As a kid I was an avid reader, I loved to get lost in a fiction book or gain insight on historical figures and from biographies. I read so much that when I got in trouble my parents would have to tell me that I couldn’t read anymore. These days, while I still enjoy reading, I am finding it more difficult to allocate the time to do so. Instead I have taken to listening to audio books and podcasts in my car, on my walks, or while I am sitting at my desk at work. I have an ever growing library of podcasts that I listen to and many of them are glimpses into the lives of people who have pursued their dreams, and offer tidbits of how they did so from the individuals themselves. One particular podcast I listen to is named Entrepreneur On Fire. On this podcast, the host, John Lee Dumas, interviews entrepreneurs asking them questions such as their favorite quotes, and questions about both their failures and their successes. The guests talk about their favorite business books, what is working in their businesses right now and what they would do if they had to start over again from scratch. The aim of the show is to provide new or aspiring entrepreneurs a glimpse into the lives of those who have gone before them and have been successful. One of the questions that the guests of the show are asked has stuck with me as I reflect upon my own journey with DividuusOne. John Lee Dumas asks the guests if they have experienced an I’ve made it moment. Now I started with the very first episode of this podcast and am no where near to being caught up to present day, but from what I have heard so far the answers to this question vary greatly from guest to guest. John Lee Dumas is also always quick to point this out by saying that some of his guests feel like they have I’ve made it moments everyday while others hope they never experience one for fear of complacency.
As I listen to this podcast, I think about how I might answer the questions that John asks his guests. I don’t have a favorite book, but I have favorite memories associated with many of the books I have read; I have a whole list of tools that I could offer as suggestions when John asks about what applications I am using, and I could certainly speak about my failures. As I eluded to in the introductory blog posts for DividuusOne; The Who, What, When, Where and Why;I have started and stopped this project too many times to count in the past decade. But when I hear the I’ve made it moment question, I am always left wondering what I might say. In my own personal life I have certainly had I’ve made it moments. I felt that way when my wife said yes when I proposed, when the Pastor pronounced us man and wife on our wedding day, when I signed the papers after buying my grandparents house, when I reached my weight loss goal, when the nurse handed me my newborn son, and most recently when I received my final grade and graduated college. What about here at DividuusOne though, what would I consider to be an I’ve made it moment? I never really allowed myself to get far enough into the project to consider what that might look like.
This past weekend was the 4th of July and while I had an amazing time celebrating with family and friends all weekend long; I did not make any progress on building out DividuusOne, I did not write any blog posts, I did not get in any exercise, and I indulged in food and beverages to more than a bit of an excess. Any day of this past weekend would have been enough for me to hit the reset button in the past, let alone a three or four day stretch like I just had. I certainly have no regrets about how I spent my time this weekend though; I celebrated my graduation with friends and family, I went to my nephew’s birthday party, I had a BBQ with my parents on one day and another one with my brother in law’s family the next. It was a fantastic weekend for me, but not for DividuusOne. When Tuesday morning rolled around, I had a choice to make; should pick up the project where I left off on Friday despite my weekend struggles or should I start over once again with promises to myself that I can do better. I looked at my progress, recognized what I had done and what still needed to be done, and kept going.
C.S. Lewis is quoted as saying, “We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.” I have traveled the wrong road many a times. I have walked back to the fork and failed to take the right path again and again. But this attempt has been different. I have been traveling along the right path, getting further and further from the starting point and closer to the destination. I can’t allow myself to back track anymore.
It only took me one day to get caught up to where I felt like I needed to be had and in that moment I thought to myself; I’ve made it. I no longer feel the need to be perfect when it comes to this project, I am proud of how far I have come and I am not willing to start all over again. I’ve made it. I put my thoughts, feelings and words on the internet for anyone to read and am no longer anxious about what others might think of it. I’ve made it. While DividuusOne isn’t exactly what I dreamt it to be; it is real, it is a tangible thing, and it is no longer a figment of my imagination. I’ve made it. I may not be a published author, I may not have thousands of followers to my blog or comical media channels, I am may not have had a post go viral, but all the same I’ve made it. And with that I have a new outlook on the future.
In an article for Zen Habits (Link), Leo Babauta says in regards to feeling bad about a lack of progress, “…that’s looking at the glass as half empty, and it is almost guarunteed to hinder your progress towards your goal. Look at the glass as half full – look back and see what you’ve done so far, and feel proud of your progress. Be happy about how far you’ve come so far, even if you have a long ways to get.”
Over the last ten years I have viewed this project as half empty, sometimes more than that. I have seen the emptiness as a symbol of my mistakes and failures, as what could have been. No more. The glass is now half full; half full of the lessons I have learned, the successes I have had. And the other half of the glass is opportunity waiting to be seized, waiting to be filled with the experience I have yet to gain. I’m not even close to being done pouring into my glass and that leaves both the glass and I feeling fulfilled.
The goals for this project were to go on a journey of self discovery, to chase my dream of being a writer and a blogger, to see what I was actually capable of and along the way better myself as a husband, a father, and a person. That part of the journey is just beginning and I feel like I am already making progress in all of those areas.
“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”
― Edward Everett Hale