"But Sherri, aren't we supposed to aim high and hope for the best? You always say don't settle for mediocrity." This is true, but you have to temper yourself with discernment and wisdom to know if your actions are leading to the results you want. Sometimes, they aren't, and we aren't willing to change what we think or do in order to make the needed adjustments. And if you keep doing the same thing, you're going to keep getting the same results. We all have a tendency to take a whirl on this merry-go-round, but some are more prone to it than others.
My writing is a great example of this. My goals and expectations when I embarked on this journey nearly 18 years ago was to be a best selling author, represented by a publisher and perhaps an agent. That was how things were done in the book industry. But I think we all know (and I most of all) that this goal is unrealistic. It was a long shot even then, and now the entire industry has changed with ebooks. In addition to improving my skill as a writer by keeping up with grammer, style, character and plot development, revising, proofreading, and marketing, now I have to add things that didn't exist or weren't as big then as they are now, like Search Engine Optimization, optimal keywords, blogging, personal websites, formatting, establishing online "presence," and the world changer that is Amazon. My goals have changed from being a famous best seller to reaching readers. It's a good thing, too, or I wouldn't still be here. I'd have given up on writing a long time ago. Instead, I'm branching out into scifi.
This is true for all of us. We should certainly have goals, but we also need to have the wisdom to adjust when things change or aren't working. And we definitely shouldn't drag into our world against their will. If your plans depend on somebody else doing something, that's a recipe for disappointment and disaster. Remember when I mentioned in a post a few months ago that I advised a new writer on Goodreads to brace themselves for family and friends to lose their enthusiasm over their writing? Everybody's your biggest fan when you publish your first and second book. After that, they're busy keeping up with their own lives. If I got mad at everybody who quit keeping up with my writing, I'd be mad at everybody right now. But let's turn that mirror around: am I keeping up with what fires them up? The hard truth is no, I'm not. I ask occasionally, just like they ask me periodically about my writing. Here again, I had to temper my expectation. It wasn't fair for me to hold them to a higher standard than I hold myself, so I had to let it go. If you want to receive the grace to be yourself, then you have to grant it to others first. Reaping and sowing, folks. You have to give before you can get.
It's good to have goals and dreams, and you should certainly live your life with enthusiasm. But you also have to face reality and check your course every now and then. If you feel you're in a rut, depressed, or discouraged, the first good step might be a step back to determine if you're thoughts and actions are truly taking you in the direction you mean to go, and if those desires are realistically possible. Changing things based on new information isn't failure or dumb, it's intelligent and adaptive - and the only true path to happiness. Life changes, and sometimes we're wrong. Adjustments are necessary from time to time, and that's ok, because we're human. It doesn't hurt to take stock, pray, meditate, and check your map every now and then to make sure you're motives are pure and your path is correct and best for all.
That's all today. Take care, and have a great week.