Yesterday, as I planned my week ahead, I initially chose to write about strategic planning this morning. I owe you parts two through five of a simple way to make strategic planning doable. I was stressed about the week ahead – a monstrous to-do list as our practice and levels of responsibility continue to grow.
Then, last night, everything changed.
When our son – who turned five in October – was 18 months old, he was diagnosed with moderate autism. If you’re familiar with the disorder, you know it’s a wide spectrum. Our son’s somewhere out in right-center field.
Non-verbal until about three and a half, life with Will was a daily battle between patience and frustration. Imagine an automatic-drip coffee filter. That was Will’s brain. Still is: waaaaay too much sensory input with just a drip at a time coming out.
For more than five years, I’ve told my son I loved him when I put him to bed.
Last night, for the first time, he said, “I love you, too.”
By my count:
- I’ve told my son I loved him as I wished him good night more than 1500 times.
- I’ve professionally written more than 2,500,000 words over the past fifteen years.
None of them had as much impact on my life as the four he casually offered up last night before closing his eyes.
So, here’s the thing. My scary week? Not so scary anymore.
Me? I’m playing on house money this week.
Everything else that gets done is just a bonus.
Funny thing is – I woke up ready to go … fearless … with nothing so troubling or problematic. I want to get more done.
Why not pretend you’re playing on house money today? Be a little bit bolder, a little friendlier, and a little bit more adventurous. Why not?
You know we’re all playing on house money, right?
When I shared the new of Will’s four words with my friends last night, Cathy shared this:
“One of the strange things about living in the world is that it is only now and then one is quite sure one is going to live forever and ever and ever.” ~ Frances Hodgson Burnett
Hmm. Here’s the other thing, and hopefully what keeps these 600 words from veering too far off course:
It wasn’t some miraculous bit of serendipity. These four words came from the patience, frustration, work, sweat, creativity, rewards, tears, and laughter of seven days a week of in-home therapy and five days a week of additional outside-the-home therapy.
These four words came from practice.
These four words came from work.
For more than five years, I hoped these words would come. Since he was eighteen months old, we’ve given every available bit of time and money to help them find their way from brain to mouth.
Hope alone ain’t a strategy. Perhaps you’ve heard.
There’s your secret then: If you want something badly enough, you’ll practice every day and make tiny little bits of progress in the face of staggering cliffs of frustration.
And you just keep coming back like some stubborn stupid fighter that doesn’t know when to quit.
You do the hard things. Sometimes those things take five years or more. Patience becomes the greater expression of commitment. Commitment becomes the greater expression of grace.
Easy? You want easy? Great. Enjoy your life of mediocrity.
Hmm. Guess this was a little bit about strategic planning after all.
UPDATE: Last night, I was met again with silence. That’s okay. Baby steps …