Recently, I made a hard decision.
I opted to push back self-publication of the small business history, Bucky’s: Stories and Recollections from 50 Years in Business, by three months. Now, instead of coming out in June, the book will make its debut in September.
I agonized over this decision for many months. I lost sleep over it. If I am painfully honest, I cried over it. Part of me felt like I wouldn’t be sticking to my word if I botched a deadline. Part of me felt like a failure for not meeting the initial deadline.
Until I realized something: the deadline was a date I had set, a deadline I had been feverishly working toward, a deadline I hadn’t even concretely communicated to many people who had pre-ordered the book.
All of the pressure to get this project done by a certain time was self-imposed. Who but me would challenge my integrity if I pushed back the project? Who but me would think I was a failure?
Then, another realization struck me. I could have the book finished by June, if I really wanted to.
It would just be a mediocre book. I would have to cut corners, strike content, fly through the photo layout and just hope I put images in the right place and that they looked okay.
Where then, I asked myself, would be the integrity?
What’s more, the entire reason for pushing the project back rested on this reality: I had received so much content for the book – so many memories and stories, photos and newspaper clippings – from people who wanted to contribute that I simply couldn’t keep up with it all as it poured in.
This is to say that, when I set out to piece together 50 years of stories and recollections of a small-town business and reached out to the business’ customers and people in the local community for help, the response was overwhelming. The project itself morphed into something more monumental and wonderful than I ever could have anticipated.
Turns out, when you ask for stories and recollections about Bucky’s Outdoors in Pinedale, Wyoming, people have a lot to say.
Failure? No. Simply a remarkable story in the making.
C Hope Clark, writer and editor of the newsletter www.fundsforwriters.com, recently shared this knock-out quote by William James: “When once a decision is reached, dismiss absolutely all responsibility and care about the outcome.”
In other words, make a decision and move on, going forward confidently in the path you have chosen without looking back or second-guessing.
When I finally made the decision to push back the book’s publication, I felt a weight lift off my shoulders. My work felt lighter and freer, more manageable and more joyful. I haven’t looked back since, because I know that by pursuing my work in this lighter spirit, the outcome will be knock-out beautiful – a product that, I hope, will bowl readers over.
For more on this project, visit www.buckysstory.com.
Have you agonized over any difficult decisions lately? What was the outcome? If you haven’t yet reached an outcome, what can you do to be proactive about moving forward?