The Little Things

“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.”

– Colin Powell

Much like the guidelines for a satisfying life, the prevailing attitude with which we approach life tells others a lot about us, about who really are as people.

When we write we do this with our characters, but sometimes fail to recognize the behavior in our daily lives.

Tell me, how do you approach your day?  Do you wake up before the alarm goes off?  Do you lie there for just a minute or two, grateful for the opportunity of another day? Is this another chance to do things right, to start fresh?

If we practice excellence to excess, we delight in doing the best job we can whenever we complete a task.  In other words, we take pride in our work and revel in a job well done no matter how small, or seemingly menial the task seems to others.  For people like us, it’s a matter of pride.

I take pride in making the time to do the smallest job right.

Some days it seems to me, this attitude of approaching everything you do with equal importance is a lost art;  the little things can often be delegated to others with more time and less important claims on their time and attention.  But is that really true?

Just because some one else has less demands on their hours, is their time less valuable?

I don’t think so.  We all get the same twenty-four each and every day,.  It’s true, you decide how to spend yours and I am in charge of how my time is spent, but whose time is more valuable?

I think the person who spends wisely, with little or no regret, is the true winner.

So, what I spend my time on will be the pursuit of excellence, even in the smallest of things.

How about you?

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All I Want For Christmas…is to Believe

The season of giving is upon us. Like most, I’ve done my shopping and have wrapped at least ¾ of my presents. I’ve gotten everyone taken care of for the New Year.

Everyone that is, but myself.

I realized I haven’t given me a gift, a true gift, in a very long time. Like many of us, I forget about me and focus all on my family.

I often joke to friends about wanting an editor for Christmas. And while that gift would be lovely, it is unrealistic. I need to earn an editor, not be gifted one.

So this year I’ve decided to give myself a gift. The gift of believing in me.

Believing I can succeed as a writer.

The reflection that I have been short-changing myself came while I was out shopping yesterday. I stumbled upon a sign that read, “Believe in yourself and others will follow”.

My hands instantly sought the decorative plague as I swallowed the bubble that rose in my throat. Was there more truth in this little saying than I have ever given myself? While I struggle with doubt and sometimes depression I knew if I didn’t buy this omen and follow it, I’d be making a huge mistake.

Even now as I stare up into the symbol of a star in the left corner of the picture, I can visualize my success.

I am capable, worthy, and ready for a career as a writer.

For years I have learned craft, poured over research late into the night while I’ve read how-to-books and studied what I should do to write a bestseller. I’ve drunk hundreds of gallons of coffee while I wrote my memories, thoughts, quirks and passion into my works in progress.

And yet, I have only entered one contest, pitched one teensy project, don’t function in any active critique group and don’t submit to any agents or editors. My mind shouts I’m not ready. That I’m not good enough-will never be good enough-while my hands type word after word because I love to write.

My actions haven’t been in sync with my spirited words.

All of that is going to change in 2012.

My journey to success has begun.

I believe.