All of my legally working life (I think there were some labor laws broken during my childhood), I have been in search of that thing, that activity that I would love to do, AND make money doing it. I have been totally successful at figuring out which tasks I really dislike doing, but I have had a harder time really narrowing down the tasks that I love to do. I believe that there are parts of tasks that I enjoy, and parts of those same tasks that I detest.
I love writing… don’t love deadlines.
I love coming up with things to sell… don’t love selling.
I love planning events… I don’t love large crowds.
I love learning new things… I don’t love finding time to apply them to real life.
I love taking photographs… I don’t love posting them, for fear someone will steal them.
I love designing educational materials… I don’t love uploading them.
I have these love/don’t love things going on in so many areas of my life, not just business, that it has been near impossible to whittle it down to one single task that I just enjoy.
If I had to choose one, I mean HAD to choose one single task that I enjoy, that would be planning. I love writing things down, dreaming, thinking, running scenarios, mind mapping, all of that. I can’t think of anything about that that I don’t like.
The best thing about planning is that it gives me time to do some adult daydreaming, explore some “what ifs”, and get my ideas out of my head. Planning happens when there are no dream killers around. No goal smashers, no party crashers to come in and mess up anything. Just me, my pen and paper (sometimes a napkin or the back of a used envelope), and my thoughts. No one is looking, so everything is possible when I am planning.
I look back at some of my plans now, and think – “why didn’t I do that? That was so cool.” That, and “I can’t believe I didn’t do that, so and so is probably making a killing off of an idea that I had years ago.” My mom taught me early on that unexecuted ideas are free for the taking, and if you don’t do it, somebody else will. It has happened to me before (several times), and man it hurts. So, I plan. It isn’t just getting ideas down on paper for me – it is much more than that.
No matter how crazy it sounds, or how unreachable it seems, I still plan – planning means that I am really and truly thinking of what I have come up with as a viable activity. I see it as a possibility, not just some dream or idea that is allowed to fade away. Execution is, of course, a totally different thing. Even if the opportunity is there, sometimes the finances aren’t. Or the finances are there, and the people needed to execute the plan are not available. Sometimes the people are ready, but I’m way to busy. And so, I plan. I have gone back to websites, resources, and contacts that I bookmarked years ago, to execute things that I am doing today. It really is remarkable to think about. It appears that things happen overnight, when in fact a lot of the things I am doing now, have been YEARS in the making.
My Oprah appearance? I was given the book to read a year before I even got married. I had written about the book several times over the past 10 years. And the best part of all… the book worked for us! We are still married, and actually had something to say about the book that Oprah’s producers wanted to hear. Sure I had the book a decade ago, and I would have loved to have been on Oprah back then, and I didn’t have a plan to be on Oprah’s Life Class – it didn’t even exist when I read the book, but the planning came in when we were sitting with the counselors, planning to have a great marriage.
So that is the task I enjoy most I think – planning. When I plan, I know what I WANT to happen, but when it is all said and done, my plan is secondary to God’s plan. He has always had better things in store for me and my family than I ever could have planned and executed on my own.
What is your favorite task?