Call Your Shots or Grind in Silence?

Jeremiah Solven has been challenging many of his followers & members of his coaching group Conquer Academy to “Call Your Shots,” meaning, state your goals & follow through on them.  He talks about how you do a similar move in the game of pool, calling which pocket your ball will land in & following through until you make it happen.  

Meanwhile, other successful entrepreneurs have been posting about grinding in silence.  Keep your privacy, and your work ethic to yourself, and let others see the results which should speak for themselves.

So which approach is better?  Is it either/or?  And what does a pianist, piano teacher, author, and online entrepreneur do as she is approaching her goals?  Call them out?  Publicly talk about it?  Grind in silence alone?  The answer, for me, is both.

There have been many years where I have worked on projects in silence.  The Lone Martian book is a great example of this. 

My husband & children alone knew I had written a story, and I didn’t touch it for almost three years.  Until I finally decided to act on it, in silence, at night while my husband was away at work and my kids were sleeping.  I painted the pictures in the garage.  I taught myself photoshop, and died a thousand deaths trying to learn to format my art and my pages for print on a dinosaur of a Mac that kept dying on me when I tried uploading my manuscript.  Those hours were so frustrating, and so painful, and I will never be able to articulate the amount of work that went into learning how to be a self-published author and illustrator.  I will never be able to describe how much I wanted to quit on my book idea, or how crazy it made me feel to try to learn Photoshop, barcodes, copyright processes, ISBN numbers, printer formatting, book marketing, and more.  At times I wish I talked more about that journey so someone could know, or understand, the amount of work put into it, but I know even if I did talk about it I could barely scratch the surface and trying to describe it would just make someone else suffer about as much as I did trying to upload those files while my Mac kept dying.

There are many reasons I didn’t tell anyone what I was working on.  I admit part of it was paranoia that someone would try to steal the idea of a children’s book about a little alien coming to Earth and believing the planet was uninhabited.  Part of it was because I didn’t even know if I could do it, finish the book and get it published, and why talk about it if you can’t follow through?  How many of us talk about books we want to write and never do it?  Part of me didn’t want to add to that chatter, or be embarrassed if things fell apart in the end and I had no book to show for my troubles.

When I finally did tell someone, the response was overwhelmingly positive.  And surprising.  And out in left field, for a piano teacher (as my brother pointed out).  If it worked to grind in silence, why talk about my goals now?

In part because I want extra accountability.  Once you name a goal, you know that other people are watching you, and wondering if it can be achieved.  On the rough days, the nothing days, the days I don’t think I can crawl out of bed and work on one more project, I think about the fact that I said I would do this one thing, and if anyone is watching and wondering if I will, I want to be that person who keeps her promises and is honest about it if she fails.

Another reason I’ve chosen to name a few goals of mine and “call my shots,” if you will, is because I have realized how many people have been honest to share about their goals, struggles, and strategies, and helped me tremendously along the way, and I forget that sharing my journey could help someone else achieve their dreams.  One of the posts that inspired me early on in my author journey was from Bunmi Laditan, in her blog post entitled Edges, describing how she found time to write when she was a mother of young children.  That gave me the push that I needed to follow through on finishing my book project, and I want to be able to share my journey in case it helps someone else.

I love to celebrate when someone else achieves their goals, and I know there are people out there who will celebrate with me when I accomplish my goals.

Calling your shots also keeps you humble because you have to be honest about the journey.  Right now I am at .0001% of reaching my goal of 100,000 subscribers on my Bandcamp.  When I say that out loud, I think, will I ever reach my goal?  Do I crawl into a hole and hide away again instead of be honest about where I’m at in my goal?  Is this goal even possible?  But when I get a message from my tenth subscriber that my music gave them goosebumps & they immediately subscribed, I remember the hard work I put into making my music-and grinding in silence, if you will-and I remember my why-to bring music that tells a story & helps bring peace of mind-and I decide I will keep calling my shots, and grinding in silence when necessary, and hope that my music & books can reach and encourage as many people as possible.

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In the end I believe in using both of these approaches: Call Your Shots AND Grind in Silence.  If you’ve got a big goal, call it, share it, talk about it.  But when it comes to the granular details and the daily work you do, most of it will be done in silence.  Even the people who share their work can only share a snapshot, a post, a story, and give you an idea of what part of the process looks like for them.  There is a Herculean amount of work underneath that highlight reel that some will never be able to articulate and few will understand.  And that’s okay.  It’s okay to be misunderstood, to have nothing to show for yourself on the journey, and you don’t have to prove to anyone that you are doing the work.  If you are grinding in silence, chances are the results will in fact speak for themselves.  And if you’re a little bit daring and you call your shots ahead of time, you’ll have a lot of us cheering you on from the sidelines while we watch you work.

Are you working on any outrageous or challenging goals?  Comment below & let us know!

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