Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Do The Work

The other week, on a typical Saturday, I ended up on the floor of my church, taking apart a huge desk. I say typical, because of the many ‘hats’ I wear, I often end up doing tasks that aren’t my responsibility, and no one else will do. But as opposed to bemoaning my overloaded life, I decided to focus on this task. After all, a power tool in hand and music playing in my headphones, I was equipped to do the job. I began the process of unscrewing each screw of this desk.

Long before I reached the midway point of the process, it began to get difficult. There were a lot brackets and four screws for each. Each bracket was on the inside of the drawer compartments and it was a tight squeeze to get in there. That’s when the nagging thoughts kicked in: “this is ‘our’ task (the men of my church) and I’m the only one who showed up to do it.” Of course that lead me down the typical “woe is me,” path. But I continued the work. Pretty soon, I realized I still had a ways to go and the work wasn’t getting easier. But a new thought came to mind: “you knew this wasn’t going to be easy when you decided to take it on. Just keep working until it’s complete.” And that’s what I did.

Lesson learned: sometimes, we get excited about a task at hand and we expect the thrill of it all to carry us through its completion. More often than not, the task takes on a different look and feel when things aren’t going as planned. But the bottom line is anything worth starting is worth finishing. For me, this goes deeply into the work I’m moving toward. I don’t know how to price and sell art, but I can find out. I don’t know who to network with, or creative ways to sell, but I can ask around. And when it comes to feeling sure I have artwork that will reach to the heart of the beholder, I have doubts, but there are many ways to present it and see if it does.

Do the work, regardless of fears, anxieties or low self-esteem. Success doesn’t come because one knows every curve and bump in the road, but it comes when we continue on the road to a life worth living.