Do you ever catch yourself squashing your goals mentally before you’ve formally stated them?
I’ve been writing the last section of my book Crisis, Interrupted: The Smart Woman’s Guide to Creating Calm, Community, and Connection.
In it, I recall how sad and betrayed I felt when in my early forties, after what felt like a lifetime of sacrifice (martyrdom has never looked good on me) as a single mom, I realized my dreams for traveling and writing were out of reach. My kids were grown, but I’d colored my future grey.
Too old. Too broke. Too single to travel anywhere swashbuckling. Too tired to really knuckle-down and get my writing going. The excuses were all there.
And they were simply that. Excuses. I was afraid of failing at the things that meant a lot to me. I was a mom. I had a job. Who was I to think I wanted more? When I squeezed my eyes shut and booked my first solo travel to Vietnam in 2011, my confidence in trying new things was forever altered. I started this blog then. Then started writing. Hired a writing coach. Took classes. And learned that it was okay to falter, fail, and not give up.
Which brings me to now. Thanks to a dear friend and fellow new retiree who’s now living in Hawaii, I got a mileage ticket and slipped over to Maui last week from Alaska. He’d thrown caution to the wind and left the stressful work in rural Alaska to rent a sight-unseen property in a place where he knew no one. Now healthier and happier than before, he’s planning a future for himself that he’d not have imagined a year ago.
While in Hawaii, I got to rest my mind, try a new skill (I can paddle-board now—at 56!) and even met with an author acquaintance- turned- friend, Veronica Slaughter. She’s recently realized long-held dreams like publishing her book, and new ones swapping her fancy jewelry and clothes from Palm Beach for overalls, now managing a farm in Hawaii.
It’s amazing what sunlight and the beautiful ocean can do for mood. But I’m on the plane now, flying back to a cold, dark winter. I still struggle to maintain faith and confidence in myself at times. I go through seasons of not wanting to open the mail, and every text or email adds anxiety and stress to my life. It’s not new. Then I remind myself that I’ll find a way to do what’s important. I will.
The four things that have long helped turn my goals into a plan are:
- Jumping off the ledge while frightened.
There won’t ever be a good time to throw a stake in the ground and do what matters. So we have to create the space. I don’t feel confident enough days in a row to trust that my emotions will
- Sharing failures widely, not just successes.
We’re pack animals. Even us introverts do better when creating community, even online communities. And when we share our failings as well as our successes, we stop perpetuating the notion that success is easy or that somehow, we have good luck or more talent. And that helps us and our community remember that we’re not alone.
- Setting that next goal after achieving the first. Solo travel for me turned into green-lighting my writing. Now it’s getting my courses done online and getting ready to podcast. What will your be?
- Finding the right person to learn from.
It takes a while to find the right person, but it’s important to have a mentor or a set of people to learn the skills you’re seeking. I think people are put off by the term mentor, thinking they must learn everything from one person through an agreed-upon, formalized relationship. It doesn’t have to be so tricky. It takes humility to admit as adults we’re in a space of learning. But it’s a great place to be in.
I’m thankful you’ve joined me. Let’s connect on Fridays at my Facebook author page for a live conversation. Until the vaccination is accessible to all, this may be as close to a party as I can host.
Thank you for dropping by. And huge huge huge thank you to my friend Walter for giving me the west wing of his flat and letting me create chaos for a while. I haven’t laughed so hard in ages.