Considering that I went a little heavy on the boat metaphors in the last post, I figure it wouldn’t hurt to keep it going in this one, especially since the topics go together.
In Trimming Sails, I talked about intentionality being the key to accomplishing goals. The other side of the intentionality coin though is discipline. Doing things with intentionality gets you going, doing things with discipline keeps you going.
My boaty metaphor for this one is maintaining brightwork. Brightwork is essentially exposed metal and wood on a boat; on a modern sailboat, you’ll mostly see it in wood toerails, handholds, companionways, and other trim. Maintaining all this wood that’s exposed to the elements all the time isn’t fun or easy work, but it’s the difference between a boat that looks good and a boat that looks disused.
It’s not easy to stay on top of it. It’s far easier to let it go for a day, week, month longer than you should. But when you grab a handrail in high winds and come back with a massive splinter, you’ll wish you’d had the discipline.
Do things with intentionality and discipline, and that’s how you win.
I think that intentionality is the most important factor in actually accomplishing anything in life. I have been trying to pay attention to how I do things lately, and I have noticed that when I sit back, relax, and let things go on their own, nothing happens. When I’m intentional, taking deliberate steps to accomplish a goal, any goal, including writing blog posts, that’s when things happen.
It reminds me of sailing. With your hand on the tiller, your sails trimmed, that’s when you get where you’re going. Sometimes slowly, but you’ll get there. If you don’t pay attention, you let the wind and currents take you where they go, and chances are it’s not where you want to be.
Too much, I’m letting the wind and currents take me. I’m not moving as fast as I want to, so I let frustration hold the tiller. But intentionality will get me there, and my favorite part of sailing has always been the relaxing journey. So this is my reminder to myself to keep control and stay on course. Not only will I get to my port of call, but I’ll probably have a pretty nice tan.
It turns out I’m a planner. I feel like I probably knew that, but I’ve never really admitted it as a driving part of my personality before today.
Here’s the story. I hate the carpet in my living room. It’s original to the house, which is about 12 years old right now, so it’s “builder quality”. Which means, not great. It wasn’t in the best quality when we moved in two years ago; now add three cats and a four year old half-daughter/half-tornado, and it’s essentially ruined.
The living room has been making me uncomfortable for a while now, and I never really tied it to the carpet in there before. I just didn’t want to use the room for some reason. While doing a family clean the house day last weekend, I started picking up in there and realized just how awful the carpet had really gotten. So I started thinking about what would be better.
Nicole and I had talked about putting wood floors in “someday”. I started researching. I pulled up a little corner to see what was underneath: concrete, of course. #floridahouse. I sure can’t afford to redo the whole open plan main floor anytime soon, so whatever I do will have to go with the tile for now. Maybe once the kid had gotten a little older, I’ll do the whole place, but for now I want something that would look good, not cost too much, and something that I could ideally do myself over a weekend. I decided on a laminate floor.
Here’s the interesting part though. Once I made the decision, I started loving the room again. It didn’t matter that I hadn’t actually done anything, I had a plan. Maybe not even a plan, just a direction to go in. I don’t know the first thing about installing floors, I don’t know what color or style will look best in the house. But I know that the clock has started on the horrible carpet, and now all I see in there is potential.
It didn’t hit me until driving into the office this morning that it was the plan that made the room livable again. Instead of letting the problem overwhelm me, I can start sorting through the options for the solution. Now that I realize that about myself, maybe I can use it.