Last week’s writers conference was a mountaintop experience. Instruction, inspiration, connection—all combined to instill a feeling of being able accomplish anything. However, there is always a down side, literally, to being on top. No matter how hard you try to maintain the high, the inevitable coming down plunges you back into reality. Then, as is often the case, life intervenes.
While everyone needs those mountaintop moments, what you do next, whether you move forward or get lulled into inaction, determines how well you benefit from the experience.
Following are ways to make sure you garner the most from a mountaintop high:
Debriefing is a term that usually applies to military personnel or spies, but works just as well for anyone who has completed a mission or any type of intensive endeavor. Usually, a series of questions is involved in a debriefing and that type of approach works also following a mountaintop experience. Think about what you experienced. Go through notes you took and make a list of actions those notes precipitate. What and who inspired you? What new things did you learn? How will you implement what you learned in your life and work? What are your next steps? How will you stay motivated?
While some mountaintop experiences happen solo, often you’re been at a conference, retreat, or in a brainstorming type setting. If you’ve been with others, foster those relationships by connecting on social media. Send thank you notes to presenters, those who helped you personally in some way, and event organizers. Consider banding together with others to hold each other accountable for maintaining forward motion regarding opportunities and required actions. Utilize creativity to make the most of connections.
The last day of the conference, I walked to the cafeteria with an acquisitions editor for a publishing house. I asked if she had encountered some good prospects during the week. She said, “Yes, but now I wait to see if they follow through. You can’t believe how many people I give a green light to send a manuscript and then I never hear from them. It’s something I don’t think I’ll ever understand.”
Be sure to take the necessary steps to follow up and follow through with opportunities. When you’re on a post-conference, post-retreat, or brainstorming high, it’s easy to feel motivated and sure you will take advantage of what you learned and opportunities presented. But very often, enthusiasm fades once you’re back to your normal routine and everyday stresses and pressures.
Be sure to take the necessary steps to follow up and follow through with opportunities.
Inevitably, fears and uncertainties creep in, and combined with scheduling issues, slow or halt progress. You realize how much work is involved in following through, and sometimes, the level of effort makes it easy to backburner projects. But don’t. The longer you wait, the harder it is to regain momentum and follow through.
If there is something about tasks that seems too hard, or for which you lack knowledge, get help, whether through research or by asking others. You don’t get any prizes for pretending you know it all, especially when you don’t. Don’t feel asking for help makes you look stupid. In fact, the reverse is true. Those who recognize limitations, and ask for help, show great wisdom. Above all, don’t forget to ask God for guidance, courage, and direction as you move forward following a mountaintop experience. He is your greatest resource.
“But the precious possession of a [wise] man is diligence [because he recognizes opportunities and seizes them].” Proverbs 12:27b AMP