“ Writing’s still the most difficult job I’ve ever had – but it’s worth it.” John Grisham
“Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness is largely a matter of conscious choice and discipline.” Jim Collins
“The journey of 1000 miles begins with one step.” Lao Tzu
It’s time to celebrate my 100th post! I never thought I would get this far… Over 90,000 words and 22,358 reads in the last two years! Plus 5 books, a full-time job, a blended family, a new baby, twins on the way, a beach shack under construction and an array of other complications and challenges of everyday life.
As the number of posts grew closer to 100 I began to ponder about what this very special post would be about. Then, the week prior to writing this post, I attended a conference in Sydney, Australia to hear Jim Collins, author of the business best sellers Good to Great and Built to Last speak about an important concept he identified in successful people called the 20 Mile March.
The 20 Mile March
The 20 Mile March was the strategy employed by a famous Antarctic explorer Roald Amundsen who beat Robert Falcon Scott to become the first person to reach the South Pole. Amundsen’s team methodically marched 20 miles per day – consistently, everyday regardless of the weather whilst Scott’s team were more inconsistent with long marches in good weather and no progress at all in bad weather. Amundsen’s team not only beat Scott to the Pole but also returned safely with no loss of life whilst Scott’s team lost the race and all died on the journey back. Collins believed it was this discipline and consistency of effort that was the foundation of Amundsen’s success.
But what has the 20 Mile March got to do with large writing projects such as completing 100 posts or writing books? EVERYTHING!
When I started blogging I was told in no uncertain terms by a journalist friend that it was essential I blog weekly. But life was hectic and there were always unforeseen hassles and last minute tasks making writing very difficult. Despite this I tried my best to produce weekly stress surfer articles on stress, wellbeing and the waves of life but it was just too difficult. Until one day, when I stumbled across an article written by another famous author, John Grisham, who wrote 22 books (many are now famous movies such as The Firm, The Pelican Brief & The Client) whilst working full-time and raising a young family.
John Grisham & The 20 Mile March
Take a look at the summary of 3 key success factors from John Grisham’s life as a writer:
1. Beginning in 1984, Grisham would arrive to work at 5:30 in the morning so he could write until his work day began at 9.00am. His goal was to write at least one page each day. He wanted to be a writer more than his current job as a lawyer but had to feed his family, so he had to find a way to responsibly juggle his job and pursue his passion.
2. He wrote everyday based on a schedule. He wrote when he was exhausted, he wrote when he knew he had a full day of work still ahead of him, and he wrote despite his preference, at times, to stay in bed and sleep.
3. After 3 long years he completed his first book ‘A Time to Kill’ and had difficulty locating a publisher and limited success. Despite this massive effort over 3 years and dismal results he didn’t give up and began working on his second novel, “The Firm” which became a best seller and major motion picture. Over the years, and 22 best sellers later, he has never wavered from his disciplined approach to writing and making small progress everyday.
My 20 Mile March
It became so clear to me that I needed to become much more disciplined about my writing and indeed begin my own 20 Mile March of writing my articles consistently each and every week. Just like Grisham and Amundsen I needed to learn to stick to my schedule regardless of the challenges and setbacks. By focusing on the weekly goals, the bigger goals would take care of themselves.
This journey has been arduous at times however my writing has improved, my communication skills are better at work and home, and I am practicing what I preach (most of the time!!) and have become more resilient as the Waves Of Life keep rolling in!
More recently I have had more success with my books and publishers which I atribute to the many refinements in writing style that come with so much practice. Whilst I still have a long journey ahead in my chosen profession – learning to share my message using multimedia, expanding into international markets and philanthropic projects to improve mental health in teenagers. I think a brief pause and view from this 100 Post Summit is important before the 20 Mile March continues!
Are you on the 20 Mile March for your most important life goals or is it time for you to make some changes to get you back on track?
Ride the Waves of Life!
The Stress Surfer
Sign up NOW to receive another FREE article each week!