Sunday, December 31, 2017

You Can't Build A Reputation On What You Are Going To Do. Wise Words From Henry Ford.

There was a time when January 1st used to mark the official end of a year and the beginning of a new one. I set the bars high and fell into the trap of "a new year, new me..." Prior to living in the digital age, I would boast to family and friends what my New Year's Resolutions included. Lose weight. Eat healthier. Get organized. Reach all of my goals. The list went on and on and on. I would spend a small fortune to ensure all of it would happen.

A decade or so ago, and well into the digital age, I relied on technology to announce my New Year's Resolutions. I thought if I plastered them online for the world to see, that form of accountability would motivate my willpower to extend beyond March.


As I got older, I gravitated more towards being realistic. What good was spending $600 on an elliptical machine if in March it served more as a coat hanger? Or, a place to hang laundry that couldn't be put in the dryer, right?

Now, I'm much more realistic when I get reflective towards the end of the year and set goals for the following year. You can read about that here and here. With every year that passes, I learn. I become wiser. I know what works and what doesn't. I am well aware of the effects when I set the bar too high.

Yesterday, I stumbled on a simple quote from Henry Ford that was displayed on a friend's social media stream. It summed up one of the valuable lessons that I learned last year.

"You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do." 

I have no shame in admitting my faults. After pondering that single-sentence quote, I realized that I do that too often. I waste time writing about what I'm going to do. Sure, most times, I follow through, but on a handful of occasions, I use this technique to pacify what I'm not quite able to do just yet.

For example, at this time last year, I had pages and pages of possible homemade dog treats that I drafted up and wanted to make. During the first few months of 2017, I delivered. Faithfully each week, I'd grab my notebook with all of the drafted possible recipes and a pen, the camera, head into the kitchen, pull out ingredients, and create the treats. Sometimes I'd get it on the first try. Other times, I'd have to tweak things a bit and make 2 or 3 batches.

After that, I'd take photos of the finished product, write out the finalized recipe based on the scribbles and notes, and post the tutorial on this blog. You can view what I have so far here.

After several months, I stopped. 

In March, Lisa and I caught the same nasty bug that we had acquired in January. It took us almost 3 weeks to recover. That was a couple of weeks after we adopted the newest addition to our family, Willa. At the time of rescuing/adopting her, she was in full blown heat. And she had a stomach issue we had to deal with along with possible food allergies.

The summer months trickled in. In late spring, Lisa was promoted into management with the company she's been with for 15 years. We had several events to plan and host. In addition is was too hot to fire up the oven for any length of time.

What I should have done during that time was create homemade frozen and non-bake dog treats. 

Lisa got a second infection of Lyme after being bitten in the head, about an inch from where she was bitten last year. At the same time, her bloodwork tested positive for Mono.

Then, in August, Lisa got sick with the same virus we had caught back in January and in March. A week later, I was sick too.

In addition to her work hours increasing forcing me to change my schedule, we were heading into the holiday season. And, I was working on increments of 6-week projects for a client.

Last month and this month were non-stop. I knew I had stopped doing a lot of the things I should have been doing in order to keep my head above water. I own that. I wasn't proud, but life changes. We have to make adjustments. I wrote blog columns about every angle of that. I apologized for the delay in new, homemade dog treat recipes and DIY Dog Mom Projects.

What I failed to do is realize is that what I was managing to get done and what I intended to get done were two very separate things.

On one end of the spectrum, I got sucked into the false sense of security that my lengthy "things I'm going to do in the near future" list provided. In other words, if I wrote about revving up the creation of new, homemade dog treats, I felt secure. Sure, I was amid a hiatus, but I mentioned I was going to start the process of creating new, homemade dog treat recipes. It was my intention.

Plans are just a means to an end.

Yes, plans and outlines and notes are all necessary for potential success, but that success only surfaces when you fulfill the plans.

Bottom line, what I plan to accomplish in the weeks and months ahead is just that. A plan. People genuinely don't care what I plan to accomplish. They want to see it actually happening. Transforming those plans into reality.

I'm not measured by what I plan to do. My success won't happen if those plans remain plans month after month after month. I am measured by what I do. What I've done. My success.

"You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do."

Wise words.

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