SMARTER not Harder

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In writing the previous post on my miraculous making it happen, I have to admit I was excited, inspired, and ready to face my fears and do the do to truly make it happen. I felt like I could take on the world, that my mustard seed faith could really move mountains (yes it can for real, but I felt it too!), and my fingers could somehow type a million words a minute and fill this blog before I knew it.

I was also quite comfortable in my favorite spot at my favorite coffee shop all by myself sipping my favorite winter tea latte. 😉

Until I looked at my watch.

And all of a sudden, my two hours of write time while the boys were napping and my husband was watching them (also napping LOL), was over and I was throwing all of my belongings into my bag and rushing out the door to complete the many errands on my to do list before running home.  Just like that, my making it happen that was so fresh, so invigorating, and so within reach… moved to the back of the line where it has been for so many years.

What happened? Why did it change? What shifted?

To be honest, my IT sits at the back of the line because it seems so HARD in the midst of everything else. Have you ever felt that way? It sounds good, it sounds fun, it sounds meaningful and awesome when you are dreaming about it or even starting the beginning stages, but when you actually start the doing of it, that IT is just a little harder and more difficult than expected. And because it is hard, I choose to avoid it and delay it instead of doing it.

I have found this to be truth with just about everything worthwhile in this life: attaining any degree or license, embarking on the adventures of marriage and parenting, starting a new career or ministry, getting in shape/exercising, etc. Anything that seems awesome in the moment will at some point have a challenge or obstacle invoking the descriptor of being HARD. And while this truth is important to acknowledge because as of yet, there is no way that I know of to reap the full benefits of all of the above without enduring the challenge as well, I think the real issue is how I view the HARD.

What does that mean? How I view the HARD?

My view of HARD is often the picture of a person (me) standing in the middle of a tornado of things swirling all around. My tornado would have all the great and not so great things in my life: my hopes and dreams, my husband, my children, my family and friends, my work, my church, anything and everything that is a part of my everyday existence that requires my presence. In my tornado, nothing is within reach and I have absolutely no control as everything swirls around me. And as most tornados are considered, my primary response is always two-fold: FEAR (we talked about this last time) and being OVERWHELMED (here we go).

When I was sitting in the coffee shop dreaming dreams and sipping tea, I was not thinking tornado. I was swept away by my positive emotions and the singular focus of the fun of writing: the ideas, the outcomes, the great moments when something clicks. My IT was a cute and cuddly baby that was small and wonderful and sleeping soundly. But when I returned to my reality and the associated responsibilities and demands, I was able to see that this became another projectile swirling around in the chaos! I realized this baby, which was still small and cute, also had demands: time, effort, and pieces of me like everyone and everything else.

Your view of hard might be different than mine. It might look like a huge elephant blocking your path or an incredible mountain unable to be scaled. Regardless of the picture: elephants, mountains, and tornadoes all tend to leave us OVERWHELMED. And my instant reaction to being overwhelmed, like many, is to avoid. For me, it is procrastination. For others, avoidance can take a variety of forms that let us seemingly escape: exercising, eating, sleeping, business, etc.  The truth though is that avoidance is never a true escape; the thing we are running from is still there and unless we finally confront it, we will never accomplish the amazing experience of making it happen. Think about it: the coolest stories are about surviving the storm, taming the wild elephant, and scaling the mountain, right?! 🙂

So, what do I do? How do I still MAKE IT HAPPEN when I am OVERWHELMED?

And therein lies the title of this post: to make it happen and maintain my sanity, I have to work SMARTER not harder. 🙂 I actually tell my students and clients (as well as myself) this all the time: to utilize their resources wisely and get the best outcome with the most efficient means to do so.  In this specific situation, it means making the hard more manageable, more realistic, and using the well-known goal SMARTER acronym:

S: Specific

M: Measureable

A: Attainable

R: Realistic

T: Time-Limited

E: Evaluate

R: Reward or Re-Work

Specifically, I want to start with a weekly post (Measurable). Although I have dreams to do so much more, this seems both Attainable and Realistic for me (hence the existence of this post). Since I usually have write time on the weekends, I am setting Mondays as my Timeline. As we go along, I will be able to Evaluate (and you will too) if this is working and Reward or re-work as necessary.

So, what might this mean for you? You might be at the beginning stages of still figuring out what your IT really is 😉 This is a great place to start, but even that can have a SMARTER goal: “By the end of this month, I will have spent 30 minutes a week journaling and dreaming about my calling, the thing I would love love love to do if there was nothing in my way.” Or maybe you know what your IT is, even if you have never shared it or are still trying to convince yourself otherwise. What might your SMARTER goal be to take one step closer to making it a reality? Or maybe you’ve been living out your IT for years, and are basking in the glow of a fulfilling life. Even then, what is one thing you would like to continue doing (being intentional about it) or something you’ve secretly dreamed of but never gone after? It might be fun to go for something again, and see what happens!

For me, this means taking this writing and blogging thing one step at a time. To begin to bring order to my tornado by using my God-given will and reaching out to take hold of the things most important to me.  It may seem small, but its this first step that will create the foundation (and the momentum) for the future.

And what better time to do this than at the beginning of a new year! 😉

As we embark on the adventure of 2016, I encourage us to go for it!

To take those first steps of the rest of our lives, and begin truly making it happen… by working SMARTER not harder.♥

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Make it Happen…

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Did you know there is a miracle that resides in those three, seemingly innocent words?

Make. It. Happen.  

There may not be one in there for you, but there sure is one for me. Because I have been trying to make this happen for years: this website, this blog, and this writing that has been haunting me for as long as I can remember but has remained hidden in journal after journal like the one so beautifully photographed above (thanks Em!).

Why the delay?  What makes the “making it happen” so hard? Why is there a miracle for me?

Because without the miracle I can tell you that my IT would NEVER happen. Without the calling that is relentlessly tugging at my spirit, without the incessant and annoying but very much appreciated encouragement of those who really know me, and without the truth of Christ hidden in my heart that He will never leave me nor forsake me, I would NEVER, EVER do this. Maybe you know this feeling too…

But why??

Because I am scared. Honestly, I have always been scared. Ask any of my friends and they can probably tell you my multiple wacky fears (showers with curtains, windows at night, frisbees, spiders, toilets flushing LOL) but most of them would not mention the fear that has followed me for as long as I can remember: FAILING.

What if I FAIL? What if I write and write and write and put myself out there and it all blows up in my face? What if my words come out wrong and no one understands and I mess up?  What if writing really isn’t my calling and I misheard? What if? What if? What if?

So I write in the journal like the one above, and I keep the words a secret, hidden because at least they are “written” down but not out there for all to see. I take my time in making it happen because procrastination allows for the justification that one day it will happen, just not today. I can prolong the inevitable, hide from the fear, and still feel good about myself because I am in process (right?). And I know I am not the only one, because I talk to people like you and me everyday who are wanting but waiting because it is scary to actually do.

And the miracle?

And then the miracle happens. Not when I expected it, but at just the right time. I get called out without anyone knowing but me: “sometimes Satan uses procrastination to keep us in a state of not happening” (thanks to The Rev; you will hear more about him throughout this journey, I am sure… but for now, know he is a trusted spiritual mentor that I love and respect dearly and has spoken many words of truth over me throughout the years). If I am not actually DOING IT, then I am not really MAKING IT HAPPEN. Regardless of the fears, regardless of the what ifs, regardless of the potential for failure.

So I chew on the truth and it gets to me. If you are not actually DOING IT, then you are not really MAKING IT HAPPEN.

What am I really waiting for? [NOTHING]. What would it really mean to fail? [not sure; someone might laugh at me]. What is really so scary about that failing? [Not sure now that I really consider it]. If I do not do IT now, do I really think I will do it later? [NOPE]. What are YOU waiting for?

The miracle makes its appearance and I realize the only way to make it happen is to actually MAKE IT HAPPEN.

Through grace and prayers and support, I share the miracle with others and start facing my fears. I start telling select people about this “book club” I am going to start in January. I remember a montra from long ago to “DO SOMETHING DAILY” and I do it. I start making time to type, not write, and make this blog come into existence outside of the special place it has had in my mind for years. I stop procrastinating and start doing. What could you start doing today?

And before I know it… My IT is HAPPENING.

I watch the miracle unfold and breathe deep and wait in expectation to see what happening looks like. It is not without little bits of fear, but mostly, it is with EXCITEMENT.

And I write and type and share because I know I need to be reminded and maybe you do too.

Maybe you could use this word of truth to make your IT happen.

Maybe we can pass this miracle on and you can be encouraged to stop procrastinating and start doing.

Maybe we can face our fears together and actually Make.It.Happen. ♥

 

 

 

MIRACULOUS Mayhem??

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Mayhem: a state of rowdy disorder (www.dictionary.com)

Sometimes it feels like I live in constant mayhem. EVERY. DAY.

I have the feeling that maybe you do too.

In fact, I would bet on it. Because I see it everywhere: in my life and in the lives of the many women around me. MAYHEM… disorder… chaos… They reign in this world.

From the young pre-teen woman struggling to make sense of newfound freedoms while guarding her innocence from pressures to be gorgeous and smart and different but the same…

To the college junior who has no idea what she wants for her life but is trying to make something of herself as a woman while also longing for the romance and companionship of Mr. Right…

To the newlywed bride home from the honeymoon to find that this was not what she thought, He is not who she thought, and the house does not clean itself, bills do not pay themselves, and being an adult stinks…

To the young mom losing her mind because she has not slept more than 3 hours straight in 6 months and she is not only caretaking 100% of the time now, but she is also grieving the loss of her self, her personal, space, and her mind…

To the mid-life menopausal mess that is not only dealing with the fact that her babies could potentially have babies, but her body is not what it used to be and she literally has no control over anything anymore…

To the end-of-life matriarchal moments where everything finally comes into perspective and there is not enough time left and she begins to recognize that there are future moments coming that she will not be able to be present for no matter how hard she tries…

and the many, many, many women in between.

And that is where the idea for this blog came into being: in a moment of prayerful groaning about another mayhemic (I might have made that word up) moment when I cried out once again that there has to be more than this. There has to be more than the mundane and the monotony, more than just wake up, survive, try to sleep; rinse and repeat among all the stages above. More than the stories above with their own unique trials and struggles and heartaches. My heart and mind and soul scream in one accord that there has to be meaning amidst the mayhem.

And the word that was whispered in return…

MIRACULOUS.

Miraculous? Yes. Say it again Lord? MIRACULOUS. Each of these moments, as messy and crazy and hard and happy and everything else, are amazing miracles meant to be noticed and savored and shared in this journey we call life. What would it look like if I lived this way? If I viewed my mayhem through the lens of the miraculous? If I viewed my marriage, my mothering, MY SELF, as miracles in the moments?

I guess we will see; as this blog is my record of just that… of intentionally choosing to live out my mayhem as MIRACULOUS and to “make the most of my marriage, mothering and the miscellaneous.” 🙂