I was given the assignment to write this blog well before the December-January holidays. I had every intention of meeting my deadline. I spent time thinking of what I wanted this blog to be. I decided that I would write a very profound, thought-provoking, inspirational, motivational, dynamic post that would go viral. My words would be on the lips of the world. I envisioned it being read and shared around the world and back again. It would be so great, so stupendous, that someone on Oprah’s staff would read it and send it to her. Oprah would say, “Who is this person? She must be a guest on “Oprah’s Next Chapter.” But, how many times in life do we have a vision of what we want to achieve or who we want to be only for it to fall short? We start out moving in the right direction only to be detoured by events or circumstances that lead us down another path. I have had that experience, in life, too many times to count. And, that’s what happened when I sat down to write this blog. Instead of writing the blog, I thought I wanted to write…I wrote the blog I was meant to write.
My lessons learned:
Relationships are important – There is a wonderful “webmaster” that is responsible for posting to a blog for several different programs in the Community Programs and Services department. She has a schedule of who will write, what they will write, and when each blog should be posted. Needless to say, I missed my deadline. I received increasingly frequent “smiley” face reminders about her need for the post. If I happened to see her in the hallway, she would smile ever so pleasantly and say, “Don’t forget I need your blog.” At no point were any of her “gentle reminders” threats or made me feel defensive. This was important because even though we may have not been on the same page (okay, so I was the problem!); she didn’t let that in any way impact our working relationship. I continually promised that I would get her the blog “the next day” and each day, I didn’t.
We had similar but competing goals. Her goal was to get me to complete the blog; my goal was to accomplish the myriad of other tasks I had which included the blog. Sometimes, the only thing you can do is try to do what is asked of you; you may fall short of what they want for you, but in the end, it’s the relationship that counts.
My #1 priority can be #2 – At the same time I was writing this blog, a dearly loved family member was having a significant life changing event. I made the decision to support her as my main priority. It’s okay, to let something else be more important than what you are trying to do; the key point is to remain focused on your goal even though you’re supporting someone else. In the back of my mind, the blog lingered. I knew it was a temporary priority change and I would, again, be focused on my goal.
The key is to remember, even when you’re not actively pursuing your primary goal, as long you stay on track, you’re still moving forward.
Attitude IS everything – There are several types of people in the world. The optimist who sees the “glass” as being half-full; the pessimist who sees the “glass” as half-empty, then finally, the folks who claim there is no “glass.” I am an eternal optimist, not only is my glass half-full, but when that glass is filled another glass will appear! Even though, I had this blog to complete, I also had several major projects that I was behind on, and yet I still managed to smile. I didn’t let frustration and stress make me defensive when I was approached about completing the blog. Being a pessimist takes a lot of energy. You consistently have to think of why things won’t work or what will go wrong. That’s hard work and the thoughts are not pleasant! However, if we expect the positive (i.e., I will get this blog finished!), the effort is put into the “doing” and not the “worrying.”
Many times in life, we will be faced with obstacles and barriers to reaching our goals. We can choose to worry and be stagnant or we can be positive and stay in motion.
Be true to your authentic self – Inside of us, we each know who we are. It takes courage to present that person to the world. One of my favorite poems, the “Desiderata” has a very simple line that says, “Be yourself.”
I started this process wanting to be something that I’m not – a profound and thought-provoking blogger. Instead, what I share with you is who I am – a person who is on their own journey of self-discovery!
Happy New Year!