I loved building snow forts when I was a kid. For those of us who grew up in climates with frosty winters, it was a classic childhood pastime.
After a big snowfall, it was it was easy to start visioning what sort of fort you would build. Your imagination kicking into high gear, you’d think about building two levels, with windows — and turrets! — along with a few secret passageways and, of course, extra thick walls to protect against enemy snowball attacks.
Here’s the thing: no matter how grandiose your plans, you always start out with a plain, untouched pile of snow. But if you caught sight of the neighbor kids’ fort — the ones who got started a few hours ahead of you — it might be easy to get a little jealous. I mean, they have a freaking moat. And is that a snowball CATAPULT?
No matter. You are determined to make your snow fort even better. You know you have it in you. But first, you figure you should probably get an extra layer of clothes on. (You’re going to be out here for a while, after all.) Then you think it might be wise to draw up a plan for your fort. Preparation is power! In the middle of deciding how big to make your windows on the second floor, you notice an elderly neighbor is out retrieving his mail. Perhaps it would serve you well to ask him for some expert snow fort building tips. After he regales you with amazing stories from his childhood and arms you with some crucial advice you’re sure those neighbor kids don’t know about, you are ready to get going. But then you notice your toes and fingers are getting a little chilly. Might as well head inside for a bit to warm up with some hot chocolate. You’re going to need to be 100% for this undertaking!
While sipping your warm drink indoors, you spy the neighborhood kids’ fort. You’re pretty sure they now have three stories on that thing, and they seem to be having quite a blast playing in it. Discouraged, you lament the fact that they had better snow, stronger muscles, more help, and two sheets of plywood from their dad’s shed. “Must be nice,” you scoff.
It’s getting dark now anyway. The snow fort of your dreams will take shape…
We all have dreams. We can think about them, prepare for them, write about them, and talk about them. We can learn new skills, gather data, and collect all kinds of wise advice to give us the best chance of success.
All of these activities are important, but none are shortcuts.
But there is absolutely, positively, unequivocally no substitute for showing up and doing the work.