In April of this year, after months of delays, I finally sat down to write my book How to Make Melt and Pour Soap from Scratch. My goal was to have the book written and published in time for a speaking engagement I had on the topic in May, 2011. My plan had been to start the book in January with what appeared to be just enough time to have it in time for May. Reality changed my plan.
Instead, in January my mother got ill and in February she died. My focus during those months became her care and comfort. When I returned home there were only a few weeks left before the first leg of the Christian Classic Tour and I had piles of work to catch up with at my company. I had promised to help with the tour, but instead had gone missing in action, so my next focus was the March dates and playing catch up at the office.
When the March leg of the tour was over and I was mostly caught up at work I sat down to write my book. Only to find that writing suddenly was more difficult than ever. The words I spill out onto the page are directly connected to my heart. And with the loss of my mom it suddenly became difficult to go down that path.
What I found was that I had a goal and I also had 1001 excuses I could use to not reach that goal. It seemed nearly impossible to write, edit and print a book in time for my speaking engagement under normal circumstances, let alone with a serious case of writers block. I sat in front of my blank screen and wrested with whether I wanted to embrace my excuses or the goal. And then I started to write, realizing it might turn out to be half the book I planned based on the time constraints, but that I had to reach forward towards the goal no matter what the results.
I wrote all the technical stuff first to warm up. I wrote for two weeks solid while conducting home based experiments in my kitchen to make sure all the lab work translated to the kitchen chemist. After two weeks of writing the book it was already more than I had planned in the first place. I had determined that if editing took one week then I would make it in time. Editing took two weeks and the book grew. I figured that I would make it by the skin of my teeth if lay-out, design and proofs took a few days, but it all took another two weeks.
I figured it would be an all-out miracle if the book printed by May. When the final proof arrived I was out on an overnight field trip with Selah’s class. The office acted as my eyes and checked the final proof for me. While walking through the woods of the Oregon Coast, with 5th and 6th grade kids, I talked them through all the final steps of accepting the proof and setting the ball in motion to get printed books to the conference.
I was scheduled to speak on May 18th and my books are scheduled to arrive there on May 17th. Miracle witnessed!
Nothing, and I mean nothing, in 2011 went according to plan. It seemed impossible to write, edit, lay-out and proof the book I had in mind in time for the conference. And yet, it all come together just in time.
I’m sharing the back story of my book to tell you that even when your plans don’t go by the book, aim for your dreams anyway. Embrace your goals instead of the abundance of excuses that life presents us with.
I was so thankful to have arrived at my speaking engagement with my goal accomplished, rather than kicking myself for not trying. I thought of Will Rogers quote, “Even if you’re on the right track, you will still get run over if all you do is sit there” when I imagined arriving empty handed. The conference date was going to arrive whether I tried to reach my goal or not.
How about you? Has life gotten in the way of your dreams? Are you willing to shoot for the impossible, or even to reset your goals to just outside the boundary of possible? I feel better for having shot for the laughably impossible instead of settling into my excuses.