“My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.”
― Jack Kerouac (pictured above)
Habit number two in Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People- “begin with the end in mind”-explains that effective people plan their actions according to where they want to end up. I have yet to meet an aspiring author who does not know where they want to end up, but I have met many who do not have an appreciation for where they stand before they ever decide to take the journey toward becoming an author.
How can you reach your destination if you don’t understand your starting point?
What does it mean to “know where you stand”?
Be honest with yourself about your motivation for publishing-or for doing anything else for that matter.
If you are doing it to impress or satisfy someone else, you are setting yourself up for disappointment and unnecessary stress.
If you are doing it because of a personal conviction, you are setting yourself up to be able to persevere through any storm.
Once you know what motivates you and drives your passion, you have a better chance of controlling them instead of letting your passion control you and lead you to failure.
Why does it matter?
The best metaphor I can think of for this situation is this-think of a traveler who has a map with a bold pinpoint identifying their destination but a softball-sized circle identifying where they are at the moment. How will they find their way?
Often the result is that their passion will drive them to taking any action that seems probable at the moment only to find that the outcome rarely leads to the desired destination. In the worse case scenarios, the author begins to suffer the consequences of a dream deferred and give up on their dreams all together. In these situations, we all lose by not being able to benefit from the author’s insights.
So how do you avoid these pitfalls and become aware of where you stand?
My pastor once said that “only a maker of a thing can determine its purpose.” And as a Christian, I believe that God designed me. The pages of the Bible tell me that he chose me and endowed me with special gifts. The more time I spend in prayer conversations with God, the more I learn about what He put in me to offer other people. The more I use my gifts to serve other people, the more I understand my role and connection as a woman living in this moment of time in this specific place where I stand.
In other words, my connection to the people and world around me helps me understand where I stand. Their reaction to me and my reaction to them defines and shapes my every move. When I use this knowledge to clearly mark where I stand on the map that represents my life plan, and then I find the pinpoint that identifies where I want to go, it is much easier for me to identify the roads of opportunity that are best suited for me.
The real question is, how do YOU become aware of where you stand?
Image of Jack Kerouac by: Tom Palumbo from New York, NY, USA (Jack Kerouac) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons