Author and management guru, Peter Drucker says, "People adjust to
the level of demands made on them." I would add, we also adjust to the level we demand
of ourselves. At some point we grow up and pass for adults by how we look.
To match that look with action requires both discipline and determination.
I'll give you an example from my life. My son was born when I was
twenty-six. I made the decision to stay home with him the first two years.
But, I knew I needed brain stimulation and interaction with an adult world,
so I decided to pursue my interest in writing. I wrote my first article,
sent it to a magazine and waited. Every day I anxiously checked the mail to
discover if today would launch my writing career. When the manuscript was
finally returned with a regrets note, my aspirations of being a writer
ended. I figured an editor knew better than I did what I could do. I'd been
waiting for my career lightning to strike.
Twenty something years later, I know success has little to do with lightning
strikes. So, when I left the corporate world to live and work from the
mountains of Montana, I took with me that same dream of being a writer. For
six months I studied writers and writing, read books, attended seminars and
learned the business of writing.
I wanted to be a columnist so I developed a strategy to become one by
volunteering to write a life reflections column for a regional magazine.
When they agreed, my writing career was launched while I learned the
discipline of column writing and fine-tuned my new craft. Today that column,
"In the Scheme of Things," is self-syndicated in several states and Canada,
and a second column, "Winning at Working," (the one you're reading) was
launched a year later. It now reaches hundreds of thousands of web-based
readers and is the foundation for my first book.
So what's the difference in today's writing success? Luck? Yes, but it's
self-created luck. Better writing? Sure, I'm a better writer today than I
was in my twenties. But, that's not it. It's discipline and determination.
There are days when I'm not in the mood to write, but writers write, and I
write. There are days when marketing my column to another publication or
getting one more rejection seems overwhelming. Those days I take a deep
breath before giving myself a kick and moving on.
People who are winning at working have discipline and determination. They
demand more of themselves. They push themselves to do the project when
they're not in the mood, make the phone call, brush off the rejection, or
learn the skill they're missing. They know there are few career lightning
strikes in the world they live in.
© 2005 Nan S. Russell. All rights reserved.
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Nan Russell has spent over twenty years in management, most recently with QVC as a Vice President. She has held leadership positions in Human Resource Development, Communication, Marketing and line Management. Nan has a B.A. from Stanford University and M.A. from the University of Michigan. Currently working on her first book, Winning at Working: 10 Lessons Shared, Nan is a writer, columnist, small business owner, and on-line instructor. Visit www.nanrussell.com or contact Nan at firstname.lastname@example.org.