The winning team has a dedication. It will have a core of veteran players who set the standards. They will not accept defeat. (Merlin Olsen)
Here’s something that I’ve re-learned recently, that I was reminded of in a conversation last night: you have to take a stand.
At some point you have to decide that it is worth laying something on the line and be willing to hold that line no matter what. You have to stand up and take control.
I did that in October, when I walked out of a five-star USA Network dinner. I’m sure it ticked a few people off and it was a bummer to walk away from what was a very nice perk being offered to me. But staying would have meant not making my deadline for my recap of The Player, and I wasn’t willing to do that. I took a stand that night and said that supporting my friends was more important than any network opportunity. I’m not sure that counted for much, in the end, but it meant enough to me.
I did that same thing yesterday. I had two choices: stay home, complete the laundry list of work I had to do, and likely come out ahead as far as my workload this week. Or drop everything, risk ticking off my boss, make the rest of my week a few degrees harder, and spend the day in Los Angeles on the unconfirmed chance I would run into a longtime friend of mine that I’d never before had the pleasure to meet.
The smart thing to do, the good soldier-y thing to do, would have been to stick to my commitments. To once again place everyone else’s needs above my own. But I drew a line in the sand yesterday and said that for once, I was going to go for the thing that I wanted, and put myself first. Lo and behold, things actually worked out and I finally wound up in the same room with someone I’ve loved working with for the last five years. And that would not have happened if I had played by the rules.
Not that I’m saying it’s always a good idea to blow things off; I am a woman of my word and most of the time I uphold my responsibilities. But, I often do this to the detriment of myself. I lose sleep because I don’t want to push a deadline. I work when I’m sick because I made a commitment. And the biggest problem – I don’t do the thing that I want because someone else needs me. So after the little fiasco that was New York Comic Con, I told myself that from now on, I was going to respect myself more.
I took a stand for myself yesterday to chase the thing that I wanted, and it happened and I could not be happier about it.
I’ve always believed that you have to stand for something, fight for something, be passionate about something. In my case, what I’m learning is that it’s time to stand up for myself. That as much as I give for other people, it is okay for me to say no to something, or to expect once in a while that the universe return the favor. That it’s not egotistical to take pride in my accomplishments, or to chase a crazy fucking idea across Los Angeles for an entire afternoon. Sometimes, you just have to risk it all – and you have to be prepared to take that risk.
We’ll see how pissed off my boss is when I come back to work tomorrow, or how many extra hours I end up working the rest of this week to make up for the time I took today, and I’m sure I might bitch a little when it’s late at night and I’m still finishing a piece. But I now have an awesome memory I am going to carry with me for the rest of my life, one that will outlast any byline or any job, and I think that’s what matters. That’s what’s going to drive me forward.