Here's how "all the cool things happen to me."
You know those moments when something wonderful and unexpected happens? I get butterflies and have to do all that I can to not shout at the top of my lungs. Well one of these things happened for me just the other day. Thank goodness I was in my car and could shout as loud as I wanted (though I wonder what the people next to me at the stoplight were thinking).
You know Kid President? The kid who's mission it is to make the world a more awesome place?
Yeah that guy. Well, while he's the cute face of this fun-lovin' brand, the genius behind the camera is his brother-in-law, Brad Montague. I've been following Brad's work for some time now as he's directed GO! Camps and MidSouth Camp, created Love In Stereo and Socktober and (of course) Kid President.
Just the other day I tweeted at him real quick just to send some encouragement his way after his announcement that he was directing MidSouth this summer. The next day, I received this response:
WHAT?!? Brad Montague read my ebook (which you can download here). That was a crazy cool moment for me because I looked at what this guy was doing and had huge respect for him. And then for him to turn that around on me... that was too cool. Sadly, it didn't go viral like Kid President so it had no measurable impact but it's a neat personal win to stick in the ol' scrapbook. I shared my excitement with a few people and while everyone was pumped for me, a few mentioned off-hand how "cool things always just happen to you."
I never really gave a response to those statements but I'd like to give that a shot here.
The idea that cool things always happen to someone is a pretty uninformed statement — allow me to explain. Sure, some uninspired, lazy kid might randomly get picked to win a contest and get a ton of money but the chance that another "cool" event of that magnitude would happen to them again is slim because they're doing nothing to put themselves in a position where cool things can happen.
On the flip side, if someone is putting their time and energy into something that matters, they're effectively controlling what they can control and positioning themselves in a state of readiness. Brad Montague wouldn't have read my eBook if I had never written it or put it out there on the internet for the world to see or reached out to Brad to Twitter. Hours of my time were invested on the front end and two years had gone by before I got that single personal win.
Let's not get "lucky" confused with "prepared."
Here's the thing — we can create a lot of things that we hope will go viral but unless it's something we want to be creating in the first place, we won't enjoy it! If you never go viral, will you be satisfied in the process and in your work? That's the most important take away.
Brad read my eBook... okay... so what? Nothing more came of it. For most people, the effort I put into that eBook wasn't worth that one tweet. I know it wouldn't have been worth it to me. Except that I was already fulfilled in that project. Its worth wasn't dependent upon someone famous reading it. I needed to write that eBook. I needed to go through that process. I needed that piece to be out there in the world and creating it was enough fulfillment for me to make it worth it. THEN and only then could any other small wins be seen for what they were: an exciting bonus.
"The time to be awesome is now."
The P.S. ...
As I wrote that last paragraph, I decided on a whim that I needed to write this one as well. We must be fulfilled in something bigger than the small wins because if we aren't, our chase for fulfillment will be never ending and unrewarding. Are the beautiful things in life worth all of the suffering and pain in the world? For some people it isn't... and they choose to opt out. But if we're fulfilled by something bigger than the small wins, we can enjoy them for what they are. A bonus. Jesus is the "something bigger" that makes everything else worth it. The unquenchable joy, unwavering peace and unending love that I receive from Him makes dealing with the hard stuff bearable. I'm already who I need to be — the chase is over. Every happiness, every blip of beauty... it's all added goodness and nothing compared to the beauty of my God.