Giving Up Certain Goals and Sexy Shoes


I spent last week working on something I love that doesn’t pay very well. Okay – at this point it doesn’t pay at all, but that’s not the point. Taking that much time to focus on the one thing that I know to be the work I’m supposed to do made all those other goals strikingly obvious.

Early in the week a friend suggested I complete a small task that had the potential increase the success of one of my projects profoundly. It would have taken about thirty minutes, but I resisted – wholeheartedly.

No, I didn’t have time for that. No, I didn’t want to mess with that. No, what the hell do you know about my business anyway – stop giving me suggestions that are only going to add to my over-bloated workload.

I bordered on hostile. 

It became clear that I had no love for that project, even though its moderate success had been a goal I’d worked hard to achieve. Now it just pestered me with its demands and lack of connection to my ‘real’ work. But damn, did it pay. And mama always likes new shoes. But I let it go to make room for other goals, more important and satisfying goals.

So here I am, back to looking for mark downs on meat and just-saying-no to shoes that stop traffic.

And I’m working toward the goal that matters. How about you?

Image Credit: bbaunach, Flickr

  • John

    I had a couple of thoughts:
    1. Great focus. When something is your life’s work, it is important to keep that your focus. Most passed opportunities are short term.
    2. The cash cow. If something can generate long term income with minimal maintenance, it can be good to keep it going to guarantee income while you pursue your life’s work. (in other words, if that one time 30 minutes would buy nice shoes, etc., for quite some time, it may alleviate stress due to reduced income while you pursue the goal that doesn’t pay well, yet)
    3. (bonus) If you spend the $ on shoes (presuming it’s a reward), it should be because of achieving an important goal in your life’s work, not for the other project, anyway.

  • Raymond

    Thank you. Timing: Amazing when you read something just when you are going through it.

  • Thanks, John. You make some good points. But shoes are not a reward. They are a necessity. Perhaps that’s a big part of my problem….

  • Lela Davidson

    Raymond, glad to be of service! Now, someone help me say no to that enticing offer sitting in my inbox….. you know, the one that has *nothing* to do with my big goal.

  • Living in NYC you run into a lot of people that have to find this balance as they pursue careers in the entertainment industry (i.e. do I get a “real job”). I think if the offer helps you in your other areas (such as having money to get headshots or to do advertising) then it can be worth it.

    Of course you always have to consider the opportunity costs. The time versus the payoff.

  • Lela Davidson

    It’s not just in creative endeavors that people face these type of choices. Think of the attorney who really wants to work on civil liberties or environmental law, but keeps getting sucked into high dollar divorce cases.