Recovery Stage 11: Off the Hook

I’m letting myself off the hook. I’m acknowledging that I have goals that are both important and urgent. There are things I want to accomplish. Some of these things have hard deadlines. Others don’t. There is a difference.

I will meet my deadlines. That is non-negotiable. My reputation and the viability of my business are on the line. I’ll keep each of those hooks.

My financial goals have soft deadlines. I want to generate a specific amount of income per day. If I miss the target one day or even two days, that’s fine. I plan a margin of error in, so I might as well use it. I’m letting myself off those daily hooks. The amount of work I get isn’t in my control anyway.

My project goals have soft deadlines. The only one who holds me accountable is me. I need to do the work in a way that improves the work. Everything else is just wasted stress, mistaken pressure, and just plain ridiculous. I’m letting myself off those daily hooks, too.

What hooks do you need? What hooks don’t you need?

About Stephanie Allen Crist

Stephanie created and produces in answer to a call from God to use her experiences and gifts to help others. Stephanie is also the author of and two books that can be found on that site. Stephanie strives to share her love, faith, and talents in an inclusive manner to help others who know spiritual pain and who know the bitter taste of the dregs of despair.
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19 Responses to Recovery Stage 11: Off the Hook

  1. acflory says:

    For me, paying the bills is non-negotiable so I’m being forced out of my comfort zone to accept work in areas I hadn’t considered – like French. Technically I’m qualified to teach French, but I haven’t taught it in over 30 years. I know I can still do a good job teaching at beginner’s level, but it won’t be a /great/ job. And I hate doing anything less than ‘great’. Sadly the bills don’t care about my comfort zones. :/

    • In order to get back to being great, you have to start out being good. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do and it’s as simple as that. Personally, I believe we get special “things” out of doing it that can be applied to what we really want to do. I’m always looking for the lesson in life and life’s full of them.

      • acflory says:

        Yes, I’m a bit of a Pollyanna where lessons are concerned as well, mainly because I have experienced silver linings beneath otherwise unpleasant events.

      • Silver linings, opportunities for improvement, life-changing transformations. It’s the hard stuff that make us.

      • acflory says:

        Cliche time, but this is one of my favourites – what doesn’t kill you ;makes you stronger. With a caveat – so long as you face it and don’t run away.

      • I would add another caveat: as long as you let it. If you resist tooth and nail, get dragged kicking and screaming, then generally you end up too exhausted to get the point.

      • acflory says:

        Good point, and that means having to let go sometimes. Not always easy.

      • Yeah, letting go can be difficult, especially when it means letting go of a dream. Personally, I choose to hope that the time may someday be right for the dreams I let go, all the while acknowledging that it is not right right now.

      • acflory says:

        Actually what you said here is the perfect answer I was groping for in an earlier comment. My dream is to write full time but it won’t happen just yet.

      • Keep in mind that many writers — even frequently published, good selling writers — make their actual, reliable income by teaching. Some make a business out of it and do conferences and workshops. Others make a career out of it as professors or school teachers.

        The key difference, imho, between hobbyists and professional writers is not how they earn their living, but how they plan for profitable writing.

      • acflory says:

        ” how they plan for profitable writing.” Hmm… I did my homework, but I definitely didn’t plant for ‘profits’. I’d still probably give it away for free if I believed it would be read. Sadly freebies end up on Kindles and are rarely read.

      • I’m going to write something, not as a prescription for how to see yourself but as something for you to consider whether it fits:

        You transitioned from an apprentice to a journeyman in the process of writing and publishing your first novel. You also tried to transition from being a hobbyist to a professional during this period of time. These transitions took you into two different directions, you couldn’t go both ways, so you chose the transition to journeyman.

        I’m not sure that’s what happened, but from what I’ve seen it seems like it might fit. I’m going to send you a proposal via email that I hope you consider. Perhaps, if you agree, I can help you get back on track.

      • A second thought, it takes most businesses a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 10 years to become profitable — and that only starts when they start acting as a business.

        Even though my business is our only source of earned income, I still habitually fall short of my target profitability. I’m profitable when I work at it, but there’s profitable and then there’s enough to live on.

        So, don’t be too hard on yourself. Writing is not a get-rich-quick-scheme.

      • acflory says:

        Frankly I’m astounded you can make a living out of writing at all. Hats off to you in a big way.

      • Is my writing really that bad? 😉

        Seriously, though, it’s taken a lot of work to get to the point where I do. I spent over a decade building up to the point where I considered myself ready to be in business.

        The first year in business, I made a profit on paper, but that included over $10,000 in uncollectable receipts, where I did the work, but never got paid as agreed.

        My next two years in business were spotty at best, with months of losses, months of profits, but not enough income to support my family.

        By the time I felt like I was really making progress, I started experiencing the symptoms of fibromyalgia. I slowly derailed and then crashed completely earlier this year.

        Now, I’m picking up the pieces and am making enough to really support my family.

        It takes work, it takes experimentation, and it takes the urgent need to fill the house with groceries as my children become teenagers.

        Don’t be astounded. Be inspired. Know that it takes work, but that the work pays off.

      • acflory says:

        Bloody hell, that’s one long, and painful, learning curve. 😦 I know people often say ‘thanks for sharing’, almost as a meaningless phrase, but this time I really do thank you for sharing this. Strangely though, the insight you triggered was not what I would have expected. You see I realised I’m more confident of my skills as a teacher than as a writer – i.e. when I suddenly faced the need to get an income, teaching was the direction I automatically chose.

        I’m going to have to think about this some more.

      • There’s nothing wrong with teaching, especially if you’re passionate about it and enjoy it. I think you have the passion, considering you concern about being good enough versus how good you want to be.

        But it doesn’t have to exclude writing.

        I’m think of Madeleine L’Engle here. From what I understand, she taught through much of her writing life. In the latter part, she taught writing. Before that, I’m not sure. I think it was a mix of different things. But she also wrote, she raised a family, she lived a rich life–at least, that’s what I can tell from what I’ve read of her life.

        Many of the more artistic writers — novelists, essayists, poets — they don’t make their living writing in the same sense that I do. They made their living teaching. (This is historically, though many do today as well.) Their teaching and their writing were tied together in complex ways that aren’t always obvious. Yours can be too.

        Deciding to teach to earn your living isn’t any kind of failure. Having the energy and the hope to teach and write is important. If you give up on your writing because you see yourself as “just a teacher,” then that’s the failure. And it’s not the truth.

        Consider my proposal (which I’ve actually sent now).

      • acflory says:

        It’s a curious thing, I think I’ve always taught and I’ve always written because the two are intertwined. If you do it right, both are really about communication. I guess I’ve just had longer to get used to thinking of myself as a ‘teacher’ as distinct from a ‘writer’.

        My ambivalence towards teaching as a profession has more to do with the fact that I /wanted/ to write as a profession, but underestimated the lead time that would be required. So there’s a bit of disappointment there.

        I’m still writing though. 🙂 It’s just become much slower and more sporadic. -shrug-

  2. Finding balance between the two (and everything else) is hard. You might have to sacrifice one for a time to get where you need to be with the other. But there are ways to tie the two together. For me, my teaching is done via my writing, so I’m not the right source for that. But there are a lot of good models out there.

    The thing, in both cases, is following your passions. That’s the source of the energy that makes it all possible.

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