keep collecting stones — observations

IMAG1233Sometimes writing is more like piecing together stones gathered over time than laying brick. Some days what we write is like discovering the perfect stone for an existing project. Other days we place a stone found at some other time and saved for just such a serendipitous moment—it finally dawns on us that it would fit here. Maybe there are hours spent laboriously removing stones placed in what was thought to be the perfect position. Each stone is unique in both its size and its shape. Large written pieces serve a purpose, as do the small ones.

The lesson is to keep collecting stones.

There are two specific examples that I can think of in my own life that may illustrate. Every day I write a single sentence in each of five separate journals, one for each member of my family, a thought that captures my gratefulness, for example. I would not water a plant by flooding it all in one day, but instead, I would diligently apply a specific amount of water on a regular basis. Similarly with this writing project—what matters is that I do it daily. On a regular basis, I review the things I’ve written in these journals. I won’t be able to remember each stone in the inventory otherwise.

When my daughter turned thirteen I presented her with a binder. It held the contents of a book I have titled Worth Fighting For. I had spent all of the preceding year writing it, but it was something I had planned for many years. I do the same with each child in my family. This required a focused effort, longer hours, and more strategic thought. By itself, it also manifested each of the characteristics mentioned above—some days finding the perfect stone and others spent tearing down what had already been put together.

Life is a journey. And these are observations from ours.

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You’ve just read observations, a column that illustrates in my personal life and leadership the technical concepts found in ATOMs.