By Debbie Legg
“Essentialism isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done.”
In one of my favorite books, Essentialism, Greg McKeown teaches how to find the right things, including your Point of Highest Contribution, and structure your life so you can do it.
I believe Jesus revealed his Point of Highest Contribution (PHC) when He announced Himself in the synagogue in Luke 4:
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (Isaiah 61:1-2a)
Reading through the gospels shows me everything He did fit into these categories.
Nothing He did was a waste of time. Everything had purpose, and impact. Even His distractions, like stopping to address the bleeding woman while on the way to Jairus’ house, were perfectly timed divine appointments.
Jesus got the right things, and only the right things, done.
I’m learning to as well. My right things include responsibilities as a wife, mom, daughter, volunteer, and general doer of all things household. After much prayer and learning, I’ve discovered that my Point of Highest Contribution, outside of my daily life, is as a writer. I’ve been using the principles in Essentialism to cut out nonessentials and distractions so I have maximum time to write.
Let’s dream a minute.
What is your Point of Highest Contribution?
If you could do one thing and one thing only, what would it be?
Take some time and let your spirit and soul ponder this. Immediately discard any thought that starts with “yeah, but...” It’s not about what’s practical or realistic.
Would you start a homeless shelter? A daycare? Feed the hungry or clothe the needy? Would you provide logistical help to existing organizations? Plant trees or flowers? Cook meals? Work to free and heal victims of human trafficking?
If you could do this, and only this, what would your life look like?
What if everyone found their own individual Points of Highest Contribution and did that, and only that? Everyone would be happy and fulfilled, and the world would be an exponentially better place…
By Debbie Legg
I intended to write a screenplay, not a children’s book.
It was April 2015, and I was in the audience of the Women in Film panel at the Alhambra Theatre Film Festival.
Listening to these fantastic female writers/directors/actors talk about their passion for their work was inspiring me to…well…I wasn’t sure exactly which direction my inspiration was going.
Then something one of the panelists said triggered a recent memory. The author of a filmmaking blog challenged his readers to make the movie they could make this year. Even if it wasn’t the best. Even if they didn’t have enough money or resources. Just take a step, and the next one, and the next, and make the movie they could finish by the end of the year.
A small idea sparked. “I can’t make a movie this year, but I can see what it would take to turn that little rhyming Christmas poem I wrote a few years ago into a children’s book.” Even if the road led nowhere I figured I could at least answer that question.
The following week, after praying and listening, I searched “how to turn a poem into a children’s book.”
I chose to start my journey by sending the poem to The Writer’s Edge Manuscript Service.
They didn’t accept it for their catalog. Phooey. Well, on to the next step.
The next step was to search what it would take to self-publish. Amazon CreateSpace looked like the way to go for this particular book. But children’s books need pictures, so I needed an illustrator, and the money to pay him or her, and a timeline, and...
Step by step the journey continued. As I answered one question, several others popped up. Where to get. How to do. Ponder. Pray. Answer the next question. Make the next decision. Do the next thing.
Seven months later I was holding the first copy of What Would Christmas Be? My name was on the cover. My words spanned the inside. My collaboration with my talented illustrator adorned every beautiful page.
The sense of accomplishment was real, but the opportunities and opened doors have been unexpected. In fact, it was because of this book that Amy Kemp saw me as a woman with an out of the box ministry, and asked me to serve on the panel that became the Called and Confident team.
Is writing children’s books my passion? No. Is it something I enjoyed and plan to do again? Yes.
It doesn’t always have to be about “passion.” An interest, enjoyment, or a little natural curiosity can go a long way.
What do you enjoy doing? What kinds of activities interest you? How would you finish a sentence like, “What if I __________” or “I wonder __________.”
Answer the questions, plug it into a search engine, read the possibilities, then take the next step.
Who knows? You could even end up writing a screenplay.