The life of a writer/speaker is no different than that of others breaking out of the box to pursue creative endeavors: the tides are always changing. I’ve always loved water metaphors. In my next book Be Audacious: Inspiring Your Legacy and Living a Life That Matters, I dedicated many pages to the parallels between life and water. This week I took my final page proofs for my next book to UPS and shipped the manuscript to my publisher in Portland, Oregon. The next time I see it will be early October, in print. One year ago this month I began the process of writing the first BA book and I turned in a 90,000-word manuscript six months later. Over the last four months, I’ve labored hard on edits and on Monday, my mission of completing this book in one calendar year became a reality. It’s safe to say that the release of my memoir Grizzlies On My Mind this time last year, combined with the writing and editing of a book in one year, has represented a steady surge of high tides.
But what now? I’ve spent the last year working on an all-consuming project and with that trip to the local UPS, the low tide has arrived. One thing we must embrace if we are going to embark upon a box-shattering path of creative passion is the nature of the tides.
I’ve often described my work as feast or famine. Just like the tide, which ebbs and flows, so to does the life of a freelancer. Unlike the traditional 9-5 where predictability is the norm, the life of an artist, musician, writer or entrepreneur is filled with ups and downs. Perhaps the mindset of the surfer is what we must embrace if we are going to sustain longevity in our work. Just as a big wave rider can’t count on epic surf every day, we must recognize that our journey will have its up and downs, its highs and lows. The way I look at it is we have two choices we can make. We can restlessly chase the next big wave, jet-setting across the globe (a financial reality out of reach for most of us), or we can embrace the nature of our chosen path and learn to accept, perhaps even relish, the changing tides.
We can’t just go, go, go and still live intentionally. When the surf is popping off, the waves call our name and we ride that passionate surge as long as we can. This is natural. But it’s during the low tide and flat seas that we can sit on the beach, watch the sunset and reflect on what we’ve accomplished and where we want to go. While we thrive when the waves are crashing and our passion is pulsing, it’s the aftermath that provides the opportunity to foster our transformation, sharpen our quiver and thoughtfully plan for the next big adventure.
~Michael W. Leach