August 30, 2015
That dot is where you are.
This dot is where you want to be. (Which makes me sound like a woman named Bonnie with big hair in a cheesy 1985 Visa commercial, but alas, I’m just a woman named Ash with big hair in 2015.)
People have been talking about how to “reach your goals” for a realllllllllllllllllllllllllllly long time.
Which is a worthwhile discussion, of course, because we all know that goal setting is the kale of personal development. Which is to say, it’s like god…but with more fiber.
Speaking of kale, I ate it for the first time Friday night when Laura asked me if I wanted some as an appetizer, and I totally nodded my head as if to say, “Oh sweet child, doesn’t everybody like kale?” Little did she know SHE WAS TAKING MY KALE VIRGINITY. That’s right, Laura. You popped the big K. Surprise! And not did you pop my K-cherry, I’m pretty sure there were anchovies in the kale, which basically means Laura Belgray is god. I have never in my life put one of those creepy little fish twerps in my mouth, and yet, here we are, kale-chovie-ing it up over there in the meatpacking district. I had never felt like a more sophisticated human.
Then again, any and all imaginary or real sophistication was quickly canceled out when I remembered the conversation I had that morning with my favorite book agent as we strolled New York City’s streets. We walked through The Flatiron District, and I actually thought a building that said “flatiron”? …Was a steakhouse.
The answer to your question is yes, I did want to promptly throw myself into a man hole, but you know what?
Not that much.
Because looking stupid is a work hazard for every artist.
In a world of people like you and me—people like writers and designers and creators and artists—we only get rewarded when we take risks. There are no automatic pay raises, no employee work manual, no standard anything. So if we’re going to do our job, and if we’re going to walk the edge our job requires, that means that, oftentimes, we’re doing it blind. And you know what? That’s okay. Because if I’ve discovered anything, it’s that success is less about doing it perfectly, and more about doing it, period.
You know how I ended up on the sidewalk with a top agent from one of the #1 literary agencies in the world telling me they want to work with me?
By sitting my ass in a chair every single morning from 5am-8am.
By responding to Seth when he emailed me and said, “Go, go, go.”
By thinking about the best ways to position my work.
By sending a query.
By responding back when she said, “Tell me more.”
By hustling to proofread my chapter samples.
By spending every free minute developing a proposal.
By flying to NYC.
By showing up prepared.
By asking for it.
And by pressing the clutch, over and over, until I upshifted to where I needed to be.
In short, the answer isn’t about facing your fears so much as it is f*cking them. You don’t have time to get scared if you don’t make the time.
Because success doesn’t come to those who wait. Success comes to those who don’t.
Go, go, go.
Big things don’t happen in big ways. They happen in a lot of small ways that, slowly but surely, lead up to a big outcome. It’s cause and effect at it’s finest.
Yet instead of focusing on the effect, perhaps it’s worth thinking more about the cause.
What are you causing?
What are you causing today? What will you cause tomorrow? What will you cause this month?
You have power, you know.
And the biggest dots in life—the ones you can see on the horizon, but don’t know how to get to yet—they’re waiting for you.
And sometimes, it doesn’t matter whether you mistake an entire city section for a piece of meat.
All that matters is that you keep putting one foot in front of the other as you walk down the block.