My goals are on paper and I've even scheduled time in my calendar to allow for some time for me to work towards accomplishing them. Yet, when things start getting hectic or my client's needs increase, the first thing I tend to do is sacrifice the time for myself to help others. When that happens more than once in a week I find myself getting a little cranky and out of sorts. How can I move forward if I'm not giving to myself?
Most of us are givers to some degree. Some give to others because they know no other way of getting by in the world. Certain religious traditions teach us to relinquish self for the benefit of others, but how healthy is that...really? Even Mother Teresa had goals. She founded a home for the dying and a home for lepers. She traveled the world campaigning for the poor, the sick and the down-trodden. While her work benefited others, she accomplished great things by realizing goals.
In the book, "Calling in the One" by Katherine Woodward Thomas, she says, "When we are authentic with ourselves by setting our limits, honoring our feelings, prioritizing our own well-being, and clearly defining our wants and needs, we identify the path we are on, making it much easier for the blessings of life to come to us." Henry Kissinger once said, 'If you don't know where you are going, every road will get you nowhere.'
There's a term, 'Healthy Selfishness' which many folks haven't embraced. Rather, they prefer to play the role of the overburdened victim or the 'selfless giver'. These people generally have lives full of drama, much of it unhealthy. Healthy selfishness means taking time for you to learn, to grow, to center spiritually. This can include such activities as inspirational reading, exercise, meditation, journaling, yoga - I know someone who takes time to practice breathing, deep and full breaths. Ahhhhhh. (Did you know it is physically impossible to panic and breathe deeply at the same time?)
Sure, there are many of us who find great personal reward in helping others. But, if you don't take time for yourself, how can you fully be there for others? How do you experience healthy selfishness?
Among the many brilliant gems Albert Einstein shared, he also inspires us with this quote which applies not only to the science of physics, but also to the science of everyday life.
We can make plans, set goals and aspire to be better or accomplish more, but without action towards the direction of your goals they are just talk. Conrad Hilton said, "Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don't quit."
In my consulting work with folks looking to start a business I've seen this again and again and marvel at how well this works each time. First of all, people go through the process of developing on paper the detailed vision for their future business. This is a lot of work, but it's also part of a deep learning process. Then, they take a step towards their goal and the universe joins in to create opportunity. Sounds too easy, doesn't it?
I'm simplifying this and there's more to the story, but the basics are this: there are three key activities towards accomplishing goals. The first is planning. The second is implementing (that's the part where you move). The third is follow-up - and this will be the topic of another blog. Most people are good at doing two of the activities, but not the third. Some people are so stuck in some drama in their current life that they can't get past the planning -- or talking stage. (Have you ever met someone who talks and talks about what is going to happen, but has nothing to show for all that talk?) Other folks are stuck in unhealthy relationships or situations that they can't let go of. Recently, I came across a great quote from a guy named Dan Lehnberg: "To live the dream, you gotta lose the drama!" Life is sometimes like a vessel - you can fill it with only so much "stuff". If your vessel is full of unhealthy people, habits and relationships, you don't have room for the amazing success and happiness you really deserve. You've got to move out the junk so you can replace it with joy and achievement.
So back to my business start-up story (and I'll only tell you one)... I have a client who is a Le Cordon Bleu trained chef. She's been working with me to develop a business plan to open a restaurant, but it just wasn't happening. As it turns out she's been going through an extended divorce settlement that has absorbed her life. Her ex was apparently just as absorbed for the past three years also. Finally, the time came for the settlement hearing. She was (coincidentally) at the crux of this situation and, at the same time, waiting to hear on a particular restaurant space she was hoping to rent. She also had some ideas around finding fulfillment in helping single moms by providing a life skill in food service. The universe couldn't support the energy of both situations which appeared to me to be moving in opposite directions... imagine a grasping, needy energy versus a giving, nurturing energy. After the first day of the settlement hearing she went home and cried for hours. The next day she walked into the courtroom and told her ex and his attorney that she wasn't going to fight any more. She would settle. She was done. He could have whatever he wanted.
The very next day the restaurant space became available at a very reasonable rental rate, new catering business opportunities showed up and she got a call from a person she met a few weeks prior who asked her if she would lead up a program doing...guess what???...teaching single moms food service skills to help them develop work-ready skills in the restaurant business.
She had been moving in the direction of her dreams, but then moved out stuck energy from her life, so that her dreams could manifest. She opened her business the following week.
So what does it take for the rest of us? As I tell my clients who are writing a business plan. It's like eating an elephant...you do it a bite at a time. Set your goals one at a time. Then move towards them...baby steps work, but constant and steady baby steps.
What is it in your life you want to move towards? Also, what do you want to move out of the way so your dreams can be realized?
Growing pains, life experiences that change us, philosophies, introspection and contemplation