A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about our Bangladesh team & the extraordinary work they are doing. It's impressive and exceptional, and most of us think: that is waaay beyond me.
But, maybe our scope is just a bit too myopic!
It has been said (by a few, though often attributed to Bill Gates) that we overestimate what we can do in a year, but underestimate what we can do in a decade. I would go even further to say that we probably WAY underestimate the impact we can have in 50 years, over a lifetime.
The reality is that in most cases, something extraordinary has come as a result of a whole lot of ordinary.
Sometimes friends of mine, or new people I meet, will express how impressed they are by dignify. I am super proud, of course, and (as my sappiness over the past fall indicated) in awe at where we've come over our 5 years in business.
But, as much as anything, I feel embarrassed when someone tells me how "impressive" it all is.
Umm... — I think — don't they know how thoroughly unimpressive my days look? Working on a spreadsheet is not impressive! Photographing blankets for hours in front of a white sheet suspended in my dining room = not impressive! Spending the better part of my days over a week signing up for & trying out different email apps to see which one has the toggles I like best? Then, spending an entire day figuring out "custom fields" and importing data? IT IS ALMOST TOO BORING TO TYPE THAT, much less is it impressive! Snooze!
The reality is that as remarkable as anyone's accomplishments seem to be — and somehow, especially when there is "impact" or a "good" that results from their work — it is still comprised of one foot in front of the other, one day at a time, one spreadsheet built on the next.
There is a phrase that I've seen quite a bit in the entrepreneurial world:
"Show Up Every Day."
I think that the idea is supposed to impart the same kind of message as I wrote above: that it is the consistency that makes the difference, not the big, wow moments.
But, for me, this phrase can come off as more discouraging and oppressive than affirming. Every day!? Instead, for the rest of us (beyond the entrepreneurial go-getters), I suggest a slight alteration. Maybe more like,
When you show up, what you do matters.
All those bits & pieces can add up over the years and over the decades. They may not feel particularly impressive, but when you look back, it could be quite extraordinary!
(Not convinced? Just watch the blue marble!)
It feels so disappointing to me and, well, financially gross, when I’ve spent money on clothes that turn out to be a complete dud. The sweater that gets pilly and gnarly after a couple wearings; the jeans that distort as I wear them or rub down the knees in months.
Conversely, one of my great delights is enjoying clothes that are made well, fit nicely, and hold up because of good workmanship and materials.
But, here's the rub... good quality clothes, made from solid materials, constructed to last: they cost money!
I love to read, and I love to read memoirs. There are loads of lists out there of great memoirs, and, well… this is another one.
Some titles will be familiar & common, though I’ve left out some faves that I’ve already mentioned (many times) before — Born A Crime, The Glass Castle, Bossypants — in favor of other titles [though, truth to tell, I have also mentioned some of these before.]
I hope that you can find something to read over the holidays! Happy Reading!
I've said before that while I advocate for shopping thoughtfully & being slow... I love gifts! Actual, tangible, pull-the-wrapping-off gifts.
We want to make the gifts that we give worth it. Worth the money, the materials, the effort... So, how to choose a thoughtful gift that will be meaningful to the recipient?