Since I posted The Quest series, I’ve had so many women contact me about how freeing it felt to look at their goals in light of a hero’s quest.
Of course, when we were growing up, women weren’t seen as heroic!
We were born into the era of: “Behind every great man there’s a strong woman.” Which of course we’ve always known J I had the great benefit of coming of age, however, in an era of truly strong women, blazing trails for all of us in the work place, politics, and culture. I saw how hard they toiled. How they kept at it when slammed with being man-haters and everything under that umbrella. In the face of all of it, they kept on.
Did those women get discouraged? You bet they did. Anything you undertake, especially in light of changing history and women’s roles in it, is filled with mountains to climb, lakes to swim, demons to face. And through it all, a heck of a lot of just garden-variety work.
You know how that is, when planting a literal garden how energizing to till the soil, plant the seeds, water the beds, all in happy anticipation of the harvest to come. Then the seedlings sprout and begin to grow and watching the fruits of your labors come to fruition is such a rush!
But then what happens? Yep, somehow it became a lot of work. Those seedlings still have to be watered, the rows weeded, compost and mulch put down (now, that’s work). I often laugh at how much more expensive my tomatoes are than the ones I buy in the store!
Then again, those aren’t completely organic and not picked until exactly ripe, then eaten with gusto, the vegetable being so different from what you buy in the grocery as to be of a different genome.
For months in between the rush of beginning, however, and the joy of harvest, just comes literal toil. And gardening is a microcosm of what it takes to change perceptions of a woman’s place in society.
Your quest may be as “backyard” as gardening, or as “global” as women’s rights, or anything in between. But all quests worth taking are meaningful.
It’s in that middle part, however, where most folks get tripped up. And that’s where I’ve heard from so many women. Because with all that work (and though in gardening you get to literally “see” the fruits of your labors, most things don’t present in such a manner until way late in the game) comes questioning.
Am I on the right path? Am I really supposed to be doing this or is it all folly?
Who knows. And I mean that in the best sense. At this point, you can’t possible “know” if you’re going to be successful. If it’s your calling. Even though you thought you were called, and weighed all the options to jump in, unless your crystal ball works better than mine, nobody can say with absolute certainty.
The point being, it doesn’t matter at this point. Because you can’t see the finish line, no matter how hard you try.
The only thing you can do—and this is the key to the kingdom—is keep at it.
It is so easy to quit here. And, it’s where most folks do. Who would fault you if you did? Certainly not me. I know how difficult the slogging can be. I know the toll it can take on, well, just about everything in your life. Believe me—I know.
But if you quit, you are guaranteed to fail. At least in this Quest. Because there is no way on earth you can win if you’re not in the game.
And I can also guarantee that if you continue, you might not be first place in the race, but in the persistence, in the finishing of your quest, you will have learned things about yourself and this universe that simply cannot be gleaned elsewhere. It’s what life’s about. And that is “winning” in the most meaningful sense.
This is the place to dig deep. To marshal all your forces to keep going. To find the hidden assets in your very being you had no clue existed. That’s the boon—the Holy Grail. Because it’s those very things that make life rich, both for you and everyone on the planet.
The key to the Quest is persistence. It’s what your world needs. It’s what our world needs.
As Calvin Coolidge tells us: “The most common commodity in this country is unrealized potential. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
How do you keep on keeping on?