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Waiting for lightning to Strike

Author and management guru, Peter Drucker says, "People adjust to the level of demands made on them." I would add, we also adjust to the level we demand of ourselves. At some point we grow up and pass for adults by how we look. To match that look with action requires both discipline and determination.

I'll give you an example from my life. My son was born when I was twenty-six. I made the decision to stay home with him the first two years. But, I knew I needed brain stimulation and interaction with an adult world, so I decided to pursue my interest in writing. I wrote my first article, sent it to a magazine and waited. Every day I anxiously checked the mail to discover if today would launch my writing career. When the manuscript was finally returned with a regrets note, my aspirations of being a writer ended. I figured an editor knew better than I did what I could do. I'd been waiting for my career lightning to strike.

Twenty something years later, I know success has little to do with lightning strikes. So, when I left the corporate world to live and work from the mountains of Montana, I took with me that same dream of being a writer. For six months I studied writers and writing, read books, attended seminars and learned the business of writing.

I wanted to be a columnist so I developed a strategy to become one by volunteering to write a life reflections column for a regional magazine. When they agreed, my writing career was launched while I learned the discipline of column writing and fine-tuned my new craft. Today that column, "In the Scheme of Things," is self-syndicated in several states and Canada, and a second column, "Winning at Working," (the one you're reading) was launched a year later. It now reaches hundreds of thousands of web-based readers and is the foundation for my first book.

So what's the difference in today's writing success? Luck? Yes, but it's self-created luck. Better writing? Sure, I'm a better writer today than I was in my twenties. But, that's not it. It's discipline and determination. There are days when I'm not in the mood to write, but writers write, and I write. There are days when marketing my column to another publication or getting one more rejection seems overwhelming. Those days I take a deep breath before giving myself a kick and moving on.

People who are winning at working have discipline and determination. They demand more of themselves. They push themselves to do the project when they're not in the mood, make the phone call, brush off the rejection, or learn the skill they're missing. They know there are few career lightning srikes in the world they live in.

© 2005 Nan S. Russell. All rights reserved.

Sign up to receive Nan's free biweekly eColumn at http://www.winningatworking.com. Nan Russell has spent over twenty years in management, most recently with QVC as a Vice President. She has held leadership positions in Human Resource Development, Communication, Marketing and line Management. Nan has a B.A. from Stanford University and M.A. from the University of Michigan. Currently working on her first book, Winning at Working: 10 Lessons Shared, Nan is a writer, columnist, small business owner, and on-line instructor. Visit http://www.nanrussell.com or contact Nan at info@nanrussell.com.


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