Thursday, March 04, 2010

Beyond the Gray's interview with Suzanne Anderson, writer, was so uplifting and inspiring I had to share it:

Q: What inspires you to keep pushing forward when the going gets tough?

SA: The alternative – giving up – is worse than pushing forward. I am a strong believer that each of us is created with a purpose to fulfill in this life. I believe it is my duty to find a way to fulfill my purpose, using the talents that I have been given, and overcoming the obstacles or shortcomings I have also received. That’s the bottom line, easy answer. The more difficult answer is that pushing forward is something I struggle with every day. Some days, the productive ones, are easy. It’s a lot more difficult when I’ve given my best and my work is rejected or a resume sent out doesn’t get a reply. On those days I remind myself that success is often a game of numbers, wins go to those who keep trying over and over and over again.

Q: If you could give one piece of advice to someone else who is struggling to move beyond the gray and follow a dream, what would it be?

SA: How about more than one?

• Get up every day and take action toward fulfilling your dream. No matter how small or great, do one thing every day that moves you a step closer toward your goal. And then keep track of your progress. Whether it is an Excel spreadsheet that tracks the growing word count on that novel you’re writing, the miles you walked, the sit-ups you did, the cold calls you made, or a journal or blog where you record your progress on cooking your way through Julia Child’s French classic (yep, that’s how that movie got made!), just do it. As time goes by, you’ll be amazed at the progress you’ve made. It will also provide a reality check when you get discouraged by your lack of progress and then realize, by checking your log that it might be due to the fact that you haven’t actually sent out a resume/written/jogged in over a week!

• Share your goals and dreams with others. I have received amazing encouragement and support from my family as well as my online friends, they’ve also become a source of very useful information and even new paths to pursue.

• When the critic in your head lists all the reasons you will fail, tell it to shut up! Or better yet, give it examples of how you’ve succeeded in the past, and what you are doing right now to succeed in the future. (Which is a great reason to keep track of the progress you make in all those little steps you are taking each day, they make great progress reports to debunk the inner critic.) I also keep a growing pile of inspirational and positive thinking books on my nightstand and read a few pages every night before bed because I’ve found that late night tends to be the time when my inner critic comes out to play.

• Keep a gratitude journal. Yes, I know, Oprah thought of this first, but it really works. When I am feeling most discouraged, I’ve found that making a list of just five things in my life that I’m grateful for is not only humbling but a powerful reminder that things are actually better than I think.

• Find a way to give back. We receive so much help and encouragement from others when we’re struggling that it’s easy to forget that we need to offer the same to others. You’ll also be amazed at how much better you’ll feel … and don’t be surprised if it opens new doors. Goodness has an amazing way of multiplying.

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