Fishing for a sunburn: the guaranteed outcomes of taking action

How satisfying is it when you set out to accomplish something, strive for it and get it, all in a nicely packaged crescendo to climax?  For most of us living in the real world, these sorts of single-play successes are not the norm.  Instead, we have to work at it with patience and persistence, and the payoff may not come with a rest, but with a call to more work.

I went on my first deep sea fishing trip yesterday and spent eight hours on the water.  That’s eight hours of casting out, reeling in.  We didn’t come back with a fish, but guess what I did come back with?   A nice red sunburn with white raccoon eyes where I had sunglasses on.  Yes, I should have put on sunblock, I even had it with me.

A fisherman will tell you that sometimes you come back with a fish, sometimes you don’t, that’s why it’s called “fishing” not “catching.”  A blogger will tell you sometimes you hit linkback gold, sometimes not.  On the other hand, take a moment to think through the guaranteed outcomes of your work.  Will you build up experience, wisdom, a work philosophy and ethic?  As a blogger, every post you write is another post you can point to for an employer or as a writing sample.  We don’t all need to reach a huge audience or instigate global change.  Those are the “nice-to-haves.”

How do you make use of the incidental, guaranteed outcomes of your work?  Or does reaching a certain goal makes it worthwhile?