I am a writer.
That’s what I’ve learned from Jeff Goins, along with many other helpful things.
I wrote these words in a journal last summer—drawing a line in the sand. I had been seeking validation from other writers, publishers and the “numbers” to prove that I was indeed a writer, but through Jeff’s words I discovered I already was one; deep breaths for this tightly wound dream chaser.
As you probably know Jeff wrote a new book entitled, The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant To Do. I found it quite helpful in clarifying things as I write and dream (Side note: This book is not just for writers, it’s for all those who want to pursue work that matters).
Last summer I received good advice from smart people about not combining my music with my writing. However, when I was designing this website I felt compelled to include the four aspects of my current God-sized dreams: Writing, Music, Speaking and Photography. It might seem like a divided calling but these four things ebb and flow as I ride the waves of creativity; they complement one another and keep things interesting—at least I think so.
Another friend gave different advice when creating this website, “Just be yourself, don’t get caught up in what everyone else is doing or not doing.” In other words: Be true, be you.
Yes, you should listen to wise counsel, but be careful not to abandon yourself for the sake of gain and acceptance.
Jeff’s book brought affirmation to this website decision in Chapter 6, where he describes the “portfolio life”. This portfolio concept views work as a “complex group of interests, passions, and activities” (The Art of Work, pg 139).
Throughout this book Jeff shares accounts from around the world of those who live(d) their callings. A common thread appeared through these accounts: mistakes were made, they learned to pivot when things didn’t go as expected, they kept going and were true to their convictions.
The Art of Work is interesting, practical and inspiring.
My favorite sections came at the end—so be sure to read it all the way through. In fact, as you will see below, page 167 spoke the loudest to this try-hard woman.
“Sometimes all the little things in life aren’t interruptions to our calling. They are the most important part.” (The Art of Work, pg. 167).
As I write this post little ones are interrupting and I’m not handling it well—not handling their hearts well as I snap and say, “Quiet! I’m trying to work here.” But, as we talked about before, maybe the small things are the most important after all.
“As you endeavor to do something amazing with your life, don’t forget that without people to support your dream, your work will always be incomplete” (The Art of Work, pg. 167).
My husband is gracious. He’s not a writer yet he listens to me proofread my posts out loud night after night. He is a great supporter as I write, sing, speak and photograph, however, he has his limits. When I am out-of-balance and working like a “holic” he gets weary of cheering me on. He grows resentful when all I do is talk about words and pretty much neglect most things for the sake of creative pursuits.
I don’t blame him.
He likes hunting and I support him in it, but one can only handle the play-by-play of the “Big One” so many times. 🙂
“A life filled with achievements and accolades but lacking those people necessary to celebrate those moments is not much of a life at all” (The Art of Work, pg. 167).
Jeff wrote a guest blog post for Sarah Mae that resonated with me, Your Spouse Is Not the Enemy of Your Dream. He also mentioned this concept on page 175-176. He had overlooked the fact that his wife was a big fan of his dreams.
Below are my comments to Jeff’s post:
My husband is my biggest supporter yet when I get out of balance, with my priorities and time, he ever so gently tells me. He was tired of waking up to a cold bed and going to bed alone because I was up writing. We had some hard conversations and I am trying to either get up early or go to bed late, but not both. Although it felt frustrating I appreciated him helping me stay accountable to my bigger dream of a healthy marriage and being a present wife and mom. I believe that as we honor our vows God will bless us with productive time to work on our “dreams” without sacrificing our greater dreams.
“As you strive to achieve your life’s work, be careful of at what costs you chase it. It will be easy to resent those closest to you, to make your biggest supporters your worst enemies” (pg 175 & 176).
Doing what you feel you are meant to do can be exhilarating, but don’t let that work overshadow your “magnum opus”.
Jeff incorporates one of my favorite movies, Mr. Holland’s Opus, into his book. I leave you with this scene from it (click to watch video clip) to sum up the beauty that is found as you “discover what you are meant to do”.
Sometimes our life turns out much differently, yet much fuller, than we ever imagined.
P.S. In honor of Father’s Day I am giving away a copy of The Art of Work. This would make a great gift for your Dad, Husband or Brother or you!
P.P.S. Linking up with Kelly for the #RaRaLinkup.