It Personal

It always makes me feel good when someone tells me they’ve shared The Mess with their friends or when I see they shared a blog post on Facebook.  When I get notifications from Twitter that someone retweeted a link to my writing or suggested that their followers follow me, as well, I admit my confidence gets a big shot in the ego.  The girls are very supportive in helping me promote my writing, but they have careers and dreams of their own to see come true, and are not hired on as my personal managers. 

I try my best to return the favor and some friends make it quite easy to help them.  However, if I’m going to see my dream of being a writer succeed, I can’t count on others.  I have to make it personal.  After all, it’s my dream, not theirs.

One of the first things to understand when chasing after your dream is that you are the one responsible to see it come about.  The accountability resides with you, no one else.  If this is an area you suffer in, then you’re going to have a hard time making it happen.  Personal accountability is a major component when working for yourself.

This was Johnnie’s problem.  He had ambition and ample ideas, good ones even.  He had a dream of what he wanted to do with his life and had a great start. Furthermore, he had people around him who were behind him one hundred percent and helped him get his ideas out of the starting gate.  They assisted him in solidifying his concept and even promoted his idea to those they met.    What they didn’t do, however, was babysit him and that is what he needed.  As soon as everyone was pulled back into their own careers and projects or began helping someone else, Johnnie floundered.  Soon the dream was back to being just a conversation piece.

Being a writer, I can face this problem very easily.  No one is going to fire me if I don’t sit down and put pen to paper.  Well, the girls might, but I think their reaction will be a little more severe.  The truth is no one asks me how many words I accomplished that day, whether I’ve submitted anything lately, or what my next theme on The Mess is going to be.  They’ve given me the opportunity to make this work and now it’s up to me to see it through.

So, the first thing to do is take ownership of your dream.  It’s yours and you’re the one who has to make it a reality.  While outside support is great and should be welcomed, don’t count on it.  Anticipate that you’re the one who will be doing the bulk, if not all, of the work.
Second, make some goals.  When it comes to my writing, I have a certain number of blog posts I want to put up each week as well as words I want to put to paper daily.  While I may shuffle this around to allow time for a day off or those obstacles Life likes to throw in our path, the idea is every day I want to see so much progress.

Third, keep track of your progress.  I keep a journal, which has a section titled, Writing Accomplished.  Every night, I list each project I worked on and what was accomplished with each one.  This way I can see whether I’m on track or slacking.  It helps me to determine if I need to adjust something in my schedule or planning.

The final part, then, becomes the hardest part.  You have to be the one to hold yourself accountable without making excuses for yourself.  If I don’t get my word goal met, I can’t settle in with a good book or turn on the television.  It may mean saying no to going out because my rump needs to be glued to a chair.  I have to be the one to make it happen, because I’m the boss.  So do you.  It’s your dream.

Johnnie blamed everyone and everything for why he kept failing.  The truth was it was his fault.  He didn’t have the discipline to keep himself going when no one was behind him pushing.  For too many, this is why dreams never bear fruit.  The only one responsible for your success is you.  The dream is yours.  Own it and then you can live it.

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