Updated: Feb 25, 2019
I read once that each of us has “crucible” stories. These are stories of things that have occurred in our lives that proved to be life changing. Here’s one of mine:
I began my professional career as a newspaper journalist. When I was a reporter I felt a burden to write a book.
I began by trying to sketch out a 20-page outline, which took me several months to write. After finishing it and getting some good feedback, I really felt compelled to press forward with the book, but when would I find the time?
My occupation was that of a writer and quite frankly by the end of the day my creative juices were drained. I knew I had to leave the newspaper to focus on writing this book. I was afraid of taking that leap. What if I failed? What if I left my job and then couldn’t find the motivation to write the book? What if my spouse decided not to pay the bills or to leave me? All of the negative self-talk filled my head. I talked to a good friend and co-worker about my fears and she advised me to request a leave of absence. It would be unpaid, but at least I could go back to work if I needed to. I requested the leave and it was granted immediately.
Now, fast-forward six months. My leave is up, but I haven’t finished my research and writing yet; partly because I had been volunteering in the community, which reduced the time I spent on the book. I was also free-lancing for a small newspaper run by another friend. This free-lance writing job led me to interview the founder of a small non-profit organization.
Against my desire to limit my volunteer time to make room for my writing, I agreed to volunteer at this organization. I tried to say “no” when the founder asked me to volunteer. I had the words “No, I’m sorry, I couldn’t possibly do that,” on my tongue, but all that came out was “Sure.” What in the world was wrong with me? I was already stretched to the limit in family, church and community obligations and past my deadline to have the book finished. I tried again to say no, there was no way I had the time to help at the organization. Again the only muttering that came out of my mouth was “Sure.”
Ok, my word is my bond so I had to deliver. I began volunteering twice a week for a couple of hours, which turned into three days, then five – for eight hours a day. The volunteer work, turned into a job and I was named Assistant Director. The promotion is not what changed my life, it was the special attention shown to me by the Founder, Helen Singletary. She is a brilliant woman, with more guts and tenacity than I had ever seen and she took me under her wing. Mrs. Singletary taught me how to run a business, how to read a financial statement, how to start a company.
She and her husband were extremely successful, but they were humble, unassuming and down to earth. They had been educators, she a teacher, and he a principal, turned entrepreneurs. They owned several businesses and pieces of property throughout the Charleston, SC area. They were God-fearing people and they incorporated their faith in their daily walk, both professionally and personally. Mrs. Sing (which is what we all called her) never made a major decision without praying about it. I credit much of my business knowledge to her. In short, she saw something in me that I was unsure I possessed. She motivated me to do more, be more than I dreamed possible.
So who or what is your motivation? If you’re not sure, ask yourself the questions below. They might line the path in your quest to do more and be more of the person you want to be.
1. Who am I? How do I think of myself? What are my strengths and weaknesses?
2. Who do I want to be?
3. Why am I here? Why am I important? What is my mission?
4. What am I missing in my life or missing out on in my life?
5. What problem or issue do I want to solve?
6. What has stopped me from keeping promises to myself in the past?
7. When I’m tempted to get off track, what could I say to myself or do to help me stick to my original plan?
8. What am I doing in my life that’s hurting me?
9. Who do I have in my circle to support and encourage me as I make changes?
10. What is my motivation for change?
I hope that this helps you on your journey to peace, love and good will.