Category: thinking

Thinking & Planning Ahead

Yes, it is definitely the time of year for resolutions, goals, purposeful declarations, positive intentions, claiming your destiny … um, did I cover it all?

Okay, good — it’s my turn to do all of those things. I don’t care if they’re goals, resolutions, intentions, whatever … choose the name that works for you. What’s important is to clarify what you want out of a situation or time period, state it so you understand it yourself, and then put it out there to keep yourself accountable.

I work with organizations in strategic planning a lot of the time, and that usually involves some sort of goal-setting. It’s super-easy to get caught up in the headiness that comes with making goals. “We can change the world! We can improve everything!” A lot of the times, though, we set our sights so high that it’s totally impossible to achieve any steps toward those ultimate goals. I mean, you don’t want to set your sights so low that you’re not actually challenging yourself, right? But you DO want to set your goals, resolutions, and purpose so you actually see progress toward your goals.

Here are my five goals (using the #AMRResolution template from the lovely ladies at AMR):

* Keep moving and stretching while growing Baby #4 (walking and yoga)
* Respect & appreciate my “mother’s body” through pregnancy and beyond – don’t push too hard, but challenge myself
* Be finished or in the middle of a 13.1 training plan by the end of 2014
* More Bible reading – spiritual nourishment
* More greens, less browns – physical nourishment

AMR_2015_resolutionEMM

Small steps. The moving and stretching has already been a challenge because of ongoing morning sickness and lingering fatigue, even though I’m a few weeks into the second trimester. Last night I did get the old running shoes and the old dog together for a good walk. I’d like to blame the dog for the slow pace, but let’s be honest … it was me. We kept a decent 15-16 minute mile while walking, but the poo breaks for her did give us some pause time.

I’ll be honest – after two years of trying to reclaim fitness (after Jude’s birth), it’s been a bit of a mind game to see my middle thickening and belly pooching more again. Other than the fatigue and nausea, I haven’t had many indicators of “Hey – baby in there!” That makes it hard to remember that there’s a reason for the pooch and the weight gain, instead of just getting discouraged.

I don’t want it to be an excuse, though. I pretty much need to stop giving myself excuses in all areas, which is where the rest of the goals come from. Respecting the body and life is one thing … letting yourself off the hook for the things that make you better? That’s something different.

There you go: positive intentions, purposeful statements, hopefully realistic goals. That half marathon training might be a stretch, but that’s my challenge goal, right?

The beauty of life isn’t in the plan, it’s in being resilient and embracing how your plan changes.

Or so I try to tell myself.

And for the first time, I’m joining a link-up I enjoy reading on other runner blogs: the Friday Five from the DC Trifecta of Mar On the Run, You Signed Up for What?, and Eat Run Pray DC. Cheers, friends!

So for this year …

Long time, no post! Life has been hectic since … well, Christmas? Witness the Christmas cards still sitting on my desk, waiting to be mailed.Oh yes, really. I’ll get to that later though …

I spent a lot of time thinking after I wrote my post about being youer than you. I’ve felt for a few years – mainly at work, somewhat at home – that I’m not really being me. It’s not an uncommon thing, I think, for newer wives and mothers to feel that way. I mean, it feels like every few years you go through an adjustment and maturity process that makes you do that questioning of self anyway. That’s why we have so many great coming-of-age and finding-yourself novels, movies, etc. I went from established single woman to fiancee, wife, and mother in two years. Then we added two more kids, I changed jobs in the middle of that, and I work in an area where some forms of blazing personal expression that makes you stand out (purple hair, nose ring, visible tattoos) isn’t totally cool on the job. (My perception, anyway.) So somewhere along the way I felt like a lot of “me” got shackled, forgotten, grown out of, or otherwise left along the roadside because there wasn’t time, energy, or benefit to my career.

It just ended up making me sad. Sad and frustrated. And kind of angry. I’m done with that. I’m done with forgetting who I am at heart in favor of meeting someone else’s expectations that I haven’t totally bought into.

That doesn’t mean that I’m rejecting these wonderful roles and jobs that I have now — on the contrary! I want to go back to being the Me who got into them in the first place.

Be Me

Be Me

I want to have fun.

I want to be creative. I want to knit and scrapbook and write and make things with my kids. (And try to not freak at the mess.)

I want to laugh at things that I like, even if they’re silly and frivolous. I like Disney princesses, and I like young adult fiction, and I like cartoon movies.

I want to wear my Tinkerbell or Christmas socks any time of year, any day of the week, and not worry about someone thinking they’re not “executive” enough.

I want to keep my focus and priority on my family and friends, not on my job. If that means I never go beyond where I am now, so be it.

I want to help more. There are so many people I know who are going through tough things, and I want to help however I can. I’ll start running with Charity Miles, look for ways to support friends, and keep buying one extra bag of groceries for the food pantry whenever I can.  I’m trying to figure out how to host a virtual 5K/10K for a friend’s infant son who needs a kidney transplant.

I want to be more of the me that God intended me to be, and less of the me that I was letting my circumstances make me. I think I’ll need to start small because my brain can’t handle much more than that. 🙂

Colossians 3:17

Be Youer Than You

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You

I think I have a little mini-series of posts in my head … a lot of processing and thinking to do, in a good way! Here’s the first part … 

I spend a good chunk of time at work helping people – employees, managers, organizations, whatever – crystallize their goals and plans. Maybe it’s goals for their career, maybe it’s goals for the organization to reach within the year or five years, maybe it’s goals for a specific project. We plan full day workshops to work on organizational strategic planning. I’ll spend an hour or two with an employee, talking about their motivators and demotivators (is too a word), their interests and goals, and what they can do to take steps in that direction.

What’s the old saying? “The cobbler’s wife has no shoes, the doctor’s wife is always sick”… something like that. What I mean by that is that I rarely remember to turn the attention to myself – where do I want to be in five years? Where do I want to grow, try new things, or stop old habits?

Most of the time, there’s work to do before we can even get to that conversation. It’s the “Who am I?” conversation. As a professional, I counsel people that it’s one of the best and most important conversations they can have, whether as an individual or a team. “Who am I? What’s my identity? What’s my purpose?”

A lot of the time that can get too overwhelming. We think we have to have a big huge answer, complete with world-changing personal impact. Then we get caught in a trap of “What if I’m not special? What if I can’t change the world? What if who I am isn’t good enough?”

So let’s get that out of the way: you are special. You are unique. As Dr. Seuss says:

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You

 

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”   (Dr. Seuss, Happy Birthday to You)

I love that quote because every person has something about them that sets them apart from the body on the other side of them. One of the biggest problems I see is that people don’t appreciate themselves enough.  Or they appreciate themselves too much, but then they don’t come talk to me because they already have it all figured out. Ahem.

These are the questions I ask them, and that I want to ask myself:

  • What do you love to do, even if you’re not the best at it?
  • What would you spend your day doing if money, time, and other commitments weren’t a factor?
  • What, when you finish it, gives you an enormous sense of satisfaction?
  • What are you also good at?
  • What do other people always come to you for?
  • What would make you miserable if you had to stop doing it?

Even when I’m talking with people about their professional careers, I ask them to think about the full spectrum of their lives – personal and professional. Sometimes we think that our personal inclinations and preferences have to stay out of our professional lives (and sometimes we’re right!). Sometimes, though, we can find hidden things in our personal life preferences that would add a lot more joy to our professional life.

So that’s my assignment for today: What makes Erin me-er than me?

What about you? What’s youer than you?