I’m returning from a month long August vacation. I had plenty of time to think, to breathe, to observe my choices. The idea of goals came up again and again in my thoughts. Here’s what I think today.
I have a love/hate relationship to goals. With them, I have accomplished a great deal in this lifetime and many of those accomplishments gave me great pleasure on the journey to achieve them. These achievements enriched my life and I hope, the lives of others.
The hate part of the relationship is that when I’m focused on goals, I’ve lost my freedom to choose moment to moment what it is I’d most like to be doing.
I think that in order to mature and grown into the magnificent being that you are meant to be you need to learn to set goals. I wished someone had taught me this earlier in life. I really didn’t “get it” until I was 27 years old.
When you learn how to choose and achieve goals, you begin to trust yourself. Once you’ve had lots of practice at it, although it sounds counter intuitive, I think the next step in your growth is to begin to let go of goals and to live more and more in the present. But I don’t think you can skip the first step -setting and achieving goals takes you inside into your inner world and “inside” is a place where most of us, Americans anyway, spend very little time.
In order to choose a goal you have to look inside and see what is stirring. What desire is wanting to be fulfilled? What is it you need to do at this time to be more fully expressed? Once you name it, you need to change the shape of your days to accommodate whatever actions are needed to make that goal a reality. Those small changes move you in a new direction that is closer to what you need to live a full and expressed life and to share who you are with others.
I’m now at a point where I’m wanting to let go of having too many goals. I don’t think I’ll ever give them up entirely though. Matter of fact, I have a lot of excitement as I set new ones for the year ahead.
But I’m beginning to experiment. I’m going to leave more space in my days to follow my whims and see where they lead me.
Did reading this bring up questions for you? Ask here and I’ll respond. Or share your thoughts on goals… I’d love to know what you think.
I’m on the roller coaster called change in my work life. And I’m loving it. After more than a decade of successful self employment, my work felt stale.
I was itching to do something new, something really fun. I decided to walk my talk about “you gotta do what you love” by combining my love of travel, writing and speaking into a travel agency business with a focus on cruises. The journey that began with research at the end of 2010 and started officially in March has been filled with lots of learning, plenty of joy and some moments of “I don’t know what I’m doing!” With this change, I’m learning to manage my time in a new way so I can continue to bring in income from my current two income streams while investing enough time to nurture the new businesses.
Lessons learned so far (or I should say relearned!)
1. Start where you are. You might as well be happpy to begin right where you are and grow. “To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly” said Henry Bergson. It’ s ok to move on to new things. When an interest is calling to you -explore it.
2. Get in the game quickly. I realized that I would become an expert more quickly if I put myself out into the world and talked with people about their travel dreams. It ‘s a much richer, quicker learning curve this way. I know it’s easier and feels safer to hide behind the computer and take all kinds of classes -this is good – BUT it needs to be combined with action in the world. Each action I take is a bit scary and that’s ok. I’m only 3 months into the “game” and have made my first sales and have several other seeds planted that are about ready to sprout.
3. You don’t have to figure out all the hows in order to get started. Start with a small step and take it. The “hows” remarkably fall into place in ways you can’t possibly see when you’re sitting in isoloation behind your computer. Take a look at what successful people in the field are doing. Particpate in online forums. Attend trade events. And keep taking steps that engage you with your ideal client/customers.
How do you handle change? Do you embrace it? Push down the urges to grow and express yourself more fully because it’s scary? Let us know what’s changing for you!
I’m entering into a new…what should I call it? phase of life, era, mindset? a new journey… yet another grand experiment.
What has triggered this big shifting? Internal divine discontent combined with the external joyous event called “ordination” that I experienced on Friday, April 8, 2011. As I feel the rumbles deep within, I’m drawn back to poetry. Here’s one that is resonating with me to the core…by David Whtye from his book entitled “The House of Belonging.”
If you’d like to travel with me on this deep and amazing journey, be sure to register to get my email notes announcing our various teleconference groups and workshops -I’ll be offering a discussion/sharing group soon (that is not for the faint of heart!). Together we’ll discuss David Whyte’s book “Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity.” You can get on the mailing list here: www.authenticlifeinstitute.com
Igniting your Spirit,
WHAT TO REMEMBER WHEN WAKING
In that first hardly noticed moment
in which you wake,
coming back to this life
from the other, more secret,
moveable and frighteningly honest world
where everything began,
there is a small opening into the new day
which closes the moment
you begin your plans.
What you can plan is too small
for you to live.
What you can live wholeheartedly
Will make plans enough with
the vitality hidden in your sleep.
To be human is to become visible
while carrying what is hidden
as a gift to others.
To remember the other world
in this world
is to live in your true inheritance.
You are not a troubled guest
on this earth.
You are not an accident
amidst other accidents.
You were invited here
from another and greater night
than the one from which you have just emerged.
Now looking through the slanting light
of the morning window
toward the mountain presence of everything that can be,
what urgency calls you
to your one love?
What shape awaits
in the seed of you
to grow and spread its branches
against a future sky?
Is it waiting in the fertile sea?
In the trees beyond the house?
In the shape of the life
you can imagine for yourself?
In the open and lovely white page
on the waiting desk?
P.S. My pleasure to advice to you spiritplantjourneys.com if you want to get know yourself.
Here’s where I am with starting a new stream of income within my “Everyday a Vacation Day” vision – a travel agency. I chose a host agency and signed on with them. I’m now in the process of learning their systems, learning more about the industry, working towards certification and most important -letting others know how I can help them make their travel dreams happen in the easiest, most enjoyable way possible.
And I get to have beginners mind again! My other income streams -coaching others so they can do what they love and grant writing are already successful -I enjoy the work, it comes to me easily and I’m confident in my ability to deliver a great (and fun! yes, even grantwriting) service.
With this new venture, all the old beliefs around what the hell am I doing and how on earth can this ever make money are popping up. And I’m glad. I get to go back to the place where many of you are today and remember, at a cellular level, what it feels like to be scared, have huge doubts and face down naysayers. What will sustain me through this? First remember why I am doing this. Travel is something I am passionate about and driven towards. I can talk and read and write about travel and never get tired of it. I value travel experiences for the opportunity to stretch my mind, meet people who live life differently then I do. I love seeing the world through new eyes. And best yet, the way that travel reminds me that we are all truly one -as all us/they barriers melt away when you look people in the eye and share smiles.
Every single coach I’ve had, no matter how pragmatic, made me start a business by working on my inside first. You need to acknowledge your desires, beliefs and mindset in order to succeed in the outer world of delivering services, selling products and making money. Every successful person spends some time in introspection. So start here. More next time on what to do with eliminating those beliefs that stop you from moving forward with your entrepreneurial dream.
Starting a business is exciting and scary at the same time.
I’ve got two that are up and running pretty smoothly so…I’m ready to start another one! I like to call them profit centers. I’m going to start a travel agency business from home.
This profit center combines several of my passions. As many of you know my life vision is “Everyday A Vacation Day.” You know how you wake up with that feeling of excitement and anticipation when you’re on vacation. The day is a blank slate and you get to create what you want with it. That’s what I want for each of you too -to enjoy most of what you’re doing…every day. And, it’s a portable business I can work on with my husband. Fun!
I thought it would be a great experiment to document my progress here in this blog. I’m thinking it may help you on your journey to creating your profit centers.
I’ll share what my next steps are, my progress, my bumps along the way and soon…my successes!
So here we go.
Step 1. I googled “home based travel agency.” I found a homebasedtravelagent.com website created by Tom and Joanie Ogg. I browsed it and read some articles.
Step 2. I went to FabJobs and bought a book on becoming a travel agent. I like this resource and have several of their titles on my website http://authenticlifeinstitute.com/how_to_guides.htm (I receive a small commission for referring their products.)
I browsed a bit more, saw that Tom Ogg’s name came up a few times as a trusted, knowledgeable professional so went back to his site, purchased two of his information products and joined his forum.
Step 3: After spending about 3 weeks reading and gathering information I had the lay of the land and knew what my next step was. I haven’t got a clue about how a lot of this works yet but all I need to know is the next step. In this case that is to decide whether to find a host agency or go it on my own. I decided on the host agency route. I know I’ve got a big learning curve ahead of me and I want to learn from successful travel agents who are already where I want to be.
Next step? Research five host agencies. So for all of you thinking of starting a home based business. The first step is like a research project. You need information.
But the very next step I’m taking is a cruise to the Mexican Riviera. I leave Saturday. Got to do research you know 🙂
Big topic huh? One of the my favorite books about life meaning is “How Then Shall We Live” by Wayne Muller. In it he poses 4 questions. I share them here with you to get you thinking about the bigger picture of your life. My ultimate goal in sharing this with you is that you will be gentler with yourself and that you will live YOUR life doing what you love. Onto the first question!
1. Who am I? Are you saying, well, I am a business owner, writer, teacher, mother, etc? Muller encourages you to go deeper, to find the places beneath those names. Consider that what you call the “self” is always changing. If you get too focused on just one facet of yourself, you may feel smothered by the smallness of who you have become. Consider this, your true nature can take the shape in a million forms, all unique and useful in their own way. You are not a prisoner of your history! Try this: for five minutes complete this phrase: “I am.” Without judging keep speaking for five minutes. Notice what you say and how you feel when you say it. Are there repeating themes? What stands out for you? Which sentences seem the most troubling? Which feel most true? When you’re finished, try to name the single phrase that feels most potent. What does this want to reveal about your current sense of self?
Jack Kornfield, a leading Buddhist teacher, said, “the path is not so much about changing ourselves as it is about listening to the fundamentals of our being.”
2. What do I love? Whatever you give your time and attention to becomes the focus of your life. What is at the center of your life? What activities? Which people? Are these the people and activities you hope will receive your love and devotion? Whatever you are giving your time and attention to every day is the kind of person you will eventually become. Is this what you want? Try this. Grab a stack of magazines and make a collage of what you love. As you look through images hold in your mind the thought “what do I love?” When you’re done take a break then come back to it. Are you pleased with what you love? Is anything missing? Pick the single image that seems most powerful to you right now. What does it reveal about what you love? Choose one image and make a commitment to include it in your daily life more of what that image holds. You can choose another image next week!
3. How shall I live, knowing I will die? If you walk through life thinking that you will live forever, you’re not alone. It’s an illusion most people hold. The danger in it is that you think you can waste all the time in the world before you are ready to live. Pema Chodron, a Buddhist nun states, “if you live your life as if you actually only had a day left, then the sense of impermanence heightens that feeling of preciousness and gratitude.” Muller says that many of us are exhausted by a desperate search for answers, as if our life were a big problem to be solved and we haven’t yet found the perfect solution to the puzzle. We figure we’re not working hard enough and continue to push harder. What if the “don’t know” is an indication that it is time to be quiet, listen and wait? There is a time to act and a time to remain still. A time to engage and a time to retreat. There is a natural expansion and contraction in all things, and when you feel the truth of this, you will be easy and at peace. And you will find, that much will be accomplished!
4. What is my gift to the family of the earth? Most of us have had some hurt in our lives. And when you feel broken, you can feel useless and undervalue your gifts. Jesus declared we are the light of the world and must let our light shine. The gifts you give can be simple yet powerful. A kind word, a laugh, a meal. It is impossible that you have not gift. You may be unsure of it, afraid it’s not good enough, or waiting for the perfect opportunity. Don’t wait. It’s alive in you this very moment. You are given countless opportunities to offer your gifts to others every day. Take a day and examine how you give. Does it feel like an obligation? Which gifts are given most freely? We all need what you have. Be not afraid. Muller says, “a kind life is a life of courage, the courage simply to bring what you have, to bring what you are.”
Those of you who’ve been hanging out with me for awhile know that my credo is “Everyday a Vacation Day.” I want to wake up every morning with anticipation of new adventures ahead of me. I love feeling excited, fresh and light – light in spirit, mind AND body. And like many others, in my pursuit of enjoyment I sometimes overdo. Combine that with some genetic tendencies towards a full body, and my scales have gone into the obesity realm several times in my life.
I’m happy to report that I’ve been heading back down the scale away from the obesity category and it’s not so difficult this time. I think I’ve finally got a handle on the balance between eating/drinking what I enjoy, moving my body and feeling light and healthy. I’m also motivated when I realize the high cost of obesity. Not only do those extra pounds make us feel less attractive and make it more difficult to move around, they also lead to diminished health and outrageous obesity related medical costs.
Here’s a report from the McKinsey Quarterly that gives more detail. You have to register on their site to read the complete article -it’s free.
“An obesity pandemic has put pressure on health care systems throughout the world. The United Kingdom, for instance, spent more than £4 billion on obesity-related medical costs in 2007, and that could rise to £9.7 billion by 2050. The United States currently spends about $160 billion—twice what it did a decade ago—and that amount could double again by 2018.
Yet these huge numbers represent only a fraction of the pandemic’s total economic burden on societies. Obesity indirectly costs the United States at least $450 billion annually—almost three times the direct medical cost. The situation is comparable in other countries as well. To learn more, read “Why governments must lead the fight against obesity” (October 2010).” http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Why_governments_must_lead_the_fight_against_obesity_2687
What are some of your daily habits? It’s worth taking a look at them. Your habits shape what you do with your precious time. You can decide for yourself which habits you engage in are “good” or “bad.” I’d say that the actions you take that positively contribute to your health, happiness, prosperity and relationships are worth keeping. Anything else -well, you might want to make some changes. Here are some habits that I find to be dreamkillers:
1. Email. In my opinion, opening email first thing in the day is not the best way to start out. You’re allowing others to shape your thoughts, actions and even your mood. I say make your first actions meaningful ones -something that makes you happy, something that inspires you to live a fantastic day, or something that contributes to a goal you have. Check email after you’ve done the most important things first.
2. Mindless eating. I think this widely accepted American habit contributes to obesity, poor health and a lack of enjoyment. When you eat – just eat. Don’t read, watch tv or keep one hand on the keyboard. Be aware of the texture of the food, the taste in your mouth, how it feels in your belly. Give thanks for all the people involved in getting the food to your table. Sure, enjoy good conversation in between bites -but other than that – mindful eating will enhance your health and your life.
3. Noise. Lord, there’s noise everywhere! When I pump gas there’s a t.v. blaring at me (I skip that gas station now). I got a new dentist after my former dentist installed flat screen tvs in each exam room. I’m sure some patients appreciate it, but I got nervous when I noticed the dentist kept looking up at the t.v. when fixing my facings or teeth bridges. Silence is a good habit to cultivate for the soul. Your inner voice knows a lot -it just needs a little time to be heard. Allow for some silence each day.
Be a gentle observer of your habits. Don’t beat yourself up -just notice. Which ones make you happy? Which ones move your goals and dreams forward? Which ones are obstacles. Pick one and decide to change it. Here’s a cool tool I found today that might inspire you -and it’s free. www.habitforge.com
Would love to hear about a habit you’re ready to change. Post your comment here and let us know!
I want you to do what you love. That’s my mission. And if you want to be paid to do what you love, all the better! Sounds simple huh? Then why are so few of you doing it? Because it’s not all that simple after all.
Take your lizard brain -nickname for the amygdala part of your brain. It’s an older part of the brain designed to help you survive. Trouble is, it rears up in fear and panic at any new change -not just at incoming lions and tigers that could actually eat you. So it’s likely that when you start to make a move to do something you love, that your lizard brain starts bombarding you with messages about how stupid this is and what will people think and you’re a complete idiot for even thinking about it.
Another obstacle to doing what you love is ideas. Yes, ideas. Too many of them. When you first start to think about doing something you love, you get a kind of high, an excitement. But soon enough that wears off. And then you might get depressed. Your lizard brain is screaming. So you decide you need a new, better, shinier idea to go after. And your dream dies. Once again.
What to do? Get into action. Quickly. Keep moving forward with small steps -your lizard won’t even notice you’ll be moving so fast. Write out actions you need to take and put deadlines on them. We need some constraints…honest. You’ll never do what you love without them. And lastly, you’ve got to have another person (or even better a group of people) who are there to support you, nag you a bit, and cheer when you’ve taken an action, no matter how small.
Tell me something you’d love to do. And post a comment about what’s stopping you. Let’s see what we can do to remove all the obstacles from doing what you love.
Do you find yourself struggling between setting goals and just living in the present moment? There’s a tricky line to walk between the two. If you’re constantly focused on the future and your goals, you may be missing out on wonderful moments in the here and now. You may also have blinders on and not see unexpected opportunities right before you -something that might even be better than the goal you’re working on because you’ve got your eyes on that future prize that beckons.
I’ve found a balance that works pretty well for me between goal setting and enjoying the present -it might work for you too. First thing each day I spend some quiet time. Many successful people advocate this habit. William Penn said, “True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.” So I sit. And watch my thoughts come and go. And after a few minutes I feel myself settling down. And many times, that still, small voice within gives me ideas that move my goal forward. This simple practice keeps me centered and able to be mindful during the day, enjoying the moments for what they are and it also keeps me focused when I am working on something related to my goal so I can get it done more quickly and efficiently.
Another thing that works is to consider what you will feel when you achieve your goal. For me the answer, regardless of the goal, is often that I feel confident, generous and free. When I’ve achieved something I experience confidence, I feel authentic and strong. I am able to be fully generous with others -with money and kind words and actions. And, I feel free…free to live my life the way I want to. A big key to all this is to pay attention to your current experiences that allow you to feel the way you believe your goal will allow you to feel. Chances are, you already have some of what you are seeking in your life right now. Do more of those things. The more you feel your desired feelings right now, the easier you’ll find it to get to your goal.
Lastly, always tell at least one person of your goal and get their support. Of course, be sure to tell someone who wants to support you in living life your way. If you don’t get this support, it’s much more difficult to stick with it -it’s so easy to live each day being pulled in the directions that other people want you to go.
So go ahead and do some goal setting. Know what you want to feel. Enjoy those feelings now, in the present. And live life YOUR way.