It’s a widely known fact (i.e. “pin-worthy” quote) that one of the main reasons people give up on their dreams is because they focus on how far they still have to go instead of how far they’ve already come.
Or for you visual learners…
You do it too, right?
Whether it’s pounds, possessions, or powerful titles, it’s human nature to discount our accomplishments and anxiously agonize over the next umpteen obstacles in our path.
I’ve been doing a lot of that lately.
My recent acquisition of In the Powder Room has come with a list about 39-miles-long of all the things I (probably) need to do to successfully (I guess) run a small business (theoretically). It’s pretty damn daunting. The mean girls in my head have been very hard at work reminding me that I’m “just a writer, not a businesswoman.”
And you know what? Pardon my French, but fuck that fucking shit. I don’t know about you, but the BEST way to get me to do something is to tell me not to do something.
*runs with scissors toward electrical outlet wearing tin foil socks and a water bra*
Listen, two years ago I wasn’t even ready to call myself a writer out loud. In my head, I was “just a blogger” and an average one at that. I didn’t know the difference between SEO and SBD. (Still don’t, really. Details.)
There’s a lot of cereal box philosophy out there telling us to “put your past behind you,” “never look back,” and “be present,” but sometimes you HAVE TO LOOK BACK in order to really appreciate just how much progress you’ve made.
Last weekend I returned to the biennial Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop in Dayton Ohio and had the opportunity to visit with friends and reflect on what a huge difference two years can make.
It was exactly what I needed: perspective.
Two years ago I was a relatively new columnist at In the Powder Room, a global online community for women.
Today I own it.
Two years ago I was an anonymous “mommy blogger” (barf) who had just been outed in my community and was wrestling with whether or not to quit blogging in order to protect my family.
Today even the parents of my Cub Scout den read my blog…and seem to like me anyway.
Two years ago I hadn’t yet met any of my blogging “friends” in person.
Today I have actual sisters whom I first met ONLINE (gasp!), and whose preferred method of publicly greeting each other involves enthusiastic breast honking.
Wait. Maybe that one isn’t a good example.
Two years ago I had just quit drinking wine and was really struggling with depression, anxiety, and my muffintop.
Today I am two years sober, I have a much healthier outlook and lifestyle, and my muffintop has decided to share the wealth and populate my pants.
Two years ago I returned from the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, my very first professional conference, and publicly declared, “…my name is Leslie Jeanne Marinelli and I am a writer.”
Today I’m a published author, editor, and speaker with a sequel in the works.
Of course there are ups and downs. That’s life. But just focusing on the progress made instead of the distance left to go is an excellent way to stop crying, turn off that Hoarders marathon, and do the next right thing. (Uh…hypothetically speaking.)
Yes, it’s a big undertaking to go from Editor-in-Chief to CEO (“of 1,” as my husband likes to point out), and embark on a rebranding and web redesign project. Frankly, my to-do list is ridiculous right now. But looking back on the progress I’ve made in the past two years helps me keep today’s seemingly insurmountable challenges in perspective.
No, I don’t have an accountant yet. Or an attorney. Or a “licensed” aesthetician. Hell, I just opened my own post office box a month ago and thought that was celebration-worthy. It’s the little things, you know?
And I’m here to tell you that if you put enough of those little things in a row, eventually, you get a big thing (heh heh heh), and if you suit up and show up and work hard and have enough sex to offset all the hours you spend on the computer, good things can happen.
So that’s what I’m going to keep doing.
Two years from now, who knows what I’ll be looking back on. Hopefully not an even larger badonkadonk. Although…if my dowager’s hump keeps moving further south, maybe I could become a brand ambassador for bell bottom jeans or compression socks! (Hashtag: brightside.)
Okay, enough about me. What do YOU think about me? Kidding. No, really—let’s talk about you. Tell me something you’ve made progress toward in the past two years, besides arterial sclerosis and seasons 1-6 of Mad Men.