If being a parent and an authorpreneur have taught me anything so far, it is this:
The amazing is the sum of the incremental.
To a degree, I always had some understanding of this. I knew conceptually how building a business and raising a child would very much be this bit-by-bit, day-by-day thing. But as Morpheus from The Matrix says, there’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.
Earlier this week, my son asked us to keep back an avocado pit so he could plant it. I pulled up Pinterest and showed him a great pin that walked through the steps.
We went through the steps. I polished the pit, being careful not to remove the protective brown skin. Connor poked 4 toothpicks into it. He filled up a half-pint mason jar and gently set the pit inside, checking to see that the bottom of the pit was actually in the water.
Then we talked about how this will take weeks to sprout—assuming it does, and there were no guarantees it would. In the mornings he’s been changing out the pit’s water (to protect against harmful microbes that might damage the pit) and he’s been observing it.
If all goes well, in as little as two weeks a root will sprout.
Naturally, I think about my kids in this context too. Every day I check them, observe them. And yes, of course, in those early years there are changes a’plenty, especially of the keep-fresh variety.
But as they grow, as my wife and I are there for them and doing our best as parents, they too will likely grow up all right.
My son has a daily list of things he’s supposed to do each day: get dressed, make his bed, practice violin, etc. We recently revamped his list, and he suggested something he wanted on there:
He wanted to make a book.
(Yeah, I felt a wee bit proud.)
Each day, usually after breakfast, Connor has been getting a sheet of paper, punching holes in it, and having me or my wife write down a story he is dictating. It’s only a few sentences a day, and then he adds some drawings, but each day has continued on from where the story was the day before.
What really matters is that he sees this story growing. There is plot, action, and even some development. We read through the pages each day, and he can tell that he is using daily bits of work to make something bigger. It’s inspiring pride and confidence in him, and I love seeing him realize that he can do big things—even if it’s in wee pieces at a time.
After 2 kids, 4 books, nearly 6 years, and hundreds of articles, I get it: everything is incremental. Day by day, my kids grow and learn, and I can look back and see how different experiences or epiphanies have built up into who they are now. Day by day, I work at my assignments and projects, building on successes and failures, achievements and setbacks, and am amazed at how far my business has come since 2011.
A 1,000-word article is really lots of little segments of 100, 200, or 300 words.
A 90,000-word book (about 360 pages) is a collection of 1,500–2,500 word scenes.
And business is showing up every day, with an open heart, a ready mind, and a wry grin. A cuppa hot coffee helps too.
It’s all incremental. But from those wee pieces, something bigger and amazing grows—as long as you nurture it, keep at it, and appreciate the journey along the way.