A friend of mine has an incredible garden. When I asked her how she does it, she said casually, “Oh, I spend about 2 hours every night out here.”

Unlike me.

Another friend is an amazing baker. I couldn’t wait to get her special bread recipe.

Until I learned about proofing – where you let the dough sit and rise, and then do it all over again. The whole process? About 24 hours from starting the dough until eating the bread.

I suddenly remembered why I go to the French bakery!

Both friends taught me something important: Everything of value requires some effort. Dedication is an essential, and that’s why we’re talking about it in the August series, Traveling Light. However, there’s a difference between effort and struggle.

Effort is, “I dig this! I’m willing to see it through.”

Struggle is, “I have to stick with this, even though I dread it.”

If you’ve lost enthusiasm for some of your 2017 intentions, there may be a reason. You could be trying to work outside your natural gifting, as I was doing. Life got easier once I admitted that I’m a happy cookie baker who weeds only when I have to. Trying to be a master gardener or Top Chef would make me miserable.

This is what happened for a friend of author Sandra Anne Taylor. He had a vivid picture of himself as an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He saw his future in technicolor - royalties rolling in, his face on the cover of a stack of books to be signed, and, of course, his incredible interview with Oprah Winfrey.

There was only one thing in his way…

He wasn’t writing. Not, "not writing at the moment." He never, ever wrote.

When Taylor pointed out his obvious problem, he brushed her off. C'mon - writing was only part of the landscape!

That was true, but she reminded him about the hours, weeks and months she spent on every project. Alone time, editing and polishing a draft in front of her computer screen.

Hmm… that sounded heavy and tedious. Definitely the opposite of traveling light.

His situation brightened when he decided to change lanes. As someone who loved connecting, becoming a book publicist was a natural. He was constantly on the go with authors - booking radio shows, lining up print interviews, and organizing bookstore appearances. It was a perfect fit.

Are you wondering if you’ve gotten yourself into a place you may not belong? This week, take a simple test: Take a break. For 7 whole days, do nothing.

If you can't wait to get back to your intention, you'll know that you're in the right lane. You're just in a part of the journey that requires some effort.

Procrastination is instant feedback. Like the book publicist, you could be struggling because you need to refine your direction.

Don't let a need for results make you crazy. Fulfillment and happiness? Those are results worth having.

Published by Michelle Mains