Nearly two decades ago, my brilliant friend and (of course!) a Woman on Fire Patricia Wynn Brown suggested a book she was sure I would love.
Reading it changed my life. And I think it could change yours, too.
The book was my first taste of Anne Lamott’s funny and perceptive writing, and the beginning of my love affair with her words and wisdom. And, here’s the passage in her book that blew my mind and rewired my thinking:
“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was 10 years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day.
“We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead.
“Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.’”
And, that’s how Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life came to crack open my fear and resistence to take on the “big stuff.”
Before that, I would see BIG dreams and desires looming in front of me without the direction of how to fly from Point A to Point Z. How could I get to what I really, truly wanted in my life?
And there it was, tucked into Anne Lamott’s book, the secret. “Bird by bird” — one small, doable step after another.
All these years later, rarely a week goes by that I don’t remind myself of a daunting task toward my big dreams, by saying out loud or silently mouthing “bird by bird.” I always know I can do it, if I take it “bird by bird.”
I’d love to hear if that resonates for you? Or, a simple strategy for how you approach an enormous dream or huge project?
I was reminded again last week of how important it is to have strategies like this for our big dreams when the co-authors of the next Women on Fire book were announced. (If you missed it, you can read who was selected here. And if you know any of them, please feel to reach out and cheer her on!)
Each one of our co-authors is about to tackle something big: she will reveal a personal life story and struggle and what she did to reach success, overcome an issue or accommodate her challenge into her life.
It’s one thing to tell your life story and personal struggles to a friend, it’s another to share it publicly in a book. Our co-authors are courageous women! Revealing can be so frightening even though the rewards are tremendous.
Every single one of our co-authors is up for the challenge. She knows in sharing she will lighten the load for another women or give comfort and direction to someone facing a similar struggle.
With Sophfronia Scott, our publisher, Kacy Cook, our editor and me, there are 24 of us in this big dream.
Together, we will fly — and we’ll take it “bird by bird.”
Photos by Rob Berkley in Naples, FL
Have a spectacular week. And, I’ll see you mid-week for a special new feature we are launching to share more of who the women in this community are!