2011/365/016: Focus, Persistence Lead to Action

Time: 20:06

Opening Impressions:

1. Last Friday, when I looked at how busy and hectic this weekend was going to be, my goal was to just get through it, you know? Three days at the farm for horse events, the gymnastics competition in Knoxville, TN, big meetings about programs with critical needs, play dates, and football playoff games. Not only was it going to be an emotional weekend, it was going to be exhausting. To do anything beyond survive these three days was just too much to think about.

Yet, as I write these words on Sunday night, I am thrilled that we’ve survived thus far, and that we have even thrived in several other areas–all related to health and fitness. How was this possible? Focus and persistence.

2. Writing on my blog now for 16 straight days has been pretty effortless, at least in the respect of me having to be a self-nag to get the writing done. I’ve just made up my mind that this is what I am going to do and, lo and behold, I am doing it. The results? Beyond the obvious discipline it is teaching me and the cleansing of my heart, my soul, my feelings on a daily basis, I am taken aback by the impact it is having on my readers. Readers both publicly and privately have shared sentiments and reactions to my daily posts. I am thrilled that so many personal connections are being made, and I wish all of you the best of luck with everything you have already shared with me. I am eternally grateful for your kind words and support.

3. The meeting that I attended yesterday afternoon was about the future of the Maryland Writing Project. I was humbled by the amount of talent that surrounded me–some of the best teachers and educational leaders in the state, all pushing writing across the curriculum. After the meeting, and at some point this morning, we all received an email from our director. In her short-but-powerful note, she spoke eloquently about all of us “showing up” to make a difference. In the meeting, I argued that we need to do more than just show up; we need to follow up with an aggressive action that leads to the Writing Project exceeding our projected financial and professional goals. Barbara’s comment, though, resonates among all of us, simply because we know that the best of all ideas mean nothing if there’s not a plan to put them into action, and if we and others don’t focus and work persistently on carrying out that plan. Once again–there’s your focus and persistence leading to an action destined to promote a healthy resolution.

4. From the Blessings in Disguise Department (or better known as the silver lining in the dark cloud hovering over us), I am grateful that, on New Year’s Day, I got a flat tire about 1/4 mile from the end of the NCR bike trail in Monkton. Today, I picked up two new tires and one new tube. I got the fancy tool that I need to change flat bike tires, and I got the Presta adaptor valve so that I can pump up my new tires (the Presta valve adaptor on the pump has been hurled somewhere across our vastly spacious back yard, thanks in part by my adorable 6-year-old son…).

Where’s the blessing, you may ask? Whenever we ride, my friend T takes care of most of the bicycle work. Not anymore. Here’s my chance at becoming a little autonomous myself and taking care of bicycle business. 🙂 Going to Performance Bicycle also forced me to become a little more independent, where I had to become knowledgeable about (at least) some basics regarding riding.

The Point:

Focus and Persistence: two of our most sought-after character traits that can usually get us through any crisis or hardship. They go hand-in-hand, and it can be as easy as putting one foot in front of the other, and then the other, and then the other.

If it’s so easy, then, why don’t more people use focus and persistence to help them achieve their goals? For many, it could be a fear of success, of what’s on the other side of that focus/persistence paying off. For others, I think they’re just not ready to make the sacrifices they need to make to keep that focus and persistence.

For me, I do whatever I can to squeeze as much life out of every moment. I take inventory at the beginning of the day and figure out how I can do more, and do it in less time. Twenty-four hours (to me) can be stretched to 30, 31 hours in the same 24-hour period. It’s all in what you want, and what you are willing to give up to get it.

This is where simplifying comes into play. When we simplify our lives, our goals are refined, more narrow, clearer to us. As a result, there are fewer decisions we need to make about what direction to take, what to stay focused on, etc.

The point is this: If you want it, here it is: come and get it. It’s yours with a little focus and persistence, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.

Three Other Things That Made My Day:

1. NOT the Jets winning. But no matter how much I detest them, I cannot root for the Steelers to beat them next week. I don’t care who goes to the Super Bowl, as long as the NFC team absolutely destroys them.

2. I spent about 30 minutes re-reading a great narrative about the Appalachian Trail called Mountain Adventure. I don’t want to be a runner or even a cyclist; I want to be a hiker again, like I used to be, and I want to hike the Appalachian Trail again someday.

3. My girls shining in their respective sports. I’m so grateful that both knew what they wanted to do with their lives even before they were two years old. We do our best to get out of their ways and let them lead. We’ll always be close behind, finding the fuel they need to keep their dreams alive.

Journeying Words:

“It’s a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.” ~W. Somerset Maugham

One thought on “2011/365/016: Focus, Persistence Lead to Action

  1. I’m with you on the Jets winning yesterday…ugh! The Patriots looked lethargic and uninterested in winning all day yesterday. I’m not really thrilled with any of the teams that are left in the soon-to-end NFL season. Can’t go so far as rooting for the Jets against the Steelers though, I think I’ll have to go with the Steel Curtain. At this point I too am hoping for an NFC Superbowl winner.

    As you are biking you *might* be interested in this blog that a blog friend’s husband, a bike enthusiast, has started. He is building his own bike.



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