Just a note

I take a lot of notes. I filled spiral notebooks in school, sometimes more than one per class. I take notes at meetings. I even take notes during sermons! Pastor probably thinks I’m doodling or that I managed to snag a kiddies’ bulletin full of puzzles. Ok, I confess, I do that sometimes. Don’t tell Pastor.

Anyway, I think note-taking is my defense against distraction. It’s that adult attention deficit disorder thing. It’s about the only thing that still works as well as it did when I was a kid.

I carry a paper month-at-a-time calendar and one of those neat little Northwest tablets with me always. By the end of the month, they’re filled with notes. I transfer the important ones to sticky notes and tear the pages out of the little tablet and attach and scatter them all over the place. I came across one the other day.

Donnie Rosie is an interesting and involved guy. He’s a photographer, marketer, marketing director of Miracle Mountain Ranch, and an almost life-long volunteer fireman. He was on a panel mentoring a Leadership Warren County project team studying how to encourage more people to join VFD’s and other emergency management organizations. I happened to be in the room when he said: “If you do enough things right, it will bear fruit.” That caught my ear and I jotted it down.

On the surface, that seems like a “Well duh!” statement. But as I thought about it, a deeper implication arose. Think about the flip side of that for a minute. What if you DON’T do enough things right? What are the chances your efforts will bear fruit? I suppose there is a certain type of success attained by taking shortcuts, looking for loopholes, making excuses, and finding scapegoats. In the long run, what are the fruits? Ill-gotten gains, maybe, if you get away with it. But what about your character and reputation? They end up in the dumpster. And your project? People are likely to withdraw support.

Now back to Donnie’s original statement. What does it mean to “do enough things right”? Well, first, it’s about the DOING. That’s the active, involved lifestyle we should all aspire to. It’s about honest work to support ourselves and our families. It’s about contributing to projects that benefit others. It’s about balancing serious endeavors with fun.

And what’s “right”? These days, you can find support for any idea. Come on, people, there really are absolute “right” ideas. Honesty and fairness come to mind….

And what about “enough?” How much is that? It’s more than just showing up. It’s more than contributing less than you could. It’s not: “I just work here.” Or “That’s not my job.” “Enough” is expending the energy to get the job done. And if you want that “fruit,” it can be a pretty long and difficult process. And it’s worth it!

Where to we learn how to be successful? We can look at successful people and even ask them how they got there. People who followed the right path, did enough right as Donnie suggested, have a level of contentment over their achievement and are usually willing to share their journey. People who succeeded through less than honorable means either won’t talk about it or they have this nervous sort of “pride” in their sordid activities.

We can also learn from our own experiences. We need to stay aware of our thoughts and actions and how they work. If you get positive vibes as you work on something, you’re on the right track. If something “doesn’t feel quite right….” It probably isn’t quite right.

So, take note (and notes) of positive ideas that you hear. Believe me, you’ll find some you can use and they will bear fruit.