Beautiful things come together a stitch at a time

Beautiful things come together a stitch at a time. Pace your efforts and watch the tapestry of your life unfold.

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Barbara Krysztofiak

Where do you find yourself rushing through your days, or adding a level of urgency to areas of life that are clearly unimportant?

Where did all this striving to keep up or get ahead originate?

Where do the concepts of peer pressure — or the fear of missing out — have you trying to pack twenty pounds of potatoes into a ten-pound bag?

Years ago, my wife belonged to a needle craft club where she created various works of art a stitch at a time.

Sometimes a two-hour session would result in only a few square inches of her evolving masterpiece. Years later, these pieces have become increasingly meaningful because of how her meticulous efforts led to a one-and-only creation.


Where in your world would a slower pace help you seek, find, and stitch together a more beautiful and meaningful life?

“We often work harder in our dreams than in our life.”

“We often work harder in our dreams than in our life.”

Mark Nepo, poet, teacher, and storyteller

Image from Unsplash by Hans Reniers

Although I don’t usually remember my dreams beyond the first minute or two after waking, I often find myself day-dreaming throughout the day.

When I watch others doing great things on TV or in my personal and professional communities, I often project myself into their efforts.

This form of wishful thinking and level of achievement is purely a mental exercise, and rarely if ever shows up in actual performance.


Where do you work harder in your dreams than in your life?

Where in your world is it time to give it your all and break a sweat?

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

Anne Frank, celebrated diarist

Image from Unsplash by Brett Jordan

Today’s quote is one of my favorites.

It is all too easy these days to be discouraged by the troubling issues facing the world, given our instant access to current events. If it bleeds it leads has never been more prominent in our society.

There is, however, an abundance of good news out there if we look for it — or better yet, if we create it.

Although we can be overwhelmed and daunted by many challenges, we can also channel our inner Anne Frank as we rise each day to improve our part of this precious world.

Changing up your news feed habits may also be worth a go!


Where are you waiting and holding back on your best efforts to improve the world?

What are some steps you can and will take now and throughout 2024 to make your life and that of others more wonderful?

In your attempts to achieve and succeed, celebrate the efforts not just the outcomes

In your attempts to achieve and succeed, celebrate the efforts not just the outcomes.

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Anna Samoylova

In my most active business development years I invented a point system to keep me motivated and in action. Instead of only looking at my sales metrics for how I was doing, I gave myself points for all actions that could and often did lead to quantifiable results.

Phone calls, emails, social media efforts, and even research on prospective customers all counted. Attending networking functions, scheduling meetings, and even getting business cards and contact information scored points.

At the end of each day, I could quantify my level of activity and knew that my efforts would eventually pay off.


Where and how do you celebrate and give yourself credit for your attempts and efforts, regardless of the outcomes?  How would such a practice help keep you motivated when you might otherwise become discouraged?

“The drop hollows out the stone, not by force but by falling often.”

“The drop hollows out the stone, not by force but by falling often.”

Ovid, ancient Roman Poet

Image from Unsplash by Gert Boers

What’s working and going well in your life?

What aspects of your world are not going as you wish?

Where can and do you look for the answers?

Too often, we point to things outside our control for why we feel stalled or stopped. When we do, how often do we appreciate the three fingers in our palms pointing back in our direction?

When we force things in our lives with heroic efforts and they don’t get the job done, we often give up.

It’s us stopping that stops us.

When we explore the aspects of our lives that are working, they work because we do.

It’s our drop by drop, moment by moment, day by day efforts that help us carve out a life of significance and success.


What areas of your life would benefit most from your drop-by-drop persistence?

Share your intentions with a coach, colleague, family member, or friend to help you keep your efforts going when things stop flowing.

Discover the right balance between effort and ease

“Discover the right balance between effort and ease.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Gustavo Torres

Create a list of your favorite sports. Do you or have you played any of those mentioned here? Consider what it takes to perform optimally in each of them.

Baseball Bowling Cricket Football
Golf Gymnastics Hockey Rugby
Soccer Shuffleboard Swimming Tennis

To what degree do you see the dance between effort and ease in these and other sports?

How are each of these qualities essential to play at a masterful level?


Where in your life is there too much effort or ease being applied?

How can you re-balance these qualities to perform even better moving forward?

Do my expectations match the level of effort I’m giving

“Do my expectations match the level of effort I’m giving?”

—Shane Parrish, Founder of the Farnam Street website

Image from Unsplash by Product School

What are your thoughts about the statement You get what you expect?  How do your own personal and professional results align with your expectations?

I am all about the power of positivity when and only when our efforts are consistent with our thinking.

In my observations and in lots of social science studies there seems to be a strong correlation between the harder we work, and the luckier we get.


How and where is it necessary to up your level of effort to match the expectations you have for yourself?

Where would raising your expectations and your level of effort be in order?

At what point in your efforts do you experience the point of diminishing returns

“At what point in your efforts do you experience the point of diminishing returns? When is enough enough?”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Suzi Kim

What is your profession? How many hours do you typically work each week?

Consider the career of an accountant: seven days and over 80 hours a week is often the norm for many of these folks this time of year.

What about other professions such as those in the medical field during Covid and significant staff shortages?

Maybe you are a homemaker or caregiver with young children or aging parents who also needs to be a breadwinner. If any of these situations sounds familiar, you have likely reached and exceeded the point of diminishing returns.


What are the costs to you and others when you consistently go beyond your limits?

What new or different strategies can you employ when enough is more than enough?

When you lean in, your risk being hit

“When you lean in, your risk being hit.”

Rich Litvin, co-author of The Prosperous Coach

Image from Unsplash by Nicholas Green

In how many areas of your life do you sit on the sidelines as a spectator?

Where in your personal or professional communities are you playing it safe, avoiding the bumps and bruises of the players on the field?

Whether it is in your career, a competitive sporting event, or even in a significant relationship, leaning in has its risks.

What potential rewards will never be realized if you are always keeping your distance?


Where is it time to lean into something of great importance or urgency?

How can you best prepare yourself for the possible hits you may receive in your efforts to reach some worthy objective?

Friday Review: Effort

Friday Review: Effort

Where do you put in the most effort in your personal and professional lives? Here are a few related posts you may have missed.

“Don’t forget how badly you once wanted what you have now.”




“Nobody notices what you do until you do not do it.”




“Curious that we spend more time congratulating people who have succeeded than encouraging people who have not.”