When I worked at a startup company years ago and things got stressful, my supervisor would wail, “We’re just set up to fail!” She cried real tears once, when it looked like we were going to miss delivering our McDonald’s Kids’ Meal prize on time.
The deadlines were tight and stringent. “We’re set up to fail!”
There was a bug in the system. “We’re set up to fail!”
The art department misunderstood the engineering department. “We’re set up to fail!”
In actuality, she meant, “I’m afraid we’re going to fail!”
In the end, the entire startup did fail. But our department never did, we simply met our goals with a lot of stress. The constant cry of the “sky is falling” unnerved the team. Projects that could have been accomplished with fun and enjoyment were, instead, completed in solemn urgency.
Isn’t this what many people do at work and life? Aren’t a lot of people motivated by fear? Fear of failure, fear of losing money, fear of losing face.
People can be motivated by fun and awe and still get it done.
I’m reading a synopsis of the book Unleash the Warrior Within. It’s written by a former Navy SEAL Michael “Mack” Machowicz. Obviously, he’s quite a self-disciplined, productive individual: host+ producer of Discovery Channel’s “Future Weapons”, author of Develop the Focus, Discipline, Confidence, and Courage You Need to Achieve Unlimited Goals and he possesses multiple black belts in martial arts.
One surprising piece of advice he gives (considering he’s a former Navy SEAL!): pursue your objective at 80%, not 100%. Why? Because you can’t give 100% long-term. You’ll burn out. This made me relieved because that is what I already do.
Naturally, clarity of your life’s ambition will help you get there. But lucidity of your vision will also foster creativity and cultivate resilience. For example, I want to help people (children and adults) feel empowered and be the best they can be through my writing and teaching. I applied for a job that would have helped me reach even more (students) than the 90 I help now. I received a letter of rejection and felt pretty awful. Until…
I realized there are many other ways to achieve my ultimate goal. I’m excited and energized all over again. “Failing” is just another way to readjust your road.
As Robert Frost infamously wrote:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.*
His point: know that there are more ways to get there and whatever you choose, you’ll be just fine.
*from Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Less Traveled”
When I was a young adult, I used to love New Year’s Eve. One of my favorite things to do was to sit on the couch with a pen and my journal and write down my resolutions for the year. It was exciting! A clean slate! A fresh start! I got really excited about the possibilities.
I’d usually actualize half of my resolutions.
In time, I learned that achieving life-changing dreams did not simply hinge on writing them down – although that is an important step. I realized the secret to success: My desires had to be matched by my commitment.
The most important day for your resolutions is not December 31st or January 1st. It’s Jan. 2, 3, 4, 5, and all the days after.
Dream Big. Write It Down. And then work your tail off.
My husband’s birthday is in November – his 50th birthday, so we partied for TWO weekends. And then there’s Thanksgiving. To say it’s been challenging to write is an understatement, what with work, family, and parties…but it’s SUPER FUN!
I’ve set a goal for myself to write a “novella,” (7,500 to 40,000 words) instead of a novel (60,000 to 100,000 words). I wanted to set myself up for success, afterall! So I targeted 25,000 words and averaged it the number of days in November. Here is my excel sheet to monitor daily progress:
on the road, wrote in word
As you can see, I have to write at least 475 more words tonight. So here I go! I hope you are enjoying the process and making progress. Once in awhile, I have to remind myself to HAVE FUN and not stress about the word count or listen to Monkey Mind!