Shine a light.
One of my first jobs was at a Procter & Gamble plant.
I worked the graveyard shift, loading soap on tractor-trailers.
I got paid by the pound.
When the shift ended, a few of us would head to a pool hall.
Whoever loaded the most poundage would pay.
I never paid, not once.
It wasn’t for lack of desire.
The other guys had been working there longer and had developed a relationship with “management.”
Some guy at a desk who determined which loaders got which size loads.
I never had a chance.
So I created a game for myself.
If I couldn’t load the most weight, maybe I could load faster than everyone else.
I didn’t make a penny more, but I did get a reputation.
The fastest loader on the dock.
Strangely, it made me happy.
It motivated me.
I thought about that time as I sit here, working on my new book.
A few weeks ago, I gave a presentation about belief to leaders at Procter & Gamble (funny how life unfolds).
When it was over, someone paid me a compliment and said, “I can’t wait to read your new book.”
And just like my reputation as the “fastest loader,” that comment made me happy.
Since my return home, I’ve been on fire with ideas and resolve.
That one small sentiment, from someone I respect, lit up my belief in my work and myself.
It was easy to motivate myself to load soap.
It was a simple task.
Me against the soap.
So I simply shined my own light.
Writing a book is much different.
It’s a solitary struggle.
It’s not me against a blank page.
It’s me against myself.
My rambling thoughts, inadequacies, doubts.
Over time, the vision gets murkier and murkier.
And so it gets harder and harder to visualize success and, therefore, to write.
The same thing happens to all of us.
We try to lose weight, but the scale doesn’t budge.
We look for work, but keep getting rejections.
We put in long hours at work, but problems continue to pile up.
So what keeps us going?
For some, it’s fear.
But for most of us, it’s belief in our actions.
And that belief is fueled by visceral signs of progress.
A small win, a kind word, an attaboy.
No one will continue to walk down a pitch dark path.
They’ll eventually sit down and wait for the first sign of light.
Those positive signals are the light.
And they make all the difference in the world.
So please, never stop shining them.