May 20, 2018

I’d never seen him smile like… that.

On Saturday mornings, my husband Scott wakes up, makes a pot of coffee and a plate of scrambled eggs and bacon, and then heads into the garage to work on his Very Special Project—restoring a 1972 Datsun 240 Z car.

He’s done this almost every single Saturday morning (and some Sundays) for the last seven years in a row. That’s around 364 Saturdays, all tallied up.

This project started out with a ruined husk of a car that was, really, just a pile of un-drivable metal. He painstakingly scrubbed off the rust, took apart and rebuilt the engine piece by piece, installed new tires, polished the chrome until it gleamed, and painted a classic racing stripe down the center. He’s not a professional car mechanic—so it was a slow process filled with lots of reading materials, YouTube tutorials, rookie mistakes, and whoops-let-try-that-again moments.

But Scott had a vision. He could see what the car would look like, eventually, and he could sense what it would feel like to drive it. He wanted that feeling of flying around a racetrack in a car. Not just any car, but a car that he’d built with his own two hands. He wanted that exact experience. No substitutes. No shortcuts. He never lost sight of that vision, year after year after year.

A few Saturdays ago, his vision was complete. He got into the driver’s seat, revved the engine, and took the car for its very first lap around the neighborhood.

I stood on the sidewalk, watching him pull out of the garage for the very first time, watching him turn right to circle the block. He had the most brilliant, beaming, radiant, childlike smile on his face. The kind of smile you rarely see on anyone’s face who’s over the age of seven or eight. Absolute joy. Peak happiness. Pride, satisfaction, and delight. The car was running. He’d done it. For real.

Seeing his megawatt smile, I found myself thinking, “That’s what seven years of devotion looks like.”

When’s the last time you caught yourself smiling like that? When’s the last time you felt that kind of full-body, head-to-toe happiness? When’s the last time you devoted yourself to a project that took more than a few weeks to complete, digging into the journey—staying in it, all in, for the long haul?

I love instant gratification. I love big results, fast. But watching my husband Scott toodle around the block at 20 miles per hour in his vintage masterpiece, I gotta say, there’s something to be said for the slow, persistent kind of satisfaction, too.

This summer, Scott will be competing in his very first “real” race. It’s ironic, isn’t it, that his dream of driving at a lightning-fast speed unfolded so slowly, with such patience.

It took Lin-Manuel Miranda seven years to complete Hamilton. It took Bruce Springsteen six months to write “Born To Run.” It took Julia Cameron ten years to write Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Matthew Weiner pitched a little TV show called Mad Men (ever heard of it?) for seven years in Hollywood before it finally got picked up by a network.

Patience pays off—in dollars, in book deals, in Grammy, Tony, Oscar, and Emmy Awards, in blinding smiles that light up the whole room.

Stay in it. Saturday after Saturday.

Show up.



You may also like

The Power of Moments

The Power of Moments

How can we feel truly happy? How can we feel less stressed? How can we create better relationships? How can…

Playing it Fast & Loose

I know a lot of coaches, consultants, creatives, and small business owners who play “fast and loose” with their businesses.…
You will figure it out.

You will figure it out.

A friend texted me a few months ago. She was right on the brink of hiring her first full-time employee—literally,…
Close this search box.