In my work and life I choose stretch goals that I’m really committed to. That is how I learn and not just grow, but leap. Stretch meaning daring, wildly ambitious objectives that are inherently, extremely challenging and require a new and different approach to bring them within reach.
For instance, I’m committed now to writing a book. I’ve given myself through 2022 to complete it.
If you’re wondering why that time period, in my mind I’m going from zero to stretch, which seems daunting and scary.
I’ve never written a book. I’ve written thousands of business communications, newsletters, blog posts, letters, thoughtful emails, relationship building notes, etc.
But I’ve never written a book.
Let alone a book that I want to be proud of. A book that is important.
A book that gives tremendous value to the reader and fully expresses my “Big Idea”.
And I’d love for that book to be a New York Times Bestseller. (That’s my ego speaking, but I do love The New York Times!)
So, the stretch for me is to declare and commit to writing a New York Times Bestseller book, that adds tremendous value to other peoples’ lives and is completed by the end of 2022.
I’ll share a secret. I’ve thought about this for years. Without commitment. And here’s what happened.
Thinking is good but thinking without action, it accomplishes nothing.
Nor does your inner critic.
What do I want to write about? Where do I start? How do I do this? Can I do this? Am I capable of doing this?
You know, that mean inner voice that seeks to keep you out of danger but puts you down in the process. Your inner critic.
And that also leads to NOWHERE.
So finally, I figured out what I must do, like every other major goal I’ve ever achieved:
Know in my heart that I really want to do it.
Make the actual decision to do it.
Hire any help I may need to do it (like a book coach or editor).
Endeavor to make it New York Times worthy.
And then get it done.
Okay, so my path forward is now clear, but it’s still a HUGE Stretch.
So, I want to break it down even further. What will actually put the stretch within reach.
Twyla Tharp, one of America’s most prolific choreographers, wrote in her book The Creative Habit, that she gets up at 5:30 am every morning, throws on her sweats, hops in a cab, and heads to the gym for a 2-hour workout. She’s done this every single day of her adult life.
She explains that in her lifetime of creating brilliant, original work, her habit is not the gym practice, which is what you would think because of her profession.
Her creative habit is actually hopping in the taxi. It’s this habit, this consistent practice that sets the stage for her commitment. Because she knows if she does this, she will follow-through with her gym practice AND she will be primed to create her masterpieces for the stage.
Now that’s brilliant! That makes sense. That really puts the stretch within reach!
Anne Lamott, famous American author, also wrote in her book on writing, Bird By Bird, that what’s important is the act of sitting every day, at whatever time you deem, for however long you commit, to just do it. With no expectations. To get through writer’s block or overwhelm or anything else, just sit and put words to a page. She uses a metaphor of a 2-inch frame. When we think we’re stuck and have nothing to say, just imagine you only need to come up with words to fill a 2-inch frame. It’s a start, it’s a step, it’s not a masterpiece.
That’s also brilliant!
In both cases if you think about it, what we’re talking about is the Minimum Viable Commitment.
Now the minimum viable commitment doesn’t sound sexy or like we’re really invested in anything. But it works!
For me, I know that I will only be 100% accountable to myself, if I create a space where there are others showing up at my invitation. If someone else is counting on me, I will be there. No questions asked. No excuses, distractions or unproductive feelings will interfere. No matter what, I will be there.
So I’ve formed a daily Writing Circle and invited others who I also know are interested in writing to join me on Zoom at 6 AM EST. We just wave and write. We don’t talk. I don’t coach or consult. It’s just a space I’ve created to not only support myself but others who appreciate the benefit of the action and space.
This is my minimum viable commitment. Because I know if I do this… I will write that book.
If you think you have a book in you and would like to join us for our wake-up Writing Circle, please reply to this email and share a little about your project or intention.
I’ll get back to you with further details.
Whether you have a book in you and want to join us, or if your thing is not a book and you want to accomplish it, I invite you to find a process that will get you to the finish line.
Quote of the Week
Life is a process not an accomplishment.
With heart and brilliance,