I’m going to be honest and say I am still crawling out of the 2020 pandemic lock-down haze. It’s been slow going to get me back to my joyful and engaged self. While I am usually not a big fan of self-help books because of their inclination towards productivity porn (what YOU really need is some meditation! Fuck off, what I really need is a raise and a personal assistant . .), I’m finding myself quite delighted with James Clear’s Atomic Habits. Clear writes a lot about the way we construct, or cast a vote for, who we want to be through conscious decisions small and large each day. We essentially tell a story of our aspirational future selves by making decisions like “this is what a happy person would do” or “this is what a successful business person would do”. He has one story in the book about a rather mid-level salesperson who ramped up their success by adding a paper clip to a jar on his desk every time he made a sales call. Just the call, it didn’t matter what the outcome was. At the end of the day he had a clear visual of how much he had done. I have over the years told my clients that their measure of success should be first and foremost the call, whatever else occurs as a result is just information. Sure, you have to be transparent and proactive about asking for financial support, but making the calls, day after day, is where the systems you put in place actually support the person you envision yourself to be — I Am One Who Fundraises, therefore I Am a Fundraiser, not because I make the money, but because I do the work of fundraising. You can define what values that employs — are you caring? transparent? transactional? driven? You get to decide what values you are expressing in how you accomplish this activity. The work of the thing gets you to the goal.
“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”
~James Clear, Atomic Habits