When I do Miracle Journal interviews, I often talk about how I now go through my days wondering, “Is this experience or conversation or person my miracle for the day?” Despite the anticipation of the question, the answer is often not so clear cut. Except today.
As I stood in a fabulous shop in downtown St. Johnsbury called The Artful Eye chatting with the store owner, I listened to the words tumbling out of her mouth and knew without a doubt that this conversation was today’s miracle.
I met Lisa McDonough last year as she was preparing to open her shop and I was impressed with all of her ideas. Now I see those concepts translated into real colors and textures and I’m blown away.
She asked me how things were going with The Miracle Journal and I told her about all of the things that have happened – how amazed I am at my own progress and all that I’ve created by writing a little bit each day.
To which she replied, “I ask people what could you accomplish if you just concentrated on making one perfect stroke each day?”
She pulled me over to a gorgeous painting of a tomato plant (I certainly never imagined I’d write those words together in a sentence – gorgeous, painting, tomato. Hunh.) She used some cards sitting nearby to isolate a one-inch by one-inch square and said, “What if you just concentrate on making that piece as perfect and beautiful today as you can? What if you just did one stroke at a time? Then tomorrow you can move on to the next square.”
Ohmigosh! What a perfect image for something that I struggle with on a regular basis! I generate so many ideas that I sometimes have trouble prioritizing. Everything seems crucial, so I try to do everything at once and completely burn myself out so that I can’t get anything done.
Another version of this that I see frequently within the personal development crowd is the desire for instant celebrity. We’ve heard enough stories about “overnight stars” that a lot of aspiring writers and teachers have drunk the Kool-Aid and believe that’s the only way to have an impact. The problem is that those “viral stars” are newsworthy primarily because they’re so rare. Most of us have to work steadily for a while to build the foundation for our success. And truth be told, a lot of those “overnight” successes have five or eight or ten years worth of foundation-building behind them, too. They just look overnight because we hadn’t heard of them yesterday and this morning they’re as ubiquitous as Cheerios.
(To take this a step further, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’d rather build a solid foundation that lasts for 20 or 30 or 40 years than be an overnight sensation who’s here today and gone next week. *ahem* Stepping off my soap box now.)
One stroke at a time. One perfect stroke. Not a whole painting in a day. Not a whole bunch of inferior strokes to prove that I’m capable. Not a “I’ll just do this to get it over with” stroke. One perfect stroke today.
As usual, tomorrow will take care of itself.
What’s the one perfect stroke you can concentrate on tomorrow?