Why Write This?
This post is very different from my others. I felt the need to share some thoughts, musings, and to be vulnerable about where I am. Recently, the word “prepare” has been showing up for me a lot lately. I’ve always loved Benjamin Franklin’s quote: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” To me, preparations is planning for our goals, but along the way we are going to have endings. For those that know me well, know that I’m a planner. And that I like to stick to and act on that plan as much as life will allow me.
Contrarily, if a change does occur that I did not anticipate, it can throw me into a spiral. Maybe the goal I set won’t come to fruition? Maybe there is something coming to an end that I would like to continue? What ifs and fear will flood my mind. Usually within a day or so I can bounce back, but if it’s not as soon as I would like, it tends to create a crazy spin of self disappointment that I’m not. Can anyone relate? From this, I’m learning plans are good, and actions on those plans are even better. But, being able to adapt to change is critical.
As 2019 and this decade draw to an end, I’ve been doing a lot of reflection. This year alone has been quite the journey, mostly due to my divorce. I’ve read several books (of which I will link to at the end of this post), I’ve written many pages in my journal, pondered and discussed with others how people will approach life differently, and how personal experiences shape perceptions and create schemas. What continues to be a common thread for me are my goals, the planning to accomplish them, and endings that may come along the way, either unexpectedly or purposefully.
So Why Endings?
Dr. Henry Cloud in his book “Necessary Endings” uses the analogy of a rose bush. A rose bush produces many more buds that it can truly sustain or even bloom beautifully. In order to have beautiful blooms it is required to prune the rosebush. You remove the dying or sick, but also the ones that aren’t the best. I’ve learned that if I want to achieve my goals I must make endings that will bring me closer to that goal. With that includes ending relationships, habits, or activities that would not lead me in that direction.
If I want to ensure that I am the best version of myself, I need to be intentional with the things that take my time and thoughts. I will say most people are astounded that I don’t have cable, a Netflix, Hulu, Starz/Showtime/HBO subscription, or really watch much tv at all. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a movie or show now and again. It just doesn’t put me on a path to achieving my goals.
So what are the goals I have for my life in 2020 and beyond? There are three categories for me: career, personal, and spiritual. And these are the places where I create my goals, am constantly planning, and execute endings.
I want to accomplish more in my career, and be in a place of mentorship in order to pay it forward to people in ways that people did that for me. There are steps in particular this year that I’ve made to show my abilities, and quite honestly fulfill a role prior to receiving a promotion or new title. I’ve always found this to be important. To prove you’re worthy of a new role, it helps to act as if you already have that role wherever possible and seek the opportunities that would allow you to do so in your current position. I still have much more I want to accomplish in my career, but I’ve made quite a few strides recently that put my desires on the horizon.
2020 goal: Achieve the promotion I’ve been working toward. Foster at least two critical relationships that will help to advance my career .
I’m working to build my network of my closest friends. Who are the people I want or should be spending time with on a regular basis? Again, this applies at work as well. I’ve been much more intentional about scheduling time with those I want to invest in on a regular basis, at least once a month! And here’s where planning REALLY comes into play. I don’t know about you, but many of us truly live such busy lives, so if you don’t plan it, then it likely won’t happen! Specifically for those friends where their schedule is a little more hectic, I make sure we have a date for the next time to meet prior to leaving the current time together. This helps me accomplish my goals, but also gives me something to look forward to!
2020 goal: Continue to foster and grow the four closest relationships I have. Look for a mentor to guide me as I navigate being a single, divorced parent.
My faith is truly the cornerstone of who I am. I would not be any part of the person I was today if it were not for my faith and my belief in the Bible. My childhood is likely not what you would expect. And while I do love my parents, years of divorce, addiction, emotionally stunted interactions and general home turmoil would have been the “hot bed” for anyone to hold anger and resentment, give up on any potentially healthy relationships, and harbor extremely low self-esteem. Thankfully, even more so today than a year ago, I can say this is not the case for me. This is thanks to fostering a life of prayer, community with my church, and Biblical study. And while I certainly do not judge or diminish anyone else’s beliefs, or shove mine on anyone else, this is the faith that I hold on to and will continue to nurture.
2020 goal: Prioritize church events for me and my girls. Spend 20 minutes in prayer, reading, and/or meditation each day.
It’s my goal to build a life of independence for me and my girls. Show them that they are strong enough to do life on their “own”. This is done by fostering the right relationships with friends and family and God. What I will say too, if you see me, don’t think I think I’ve got it all figured out. I still struggle on many days. I’m still learning how to navigate this life of ups and downs. I do hope this post will offer you some encouragement, guidance, or open the gateway for you to share anything you’ve learned through your life journey.
2019 Book List
If you’re interested in where I pulled my thoughts on goals, planning, and endings, I’ve included links to the books that I read this year. I hope you enjoy and learn as much as I did, if not more!