Every Christmas my mother gives me and my sisters something called the "Chicago Datebook." It's a handy little agenda whose beginning pages are filled with information about the city of Chicago, including maps of the transit systems, the suburbs and the downtown core; attractions, sport and entertainment guides and airport information.
I have never used these tips. Even when I've gone to visit my parents in that fair city the Datebook has never been referred to when we're making our plans.
The rest of the agenda is the usual monthly and weekly breakdowns and I must admit I don't use these either, at least not in the usual way. I already have a month-at-a-glance agenda that I'm quite attached to and every year for the last 10 years I have felt an odd excitement about starting a new one of these booklets.
I do, however, use the Chicago Datebook in another way. I use it as a scratch pad, for taking notes at conferences, jotting down numbers for monthly finances, scheduling workshop details etc. For these things, it is a great assistant.
But it means I am never working on the page of which date it happens to be. Sometimes I'll be scribbling something and notice that I'm in July and it is actually October, which is fine, unless I happen to need the date for something and my own agenda is not handy so find myself having to flip through months of pages to figure it out.
The Datebook, being all things that it is, also has an inspiring quote each week. Because I'm not using the book in its proper context I rarely look at the quote. This is a shame because I could be saving myself tons of time by simply passing it on to you folks each day without having to come up with my own!
Last week I happened to glance at the top of the page (August in November) and see this little piece of advice from Babe Ruth:
"Never let the fear of striking out get in your way."
I remembered this quote yesterday when I received news from a funding body that I'd passed the first round of adjudication, or the "creative hurdle", as they call it.
The project for which I applied for this funding is one that I nearly gave up on. Two different funding proposals had already been rejected and I had begun to think that maybe this was a sign to let it go.
But then I would get another message, intuitive or otherwise, to continue. So I would keep doing the footwork, doing my best to let go of expectations and simply follow the guidance I felt I was receiving.
If I had let the fear striking out be my guide, I'd never be in the position I'm in now, which is to potentially receive money to pay myself, keep the project afloat and take it to the next level.
So despite my fear of rejection, I stepped up to the plate one more time and hit the ball. It's still in the air and it could be a homer.
Inspiring Message of the Day: Mother, if you're reading this, I'll take a 2010 Chicago Datebook for Christmas.