Digging Ditches

Originally published November 8, 2017 by The Montrose Daily Press

Raise your hand if you’re doing what you always dreamed of as a career. Me too! As a young girl, I just knew I would be helping businesses and facilitating economic development. Okay, maybe that isn’t quite true …

Identifying (and sticking to) a career path or passion from a young age is pretty rare. It’s probably safe to say most of us still don’t know what we want to be when we grow up. That is more than OK, in fact, it is part of the beauty and mystery of this thing we call life.

Most careers are less of a straight line and more akin to a game of pinball. So how do we find our way to fulfillment? Best-selling author and talented speaker Brene’ Brown asks, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” Put differently, if you were to die today, what things would remain on your list of “I always wanted to …”

Maybe that’s owning your own business, or climbing to the top of the pyramids. Maybe you want to write a book. Or maybe you want to do all three at the same time. We often get stuck in careers, jobs, ways of living, or more commonly, frames of mind that have us convinced there is no way we can obtain those things. At least not until “someday.”

Those dreams were placed inside us for a reason. It’s time to switch out “someday” for “today” so when we arrive at the end of our lives, we can do so with a complete lack of regret. For, it is said the greatest regrets in life are not the things we did, but the things we did not do.

1. Find a starting place. In his new book, “Discipline Equals Freedom,” retired Navy SEAL and business consultant Jocko Willink tells us, “The place is here, and the time is now.” The getting started is a really difficult part of the process because we give it too much real estate in our mind. A little secret on this: you don’t have to start from the beginning. Sometimes you can start in the middle or at the end, but you have to start. You want to write a book? Start writing, even if you write the ending first. Lose weight? Start today. We don’t need New Year’s Day, a Monday or our birthday as a starting point. The time in now and the place is here.

2. Dig ditches. I’ve been excited to tell you about this all week. The premise being: have faith. Grow the faith in yourself and/or your higher power by digging ditches. You cannot pray or hope for rain and be 100-percent unprepared when you receive what you’ve been asking for. You’ll have a bad flood on your hands. Start preparing for it now. Let’s say your boss walked in today and gave you the promotion you’ve been wanting. Have you thought about what that looks like on the other side? Sure, you’ve got a new title and new money, but are you going to be good at it? Dig your ditches so that when that opportunity you’ve been coveting presents itself, you can expertly funnel that rain into the production of fruitful crops.

3. Dirty hands. The thing about big dreams is the big part. Say what you want about Britney Spears, but she had it right in her 2013 hit “Work B****.” Although not the greatest modern musical masterpiece, the message is clear. If you want a hot body, a Maserati, or a chart-topping career, you better work.

The world has done most of us a disservice by presenting the success of people without really talking about the journey. The secret to the Cinderella stories of the world? Cinderella not only worked full-time scrubbing castle floors, but she got up at 4 a.m. every day to study leadership and business. She spent weekends testing her ideas. She used the wicked stepmother as fuel toward her goal. She saw failure as stairs to success. She worked until her fingers bled. She did not give up when it got hard. She did not give up when it seemed impossible. She got her hands dirty digging ditches while her competition was sleeping, looking at Facebook and wasting time wishing for it.

4. Achievement is only the beginning. The beauty of accomplishment is its ROI. Once you realize the big dream, or accomplish a goal, you’re suddenly confident to do even greater things. Many people may have doubted you along the way. You may have doubted yourself. We are our own worst critics and often the nastiest voice in our own heads. Use your accomplishments as silencers to doubt and fear. And when all else is about to fail, pick up that shovel ...

Start digging.

Chelsea Rosty is the executive director of the Montrose Chamber of Commerce and director of Business Innovation, City of Montrose. Reach her at chelsea@montrosechamber.com.