Travel is a big part of my work now. And this week’s schedule is especially heavy. In seven days I’m teaching in Louisiana, California, Ohio, Georgia, then Ohio again. Of course, it’s not a hardship because I get to connect with and pour into so many wonderful people. One connection that I especially enjoy is one-on-one, when I set aside time to chat and answer questions before or after my teaching sessions.
And there’s one topic that is often brought up: writing. Specifically, people come up and confide in me a desire to write. They want to know how I became a writer, and more importantly, how THEY can become a writer.
The first question I always ask is, “How much writing do you do right now?”
Some answer with a list of articles and other pieces that they’re writing or have already written. But I bet you can guess what most people answer: “Well, I haven’t really written anything yet.”
“Then you need to start writing,” I explain. “You’ve got to start small and work up to it.”
It’s the same with any endeavor. Take leadership: You’ve got to start small and work up to that. A person who has never led before should start by attempting to influence just one other person. Already have some influence? Then try to build a team. The key is to take the next step, not focus on the step a mile ahead.
Your dream may look unreachable. Of course, you could give up in the face of that. Or you could be like a friend of mine who went back to school in her late 40s.
“At first I was discouraged,” she said. “I’ll be a 52-year-old when I get this degree and start a new career.
“But then I thought about it. No matter what I do, I’ll be 52 in four years anyway. At least with this plan, I’ll be a 52-year-old college graduate.”
St. Francis of Assisi said, “Start doing what is necessary; then do what is possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” No matter how far away your dream is, you’ll only reach it by moving toward it. Everyone starts in the same place:
Where They Are.
The small responsibilities before you now comprise your first great conquest. Want to conquer the world? Start by conquering your backyard.