Wishes Aren’t Goals

It’s that time of the year when I start to look at the things I wanted to accomplish in the year and analyse the successes and where things might have gone pear shaped.

Then I received an email from a charity I support asking for volunteers to run the London Marathon 2016. I’m thinking about it. Really thinking about it. Primarily because for several years I have always had ‘run the London Marathon’ on my list of things to do. Never mind that I have never ever even tried to apply talk less of run it; yet it remained on my list – probably since my mid-twenties.

I do remember how I came to the decision to put it on my list. It was after watching The London Marathon on T.V for the first time in 1997. I was enthralled, and overwhelmed, by the determination and accomplishment of the runners as well as some of the amazing stories fuelling their motivation. I thought to myself, “I’ve got to do this”.

After receiving that email, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to do this. I can finally accomplish my dream. However, I was hesitant. So I asked myself, as you do, if I really did want to run the London Marathon or was it just an interesting thing to do – a list filler?

In my short time on earth, I’ve learnt a few things:

  1. A goal without action is nothing more than a wish
  2. Writing down a goal is pointless if you haven’t made a decision to do it
  3. Counting the cost of a goal before committing to it aids decision making
  4. Feel free to release yourself from achieving this goal if the actions from points 1-3 don’t engender you to the goal.

There might be some things on that list that you can simply cross off before 2015 rings to an end. You are never going to achieve them simply because they aren’t what you really want. Maybe you saw others achieving it and thought it might be a good idea. ¬†Perhaps you just thought it would be a cool thing to do. However sincerely you thought you wanted to; actions speak louder than words.

We all know the things we really want, what we really really want. (See what I did there? ūüôā ) Nothing stops us from committing to those things and seeing them through. No one has to make us do them. Perhaps it’s time to release ourselves from achieving certain things that just aren’t meant for us. Permit ourselves to break free from¬†the shackles of pseudo failure. Those goals don’t belong to¬†us.

However, if the opposite happens. If you feel yourself aching to commit to something on that list, then there it is. That’s your goal. Hang on to it and pursue it.

And if you really really really REALLY want to do it, remember point 1 above though, no action = a wish list.


The Limitations of Having a Vision

Last weekend I spent some time with a friend who talked about a dream of hers and how she was at the place where she was ready to go for it. It’s a very expensive dream to have so I can understand why it’s taken her a while to wrap her head around giving it a go. It’s also a dream that goes against the norm – not always easy to put your head above the parapet.

Having a vision means that you are boxed in. And as you get older, the more you junk stuff you are not interested in and so that vision continues to glare at you more and more.  And if like me you have a vision board on your wall, it stares at you before you go to bed and first thing when you wake up.

You can’t run away from who you are any more than¬†you can can run away from the¬†dreams gestating¬†within you.¬†You can put them on hold or¬†dance around them, but they will always be alive within you waiting for an opportunity to flourish.

When we¬†use the word dream, the tendency is for the mind to always go to some major adventure,¬†project or accomplishment. ¬†The tendency is to let other people’s accomplishments determine what we think a dream is.

A dream is whatsoever your heart desires. A better relationship with your spouse or a loved one, a peaceful home, a healthy diet, time for yourself in a busy world- a dream is whatever you imagine that is not yet a reality.

At some point you’ve got to admit to yourself that you are either not brave enough; hardworking enough; tough enough; committed enough; caring enough; whatever¬†……….. enough. ¬†At some point you have to admit that just maybe, all along,¬†you are the only one in the way of achieving your dream.

Enough of the 2015 Drivel – Less Talk, More Action

Someone tweeted this the other day and I had to laugh because I¬†totally understood where she was coming from. As the end of one year draws nigh and the dawn of the new year rises, there is an inordinate amount of ‘motivational’ spiel all over cyberspace.

During the first couple of months of the year, I tend to avoid social media because undoubtedly, every friend, follower and his aunty will be posting motivational quotes,quips, sentences, memes Рwhatever you want to call them. And If I am honest, even humble-improve-yourself-me finds it a bit annoying.

Don’t get me wrong. I usually love such quotes and I believe 100% in personal development but at this time of the year you just want to yell SHUT UP and do something instead of talking about it or in this case, writing about it.

Lest we epitomise that old adage, ’empty vessels make the most noise’, lets make some clear and realistic choices and steadily get on with it.¬†No one ever achieved anything by talking, wishing or dreaming – you knuckle down and get it done. (is that a quote???? ūüôā I might just get away with that one)

And so like the true, and smug, worshippers in the temple of the gym, we await the demise of fledgling resolutionaires and look forward to getting on with it in 2015.

I’m also looking forward to seeing what those in my life achieve this year and hope to feature some in the Redefining Wonder Woman series for 2015. ¬†Can’t wait!

I’m Listening

Three years ago I went on a retreat or a getaway I should say on my own. My husband had the children whilst I spent fours days in Southampton just to clear my head.

While I was there I got a idea which I wrote down. So excited was I by the idea that I couldn’t wait to get home I called my husband as soon as I could to talk about it. He was quite encouraging which if you know my husband at all, is high praise. He’s just one of those guys who is¬†never overly enthused about anything. If something is good he says OK. If it’s fantastic he says it’s alright. If it’s super fantastic he says good. This day I got a good which was in itself an encouragement.

In between writing down that idea and now, life has just literally taken over. I’ve changed jobs, moved to a new city, changed schools for my children, changed careers, moved house, got out of one business, started a new business – a lot has gone on. Slowly and surely I forgot that idea.

Restlessness is a sure sign that something needs changing or a great reminder of something you already knew. I’ve been restless over the¬†last six months or so, particularly the last three. And I have been soul searching again. Two years ago I would have gone on another retreat but I couldn’t do it this time. So I decided to use the opportunity of Advent to prepare myself for next year and kind of listen out for what next.

Best laid plans! It’s three weeks since I decided to do that and life seems to have suddenly gotten even busier¬†if that’s possible. Although I couldn’t take the time to be still, I’ve been thinking a lot about it- just going through questions in my head. So last night I couldn’t sleep and I found myself tossing and turning an hour after I got to bed so I thought I might as well start my advent journey, 20 plus days later. I picked up the journal from¬†twos year ago and read through it. I couldn’t believe the amount of detail I had then. Maybe it was too much¬†to process at the time¬†or I wasn’t convinced or I was scared and kind of put it off. Who knows? Two years later, the same idea is still reverberating in my head. I’ve come full circle.

It think it’s safe to say you should never say you don’t know what to do, it’s more like we aren’t listening. Or perhaps we are not in the frame of mind to listen and do something about it.

The universe is always saying something, in my case I believe God is always guiding us, but we are way too busy to listen. Sometimes we miss it but sometimes, out of share grace, we get a second chance and we hear it again.

One of the many things life has taught me is that, the ‘universe’ will not keep speaking forever if we do not jump in
when the waters are stirred. If you are restless at the moment or want your life to take a new shape or direction in the New Year. Take some time out to listen. At the very least you confirm what you already knew deep down.

Listening is a lot harder than talking. It takes time, patience and determination but yields better results all the time.

Turn Off the Emails

I generally get lots of emails a day at work. My daily agenda usually incorporates going though my emails first thing in the morning and then working through priorities and any actions that come out of them. This usually works for me but my line manager is on holiday (lucky lucky her – no I’m not jealous. Why would you think that?) and I am getting my usual emails plus emails that would have gone to her. And my my my, it’s like someone opened up a vortex of emails that just will not calm¬†down.

Naturally I want to go through¬†them immediately also because there is the added pressure that I’m standing in for her in that regard. However, it’s just impossible. They don’t stop and there’s always a need that requires replying and action. Meanwhile, I’m not getting my work done.

So after spending four days in this email whirlwind, I had a efficiency tip moment. I decided I wouldn’t let my emails dictate my daily agenda. I was going to get my work done first – irrespective of the number of pings I heard. And I closed down Outlook to make sure that happened. Then I put my instant messaging on DND (Do Not Disturb) that way all messages went straight to email which was presently on lock down. ¬†Lastly, I set myself of a deadline of 12:30 to get my work done and then respond to the emails. And it’s been amazing. It worked.

I read something yesterday on working from home. It recommended leaving your phone in another room whilst working. I will have to try that another time.

Until next time,

Efficiently yours.

Pay Attention to Random Thoughts

Is there such a thing as a random thought? Last night I watched a bit of You’re Fired, the Apprentice’s after-show, and listened with great interest about how game board creator,Rachel Lowe, got her idea for her business.

She used to be a taxi driver and whilst on a shift, she got an idea for a board game called Destination. Ten years later she has won many awards, had 21 editions of the game and received an MBE. Not bad for a random thought!

Makes you wonder how many random thoughts you might have dismissed along the way. I know at least two ideas that I dismissed for seemingly valid reasons, that are now thriving businesses in the hands of people who took the risk.

I got a random thought this afternoon that I’m going to explore. It’s not the first time I’ve had the thought which makes me think perhaps it’s time to pay attention to it.