When I was a boy, at the encouragement of my grandmother, I stood up for the church altar call. The pastor--a large, black man with a voice like thunder--boomed, "Who of you would like to be baptized to become a member of God's church." My grandmother nudged me. "I would," I quivered. He flashed his toothy smile at me while opening his arms to invite me to the front of the church. I scurried towards the pulpit and he absorbed my tiny hands into his large palm. He braced me by my shoulders, turned me around, and addressed the congregation. Then kneeled down instructing me to come to church on Sunday, February 7, in white shorts and a white t-shirt.
When the day arrived, Reverend Foddrell spoke to me in a room in the back of the church. He told me that he be holding me under the water and that I would need to close my eyes, cross my arms over my chest, and clasp my nose shut with my thumb and index finger. He demonstrated it to make sure I understood.
He brought me before the church and led me by hand into the water. He immersed my little body completely, held me under for a few seconds, and brought me back up to the sound of applause.
According to the faith, I was a new person.
The doctrine of baptism permeates through many Christian churches. In the church I grew up in, it was a complete immersion of one's body beneath water to symbolically display a clear conscience and a changed life. So how can we apply this age-old principle to business and writing? Here's how.
Immersion in Study
Pablo Picasso said, "Without great solitude, no serious work is possible." Immersing yourself in study means saying "no" to a lot of people, a lot of things--good and bad--and taking command of your time. It can be a lonely climb, but your success hinges on your devotion. Sales expert Brian Tracey said that "leaders are readers" and also said that "if you read one hour per day, one book per week, you will be an expert in your field within three years." He goes on to say that through continuous learning, you will be a national authority in five years, and you will be an international authority in seven years. If you have a goal having an impact in your field, you're going to have to remove distractions and create time in your schedule for daily study. Find the best-selling books in your area of expertise and start reading.
Consider these statistics for reading:
- 63% of wealthy people listen to audiobooks during their commutes
- 88% of wealthy people read 30 minutes or more each day for education or career
- 67% of wealthy people watch one hour or less of T.V. a day
- 86% of wealthy people believe in life-long educational self-improvement
- 86% of wealthy people love to read.
And if you want to know where the time will come from in your schedule to immerse yourself in study, consider that 44% of wealthy people wake up three hours before work starts. Educating yourself doesn't have to be a stationery lifestyle. And it certainly doesn't have to be drudgery. You can listen to audiobooks and podcasts at the gym or on walks. You can read blogs, websites, and magazines. You can join in on webinars, or attend seminars and workshops, lectures. Study isn't just about hitting the books; it's maximizing all available resources that fit your learning style.
Immersion in Networks
When I was writing the manuscript for my book, one of my biggest challenges personal accountability. I wrote when I felt like it, which was more problematic than productive. It wasn't until I decided to stop procrastinating on social media and started using it to inspire me that I began to see results. I started following writers and entrepreneurs on Instagram and Twitter. I engaged in conversation and built friendships. Having this virtual peer network enabled me to finish my manuscript.
In a technology-driven world, you can create a mastermind group of like-minded people to grow with. You can also create or join Facebook and LinkedIn groups. And of course, you can always form a writer's group. Be creative and you'll build a network that can help you reach your goals, and you in turn can inspire someone else to achieve theirs.
Immersion in Purpose
None of the previous will matter if you are not sold out to purpose. You have to be all in. Immersion in purpose means that your life is driven by your big goal. If your big goal is to be a YA author, then you need to learn to do what other YA authors do. This means studying the best YA authors, read their works, learn how they published, connect with other YA writers and authors and develop your author's site. Every action you take should influence the big goal. How do you know what you're doing is your purpose? It keeps you up. It makes you excited. You talk about it.
After I came up from the water, with shirt and shorts sticking to my little frame, I was told that I was a new person.
Immerse yourself in your craft and, before long, you too will be a new person.
Photo Credit: alex [in wonderland]