Money doesn’t grow on trees and these dishes won’t wash themselves. Two phrases I am very familiar with. If nothing else, life has taught me that you’re likely to be very disappointed if you sit around all day doing nothing, waiting for the ‘good stuff’ to drop into your lap. Life doesn’t work like that and, if it does, then feel free to forward me the secret of your success. I’ll call round to admire your money growing tree before the end of the day….after I wash this mountain of dishes.
I’ve been the recipient of much back slapping and fist pumping in recent months, on the back of a promotion at work and the publication of my first book. Most people like to see other people do well, especially people they know personally. I include the caveat ‘most’ as there will always be one or two who have issues with the success of others. I can’t even begin to get my head around the mindset of such folk so I’m not even going to venture down that road.
Believe it or not, promotions and publications do not happen overnight. The ‘Happily Ever After’ Fairy did not descend upon chez Black one night I was sound asleep and sprinkle the bed covers with whatever he/she/they sprinkle bed covers with these days. This ‘overnight success’ wasn’t an overnight success for, in my experience, such phenomenon simply do not exist. Want to hear a secret? Are you sure? Well gather round then, I will say this only once.
I had to work for it. That’s right, work for it. Flipping hard work. Yes, my promotion hinged on a 60 minute interview. But before that interview there were weeks of study and research to prepare myself; and before that, over a decade of accruing the necessary knowledge, experience and skills to even get to the stage where I would be considered for such a position. I’m sorry if I’m bursting a few bubbles here but the ‘Happily Ever After’ Fairy does not exist.
The same goes for the book. It’s been the culmination of two years soul searching. To coin a biblical phrase, there has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Those Old Testament folk loved all that, and I would have fit right in with them. Although I’m not so sure about the whole sackcloth and ashes thang. Probably not my best look. What’s that? I’m digressing? Sorry, I’ll get to the point then. The book didn’t write itself. Gasp! Shock! Horror etc etc!
I wrote, I deleted, I wrote some more, I edited it, polished it, rearranged it, drove my wife and kids mad with it. Plotting, proofing, agonising over every line, every character, every twist and turn of the story. Night after night tapping away at a keyboard. And, yes, you heard right. I wrote at night because I was at this place called work during the day earning the money to pay the bills to buy the laptop to write the book. It was, and remains, a daily slog to pen, publish and promote a novel.
I’m nothing special. Every day, ordinary people achieve extraordinary goals in their lives. Goals are met and dreams are realised. But, bottom line here, they all worked for it. As in, put on their big boy/girl pants, sucked it up, put their best foot forward and rolled with the punches. They acted on their instincts, as opposed to sitting around, talking about it and thinking the world owes them a favour/living/all of the above.
People who talk a good fight, tend to very rarely step into the ring when the bell sounds. The walk is not walked for, when the chips are down and the cards are on the table, they back down and opt for the safe, cozy option. In order to grow, you must change and people don’t like change. They are risk averse yet risk is part of life, and it’s not going away any time soon. Speak less, do more. And if that’s beyond you, then count me out of your next diatribe. I’ll be writing my next book.