Blogger: Wendy Lawton
Every year the agents at Books & Such spend some serious time setting professional goals. We have to commit to paper what we want to accomplish including specific financial and performance goals. Last year I took a leap and committed to a bold goal. I missed it. It led me to thinking about risk. As I was chewing on what to do for 2016, here’s what I wrote to my fellow agents:
I’ve been back and forth about my Books & Such goals because I missed meeting my goal by a hair last year and so many of my clients are already contracted. So does that mean I should be realistic for 2016 and set a lower goal? As I’ve been thinking about taking risks I’m realizing it’s not what we do that counts, it’s about how big we think our God is. He plainly asks us, “What do you want?” (Mark 10:51) He wants us to put it in words! In the past I courageously set my goal beyond my reach but attaining it or surpassing it increased my faith in leaps and bounds. A skeptic might say that by asking for something specific we just work all that much harder to get it. He might say it wasn’t really God, it was just hard, focused work. That may be part of it, but my prayer journal and some amazing “coincidences” disprove that theory.
So does failing to meet my goal mean I should pull back and hunker down to the “realities of the market?” Nope.
So, about taking risks– I think I need to ask for big enough results that I can clearly see it’s all God and very little me. Sometimes this is scary. What if we ask, believing, and it doesn’t happen? Will it diminish my faith? Will it diminish God? That even sounds silly, doesn’t it. If he says no, for whatever reason, we dig into that and figure out what he’s teaching us. Either way, our faith will grow.
I’ve decided I need to be bold on behalf of my clients (and because I’m becoming addicted to seeing God move mountains as a result of prayer). He can do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine! (Ephesians 3:20) Immeasurably more.
Part of the reason I’m talking about risks is based on a Bible study I did a few years ago called Chase the Lion, based on Mark Batterson’s book In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. It’s about stepping confidently into the unknown, taking risks and meeting challenges. I tend to want to lead a conservative, safe, peaceful life while all the time God is challenging me to strap on my helmet and take a dive into adventure. Batterson* says, “The world is full of cautious and prudent people who will live fine, long lives. But chances are if you spend your life in an attempt to eliminate risk, uncertainty and fear you will miss out on some of the most amazing experiences a person can have with Jesus.”
So what about you? Are you willing to take risks? What about banging on some of those doors in publishing marked “no admittance.” How about risking to write that book that may be outside the parameters of what is selling right now? What about diving right in and doing multiple submissions to both agents and publishers who still take unsolicited queries? If you are dreaming big, what are you willing to risk to reach for those dreams?
*Mark Batterson, one of my all time favorite authors, will be the keynoter at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference next year. How excited am I about that? I. CAN’T. WAIT. Maybe the risk you want to take is signing up for the conference and sitting down with me and some of the other agents or editors there.