On the podcast over the last couple of weeks, I’ve given a shout-out to my friend Linda who was helping my friend Kate train for the Los Angeles Marathon that took place last Sunday. According to a great email from Linda, I’m happy to report that Kate not only finished the 26.2 miles, she actually placed 77th out of 455 women in her age group. I call that A Top 100 finish! Way to go, Kate!
And Linda, you are a true Satellite Sister for keeping her company on all those training runs. We all need Satellite Sisters like you to keep us on track, literally and figuratively. If I had anymore Satellite Sister bathrobes in my closet, I would send one along. But I don’t, so here’s as Atta Girl.
After reading about Kate’s success, it got me thinking of the two most basic strategies with which I approach tasks: the marathon or the sprint.
The Sprint: There are a million little projects that I can gear myself up for because I know the effort will be short and concentrated. I can go like crazy for a few weeks ( or days) , execute the plan and then be done. Like the cast party for Peter Pan that I just volunteered to organize ( Not host! Not again) . Some pizza + some paper goods + a few hours of exerted effort= Completed Cast Party. Or Team Mom for a season. Or an all out effort to re-do my websites and social media presence. Or putting together a marketing plan for a potential sponsor. Short, concerted efforts that require my full attention, but I can see the finish line at the start.
The Marathon: Others, like writing a novel or starting a business or chairing a fundraiser ( which I’ve never done!) require months, even years of sustained effort. This is where pacing and mental fortitude come into play. And, accepting the timeline which can be daunting. In terms of my novel, I’m learning that the second book might not get written any faster than the first. Helen of Pasadena took me a year and it looks like Book #2 will take roughly the same amount of time. I have people everyday asking , ” When is the next book coming out?” Frankly, it gets a little depressing to say, “Maybe 2013?” But that’s the truth. I have to write every word. That’s juts how books get written. And wishing it would go faster doesn’t make the work actually go faster.
The Sprint that becomes The Marathon: I’m fine with the marathons if I know they are going to be marathons. But, we’ve all had projects that looked like sprints turn into long distances races. I’m thinking of any home remodelling we’cve ever done. Or caregiving for elderly parents that becomes a sustained effort when, at first, it looked like a short-term situation.Yes, I’d like to lose that 20 pounds gained in 2006 in six weeks, but it’s actually taken me the better part of the year to do it. The truth is, if I had known it would take so long, I might never have started. So sometimes, ignorance is bliss. But, I’m almost there so I know the effort was worth it.
What’s you approach to your Do The Work project? Is it a marathon or a sprint? Or was it a sprint that’s become a marathon? And don’t forget the trap of running too many sprints while you’re still training for that marathon. Too many running metaphors? I’ll stop now because I’m winded.
Embracing my chaos , Lian
Do the Work #5: Nose to the Grindstone
Do the Work #4: Sharing your Ideas