Two weeks ago I was interviewed by a colleague. This was a change for me. As a writer, I’m typically the one questioning others.
As I answered each question about a program or group I’m involved with, her face lit up with astonishment. “I cannot believe you’ve accomplished all that in a year’s time,” she commented. I shook my head like it was no big deal. After our meeting I paused to think about her words.
What had I done this past year?
-I completed a leadership program.
-I started graduate school, after a 15-year break from my undergraduate studies.
-I wrote a children’s book, which is now being illustrated.
-I formed my own networking group that meets monthly on the UWF campus.
-I gave six speeches to meet a goal in my Toastmasters group.
-I appeared on local television three times.
-I helped several groups I care about gain media coverage for their charitable efforts.
-I co-authored an end-of-life-care story with a distinguished university professor.
-I won two different writing contests.
-I had several published articles and editorials that I had pitched on my own terms.
-I celebrated 13 years of marriage and the birthdays of my eight year old and three year old.
Wow, when I laid it all out there like that, I had achieved a great deal! How did I manage all of those tasks? The answer is focus, time without distractions, research, positive peer groups, and self-determination.
I focus on a single aspiration. The goal may change hourly or daily but I keep my razor sharp focus in view. I write down what I hope to accomplish and keep it nearby as a daily important reminder.
Time without Distractions
I force myself to work during set periods without any distractions. I often write in the wee hours of the night while my two kids are sleeping. I spend lunch breaks and weekends to complete graduate school assignments. I set aside time so I can be successful.
I do my homework. I research before I set a meeting, ask a question, and prepare a speech. I ensure the words I use and others say are relative and important. I seek credible sources and don’t just believe the first story or trend I hear.
Positive Peer Groups
I am energized by others’ success. I enjoy belonging to several dynamic groups that each work toward a goal. If I don’t feel the vigor in one crowd, then I leave and start my own network. I regularly seek mentors who I can learn from to enhance my skills.
If peers are not available to be my cheerleaders, then I act as my own # 1 fan. I push myself to get up, do more and keep going. I find inner strength to continue working toward my purpose.
Failures have come and gone in 2015 as well. I went for several opportunities that I did not receive. I did not perform as well on certain projects as I did in others. Yet I find my silver lining. I turned a disappointing outcome into a way to meet a goal, like making my fourth Toastmasters speech on “how to deal with disappointment.”
All the small things I do add up to big results. The outcome will be a long list of accomplishments after repeated, consistent methods. I look forward to increasing my efforts in 2016.