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Posts Tagged ‘persistence’

Don’t Stop

Justin is an intern that just started working at Jim’s Gym.  It certainly hasn’t taken him long to jump into the swing of things.  He counts for us (drat!), he helps us do exercises correctly, and he is following his mentor in offering “Jim-isms.”

“You’re only going 11.0 on the stationary bike?  That’s slow!”  Justin, here’s the thing.  You are a really nice guy and I’m happy for you that you are almost done with school and everything.  I like you, but having two of you at the gym makes me feel like we have Jim in stereo version.  Besides, don’t you know that speed is over-rated?  Becky, my gym classmate and now my friend, brought me this quote on Friday because she knew I would like it.  I should have showed it to Justin when he told me to go faster on the bike.

It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.  -confucius

Thanks, Becky!  It’s so true – and since Confucius said it, the advice has clearly stood the test of time.  Although maybe I should cross out that “do not stop” part – I do tend to take a break here and there in the middle of a set of exercises to catch my breath or rest my tired muscles.  But in general, we all persist pretty well.  I’m working on the not stopping part.  I think I’m pretty good at it when it comes to life but I want to be better at not stopping at the gym.  Slow and steady…with only a few breaks here and there.

See you on Monday, Justin!

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It Doesn’t Hurt to Try

Back in September our nurses at the Reproductive Care Center called us.  They had just met with the rep for Ferring Pharmaceuticals and had an offer for us.  Ferring was sponsoring an essay contest for those who had used their drug during IVF and were successful in getting a baby.  The nurses, after months of treatments and doctor appointments, were now our friends and thought of us for this contest.

I ended up putting it off until the day it was due a month later and was under the gun to try and write an essay as well as get my doctor’s signature that the information was accurate, gather photos that they needed, blah, blah, blah.  It seemed like a lot to do and I considered just ignoring the whole thing.

Then I realized that I could piggyback off my blog writings – why start from scratch when I had plenty right here at my fingertips!  I sifted through a few key blog posts that reflected what I wanted to say about our invitro process and pieced together what I wanted for my essay.  Our Reproductive Care nurses were fabulous enough to get the right paperwork faxed back to me in the middle of all the other things they had to do that day.  With photos chosen and package compiled, we sent our entry to Ferring just in time.

A few weeks ago we received a Fed Ex letter saying that I had won the essay contest and I just received an email saying that the prize, a $3,000 scholarship for Coleman, had been transferred to his education fund.  We were so excited and I admit, I am very proud of myself for winning.  But it still kind of amazes me that I almost didn’t even try.  Things were busy, there were quite a few steps to follow to enter the contest, I was probably feeling like a regular tired mom that day – and I almost just ignored the opportunity in favor of a nap.

When my niece, Brynne was in junior high she ran for student council every year.  Every year she lost.  Her sophomore year of high school she ran for junior class officer.  Worried that she might be setting herself up for more disappointment, my sister asked her daughter, “What if you don’t win?”  Brynne said, “Mom, I already know what it feels like to lose.  I’d like to see if I can win.”

Brynne - beautiful on the inside and out

That year, after four years of trying, she won.  She won the next year also and had a fabulous experience planning, leading, learning, making friends, and doing all the things that student officers experience.  But what if she had given up?  Watching Brynne taught me a lesson that I still think of often.  Even if you don’t win, it doesn’t hurt to try.

It’s almost the beginning of a new year – now is the time for a fresh start, don’t you think?  Afterall, it doesn’t hurt to try.

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I’m a planner.   So I woke up this morning before my alarm went off.  I was thinking.  I have a dilemma.

We’re having this baby in February.  I work from home.  Which is great in itself.  In fact I feel very blessed to be in a position to work from home.  My problem is that my work revolves around deadlines.  Every company I work for has different goals and products that they want to get out and I manage my time based on what is due when.

I’m trying to get prepared – work-wise – for this baby.  The advice I received from Heidi Swapp a few months ago, from one designer to another, was to make sure I paused once the baby was born to enjoy him.  Even though I am my own boss, she said she wished she had taken more time away from work to enjoy those first few weeks especially.

Because we are doing the year long workshop at Big Picture Scrapbooking, it involves developing a great deal of content each month.  And to make sure that the site is ready each month, I have to have content finished at least three months in advance all year. For example – January is due in two weeks, February is due by the end of October, etc.

Needless to say, I woke up feeling just a little overwhelmed.  No wait…I had a much more realistic look at it than just overwhelmed – I really wonder if I can do it.  This is a classic case of knowing that if I prepare myself in advance then I will be much, much happier later – but how do I get myself prepared?  How do I tackle this set of tasks that seems a mile long over the next six months?

Here’s what I came up with while I was thinking it through in the morning’s early hours.  I’ve decided that it’s a good set of 8 steps for anyone trying to tackle something big.

1. Make a Calendar List of Everything and When It’s Due. I have to get my due dates on paper so I know where I’m headed.  I’m going to create a master calendar today and put everything on there until the end of January – no due dates in February to worry about except the most important one!

2. Break It Down. Once I know my due dates, I will break down each one into smaller tasks.  Those will go on my calendar as well so I know week by week what has to get accomplished in order to chip away at the large deadlines.  This also helps me organize the different companies I work for – I do best when I work on one project (such as the next $1 stamp set for Michaels), finish it then move onto the next task.  I have to have a certain amount of time dedicated to each task to do that.

3. Gather Supplies. This applies to BPS – I will need to have project supplies on hand to accomplish each task so I don’t waste time waiting for things to come in the mail or heading to the scrapbook store every other day.

4. Get to Work. I know that I can organize till I’m blue in the face but it still won’t get the job done.  I have to stay focused and get to work.  If I put something off it will only make things harder to make up the next week.

5. Give Yourself Rewards. To keep myself from getting crabby, I will give myself rewards.  If I accomplish one set of tasks then I get to go read a book or take the weekend off or spend the day with my sister…whatever comes up that I want to do that week.  Something to work for instead of just the never-ending task list.

6. Adapt. Does anything ever go the exact way we think it will?  Of course not.  In that case, I am promising myself right now that I will choose flexibility instead of freaking out when bumps in the road come and I have to adjust my calendar to adapt to them.

7. Don’t Forget to Love the Moment. I think I’ve gotten better at this over the years.  Even when I’m working hard I can still love what I’m doing and pause for moments here and there to chat with Jason or play Rock Band with him or call a friend.  My experience will be more enriching if I embrace moments intermingled with the tasks.

8. Just Do Your Best. Discouragement paralyzes creativity so I have to remain positive about how I am doing.  This is a mental control thing – I’ll pause, take a deep breath, and try to let go of those feelings of frustration and negativity, and focus on what I’m doing well.

Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.         -Charles Mingus

Does anyone else have a plan to get something done?

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