Through

Less than two years ago, I had no goals. There was not one thing I was working towards for myself.

Reading this, there are definitely those of you who are thinking, “How could she not have a single goal?”

However, I know that there are those of you who are also thinking, “Goals? How about just getting through today? That’s my goal.”

That was once my goal too. So maybe I had a few, but they weren’t the type I’m talking about now.

It’s only in hindsight that I realize how important it is to have defined personal objectives. It was a revelation for me, as someone who had unconsciously resigned herself to being the champion of her family’s goals, that as a mother I could chase things other than my career, my marriage and motherhood.

Not that these are unworthy goals. In fact, two of my biggest goals now center around being the best partner I can be in my marriage and being the best mother I can be to my children.

That’s how growth works. It works in all of the places. It affects who you are and the vision of who you want to become. Goals help us define our self-worth and value. They force us to grow. They give us something to work towards. In the absence of growth, life rolls over us like a wave, and we become more like a boulder in the tide, being worn down by the currents.

Goals can be challenging to define. You have to go where your joy takes you; it can take you a number of places before you figure out where you gain the highest sense of fulfillment. There’s a period of discovery involved. Sometimes, you have to throw a number of things at the wall before one or two stick, and curate your way through this process. You’ll likely have to ask for help, and build a community of support.

Growth is challenging. Growth is hard. Growth makes us question our beliefs and our values.

But, we can do hard things.

So many of us choose the comfort of discomfort because we know it, rather than working towards something better, because it is unknown.

And then, when we figure out what might be missing in our lives, this desire to reach for something more despite the fear of the unknown, we’re met with the likes of the inner critic and self-sabotage; fears, worries and doubts crowd in on us, making us question our drive, our determination to step out of our safety zone. We can get stuck.

Having goals is almost more terrifying than not. Because we could fail. We will have setbacks. We might embarrass ourselves. We could be the only beginners in a field of experts.

I have days where I falter; days where I don’t believe in myself, where I question why I’m still pursuing this blog, when there are thousands of better writers out there than me. There are days where I fall back into old patterns, and let the negative inner voices echo around my mind.

But, I also have days where I am successful, where I can see just how far I have come since I began, since I made a choice to start, as imperfect as it was. Days where my words impact someone enough that they feel compelled to reach out and share that with me, which fuels me more than I can say.

And, on the days where I have those setbacks, it’s that much easier to get back to even. My mindset shifts are becoming habit, and the muscle memory is becoming stronger.

This is a journey. There is no quick fix or cure-all. There is no over or under, no around. No short cut. There is only one way, if you want to get somewhere different than here, and it’s through.

Direction, Road Sign, Traveling, Driving, Road, Mountain

 

 

Harnessing

There is a special energy that arrives in September.

The kids are back in school, routine is re-established, and there is a seasonal shift in the air that marks a season of change.

I started to think about tackling several goals I haven’t gotten around to in my Year Compass, but that was making me feel a bit overwhelmed. So, I took a step back and asked myself, “If there was one thing that I could accomplish that would make me feel great about closing out this year, what would that be?”

Of course, more than one thing that came to mind, however, I forced myself to commit to focusing on one in particular. Doing three things half-assed, or even three-quarter-assed, doesn’t allow me to do any of those things at 100%. So, I’m committing to one thing, to ensure that I am not wasting reserves of willpower or spreading that willpower too thin.

I’m harnessing my energy.

I’m harnessing that renewal of energy I have felt since the start of September and focusing it in one area because although the pull to spread out my energy to accomplish multiple goals is strong, I know that it is not sustainable.

There is just over a quarter of 2018 left. What one thing could you look back on in December, and be fulfilled by committing to now?

camera, lens, focus

False Starts

What was the last thing that you did in pursuit of your goals? Did it get you any closer to where or who you want to be?

You can follow blogs, read books, pin motivating quotes, listen to podcasts, register for courses, and react with heart emojis to every post an influencer in any particular field puts out on social media.

By doing these things, we can trick ourselves into thinking we are taking action. At times they can create forward momentum, however if there is no proceeding action, we are left only with false starts.

While finding sources of motivation and inspiration is important, ultimately, it is what you do with the information, knowledge and insight that you gain that is the pivotal piece.

track, racing, starting, running, sprint, forward, momentum, action

Things only change with action. Not simply by consumption.

You can consume and wish, or you can go, and do and be.

In Defense of Sharing Our Happy

woman, floating, umbrella, yellow, happy, smile

Why are we so hesitant to talk about happiness? I’m not referring to how to attain it, as there are plenty of discussions around this; I mean genuinely and openly discussing our own happy.

I post photos on social media pretty regularly. Most of them are smiling, happy, beautiful moments. I’m not trying to paint the “perfect” picture. I assume that you know that my life isn’t all laughter and sunsets, but, on the days where those moments happen, it’s what I choose to focus on and share.

I share some of the things on the perimeter of those photos here. It’s called balance.

I know that when I see your happy, filtered, cropped photos on social that you were capturing a moment. That just on the outside of that frame, just before or just after you captured that image, maybe by minutes, or hours, life isn’t so glossy. In fact, I know it’s straight up messy some days.

But that’s what we tend to focus on outside of the pretty pictures. The mess. The struggle. The who did what to who. Our conversations become a comparison of the challenges.

I’ve been listening to Rachel Hollis’ podcast that she shares with her husband, Dave, Rise Together. It’s such a great breath of fresh air. They’re honest about their life – that it’s messy and challenging – but they also are honest about how they value and prioritize their relationship, as husband and wife.

They share the challenges, however they talk about their relationship in a bright, honest, positive way.

What I’ve noticed since starting to follow them is that they’re a rarity. They share their truth, but they also share their happy.

They look for reasons to be positive, to find the happy, to be grateful for each other. They admit that there are faults between and within each of them. But they choose not to highlight or focus on that.

They celebrate their happy.

Socially, it can be more comfortable to commiserate about failings, about difficulties and challenges, than it is to talk about the shinier side which we should all focus a bit harder on. Not just in our marriages or in our romantic relationships, but in our friendships too.

Finding common ground is too often sought out through expressing grievances.

I love a good vent session; I need support, advice and shared stories of similar circumstances. We just need to be sure it’s not where our primary focus hits on a regular basis.

I think we can even be guilty of burying our happy. We don’t want to feel boastful, or make others feel less than by talking about it. We’re also a bit timid around happiness; by virtue of talking about it, we don’t want it to slip through our fingers, or have to recant our happy when things take an unexpected turn.

Happy moments should be shared. Not as a bar to reach, but a feeling captured in time to remind us to be grateful, a moment to remind us what to focus on. We all need highlight reels, and it’s important that we’re just as good at highlighting our own, and not holding our stories up in comparison to someone else’s.

And, if in the middle of sharing your story, someone in your circle holds issue with any part of it, shouldn’t you question why they have a seat at your table in the first place? I want the people around me to be happy; I want to share in their happiness, always, if not especially when I am going through challenging times.

By sharing your happy, you could be inspiring someone who isn’t even acknowledging that they’re listening.

What we focus on multiplies. By sharing your happy, it will spread.

And we could all use a little more of it.