Several times in the last month, I’ve been considering how every effort counts. I find this to be a particularly important concept to reflect on, especially when I’m doing projects that take a lot of time/sustained effort to complete. It can be easy (and tempting) to back off.
I’ve had times where I have backed off. Sometimes, it hasn’t made a meaningful impact on the outcome (up or down). Other times, it has (up and down). The frustration that comes from this latter situation (backing off, negative outcome) has left a lasting impression on me. I still feel the loss of those missed opportunities. The time to do something passed, and I didn’t seize it…and there’s that question of “what if I had”.
A very keen reminder
My city council election just finished its recount. It was a wild ending, with the initial vote count resulting in a 1-vote margin of victory. The recount (yesterday) widened the margin of victory to 2-votes.
I’ve often heard the saying “every vote counts” offered up by candidates as well as parties. Nothing puts this into such crystal clear relief as having an election be decided by two votes.
I remember clearly answering the door when he knocked a few months back and I asked him for his “spiel”, which he dutifully recited. This election, he’d made a point to knock on every door in town. Now that work has paid off.
The other side of the coin
The “what if I had” mentality can lead into unhealthy territory. I’ve unfortunately dealt with that, too. It becomes too easy for the goalposts to keep moving, the goal to keep getting pushed further up and away.
I’ve learned to hedge against this darker side. I firmly prioritize breaks. This gives an opportunity to breathe and recharge. It also give some space and time to think critically about whether continuing to push is the right call given the circumstances.
Every effort counts. The key is putting in the right effort. It can be easy to back off when working on projects that require a lot of time and sustained effort. However, it is crucial to strategically push forward.
While it is natural to wonder “what if I had” when things don’t go as planned, it is important to avoid dwelling on the past and instead focus on the present and future. The key is to find a balance between pushing forward and taking breaks to recharge and reflect.