An Aha Moment
While doing my second workout of the week, it hit me like a ton of bricks. For the first time, I was making a commitment to myself and accepting no excuses. The first time ever! Up to this point, I’ve been what John Assaraf would call “interested” but not “committed”. In other words, I was unwilling to do whatever it took to achieve my goals including accepting no excuses! And yet, when I speak with people who are so incredibly driven, so “on” all the time, I know that’s not me. Which makes me wonder, do we commit in different ways depending on our personality and experience? Am I less committed than someone else because I insist on making time for recreation? (and don’t confuse visits to the gym with recreation unless that truly is where you engage in social activities).
I’ll explore that further as this post progresses, but for now, let’s move on.
What Determines How and When We Commit to Ourselves?
The first question I had to ask was Why did it take me so long to make a commitment to my own well-being?
The obvious answer is I wasn’t ready. I spent many years with more commitments than I could handle just to stay solvent and reasonably healthy. As a single parent working one full-time job with a bit of work from my own business on the side, there were years when I couldn’t even find time for recreation, much less find the energy to laser focus on what I wanted to be when I grew up. Making ends meet or at least minimizing the gap between income and outflow was all I could manage.
Sure, there are people like JK Rowlings who managed to do it all and more, and I have the utmost respect for women who raised their kids alone like I did and managed to build a thriving business of some kind. I can’t even imagine the sacrifices they made in order to do so. But that was their path, and they figured it out much earlier than I have.
Determining Our Worth
The reality of the time, effort and sacrifice required to hack out your own path can be overwhelming at best. Often it’s easier to just choose the path of least resistance.
Maybe that’s why many of us find it easier simply to work for someone else all our lives, collecting a paycheck rather than building our own business. Working for someone else, we’re never fully committed, balls to the wall, all in, firing on all eight cylinders. We simply do what must to earn our paycheck (some less than others). Only on occasion are we fully committed to the job, giving it our all. Typically it’s in response to some sort of surge in the workload, a business change, or a special project. When it’s over we go back to our normal patterns, giving just as much as we need to. Often, we measure the amount of commitment we give our job by the monetary compensation we receive. In our minds, consciously or not, we determine how valuable we are and what an hour of our time is truly worth.
How often do you see co-workers who give less than an hour’s work for an hour’s pay? How often have you done so yourself? I’m willing to bet that either consciously or unconsciously, it’s the result of feeling under compensated. It doesn’t matter whether the market agrees or not. Your own perception drives your effort.
What Price, Commitment? Are We Worth the Sacrifice?
Yet the people who founded the company you work for, whether the company is large or small today had a vision. They focused their efforts to achieve that vision because they were committed to it.
I’m learning it’s a laser focused commitment which causes our dreams to manifest (with thanks to John Assaraf for the term). Until we are truly ready to focus ourselves…our entire selves on what makes our heart sing, our song will be half-hearted at best and more often than not, discordant.
Our focus really starts when we commit to seemingly unrelated things: our health and wellness, de-cluttering our space, helping others. We have to find our balance first because once we start moving towards our dreams and the momentum gets going we won’t have time to set any more habits. What’s already in place has to set a firm foundation from which we launch ourselves into the stratosphere.
Determining Our Willingness to Commit in Our Own Time and Manner
It frustrates me that it took so long to figure this out. It frustrates me even more to think I believed for so long that to get ahead you had to be a workaholic, giving up anything and everything non-business related. As I see it now, nothing could be further from the truth! Without balance, no matter how committed you might be to your vision, you will burn out. How the burn-out manifests is unique to you, but it will happen.
I realize I’ve answered my own question. I’ve been gathering the bricks with which to build my foundation all this time. I didn’t know it any more than I knew what dream I’d pursue or how the pieces would fit together. I just needed to stay a course I didn’t know existed until now. Will it be my final direction? Probably not. Instead it will open my mind to new possibilities I might not even see until I travel a few more miles down this road.
The bricks in my storehouse are different from those other people gather. My foundation and it’s composition are unique to me. In my case, it’s a home of my own with a herd of cats. It’s a stocked freezer so I won’t need to do a lot of cooking or meal planning for awhile. It’s three unfinished novels, a children’s book, and a memoir. And it’s a driving need to learn new things. What I lacked up to now was tenacity.
One Direction or Many? It’s Up to You!
I started novels and never finished fine-tuning them. I started several courses, dozens of books, and various avenues for my business, but never let them come to term. Some died on the vine because I knew they were the wrong direction for me. Others fell by the wayside because I just wasn’t ready to put in the necessary effort. In short, I lacked that laser focus because I hadn’t figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up. Or more importantly, I thought I had to choose only one thing. Balderdash and poppycock! Where does it say we can only have one passion, one direction, one item in our career toy box?
You don’t eat one potato chip or one piece of popcorn. Why do only one thing? For someone like me, doing only one thing forever more is equivalent to putting me in a straight jacket and locking me in a padded room. I’d go bat-shit crazy in a matter of days. (Anyone who reads my posts on a regular basis knows I can’t even stay on a single subject, much less a single task for the space of 1000 words!) I actually crave the variety of writing for awhile, then doing something more analytical like accounting or editing. It keeps my brain sharp, and at my advanced age a sharp brain is a happy brain. (removing tongue from cheek now)
My Commitment Looks Different From Yours. So What?
In short, what looks like commitment to some people, looks completely different for me. I am not up at the crack of dawn getting my workout in so I can be all business by 7 AM. My day starts around 8:30 with visits to the gym coming anywhere from mid-morning to mid-afternoon. I do have a single day during the week when I run all of my errands and get in one of my thrice weekly workouts. I do dance at least three nights a week.
But I can also be found writing or doing client work into the wee hours of the morning because that’s when my mind functions best.
You also won’t find me doing a lot of face-to-face networking, at least not in an official capacity. Networking groups have never worked well for me. I don’t have the killer instinct so many of the members have. They are there to sell, and use all sorts of techniques to do so. I’d rather persuade gently. Here’s what I can offer. What are your pain points? I would love the chance to help you thrive by taking the things you hate to do off your plate. I simply function best by phone or Skype. Don’t ask me to get all gussied up to listen to everyone’s elevator speech. My ADD will send me screaming from the room in short order.
Does that mean I can’t laser focus on a few things I do well, or would love to learn to do well? Not at all. It means I just need to find ways to communicate and find people who need my services in ways unique to me. It’s taken me this long to figure out what I love to do and that it has to be a variety of things rather than a single skill. From here, I will commit to improving myself.
Committing to Mind, Body, Spirit, and Passion
My commitment will continue to include physical improvements like food choices, gym visits, and other physical activities. It will also include mental activities like learning more about writing, publishing, editing, and anything else writing related. But the learning won’t stop there. I’ve discovered a love for a few other areas and am compiling the resources to improve my skills there as well. Finding a few people to practice those skills on at a nominal fee will be the next focus; the next commitment.
Just putting all this down is incredibly energizing, and it even fulfills one of my commitments; to write at least three blog posts a week! That’s the easy part as ideas have been flowing so rapidly since I started going to the gym three times a week. Further proof that commitment to physical well-being supports mental commitments well.
What Do Your Commitments Look Like?
Are you fully committed to yourself? What was your turning point? What inspires you to be the very best you possible? How do you balance work, home, body, mind and spirit? I’d love to hear about what drives you, and what makes you want to scream with frustration.
It All Begins and Ends With Gratitude
My gratitudes today are:
- I am grateful I found my bliss.
- I am grateful I finally learned my own particular version of laser focused commitment to self.
- I am grateful for examples of commitment even if they are different from mine.
- I am grateful for opportunities to practice the skills I want to excel at.
- I am grateful for abundance; opportunities, encouragement, lessons, challenges, tenacity, free-flowing ideas, friends, balance, life, love, joy, happiness, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.
I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!