(Today’s guest post is by Davonne Parks, author of 28 Days to Timeliness: Tips and Confessions from a Semi-Reformed Late Person.)
I’ve had a dream for years, but I allowed busyness, fear and other excuses to get in my way. Then I stumbled across Jon Acuff’s blog, and I read about Finish Years and Quitters. I was intrigued, so I kept reading the blog, then I bought Jon’s book. A Quitter and a Finisher at the same time? Impossible, right? But being a Quitter isn’t just about quitting a job. According to Jon, being a Quitter is about being “someone who quits average. People who refuse to accept common and instead dare to live out the talents and gifts they’ve been given.”
It was scary but I did it. Thanks in part to the motivation I received from Jon’s posts and from reading Quitter, I decided to quit normal and finish a dream. I also learned a few things in the process:
1. I must make time for my dream. My kids are going to get sick, my husband will sometimes work late, the phone will ring and I still need to find time to make dinner and do laundry. It’s easy to stay busy, but nobody is going to make the time for my dream except me. This may mean leaving laundry unfolded (which I usually do anyways), staying up 30 minutes late, or getting out of bed 40 minutes early.
2. I’m not entitled to dream time. While it’s important to make time to dream, it’s just as important to remember that working on a dream is a privilege, not a right. It is not okay to grow impatient with other people when they “interrupt” dream time or to leave basic needs unmet because of pursuing a dream.
3. I need to work on my dream when it’s easy and when it’s hard. Working on my dream at Starbucks for an evening while my husband watches our kids is easy. Opening my laptop and getting to work after a long day is tough, but I will never finish a dream if I don’t work on it during difficult times. No dream worth fulfilling will always be easy.
4. I can’t let fear paralyze me. If I stopped working on my dream every time I felt fearful, I would never have met my goal. I learned that I have to push through the fear of failure, rejection, and ridicule if I’m going to see my dream come to fruition.
5. Support and accountability are immensely helpful. I told a few trusted people about my dream. The encouragement I received, and the natural accountability that occurred when people asked how things were progressing with my dream, helped me to push through the difficult times and keep on working. When in-person encouragement isn’t available, online support can also help tremendously.
6. Any progress is still progress, no matter how little. If I had ten minutes to work on my dream, that’s ten minutes better than nothing. Instead of berating myself over not making more progress, or getting off track of my goals and then trying to catch up, I just picked up where I’d left off as soon as I could and went from there. Giving myself the freedom to make slow progress helped me to keep going, even when I couldn’t contribute much time to my dream.
Jon wrote a great article about how to build a finish list. The work isn’t always easy, but the payoff is immeasurable. What will you do to become a Finishing Quitter this year?