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I laced up my running sneakers, opened the kitchen door and paused. Oh, it’s raining, I thought to myself. I considered other exercise options but none appealed to me. See I enjoy running. It’s efficient, effective and clears my head.
So I asked myself, What’s the worst that could happen?
The answer: I get a little wet.
So off I went for a 3.5 mile jaunt around the neighborhood.
As the mist showered my face and my feet pounded the pavement, I realized: When pursuing any “work” (personal or professional) that is meaningful, the conditions for taking action won’t always be perfect. That might look like…
- Technology failing during a high stakes presentations
- Boss having a bad day
- Client late on payment
- Rain on a morning jog
Closing the door and backing away from those less than ideal conditions moves us further away, not closer to, our goals.
As I continued to jog that misty morning, the following popped into my mind:
Assess the Risk
A jog in the rain has low consequence – get a little wet. Had it been thundering and lightening I would have stayed inside.
What risks are you willing to take in pursuit of meaningful work? When I work with clients I invite them to experiment and try new things. New is scary! “Assess the risk,” I tell them (I don’t want them to lose a client or a job!). Several years ago I attended a workshop for entrepreneurs. They asked us, “What are you willing to lose (money? reputation? clients? time?) in order to gain?”
Starts & Stops
Jogging around my home leads me to traffic light intersections. Sometimes I have to stop and wait for the light to change in my favor. Instead of getting annoyed, I now see these stops as a chance to recharge so I can continue jogging.
Meaningful work can burn us out. There is so much passion involved, we forget that a challenge or break is helpful. We want to keep pushing forward. Time to pause, reflect, and recharge helps us stay in motion without burning out.
Not Everyone Will Appreciate Our Work…Appreciate those who do
When jogging, I have to keep my eyes wide open. Sometimes car drivers don’t look both ways before making a turn. They don’t realize they share the road with walkers/joggers. On occasion, though, there is the driver who sees me, stops and waves me by. That acknowledgement is appreciated.
When pursuing meaningful work, not everyone will understand our desires and efforts. Some may even pull us down instead of lift us up. Let those folks keep you alert not stuck. Build a community of folks who appreciate what you’re trying to achieve and will support your efforts (positively and through feedback).
If there is work you want to do – write a book, start a blog, host an event, give a speech, create a movement – the conditions for taking action may never be perfect. Before closing the door on your dream or vision take time to assess the risk, recharge and refocus, and cultivate your community. In the end, the conditions may actually be just what you need.
Your Turn to Talk to Me
- Do you exercise?
- What’s your favorite activity?
- What are your favorite ways to move through less than ideal conditions in order to achieve your dreams and goals?
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