A story: Once upon a time, a young donkey looked at his grandpa and said, “How do I grow up to be just like you?”
“Oh, that’s simple,” the grandpa replied. “All you have to do is to remember to shake it off and step up.”
“What does that mean asked the young donkey?”
“When I was just about your age, I was out walking one day, and I wasn’t paying attention and I fell into an old abandoned well…. And an old farmer said to his friends, ‘The well’s abandoned and that donkey isn’t worth saving, so let’s go to work.’ And believe it or not, they started to shovel dirt into the well….
“After the first shovelfuls of dirt came down on me, I realized something. Every time dirt landed on my back, I could shake it off and step up! They kept shoveling, and I kept shaking it off and stepping up….
“Shake it off and step up…shake it off and step up…. shake it off and step up…. I kept repeating to myself for encouragement. I fought the panic by shaking it off and stepping up. And it wasn’t long before I stepped out of the well, exhausted but triumphant.
“So no matter how difficult the situation, no matter how bad things get, no matter how much dirt gets dumped on you, just remember — shake it off and step up.”
Great advice from a four-footed storyteller! We never know who the “farmer” is going to be in our life at any given moment. Somewhere, sometime, someone’s going to be shoveling dirt on our dreams and plans.
It might be “friends” who feel we should give up on a project that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere fast. It might be publishing industry players who don’t seem excited about what we have to offer. Or, it might simply be that little voice inside our head that says, “Give it up, this isn’t working.”
Whoever the farmer in our lives happens to be, let’s remember that wise old grandfather’s advice. And instead of panicking, let’s encourage ourselves by quietly and calmly saying to ourselves, “Shake it off and step up…Shake it off and step up…Shake it off and step up.” And let’s moving toward our goals, one word at a time. Write on!