Sunday, May 8, 2011

Attitude Makes the Difference

Last time here I posted about Ambition. Hopefully I got you thinking about what you want, why you want it, and if you’re willing to pay the price to get it.

Ambition is the key ingredient necessary in answering these questions. Chances are if you’re reading this blog, your chief ambition is to write a novel or polish that novel enough to get it published. Even thinking about writing a novel requires more ambition than 95% of the world possesses. But you have the desire, you’ve counted the cost, and you’re ready to do whatever it takes to attain your goals.

What matters now is ATTITUDE.
"It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task, which more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome." William James

Our attitude is the only thing we have control over. Positive or Negative. Success or Failure.

We all face doubts—artists and those in the entertainment industry possibly more than any other group. Think of all those amazing, talented, tortured souls before us who committed suicide or drowned their doubts and demons in the bottle. This is a tough, tough industry. It is not for the faint of heart.

Our attitudes determine our actions. Are you pumped or pitiful? Pestering or empowering? Bothering people or blessing them?

The best way to check your attitude is to measure other people’s reaction to you. Do friends come to you for advice and encouragement? Do they avoid sitting next to you at parties? Are you a giver or a taker? If friends must continually prop you up and feed your ego to keep your engines firing, your probably need an attitude adjustment.

A good or bad attitude doesn’t only affect those around you. It affects how much effort and zeal you put toward reaching your goals. If you approach your goals with the attitude that you don’t have time or a supportive spouse or whatever else is holding you back, then you probably won’t accomplish much.

So how’s your attitude? Are you determined to give your dreams everything you’ve got? Or are you going to wait to see what the economy does or how your mother-in-law reacts to another of your silly pipe dreams?

If you suspect you have an attitude problem, you probably need to rekindle your passion. The best way to do that is to surround yourself with people you wish to emulate. If you haven’t already, join some writing groups, online and in your local area. Follow some encouraging blogs online (like this one, I hope). Nurture positive relationships that have nothing to do with what you want. The world is bigger than ourselves after all.

“You’ve got to give something to get something.” Billy Blanks—Taebo creator and fitness instructor

Next time we’ll talk about taking ACTION. All the best laid plans in the world won’t do any good if you don’t have a plan of action and the tenacity of a pit bull to stick with it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ambition--What drives you?

Ambition—the desire for achievement of distinction and the willingness to strive for it.

For the next few days I’m going to post a series of articles about how to achieve your goals. For most of us, that means stepping out of our comfort zone. Come on, we’re creatures of habit. We do things the same way over and over, whether it’s taking the same route to work or disciplining our children the same way our parents disciplined us, sadly with much the same results.

But to succeed, to change the way we've always done things in order to break the chains that hold us back, we must step out of our comfort zone.

Three things are vital to step out of our comfort zone in order to reach our goals.
The first component necessary in reaching our goals is AMBITION.

Quick, without giving it too much thought, answer this question. What do you want? Come on, it’s an easy one. Don’t think too much. Just blurt it out. Better yet, write it down. What do you want?

My response comes easy. Since you’re here at You Can Write a Novel, yours probably will too. I want a new book contract. Right up there with acquiring a new contract, I want to finish the four or five nearly finished books in my hard drive so I can get started on the next four or five books trapped inside my head.

Next question: Why do you want it? This one shouldn’t take much thought either. Writing is my passion. My ministry. I have a story to tell. It’s exciting and I want to get the story out.

Now here’s the tough one. Are you willing to pay the price? Hmm. This one gives me pause. Am I willing to turn off the TV, stay off the phone, work through the frustrating parts when the story isn’t coming together, and get these stories finished?

Let’s face it. This business is hard. It’s lonely and frustrating and easy to throw up my hands in defeat. How hard we’re willing to stick with it totally depends on how much we want it.

I have a friend who keeps a money jar next to her workstation at the beauty salon where she works. Every tip and every extra dollar she can get her hands on goes into that money jar. She’s saving for a trip to Hawaii with her friends. They go every couple of years. Anyone who’s been to Hawaii knows it’s an expensive trip and sacrifices need to be made to make the trip a reality, especially on a stylist’s salary. But the sacrifice is worth the pay-out for her. It's important enough that she's willing to go without other things.

What about you? Do you want to go to Hawaii? Back to school? See your book title at the top of the New York Times Bestsellers List. What are your dreams worth to you?

While you're chewing on that for a day or two, you can think about my next article; Attitude Makes the Difference. Ambition is vital, but it will only get you so far. Is your attitude holding you back?