I was having a chat with a few neighbors when the subject of public education came up. When you are a parent, where and how your child will be educated informs most decisions. In fact, the very neighborhood you choose to live in is determined by this goal. So, yeah, it’s a really important topic of discussion.
But, then the conversation turned with one statement:
“I just want my children to go to a good school,” said one neighbor.
Yeah, me too,” agreed another.
And judging by the nodding heads of the other two neighbors, they too were in agreement.
Frankly, I felt that their response was strange.
So, I asked a question that shook their entire philosophy:
Hey guys, what exactly is a good school?
Yep, not a single one of them could answer that all important question. Yet, they were willing to uproot their families based upon this undefined goal. Scary.
The truth of the matter is, my neighbors certainly aren’t the only ones who express such undefined goals.
Most of us do this in our everyday lives. We never stop to ask,
What is a good job?
What is a good man?
What is a good woman?
What is a good company?
What is a good book?
Nope, we pretty much rely on the definitions, no matter how ill-defined, of others. Yeah, really scary.
Well, if you don’t define what you want, you won’t find what you want.
Want to find a good job, define what a good job is.
Want to find a great school, define what a great school is.
Want to find the best vocal coach, define what the best vocal is.
Want to find raving fans, define who raving fans are.
Okay, cool. So, how do you do you define what you as an author?
Well, here are few guidelines on how to define what you want in your life.
The definition must be specific.
The definition must be realistic.
The definition must be timely.
Let’s deal with specificity first.
Many, many years ago, I was having a conversation with a single female friend who complained, “there are no good men.” So, I asked her to find the phrase “good man” in the dictionary. Of course, it didn’t exist there then, and it doesn’t exist there now.
I explained to her that if she desired a gentleman of a certain height, religion, and educational background, such a gentlemen would start popping up all over the place. But by not having a clear pretty of what she desired, he didn’t seemed to exist. The same is true for your other aspirations.
But your aspiration or goal must also be realistic.
Defining success as selling three million books in 24-hours as a new author is, well, foolish. It’s not going to happen. Yeah, you would need to rewrite that definition.
Finally, your definition must be timely.
Here’s what I mean. The further you are away from a goal or aspiration, the greater the opportunity for unexpected roadblocks to occur. Oh, there will be challenges in all situations. But, you can manage them much better when you are operating in a familiar timeframe.
So, let me summarize: define it (your ideal reader), and you will find it.