MSEL: Bird by bird, task by task

Have you ever felt like things were suddenly falling into place, only to take a step back and realize that “suddenly” was a long time in the making? That’s what this week has felt like.

The team I spent the last year building with a client is suddenly complete.

The trip I’ve been planning since the beginning of the year is suddenly booked (and almost completely funded).

One of the reasons I’m good at HR and Operations is that I get both the small details and the big picture. Sometimes, though, focusing on the big picture can be overwhelming. I’ve started reading Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, which is a book about writing. It’s about writing the small scenes, the little details. It’s about building something paragraph by paragraph, then editing and revising until you have a novel. It’s about focusing on the work before thinking about getting published.Really, it’s a book about not being overwhelmed by the creative process.

I also think, though, that it applies to our non-art lives. It’s easy to have big goals but not want to tackle the mundane tasks needed to get there. For me, the thought of taking a month off to travel was daunting; the expense seemed more than I could afford. But focusing on the smaller things – telling my clients, buying a ticket, renting an apartment, subletting my apartment, setting an itinerary, getting sponsors, buying a suitcase (way more difficult than you’d think it could be) – made the whole trip come together.

(And if you’d told me last year that I’d be increasing a client’s staff by 25% in twelve months, I may have had a panic attack. But I did it, hiring role by role, until we got to where we needed to be.)

I have many other goals, which I may share over the next, few months. I plan to tackle each one task by task, or bird by bird – and wake up one morning to find I’ve “suddenly” achieved them.

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