Heads up: this is a trick sentence:
To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
Steve Prefontaine was a famous middle and long-distance runner (1951-75) who is known for his incredibly gutsy running. He competed in the 1972 Olympics and once held the American record in seven different track events from 2,000 meters to 10,000 meters. Tragically he was killed at age 24 by being hit by a car.
Though his life was cut short way too soon another of his famous quotes gives you an idea of how he lived, “Somebody may beat me, but they are going to have to bleed to do it."
This intensity doesn’t match most people’s day-to-day activities. There’s a laser focus reflected in his remarks. Similarly, picture book and memoir writer Amy Krouse Rosenthal tweeted it another way: “for anyone trying to discern what to do w/ their life: PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU PAY ATTENTION TO. that’s pretty much all the info u need.”
So how to pay closer attention? One way may be through intention. Making a deliberate decision to take one action toward what interests you. The first (or next) step doesn’t have to be perfect. It simply needs to be a step. It can be an experiment. It doesn’t have to be a commitment you never back away from.
The opposite -- ignoring these little mental triggers — feels like a recipe for unhappiness.
Update on exploring steps to write a book:
Writing 30 minutes/day: Still at it.
Signed up for a writing "mastermind" course: I mentioned this course a few weeks ago. Taught by creative coach Dan Blank the virtual class is based on his book Be the Gateway and is a three-month commitment. This is my second course with Dan. The accountability of the first class gave me structure and incentive to prioritize writing despite my very full life.
Research similar authors: Still reading Pamela Toler's Heroines of Mercy Street, about the real nurses of the Civil War. My friend Joyce reminded me that the stories were recently produced as a PBS series.
Being more consistent on social media: I'm trying out the idea that you can develop a future book audience on social media by putting out posts that are generous and useful (really useful and actionable). My goal has been 2-3 Twitter posts/week to experiment and develop my "voice" (or in my native marketing language: brand). Of course, it has to be genuine. My daughter Cristina told me this a year ago and I'm finally getting around to it! In addition to Twitter, I've just started consistent Instagram posting. To do so I've joined the #100DayChallenge, which starts...TODAY! I must Insta post 100 days in a row - gulp!
Here’s the answer to why the opening quote is a trick question. Prefontaine said not to sacrifice the gift. But I don’t think he meant the gift as the talent or activity or career you do (or for Prefontaine, the running). The gift is you.
Hope you have an intense week!