Archives for category: Goals and Dreams

I viewed a clip that talked about the biggest regret people have as they near the end of life. The biggest regret was things not done. Chances not taken. Opportunities passed over.

When I think about the weeks, months and years that we sometimes lose due to work, worry or unthinkable trauma, I keep circling back to the idea that we have that one gift that is uniquely ours. That skill or ability that makes us different and fulfilled. And yet we pause in taking that idea, skill or talent to the world. The reason why we don’t isn’t the point.

It’s the reason we do. Live your life.

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“For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.”          Fr. Alfred D’Souza

Is there something that you are putting off indefinitely? Or are you really being patient?

I have discovered that patience as a virtue is over rated when life begins to resemble a huge waiting line. For example, waiting for someone else to act, to finish school, get that divorce or finish a project before you can move forward. While you wait for that time in the future, your life gets stuck in the present… real hard.

Waiting for something to happen is difficult especially if it is a long cherished dream. “Good things come to those who wait” but for how long? Months, days, maybe years. Do good things really come? Or is it default living by existing in the meantime? How much time are you willing to pass before you transition from “waiting” to “doing”?

If something is churning inside you by reading this, ask yourself “What am I waiting for?” If the answer is anything other than yourself take a closer look at your reason. If you are not the gatekeeper of your time, then it’s not patience; it’s procrastination. You are making up some well intended reason not to act. Not to move forward. Not to do.

Someone else is driving your life and its timeline.

Is it worth it? Time keeps moving on with or without you.

 

Burning bomb

With all the positive mantras, posts on Facebook and Instagram, and personal self talk, how do you reconcile disappointment in a world slanted toward the positive interpretation of life’s events? We say “It was for the better” when offering up condolences. We write “For every door that closes, another one opens”. We think “Everything has a reason”.

Aren’t we denying that sometimes life just sucks?  That what happened just now in your life is a source of bitter tears. That the loss of someone so dear has no words of comfort.  That a crushed hope staggers the soul.

I want to feel anger, sadness, and fear because it is part of our nature. To avoid these feelings robs us of the full range of life events. Think about it. If I didn’t sense fear, then I would not recognize challenges and opportunities to excel, to be vulnerable, to risk for success or failure.

Theodore Roosevelt wrote this:

” … who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Living on the edge is uncomfortable. It requires full participation. It is total vulnerability. It is outside the comfort zone of most people. Why do it? You may be disappointed. You may fail. You may lose. Or maybe experience life in its true fullness.

What are you doing in your life now that causes you to feel the full impact of living? Are you cold and timid or hot and bold?

Failure and success are a part of life. Experience both to its fullest and you have built a rich life.

Eleanor Roosevelt QuoteUsually, when someone says “Who do you think you are” it isn’t an inquiry into your identity. It’s demeaning. A cut down. A sarcastic “put you in your place” kind of statement.

You have said or done something that requires an individual (of perceived greater standing)  to remind you of your smallness. Your tiny value on the planet.

That’s an easy breakdown of a complex behavior. A cause and effect condition.

I feel pretty powerless when someone says that to me. I try to explain and prove my words or actions. I am on the defense.

But what if I really answered the question “Who do you think you are?”

“I am a competent woman with years of business experience adding value by sharing my wealth of knowledge.” Or ” I am a student learning the business aspects of the retail industry.” Or ” I am an artist expressing my vision of the political landscape.”

It feels better when we answer the question instead of experiencing the effect of the sarcastic statement. But you have to know who you are.

Take an hour and write who do you think you are.  Consider who you are. It’s the start of discovering your mission or purpose. When you are aware of your mission then no amount of detracting statements will sway you in pursuit of your purpose.

When you know who you are and your purpose, you live in a place of confidence.

So, the next time someone decides that you are behaving above your station in life and they ask “Who do you think you are” … tell them.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt

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The fog was immense this morning. In fact, it blotted out the shoreline of Marblehead across the bay. From years of living in the area, I could imagine the landscape. But, what about the times when I am not so familiar with the terrain?

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

People like to have some orientation or, in this instance, landmarks. I cannot imagine what someone new to the area might think about the unseen shore. The person doesn’t even know that it exists. Perhaps, they might not even get a little disoriented by the absence of the shore because in their life, they have no earlier mental image.

In fact, they might think it’s just a foggy day. No anxiety. No concern because they don’t know that beyond the mist and fog is the other shore.

Deciphering Our Position

Without any preconceived ideals or mental pictures, whatever presented is merely an experience. Neither good nor bad. We see what is in our life and file away the details. We might refer to that image again for comparison, validation or change. Our level of comfort isn’t disrupted.

But what if we sailed away from shore far enough to lose sight of land. Surrounded by sea, we look to the sun for boat position and maybe experience a little unease, especially if we are unfamiliar with sailing without landmarks. Which direction is away from land and which is parallel?

Because we have nothing to compare our location, we are at a loss how to navigate our journey. Perhaps, we are drifting with a current and our estimations are inaccurate. There are so many variables to consider.

Creating Your Personal Map

The best anyone can do is create a map for their self. You take in all your past experiences, good and bad, and synthesize some direction based on known data. Is there wind and if so, is it coming off shore or not. Maybe you can’t tell. What does the air smell like? Like sea or city? Maybe you try sailing for a specific number of minutes in one direction and see what develops. More sea or a spit of land appearing.

All these suggestions are based on my personal experience. I am sure a reader is thinking just dial someone you know on your cell phone or access the cell’s gps for location coördinates.

You see ways to create a plan based on data you do know.

Reuse Information for Deepening Your Experience

Now that you are back in port surrounded by landmarks, you may gain a sense of competence in your experience out to sea. Knowing what you did and finding safety back at shore, maybe you think that the sailing into the unknown is okay. Maybe a little thrilling in a good way. Worth another try.

Maybe you venture farther out to sea and have confidence that you can navigate back with ease because you have done this several times already. The unknown has become familiar. There is comfort in your knowledge and experience.

Application of Knowledge and Experience

In life, we create our methods of learning and applying the information we have learned. We are good to experiment with new things but we bring our tool kit of known experiences to balance our voyage into the unknown. We keep trying to make sense of new data.

Like the first time the fog blocked our ability to see what we knew was there, the pursuit of the unknown feels different. We don’t know what to expect but we keep moving forward. We take a chance. We apply our knowledge to reduce our risk. We keep our eyes and ears open for signals and signs.

But all along the way, whether we see the other shore or not, we have faith in our abilities based on our experience. We can reuse that which we know in situations of complete newness to us. It’s how we build our expertise and knowledge base.

It’s how we grow as individuals.

Where in your life do you need to lose sight of land? Be able to take a risk with experience? Ship out for a different shore?

Do you ever experience an event or a moment that shines a spotlight on something that you are struggling with? I mean really heightens your awareness of your particular issue.

Why Can’t I Be Happy

When you have a problem or stressful situation, everything seems tainted by the experience. Maybe you can’t sleep or you sleep too much. Or, a perfectly beautiful day pales through the lens of your struggle.

Moments with your family or friends offer only a temporary lift. You get right back on that treadmill of worry, sadness or emptiness. The juice of life is squeezed hard and dry.

I get that feeling. (If you suspect that you may be suffering from depression, check out the signs here.)

I am unemployed and as an older worker this economy doesn’t support those at the end of a career trajectory.  I am launching new choices but in the meantime I still need to work.

Every day I feel the weight of the job search. Networking (calls, coffee, correspondence), scanning Linked In and at least three other boards.  I recently decided to look to non-profits because I am interested in legacy projects that will have impact on society and this world. Profit making isn’t my highest criteria.

The Biggest Thief Is You

What I discovered through this process is that I am the one who lets the joy thieves in. I choose how I will live while I search for employment. I am the gatekeeper of my personal happiness.

While my situation is far from ideal, I want to experience every moment. Maybe that sounds crazy. But, I’d rather live my life fully in whatever circumstance. I am grateful for every day …  if I allow myself.

Step Outside of Yourself For Perspective

While I have the opportunity, I have started walking with friend to get outside, connect, and exercise our dogs (and us).

It’s spring, so time to start the vegetable garden.

Last night I attended an A Capella performance as a fundraiser for a local food pantry, Danvers People-to-People Food Pantry. One of the tunes performed was the Superman song by Five For Fighting. It’s an old song but for the first time I really heard the lyrics. And, the words speak to me.

No, it isn’t easy to be me. Especially now. I am looking for those special things inside of me. And, it’s part of my story. My journey.

For another day, I am grateful.

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I chose persistence as one of my three key words for this year. I don’t like giving up. It’s not in my nature. But, there are times when walking away is a good idea.

How We Decide Matters

In reading the book “Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work” by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, many times we don’t allow ourselves enough choices to make a good decision. We operate in the “Whether or Not” framework.  A good example is “I need to decide whether I should quit my job or not.” It’s a narrow option path.

To expand those options, perhaps looking for another job within the company might be a reasonable avenue. Or, maybe take part in a work project that isn’t normally within the scope of your existing job.

By expanding options, we can more clearly assess the situation.

When the End Is Now

Coming to the conclusion that a change is necessary is stressful, daunting, and emotionally unnerving. But that is what change does. It upsets the natural order of things to create a new model of order. The shaking-up drives the process for a measurement of a new status quo.

We don’t notice all the changes in our life until there is a large accumulation or an abrupt one. Most people really shun this. But others crave the new order.

Acceptance is a wise option.

One example of “being done” is a beautifully crafted post by Julie Kantor. She reflects on her role with two startups and a career transition. In a healthy way, Julie covers her journey and recognizes this moment is a transition. Just that. No regrets.

The Next

Life offers opportunities if we expand our options path. We can only experience our “purpose” when we are doing the work we must do. Doing the work we must do may only become real when we are looking for options. You don’t know your options until you are seeking your purpose. It’s recursive.

Is there a place in your life that is nearing the end, if not already? How can you create the options to escape a narrow “Whether or Not” situation? Are you clear on your purpose? Is acceptance part of your change equation?

Winter Woods

Slush. That combination of melting snow and water. Delightful. You say no?

This morning I took the dog out for a walk, a real walk despite the miserable weather. In fact, I selected this walk for today because it’s crappy out. I’m a summer soul and this time of year really weighs heavy on my endorphins. But I started reading Chris Brogan’s new book, It’s Not  About the Tights and something he wrote made my cortex light up (figuratively speaking although I am sure that my neurons were creating sparks).

It’s all about the actions you take. Sidelines don’t count. Why am I waiting for a better day?

So, here’s a sample of my manifesto in creation.

Work My Best Time

I am not a morning person. My circadian rhythm works best at night, in the dark. I will not force my natural being into a one size fits all pair of tights. Yeah, I am learning to write anywhere at any time but my best ideas percolate when my brain is fully firing. Work with your best body time. Period.

Tune Out the Noise

It’s time to disconnect the background noise and distractions. A fellow blogger, Grant Webster, wrote this post  and it encapsulated why so many people are not pushing their work … too many options for distraction. TED Talks is on a timeout for me.

I look at my daily email accounts, multiple platforms I check for “information”, connections I try to keep up. “Create production for every minute” is the message I get from all the folks who work their work.

I’ve got digital tools reminding me, timing me out, alerting me, emitting various tones, and oh, yeah, human interruptions.

I didn’t plan on the walk this morning. It wasn’t in my calendar. It took away moments from something else.

But smelling slush was my biggest “a ha” moment. I am the one who is in charge of my time. Always. Just say no. I am not a weak-willed person. Period.

Don’t Dwell in the Valley of the Shadow

It’s clear to me now that I need to retrench. I am spread too thin. I need to answer the question “What do I Want?” . I know this; I’m not sticking around in this morass of what I should do to trend better, open-rate best, rank higher, or increase my followers by 20K in ten days. Read Scott Stratten’s post on the best time to never send email.

Some of it is like chasing contrails. Give me slush.

I am consciously selecting my support system. Those folks and services that mesh with me and can help with my personal project. I don’t have bandwidth for more than one mission. Period.

Make My Mission Clear

Over the next few weeks, I am solidifying my project. It’s time for action.  I will continue to seek unplanned slush time. If I have to say goodbye to some people and activities, so be it. It might be for a while, or maybe a life time.

It’s not a harsh goodbye or a willful severing. It’s about doing what is important to me. Period.

Quick. Before the day is done. Select three words for 2013 as watch words. Three words that will describe, electrify, or illustrate your personal and business goals for 2013. Sounds familiar? It’s a Chris Brogan technique that focuses your actions for the new year.

Here are my three:

Action: The sidelines are mighty cold these days, so jumping into life heats up the attitude and activities for the coming year. Enough dwelling and thinking. Now is the time for action. Move on projects and goals. Act on ideas. Do the work.

Persistence: I am in for the long haul. I have the plan and now is the time to execute. And, I expect to persist because my end game is big. Rich. And my Dream.

Expansive: Enough with the small thinking and doing. It’s a larger story than before. Honor the bigger concept and idea.

Get the hang of it?

Maybe you might like to join a group of committed people for 2013 and make three words your mantra. Check out the Brave New Year (affiliate).

Winter Island Morning

 

As 2012 wraps up its remaining hours, I am reflecting on the past 365 days for a moment. My immediate reaction is done, over, next, but I have to wonder why I would dismiss all those days with a cavalier wave of the hand. That’s a lot of time.

Matters of Choice

My first internal message is that life is a matter of choice. It may not always feel like it, but it is. You are exactly where you are because of choice. It’s your decision to act, react or run on default. Shakespeare was right … you are either a “Master of your fate or victim of your destiny”. What choices did you make?  I will give myself a better roster of choices for 2013. Count on it.

Openness of Heart

How open or meager have I been with my heart? This is one area in which I feel the need to become more expansive in 2013. If I just pry loose the bands of containment, I think joy would reign. Life wasn’t designed dreary.  Time to open the vault of curiosity.

Sense of Community

I couldn’t be happier or gladder than my communities in 2012. I made some difficult decisions to leave some groups because of vision and commitment, but found a diverse and talented group of people in the Blog Topics Master Class (affiliate) with Chris Brogan. When trust and caring somehow evolve through a completely random set of unknown personalities and into a cohesive, helpful, and committed group, I have to think larger forces were working at hand. I am truly blessed to have joined and embraced this group of talented writers. I am definitely re-visioned for myself through the eyes of others.

Decisions for Discipline

Wishing and hoping don’t make your dreams or goals come true. Every day you have to commit to the work. No short cuts here. It’s the work of your soul. It means something great.

Be Generous

There is no feeling greater than the generosity of someone. That act creates a virtual marker somewhere in the heart for your eternal life. To give is a joy. To receive is immense. Out there today in your life there are people who are being generous with their time, ideas, money and support. Acknowledge it. Cherish it.

So, maybe the past year had merit and moments. Did I learn? Without fail. It’s already 2013 somewhere in the world now and people are celebrating its arrival.

Happy New Year and best wishes on making your personal goals manifest in 2013.

 

 

 

 

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