You Can Make Excuses or You Can Make Progress

The other day, I hopped in a cab. The driver and I started chatting, as you do. She asked what I do for work. I told her that I’m a writer. Her eyes lit up.

“That’s so cool! My son wants to be an author.”

“Oh yeah? What does he like to write about?” I asked.

She explained that her son is 12 years old. He has declared that he will finish his first novel by his 13th birthday. It’s a story about twin siblings — a brother and a sister — with supernatural powers. He works on it every single day. Any chance he gets.

Recently, he got in trouble during science class because he was writing story ideas in his notebook instead of paying attention to the teacher.

Another time, a different teacher scolded him and said, “Kids don’t write books.” (Can you imagine?) But none of that has stopped him.

“We don’t have a computer at home,” his mom explained. “It broke a long time ago.” Totally dead. Won’t even turn on. Sizzled black screen. She’s saving money to buy a new one. But it hasn’t happened yet.

But for her son? That’s no problem. He goes to the school computer lab during lunch — and then again after school — and that’s when he types out his novel. Every day, he pushes himself to finish his homework as quickly as possible so that he can work on his novel. He’s been doing this for months.

We arrived at my apartment. I scribbled my contact info and a publishing resource on a scrap of paper and handed it to her. I said goodbye and told her, “You’re an amazing mom, and you’ve got an amazing son.”

I’ve been thinking about this kid ever since.

No computer? No problem. Unsupportive teachers? Not an issue. Tons of homework? No sweat. Already finished. This kid is unstoppable. I predict he’ll have a trilogy of books — and a movie deal — by the time he graduates from high school.

May we all pursue our dreams with the relentless, undaunted passion of this 12-year-old kid.

If we applied even one-quarter of his determination to our work, we’d all create miracles.

“Oh but my Internet connection is really slow.” “So-and-so hasn’t gotten back to me yet.” “My assistant is on vacation.” “My boss won’t let me.”

When those voices arise, when you feel like stalling, when the work feels too hard and overwhelming… remember that somewhere in Oregon, there’s a 12-year-old boy working his butt off at the junior high school computer lab. He’s figuring out how to move forward with his goals in spite of every obstacle.

You can make excuses or you can make yourself proud.

You can make excuses or you can make progress.

You can make excuses or you can make art.

Every day, it’s your choice.

Original post on alexandrafranzen.com.

Alexandra Franzen

When it comes to being a better writer — and a better human being — Alexandra Franzen has a ten-word philosophy: Start with love. Keep it simple. You are not confused. Alexandra’s refreshingly simple communication tips have been featured on Fast Company, Forbes, The Daily Love, The Daily Muse, MediaBistro, MindBodyGreen and The Huffington Post — and on radio programs from coast to coast. Learn more at www.alexandrafranzen.com.

25 Questions to Ask a Mentor

Whenever I’m asked “What are some of the best questions to ask a ...

Four Types of Questions To Ask Your Mentor

Have conversations with your mentor gotten a bit repetitive lately? Perhaps you approached ...

25 Songs For Your Leadership Playlist

What are your all-time favorite leadership songs — the ones that make you ...

How to Shut Down a Colleague Who Takes Credit for Your Work

Has this ever happened to you? You’re in a meeting and the unthinkable ...

5 Ways to be a Leader, Not a Manager

Have you ever wondered about the difference between a manager and a leader? ...

11 Leadership Lessons Learned

Here are 11 lessons I’ve learned about leadership—mostly from much-admired colleagues, and just ...

100 Leadership Qualities

What are your leadership strengths? That’s a question I ask in a survey ...

10 Killer Leadership Skills: The Great Differentiators?

Last week at Hallmark I hosted a couple gentlemen from a partner company. ...

Influencing Without Authority—Using Your Six Sources of Influence

I am in the difficult situation of being unofficial project lead, responsible for ...

9 Traits of Exceptional Leaders

Truly great leaders are hard to come by, but it seems everyone thinks ...

20 Leadership Quotes by Women to Inspire You in 2020
20 Leadership Quotes by Women to Inspire You in 2020

20 of our favorite leadership quotes by women At Be Leaderly, we’re on a mission

Happy Holidays 2019
Happy Holidays 2019

May your Holidays sparkle with moments of love, laughter, and goodwill, and may the year

5 Ways to Shift From Doing to Leading
5 Ways to Shift From Doing to Leading

To become a leader, there is a series of key shifts in mindset and behavior

You Do You: Claim Your Leadership Strengths
You Do You: Claim Your Leadership Strengths

We are often so focused on trying to fix our weaknesses that we neglect to

Leaderly Quote: We are often so focused on trying to fix our weaknesses…
Leaderly Quote: We are often so focused on trying to fix our weaknesses…

We are often so focused on trying to fix our weaknesses that we neglect to

Book Review of Woman of Influence: A Handbook for Building a Professional Brand
Book Review of Woman of Influence: A Handbook for Building a Professional Brand

The first book review of Woman of Influence is in! Here’s what Jo Miller’s hometown

Leaderly Quote: Don’t become indispensable for doing work that hides your potential
Leaderly Quote: Don’t become indispensable for doing work that hides your potential

Don’t become indispensable for doing work that… • hides your potential • sells short your

Unhappy at Work? Persuade Your Boss to Redefine Your Job.
Unhappy at Work? Persuade Your Boss to Redefine Your Job.

Every morning, Jonas backs into a parking spot at work so he can leave faster

If You’re Not Seizing Stretch Assignments at Work, You’re Doing It Wrong.
If You’re Not Seizing Stretch Assignments at Work, You’re Doing It Wrong.

These bonus opportunities have the power to boost your leadership cred and wholly transform your

The Case for Why Millennial Women Should Job-Hop
The Case for Why Millennial Women Should Job-Hop

There are strong arguments for and against the debated practice, but for millennial women, job-hopping

At Be Leaderly, our mission is a simple one: To provide proven career strategies that help you lead, climb, and thrive as a rising woman of influence. If you’re ready to lead, we’re here to support and inspire you.

Copyright 2020, Be Leaderly