You know those moments in life. The ones that are ingrained in your memory for years to come. The moments that, in retrospect, end up aiding in defining who you are or how you got to be where you are today.
Yeah, I just had one of those.
I had a chat with my boss’ boss. He is someone I have a growing respect for, and he is highly respected within my organization. I asked him about Mentorship and how to get the most out of mentorship relationships. His answer was basically you have to know where you are going before anyone can help you get there.
He then continued to tell me that he believes in me, that I have a bright future, and don’t let my fear paralyze me.
All of a sudden I was back in high school, in a swimming pool during a meet, and seeing my coach screaming my name while running alongside the pool as I swam. I thought something was wrong, that someone had died. Or pooped in the pool. So I slowed down.
Alas, no. She was just cheering for me. I joined my high school swim team to get over my fear of water, not because I was the most athletic person in the world.
Less than a handful of people in my life have ever out-right cheered me on. It always catches me by surprise, resulting in what must look similar to a dog cocking it’s head to one side. The thought that success is actually within my reach often makes me run and hide. I retreat back to “normalcy” (because, you know, it exists) just before the finish line is within reach. My fear of success paralyzes me.
I can’t do that this time. I’ve put off truly answering the question of “what do I want to do with my life” for long enough. I have been working on finding an answer subconsciously, though. I have a few ideas that I’ve nonchalantly mentioned to a few people.
More importantly, the primary reason I haven’t settled on a definition of what I want my life to be like in 10 or 20 years is because you have to “shoot for the moon and land amongst the stars”. Nothing in life is certain, regardless of how much you plan and try your darnedest to get there. Also, I don’t want to be so focused on the end-goal that I stop enjoying the journey.
At any rate, I’m not aware of any tried-and-true formula that will help anyone answer the most annoying question in the world: “So, what do you want to do with your life?”. (Barely beating out “when are you getting married?” or “when are you going to pop out some rug-rats?”.)
That won’t stop me from trying to make a formula of my own. I need checkboxes. I need to-do lists. I need a moon to shoot for so that I can find my constellation of stars, and a plan on how to get there. Based on my chat with the boss’ boss, and other snippets of conversations or things I’ve read throughout the years, I think answering the questions below will be a good starting point for my next personal development quest.
Who Are You?
This last year of working on my 30 By 30 goals has really helped me figure out who I am and what I’m passionate about. Recently I heard or read something, somewhere, that was to the extent of “you’ve been searching the world to find something that you already possess.” Basically, I decide who I am, and I won’t find the answer to the question “who am I?” anywhere else except within me. And, I’ve had the answer all along.
At my core, I am: caring, compassionate, adventurous, tenacious, anxious, intelligent, dauntless, flawed, determined. It is only when I allow fear to paralyze me that I do not show my true colors.
What Are Your Passions?
How Do You Define “Success”?
These are my true end-goals.
- Successful, healthy relationships with my family and close friends
- Enough monetary wealth to provide for myself and my family basic needs (food, shelter, clothing), support the exploration of all of our passions, and enough extra to help others in need.
- Consistently contributing to a Greater Good, being a part of something bigger than me.
- Create offspring. Preferably provide for them a worldly, cultured education outside of “school”. Love them to pieces. Accept them for whomever they are destined to be.
- I’d love to own and operate my own wildly successful business of some kind. Especially while my kids are young, one that I can still successfully run while simultaneously being available for them when needed. (But, one successful enough that daycare is still a necessity for reasons other than my sanity.) There, I said it. I didn’t just say it, I put it in writing. Take that, incapacitating fear!
What Are Your Strengths?
- Planning and Organization
What Are Your Obstacles?
Rather than saying “weaknesses”, “obstacles” seems more appropriate. I have plenty of weaknesses, but only some of them will affect my road to success. There are also other obstacles that might not necessarily be anything I can control.
- Follow-Up. I have about 10 people I need to send Thank You notes to at the moment. I’m awful.
- Follow-Through. I am very much a Planner, not so much an Implementer.
- Communication Skills. I often say the wrong thing at the wrong time in the wrong way.
If I could wake up every day and ___________, my life would be complete.
- Be active: Yoga, hiking, running, etc.
- Help others: Personal/professional development, social work, or missionary work
- Be creative: Help businesses get creative in methods to achieving their goals
- Travel: Explore something new every day.
Who Is In My Corner?
Everyone needs a coach, mentors, people to lean on, people to listen to you sob when everything goes pear-shaped. There are a few key people that are constantly in my corner (my husband, my family and close friends), and there will always be some that come and go just when I need them.
This is the most important question of them all. It really does take a village.
Who Do I Want To Be?
Really just a different phrasing of the stupid question above. It gets a similar answer, but it isn’t quite as ominous. I want to be many things.
- Design Strategist
- CEO of my own Design Strategy studio
- Yoga Studio Owner and Instructor
- Travel Journalist
- Restaurant Owner
- Great Wife
- Great Friend
My company’s theme this year is “Dreaming Big”. I am incredibly honored to have leadership around me that encourages us to do so, to reach further than we ever thought possible. There is no other place I would rather be while I am figuring out what my Big Dream is.
“Do not lose your knowledge that man’s proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.” -Ayn Rand