Yesterday, while sitting down to lunch at work, mindlessly nibbling on a day old scone, I found myself browsing through this CLEO magazine – the same CLEO magazine that has been in the staffroom for the past year and a half that I have, for some reason, never been motivated enough to pick up, until that point. This magazine was dated back to four years ago, and had Taylor Swift plastered on its cover. Probably why I never bothered with it before. Because the fact is I cannot stand her, or any other millennium girl teeny bopper artist, for that matter. Nothing personal, just a matter of taste, I guess.
Anyway, I came across this article, outlining the daily habits that extremely successful woman have in common, and there was one habit that stood out ominously, like a green bush in a brown hayfield. It’s the life long habit these women shared, of being early risers. Getting out of bed before the sun is even in the sky. And making the most of those first few hours when the world is still semi-dark, and most human beings are snoring loudly, still immersed in dreamland. .
When I say ominously, I meant that in the way where it pointed out that I had absolutely nothing in common with these powerful women. And that put me on a downer. Deep down inside, despite all that’s happened in my life, and the (too) cruisy way in which I operate my existence these days, I still have this burn – that strong desire of making something of myself, career wise. And I haven’t done it yet. Not even halfway. The first step hasn’t even been attempted. And I have no-one to blame but myself.
Getting up before the sun. That was really emphasised in this article. Yoga, meditation, lemon water or brisk early morning walks ranked high on the list of activities to do within this ungodly time. Now, I have had spurts of attempting this route in the past. It totally makes sense, and I wish my ability to be disciplined overpowered my ability to procrastinate, as I seem to have the procrastination buzz down to a fine art. Given that I also seem to have this crippling insomnia disorder thanks to an overactive imagination, as well as a penchant for watching movies into the wee hours of the morning, its no wonder I find it hard to roll outta bed at nine. At times, I even bowl up to work most days five or ten minutes late, even though I start at eight o clock, and my job is only a short five minute drive away.
This article bought home a reality to me. That basically, I’m a lazy cunt. It also bought home the fact that this is what distinguishes the average joe from the truly successful. Daily habits. Habits that are practiced diligently, day after day, month after month, year after year until they are just as automatic and important and embedded in your psyche as sleeping and eating.
We are all extremely talented and gifted in one way or another. Each and every one of us. But one thing I have observed just from watching the world around me is that extremely talented people rarely reach the fullness of their potential. Why is this? Is it because talent, alone, is not what gets you there? I think so. If it was, we would have all been able to drink alcohol, smoke drugs, procrastinate as much as we liked, as well as become world famous authors/artists/singers/make-up artists or whatever career path we wished to pursue. But it doesn’t seem to work that way, does it? It’s a choice of one or the other. Somethings gotta give. Somethings gotta take. Hard work. Discipline. And daily dedication to FRUITFUL habits.
I needed this wake up call. I really, really did.
Success has its own definitions. Perspectives of it are all varying and different and can change. For example, success for my adopted mother meant finding some religious faith that she could resonate with, and which could give her what I think she sought most of her life – inner peace and happiness. This was obvious to me because, growing up, I remember her changing her faiths more than I changed my undies. That was my mum, always trying to find God. That was her buzz. My biological mother, on the other hand, was all about chasing security. She started in the cafe at Tasman, a prestigious paper mill company, and worked her way up over the years to an operator position where she now not only demands respect from men, but also calls some of the shots. I’m guessing here, but I think that was her definition of having achieved success. Money. Power. And all the perks that came with it which, in the end, she inevitably got.
I remember when I was a fat teenager, tipping the scales at 100 plus kg’s. Success for me meant losing weight and getting some kind of revenge on all those who had ever teased me about my weight growing up. When I lost the weight, I found a guy who was willing to take me on, warts on all, and my game plan changed. Success at that point meant going all out to own this guy, heart, body and soul, something I don’t think I ever achieved after fourteen years plus. During ALL these ups and downs, there burned yet that same, all-encompassing desire to succeed as an established writer. I’ve had articles featured in New Idea and our local newspaper, and came runner up in a prestigious story competition in Intermediate. When I was pregnant with me first child, I spent my whole pregnancy writing, and managed to pen an entire book with twenty something chapters on my laptop, only to have it crash the day I brought my girl home. I’ve attempted countless blogs, only to chuck it in because I can’t be bothered. When my baby was born, the game changed, yet again. Since she entered my world, it has solely been about her. Success means being the best mother I can be. And now that she is four, I find myself gravitating back to what I know best. To what has always felt like home to me. My writing.
That’s saying something, I think. On one hand, I yearn to be a success in the way where I can one day hope to hear my daughter tell me that she is proud to have a mum like me. That’s the ultimate. On the other hand, I yearn relentlessly to do something great with my writing, always have, probably always will, because theres so much I’ve got to say, so much in me, you know, and there are people out there who are relying on me to be a voice for them – a voice of truth. This is my career, my thing, and something that’s been with me since I was eight. Thanks to that CLEO magazine I just so happened to pick up that day, its given me the kick up the arse that I need to finally get my shit together. Writing, alone, is not gonna do it. A new day is emerging.
So, you know, its 5.30am in the morning, and I am seated outside at the table, sipping lemon water and banging away on this old thing. It is semi-dark, the sun is faintly glowing in the distance, and my household is snoring loudly, immersed still in dreamland. I’m blurry eyed, body banged up from a hardcore day at work yesterday and tired as hell, but I’m awake. And I’m determined to do this. I try and fail and have done so hundred thousand times, but I’m going to keep trying until the day comes, and I finally get it right.