Saturday, January 28, 2017

What To Do When You Just Don’t Feel Like Writing

    Believe me… it happens. It happened to me tonight. I’ve been very busy, and like a lot of entrepreneurs, I’ve been so busy working to meet other people’s deadlines, I neglected to commit to my own. So now, it’s the 28th of the month, and I have about 3 hours to get this blog post written and posted. 
     I had a few good ideas for topics to write about, but they all needed more research than I had time for, so I added them to my blog-post idea list instead. This topic however, the topic of how to “get inspired” to write something meaningful when you’re not in the mood, I can definitely write about. 
     The first thing I usually do when I can’t come up with an idea is to head over to the Internet to see what other authors and editors are writing about. It doesn’t always work, but I might pick up a couple of ideas for future posts there. Sometimes I find a great post and repost it with an introduction explaining what I liked about it. The Internet did nothing for me tonight though.   
     What did provide me with the energy and inspiration to get writing was the book on the corner of my desk. It’s the proof copy of a book I just finished working on for a non-profit organization. It’s not a long book, only 58 pages, but it's full of pictures, and full color. I did all the work on this book; the layout, formatting, editing, cover, etc., and uploaded the final docs to Create Space (Amazon’s self-publishing channel) this past week. 
     The reason this book inspired me was because it reminded me of how important my successes and accomplishments are to my process, and then of how important your successes and accomplishments are to your process. No one can be inspired 24/7, and sometimes we get so caught up in the work we have in front of us that we forget about our biggest inspiration, all the people whose lives we’ve impacted in a positive way with our writing. For me, the book on the corner of my desk was a reminder of how amazing and wonderful it is for people when they finally get to hold their book in their hand, even if it is just 58 pages long.
     I don’t have to know what you’re writing about, how often you’re sharing your content, or what written format you’re using to share it, to know that one of the reasons you’re doing it is because you believe you have something of value to share. So the next time you’re sitting in front of your keyboard trying to remember why you decided to write in the first place, stop and think about someone you’ve helped with your writing. Think about how the person you helped might be able to help someone else in turn. 
     There’s no way to know how many people you’re going to help, inspire, educate, or entertain with your written words, or how many people might be inspired to take action because of them. But that’s what got you started writing in the first place… caring about what people might be able to think, do, and accomplish after they’ve read your words. Their success is your success. So the next time you’re having trouble getting motivated or inspired, think about those people. Remember that the obstacles you encounter are probably similar to the obstacles they encounter. Write about how you deal with one of those obstacles. That’s what I did here.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Grit Part 5

Grit from the Inside Out Continued
     As youngsters, it’s hard to think beyond our own basic needs. As we mature we learn to think beyond our own basic needs and it causes our passions to mature and become grittier. Which then causes us to operate on a higher level beyond our own self-interest and causes our passions to also include purpose or desire to help others. This purpose may start off as self-interest and then develop into purpose. And that’s okay because we have to start somewhere.
            In addition, Dr. Angela Duckworth’s book Grit show us that when we help others survive, they can also help us survive. So, it really is, in the end, in our best self-interest to help others. But, unfortunately, we can’t always see this when we are young and less gritty. In the end, this new sense of purpose developed through maturity is also a very powerful motivator.
            Eventually, developing a purpose can lead to one having a calling. Dr. Duckworth believes that we would all like to have a calling. But, unfortunately, most of us don’t have this calling. We can’t seem to find our calling. To tell you the truth, we’re not going to find our calling; we’re going to develop our calling just like we develop our own interest and our own passion. We don’t have to go anywhere to find our calling. It’s right here in what we’re doing every day. But, unfortunately, very few people recognize this.
            For example, most adults go to work most days. However, not all of us are fully engaged in our jobs because after all they are just our jobs, right? However, some of us have found more meaning in the work we do every day and have put in the extra work to change our jobs into a profession. This was a choice and this was something that these few choose to do. Out of these few, and even smaller segment choose to do even more extra work to make their profession their calling. Every day when all the others are going to their job, these special few aren’t going to work, they’re going to their calling.
            Let me explain some more. In the parable of the bricklayers, everyone has the same occupation but their subjective experience- how they themselves viewed their work- couldn’t be more different. The first bricklayer says, “I am laying bricks.” The second bricklayer says, “I am building a church.” And the third says, “I am building the house of God.” It’s a choice. Which choice are you making every day? Are you choosing to be gritty every day and develop that very satisfying calling?
            If you’re not choosing to be gritty every day, well then, start right now to choose to be gritty every day. And if you find yourself having some trouble doing this, then find a purposeful role model to emulate and borrow some grit from until you can more fully develop your own. In addition, always remember the old Japanese proverb, “Fall seven, raise eight!”
            Since this author of this article was voted most optimistic in high school and it’s a trait that has stuck with him throughout the years, he is happy to say that Dr. Duckworth feels that optimism and grit go hand-in-hand. Don’t let the world steal your smile. Paint that smile on your face if you have to. Dr Duckworth says to develop and protect that optimistic growth-mindset that Dr. Carol Dweck talks about in her book, Mindset and your natural consequence will be in becoming grittier.
            Just beware though, only telling yourself or another to be optimistic is just the beginning. People also have to overcome real adversity in order to rewire their brains to look similar to those who already have grit. So here is the path laid out for you. Be optimistic with a growth-mindset, engage your inner self-talk and preserver again, and again, and again over adversity. It’s sort of like what Teddy Roosevelt said about the strenuous life being the good life and how he doesn’t think another man has ever had as much fun as he has in all his endeavors.

            Now I must ask you, which bricklayer are you?
 Dan Blanchard is an award-winning author, speaker and educator. You can learn more about him at: