Leigh Scott attended my Create Your Own Future retreat three year ago this month. During that event, we had a Come As You’ll Be activity projecting forward five years from the present. That night Leigh presented herself as the successful author of a book on parenting. She’s right on schedule.
This morning Leigh showed me a copy of her proposal–the document an author prepares for a literary agent who then sells it to a publisher. I got goosebumps when I saw what Leigh had put together. It was a spiral bound book with dividers for each of the areas required in a proposal including:
- About the book
- About the author
- Table of Contents
- Sample Chapter
- The Competition
And more. It took Leigh nearly a year of dedicated work to prepare this draft. She made the book her priority during this time. She made other changes as well. Knowing how much time she wanted to devote to writing, Leigh looked at her whole life and chose to make changes. She downsized her living situation to reduce her cost of living, which in turn reduced how much money she needed to earn.
These were all well-considered decisions with the vision of the book serving as the achievement that would make this worthwhile. She knew that in order to accomplish this life goal, certain activities would fall by the wayside. Making writing her priority, Leigh intentionally went without watching TV for a year. She chose to make time only for what was most important–earning enough to live while writing this book. Leigh was sure to include and pay for an accountability structure to keep her on track with her writing during the process.
In describing her feeling of satisfaction and delayed gratification, Leigh told an analogous story, perfectly related to her subject matter: parenting. A young boy had poured water on his father’s laptop computer. The father, modeling the behavior of a loving authority, explained to the child that his toy tractor was going to be taken away until the little boy carried out enough chores (suited to his level of ability–like licking envelopes and putting away toys) to make up for his dad’s loss. After four months of enforcing this ‘punishment’ the debt was repaid. The father took out the toy tractor which the little boy thought was brand new. “This is even better than the one I used to have!” he proclaimed. “It goes faster and I like it better.”
When you process something step-by-step (no shortcuts), suffer the slings and arrows of the journey, the ultimate reward is sweeter. Even if you weren’t in Westport, CT this morning, you may have felt the joy radiating out from Leigh’s pleasure in accomplishment.
Watch for Leigh’s book Becoming a Loving Authority: How to Get Out of Your Own Way as a Parent. I’ll see you at the book party!