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Starla Rich


(Published on LinkedIn July 21, 2014) Why do you do what you do? To make a good living for you and your family? To build a good name and reputation? To serve your community or help your company become more fiscally fit?

Why do you do what you do? To make a good living for you and your family? To build a good name and reputation? To serve your community or help your company become more fiscally fit? To assist your patients in improving their health or to have your product noticed? Perhaps you do what you do simply to put food on the table and keep the lights on. Maybe you do it simply because you want to get rich or be famous. There are many reasons for the choices we make in life and the paths we choose or find ourselves on. Many of us think that if we simply do what we do and do it well, that success will somehow magically follow. We stand on the premise that was whispered throughout the old movie Field Of Dreams… “If you build it…” So we develop products, write books, stories and articles, we build houses, shopping centers and office complexes; we expand markets, open practices of one sort or another, we wait tables or bag groceries while pursuing a college degree - all to make our mark in the world. We believe that with the right message, the right product, the right “look,” the right degree, the right “something,” the crowd will follow us or the clientele will come simply because we’ve “built it.”

If you watched Field Of Dreams, you certainly remember its most famous quote or at least the quote we think was in the movie… “If you build it, they will come.” Did you know that is one of the most famous “misquoted” lines of all times? As a writer, I’ve used that line to cheer on my audience and myself, at times. Early on, I wrote what others wanted to read and hear - believing that my audience would pile in like the line of cars coming to that baseball field in rural Iowa. It didn’t happen that way. My list of readers and followers didn’t grow by leaps and bounds. My online social communities didn’t gain “10,000 fans” simply by implementing a formula, and my book sales didn’t rocket up the charts. Like many others and perhaps many of you, I became frustrated and wondered why people weren’t lined up at my door asking for what I had to offer. It wasn’t until a very candid discussion with one of the wisest men I know, that I began to understand “why.” That wise man was only about twenty years old at the time. It was my son, Josh. I was working on my first book “Journey Within My Heart” when we embarked on a soul-searching conversation one day. What he had to say was this… “Mom unless you are trying to limit yourself to a certain audience for marketing purposes, don’t write in a way that only women would read what you have to say. Your message is important and everyone should hear it. Mostly, write it because it is important to you first of all.” I had been writing “for” a market, for a demographic hoping I could change that part of my world. The truth hit me right between the eyes that day. I couldn’t write FOR anyone. I had to write for myself. I couldn’t change my “world” without first changing “me.” I began a journey of transparency and began to see things I had not seen before. Once I did, I realized that we are all on a quest for something that is real and when what we have to offer our world is presented through a “façade,” people notice… people can tell, and no matter how gifted or brilliant or charismatic we are, people are not impressed.

One thing I came to understand as a writer, is that the words that came forth had to be expressed regardless of who read them, or even if I was the only one who read them, because a writer “writes.” I shared this thought with my friend Anita, who is a fellow writer, not too long ago. Here is what I told her “…if my words fall on one ear that is ready and in need of what I have to say or a thousand, I have given birth to a thought that is meant for someone, somewhere or maybe even just meant for me to realize from the deepest part of me.” I can not stress enough the value of transparency or of “keeping it real.” That brings me to the original discussion today - the concept of “if you build it…” In the movie, the main character Ray was never told, "if you build it, they will come." In actuality, the line states, "if you build it HE will come." As the movie progresses, Ray - a rural Iowa farmer hears a voice telling him to build a baseball field where his corn fields are. He builds the field and tries time and time again to figure out its purpose, but always comes up short of the true purpose. Finally, the truth is revealed. Ray didn't build the field for dead baseball players, for retired players or even for those who never got a chance to fulfill their dream of playing baseball. He didn't build it as a money maker or a crowd pleaser. The voice that told him to build the field gave him another message... "Ease his pain." No matter who visited the field from "beyond" or who came to the field invited in the present, they did not complete the field's purpose until finally, Ray's own father comes from beyond as the "catcher" on the mound. When he takes off his mask, Ray sees a younger version of his father and is given a second chance to pitch the ball with his father. Ray had been given one more opportunity because he chose to listen to the voice inside. You see, Ray and his dad had experienced a falling out over baseball when Ray was just a teenager. At age fourteen, Ray had refused to play catch with his father and consequently at age seventeen, Ray left home, never to return and never to see his dad again. By building a "bridge" (a playing field) to the past, Ray found peace in the present and a second chance to make right many wrongs.

Thinking about this movie and the message it provides, I also thought about my own life - missed opportunities, decisions made, paths taken, plans not fulfilled, people from past and present walking through my life... Then I thought about the dreams hidden deep in my heart, the voice that whispers in my head and resonates throughout the depths of my soul. Passion burns deeper than ever to fulfill a dream, to accomplish a goal. Each day that I step toward it and try to figure out "why" I am not giving up on it even when it makes no sense, even when obstacles continue to block my forward progress, I begin to realize more about my purpose. Yes, I write words on a page each day and reach out to others because of a deep desire to make a difference, but the truth is... I push forward not so much because of them, but because of me. Whether I am writer or a stock clerk at WalMart, the concept is the same. If I do what I do so others will notice, I will come up short - each and every time. There will always be someone better, smarter, quicker, more efficient, more gifted and more successful in the eyes of others. My success is and should never be determined by others. Neither should yours. Only you know why you do what do. Perhaps it is to make a good living for your family. You may not even love your job or your career path. Sometimes, life “whispers” to us leading us on a path we never expected - building “fields” we really didn’t want to build or even think of building, but yet we find ourselves cutting down the “corn” for a purpose that is bigger than what we know. WHAT we are doing isn’t necessarily of primary importance. WHY we are doing it, is however. You see, the world won't stop spinning tomorrow if we don't fulfill that purpose in our vocation, or pursue that dream career, but rest assured, there will be something missing. Each time we question that voice inside that speaks to us, that nudges us on to do what we do, we are robbing ourselves, our friends, our family, our community our world of another fulfilled person who contributes back or “pays forward” because he or she is doing exactly what they should be doing, first and foremost, because of the person they face in the mirror each day. If we do not pursue our passion in life or even work a part-time temporary job for ourselves and how we feel when we contribute such, then it will not truly impact others around us. If you are trying to understand what works and what doesn’t and why, look no further than the face in your own mirror. “If you build it” he, she, you will come to a place of understanding and acceptance, that will serve as a playing field for everyone who walks the bases of your life! Keep it real! "If you build it HE will come..."

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