Last updated on April 2nd, 2012 at 12:50 pm
His best friend leaned in to him, “Your mom is here. I saw her in the stands.” He doesn’t look up right away – not wanting his friends on the high school football team to see his excitement. “Dude, your mom’s here,” another player shouts as he runs by. He still doesn’t turn around, even though his heart is racing. His mother finally made it to one of his football games.
“Hey, your grandma’s here too – sittin’ next to her!” another boy shouts. It’s at this point he can’t take it anymore – he turns his head to look up into the stands. He spots his mother sitting with his grandmother. She’s in bright red – the colors of the team – with a 49r jacket hanging from the back of the bleachers so she will be easy for him to spot. “B. Cox, it’s going to be a good night tonight – I can feel it!” his best friend on the team yells as he slaps him on the shoulder pads. “Yeah, I think so too!” Brian would be heard saying as he runs out on the field for the first play of the game.
“First tackle of the game Brian Cox!” I hear the broadcaster say as I lean in to hug my mother at the start of my sons football game.
Unbeknown to me, my son had been missing me at his football games, so much so, that he had shared this fact with his friends . . . but not me.
Sometimes the life of a dreamer can slap you upside the head.
You see, I’ve spent the last 12 Friday nights putting together the Find Your Dream e-book. I could justify this (to myself) and say that all his football games were out of town, which brought up transportation issues and leaving work early issues, but the truth be told those Friday nights were the only opportunity I had to be alone, and I needed to be alone to finish my e-book.
Brian has told me all the long that it was okay to miss his games to finish the book. He wanted to say his mother finished a book that is published online. But each Friday night when he’d arrive home after loosing a game and being yelled at by coaches, I could tell that he was thinking it was all going wrong because I wasn’t there. I knew this so I pushed harder to finish the book.
On our ride home Friday night Brian told me the story outlined at the start of this post – of how he knew I was in the stands –
“Did you really miss me at your games Boobello?”
“Yes mom. I did. Everything is better when you are around.”
“But sweetie you told me it was okay.”
“I know . . .”
“Why didn’t you tell me it wasn’t?”
“I wanted you to finish your book.”
Please pull the knife out of my heart.
The Good, bad and the ugly of dreaming big . . .
I share this story because I promised you readers of 8 Women Dream that we would share the good, bad and the ugly of dream achievement. There is a saying, no success without sacrifice. This is especially true in the land of dreams; be it time not spent with those you love or time not spent doing other things you love – there’s sacrifice.
Every now and then we have to stop and get off the Hamster sacrifice wheel and check in with the people we love. It’s good to push away from our table of goals and allow our bodies and minds to rest.
Whenever I am at this place of overwork, exhaustion, and dream sacrifice bite-me-in-my-butt place, I pause to reflect on the ideas of those who have successfully survived to the point of the type of success that I want to emulate. To quote best-selling author Seth Godin, “The problem with putting it all on the line is that it might not work out. The problem with not putting it all on the line is that it will never (ever) change things for the better. Not much of a choice, I think. No risk, no art. No art, no reward.”
And trust me I want change and my son, wants change too.
Seth Godin warns, “Be in it for the long haul. Things rarely come easy. Make the journey worth it. Chip away at success. Listen to your vision and make something for the long haul. Because that’s how long it’s going to take, guys.” He also warns that when you are close to success, you’ll feel tired and contemplate giving up.
I think I must be pretty close to success then.
Can I tell my son we’re almost there? But what if we are stuck? What if we aren’t moving forward, getting better, challenging the lines, making a difference?
Change This, a website started by a few interns as a way to distribute short manifestos online advise – ” . . . We got caught in a Dip. Not because the site isn’t great (I think it stands up to this day) or that it isn’t a great idea (we broke books like Blink and Freakonomics and Guy Kawasaki’s Art of the Start) but because we didn’t push hard enough after we’d done all the ‘hard’ work.”
Are we there yet . . . ?
How do you judge where you are at with your dream when you have been working on it day in and day out for years? Big achievers Daniel Pink, Seth Godin and Malcolm Gladwell all say that we have to achieve mastery before we see success. Once we’ve mastered our dream, then success follows.
They also say ” . . . Prepare for the process of mastery to be mentally and physically exhausting . . .”
I got the exhausted part thank you very much.
Dream mastery follows a long period of effort to improve performance in a specific area. Deliberate practice isn’t walking a few miles each day, strumming the guitar for ten minutes a day, or throwing up a blog post once a week that didn’t take more than 3 hours to compose. It’s much more purposeful, focused, and, painful. Daniel pink says that if we follow certain steps – over and over again – we just might become a master – and a big success at our dream.
The 5 Steps to Mastery and Success (thank you Daniel Pink) –
1. Deliberate practice.
Remember that deliberate practice has one objective: to improve performance. ‘People who play tennis once a week for years don’t get any better if they do the same thing each time’. ‘Deliberate practice is about changing your performance, setting new goals and straining yourself to reach a bit higher each time’.
2. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Repetition matters. Basketball greats don’t shoot ten free throws at the end of team practice; they shoot five hundred.
3. Seek constant,critical feedback.
If you don’t know how you’re doing, you won’t know what to improve.
4. Focus ruthlessly on where you need help.
While many of us work on what we’re already good at, ‘those who get better work on their weaknesses’.
5. Prepare for the process to be mentally and physically exhausting.
That’s why so few people commit to it, but that’s why it works.
There’s a 6th piece of advise on mastery that really should come first: Choose what you do very carefully and never start another project until you have mastered the one you are in now.
Because there will be sacrifices to achieve your dream and you have to honestly ask yourself if you are willing to go through all of this – the steps – the exhaustion – the repetitiveness – the being sick of it – the focus – the feedback to get you to your goal – and the choice to keep on going when it gets rough.
I’ll leave you with Seth Godin’s 7 Reasons You Might Fail –
1. You run out of time (and quit).
2. You run out of money (and quit).
3. You get scared (and quit).
4. You’re not serious about it (and quit).
5. You lose interest or enthusiasm or settle for being mediocre (and quit).
6. You focus on the short term instead of the long (and quit when the short term gets too hard).
7. You pick the wrong thing at which to be the best in the world (because you don’t have the talent).
“Brian, I’m home all day on Sunday. Want to hang out, go to a movie or something?”
“No mom! My friends are coming over and we’re going to George’s – sheesh mom – it’s Sunday!”
“Then I’ll be writing most of the day okay?”
“Well, yeah mom I hope so!”
If you are raising a teenager, then they will help – bless their hearts.
Keep on Dreaming –
Catherine’s dream is to be a motivator and published writer. She is testing her theories on motivation with this blog and the seven other women who have volunteered to be a part of her dream project. Catherine also writes about her life as a mom at the blog A Week In The Life Of A Redhead. She would also like to be invited to speak at TED as the next Erma Bombeck. Catherine posts on Monday mornings.
Have you downloaded your copy of the Find Your Dream e-book? It will help you figure out what to do next, and how to bring more happiness into your life.
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Catherine Hughes is the editor and founder of 8WomenDream. She’s also a magazine columnist, content creator, blogger, published author, and former award-winning mom blogger. Catherine collaborates with companies to craft engaging web content and social media narratives. Her work, highlighting stories of the resilience and success of Northern California residents, appears in several print magazines. Outside of work, she treasures motherhood, her close friendships, rugby, and animals.
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