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Temporary Setback or Epic Fail?

For those who have been following the Grow a Generation blog, you may have noticed a deadline came and went.  The book, Grow a Generation: Parenting in the 21st Century did not get published in time for the April 2012 deadline.  Quietly, I went into the website and marketing brochures and switched the “upcoming” date to August. A recent book, Chris Guillebeau’s The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World convinced me I should come clean with my readers and encourage your support!

The book is not done!  There it is – the confession.  I did indeed miss my self-imposed deadline. Four of the seven chapters are completed in rough draft form and the other three chapters are in various stages.  Of course the excuses can be made; three bouts of pneumonia, Ian’s need for a little more attention in school, getting a bit overwhelmed with the class I was teaching at Duquesne, seven original Grow a Generation resources, a trip to Ireland, having too much fun with the robotics class…  Ultimately, it boils down to not enough self-discipline. American entrepreneur, John Rohn, said “We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret and disappointment.”  Ouch – that disappointment hurts.

So, how to respond?  I must admit that, for the first few weeks after the deadline, I crawled into gardening and housework to avoid my disappointment (at least the house got cleaned). And the book, not done, sat untouched. The temptation was there to shelve the project, to hide away my embarrassment. But I have picked it up again (thanks mostly to comments of readers!), and set a new goal.

The experience has helped in the drafting of the chapter on resilience.  What do I want to teach my children about how to pick themselves up after a disappointment and keep going?  What are the resources I’ve drawn on to help me?  Am I letting it serve as an example to them, or do they think I never fail in my goals?

Of course, the start is setting the goals! (See this week’s featured Grow a Generation resource Writing a Purpose Statement for a great tool to help your child set their own goals of writing books and more!). Thank you, Chris Guillebeau for some writing goals to steal and adapt:

In my case, I want to write 1,000 words a day, six days a week. I often write more, but rarely less. The 1,000 words a day is my own metric—yours may vary, but it’s a good one to steal. In the end I’m not necessarily concerned with exact figures; it’s just that having a number helps me to keep working. Also, 300,000 words ensures I can write a book every year, 100+ blog posts for AONC, 50 or so guest posts elsewhere, at least 2-3 business projects that require a lot of writing, and a few long-form essays or magazine pieces. I don’t count emails (200 a day) or short entries for social media sites.

Another element to resilience is having a community that boos you during epic fails (I love the fail sequence on guitar hero!) alongside a metric letting you know how far you’ve progressed.  I will add a brief statistical mark to show book progress in my newsletters.  Feel free to send jeers and cheers and share your goals with me so I can return the favor.

What do you do to bounce back quickly from your regrets and disappointments?  What does your child say they do?

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