Friday, November 1, 2013

Put in the Efffort & Let Go of the Result - Peace Corps Lessons DO Apply to *Real Life*

Striving these last three weeks to reach my Kickstarter book campaign goal, so focused on the concrete $15k metric, I've lost site of my hard-earned Peace Corps lessons.  

Put in the effort, let go of the result. Do what you can with what you've got where you are.

But these mantras awaken me this morning...out of my campaign trance. Perhaps these lessons do apply to *real life* and will be valuable to readers of my book.  Ah, my book, there's a book at the end of this, and I've lost site of that too, in all the pressure to make this financial goal that will fund the completion and self-publishing.

There’s such a fine line between Effort and Ease, between Striving and Kicking-back.

With 5 days to go, how much do I push?  I have over 100 backers and I’m at over $9000 – an amazing effort. But it’s not enough.  Do I accept that?  Or dig my heals in and do whatever I can to get to the $15k mark?

I’m living my Peace Corps deadline experience all over again. Last year at this very time I was desperate to wrap-up the Viva Viveros project with concrete success. What if we hadn’t sold those Zamachihue trees the last week of my Peace Corps service? What if I hadn’t pushed up until the end to get that contract signed with CONANP and find a way to transport 20,000 trees across the state to the National Parque Potosi in a borrowed, converted flatbed?  

It would have been a pity. But the truth is, the BIG work was done. The Zama Mamas and I had had a year of shared experience within us already, trying, learning, fighting, taking action, having small wins and disappointments.

Same thing with this Kickstarter initiative. Maybe it’s not time for this Kickstarter campaign. Maybe there IS more learning in *failure* this time around than there would be in success. 

I awoke this morning with a delightful sense of relief at the thought of really letting go, and in my grogginess, before getting out of bed and facing reality, preparing my concession speech.

Because yesterday, god knows, was a Shining kind of day.  I caught myself on Skype video looking like Jack Nicholson hunched insanely over his typewriter with a stack of neatly typed pages beside him - every page filled over and over again with ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.’  Ahhhhh, get me outa here!

I wouldn't want to tell my supporters this quite yet, that I'm going looney and planning my concession speech - or fluctuating between the two extremes.  

I want to forge ahead with Right Effort, appreciate all that I've learned, and reflect on all the people with whom I've connected (or re-connected) during this brief but intense process. (Remember, I'm the one who chose the 30- vs. 60- or 90-day campaign deadline.)

Turns out Kickstart isn't just about the money. It's kickstarted me to finally come out of my shell and start talking about my book project, bringing the Peace Corps Mexico experience home. 

The salons and happy hours and fiestas - the stranger at the bar who was so jazzed by my Mexico stories he pledged $150 bucks. 

Professor Edgardo from Mexico who found me on Facebook and pledged $1000 pesos. 

My mom and aunt who committed fat chunks and recruited their friends and neighbors to get on-board too. 

Good old AMS work colleagues who hosted a dinner and invited their friends to listen to my tall tales. 

My meeting with the Mexican embassy and the Mt Pleasant library, both of which are leading to book talks and slideshows.

All the Peace Corps pals who've pitched in because 'I'm telling all their stories.' 

My brother who devoted time to help my 88 year old uncle through the onerous online payment process when he couldn't remember his Amazon password. 

And my friend Rita who logged-in from Rioverde to send her support for the gringa across the border. 

People who've never heard of Kickstarter, many who don't know me - but all who believe in this creative, collective process.

Be grateful. That's another life-saving Mexico mantra.  And I'm feeling that now.  And one more: 
Never give up.