f you want to be certain that you’ll never face a challenge or find yourself in a difficult or challenging situation, then it’s really important to have tame and realistic goals and dreams. Goals and dreams that you know you can achieve with minimal effort and hardship. Safe dreams. Comfortable goals.
However, if you want to have any degree of excitement and experience real growth in your life, then you’re going to have to make plans and set goals that other people might label as unrealistic.
These kind of goals often come with a high degree of risk (as well as sexiness and satisfaction – and who doesn’t want that, right?) You rarely know how you are going to achieve them until you get started. And more often than not, the result you achieve will not be exactly what you set out to do in the first place.
Chances are, the people you admire the most had some outlandish dreams and set some unrealistic goals. And they had the courage to take those first steps, keep the vision, and persevere despite challenges and set-backs.
"I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink to a grain of sand. ~Og Mandino
So many women have the burning desire to know what their purpose is. As a matter of fact, I was one of those women years ago. I just knew there was some reason I was here; I sensed there was a greater purpose and vision for my life than I was living but I couldn’t see what it was. I read books, I took classes, I attended seminars, I took all of the personality quizzes (well, I still do that), and I even asked the opinions of others.
When I looked around me, it didn’t seem like other women were questioning their purpose. It seemed to me they were content, confident, and happy. I just knew there was a missing piece to my life and I couldn’t figure out what it was!!! I felt like there was something wrong with me.
On the surface, my life looked wonderful. I had a good job and I was successful and respected at work. I was a homeowner. I was involved in community activities as well as the PTA and a leadership council for the elementary school my daughter attended.
And yet, something was missing. I was filling up my time with activities trying to find the thing that lit me up (or maybe I was just being busy so I wouldn’t have time to get even more discouraged because I wasn’t feeling fulfilled, but was just going ‘through the motions.’)
Have you ever felt that way? Do you currently feel that way?
“There is only one you. Stop trying to devalue yourself by trying to be a copy of someone else.” ~Susie Clevenger
Are you devaluing yourself? Maybe without even realizing it?
Oy vey! I’ve got to move on to a happier topic!!
“When you’re good at something, you’ll tell everyone. When you’re great at something, they’ll tell you.” ~ Walter Payton
Our greatness, when reflected back to us, can be overwhelming.
We often don’t realize the impact we have on others, even when we’re just being ourselves. Who we are matters and what we do matters.
I was at a birthday party recently and the guest of honor was showered with accolades, poems, stories, and reflections on how she made a difference in so many lives. She shared, with a voice full of gratitude and tears, how all of this was very difficult to accept and embody. However, since she trusted us to tell the truth, she would do her best to open up and accept it all and allow the fullness of her impact to sink in.
I was moved by her honesty, openness, and authenticity. I’ve felt the same thing myself, but instead of sharing how difficult it was to take in, I just slapped a smile on my face and went numb. It wasn’t until much later (when I was alone and could process things) that I allowed myself to soak in the experience.
But in the meantime, I robbed myself of the opportunity to have a peak experience in the moment and I robbed the giver of being able to fully show my appreciation and gratitude for the emotional gifts that had come to me.
When you’re greatness has been reflected back to you, how have you responded?
“Life isn’t meant to be tolerated. It’s meant to be savored, devoured, marrow sucked and
How do you measure your life?
Many of us measure of our life based on our accomplishments, accolades, and achievements. But what happens if those aren’t as plentiful as we hoped for? Do we then measure our life as a failure? Or hum-drum? Or mediocre?
If we only measure our life based on the ‘big’ things, we can miss the precious moments in-between. We can get so caught up on the championships, the awards, and the ‘attaboys’ (or ‘attagirls) that anything less than a peak experience doesn’t count and we can find ourselves with low self-confidence and low self-esteem.
Facebook envy is a very real phenomenon when we measure our life based on what others are posting.
I love my peak experiences and big moments. I love basking in the afterflow of those things I’d be proud to write in my bio.
But there’s more to me (and my life) than that….so much more.
Life isn’t just about the great and the grand, the big moments and the applause, the peak experiences and the victories. If we measure our life based on these things, we are basing our life using someone else’s rules.
Been there. Done that.
“Don’t act like you are walking around with a Tshirt that says "I give Up!" on the front and on the back saying "I never started trying!"
I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t very good at trying new things.
Being a bit of a perfectionist (okay, okay - - more than a bit), I knew I probably wouldn’t be perfect the first time I tried something new, so I just didn’t do it. I thought I’d rather get better at what I’m already good at. That was just an excuse to stay small.
Food. If I hadn’t already tried it, I wasn’t interested. My reasoning was this: “If it tasted good, my mom would have already served it to me growing up. She didn’t, so it must not taste that good.” So, I was in my 20s before I tried avocados, artichokes, or Japanese food. And it took about a million ‘no’s’ before I finally said ‘yes.’ I missed out on some good food, right? Another excuse to stay small.
Sometimes trying something new doesn’t work out so well.
The first time I tried to snow ski (I was in my 30s) at Lake Tahoe, I fell every single time I got off the chair lift. Talk about embarrassing! ‘Lean forward’ the guy said and I really thought I was leaning forward but I was falling backwards, so that didn’t make sense. Then I heard these magic words: “Try to stand on your tip toes when you get off the chair lift.” That did the trick. Something I could understand. From then on, no more falling backwards. And I was off snowplowing down the hill.
And sometimes trying something new works out just fine.
“Every time I hear a woman say that she wants to "play big"—and I hear that a lot—it breaks my heart a bit. I know what she means, and yet...it implies that it's something she's trying on, rather than something that's inherently her's already...from birth. She was born—indeed I believe we ALL are—with a bright light.” ~ Lael Couper Jepson
A wonderful blog post appeared in my inbox today from Lael. It made me stand up (okay, not really stand up, since I read the entire thing while sitting in my office chair) and take notice. And rethink my thinking. And ponder the significance of what it means when I say I want to ‘play big’ and what it means when I write about it or talk about it.
Is this a subtle acknowledgment that we are small and we have to transform ourselves into something else so that we can ‘play big?’ Do we need a makeover of some kind? Or does it mean that we need to simply recognizing our true essence, which is already big?
When you say or when I say “I’m ready to play big” does that mean we want to start living unapologetically? Does it mean we want to acknowledge and appreciate our gifts and talents and ideas without worrying that other women will think we are ‘full of ourselves?’
Women tend to worry about being too bold, too audacious, and too confident as if that’s a bad thing.
"The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but significance - and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning." ~ Oprah Winfrey
Is there such a thing as ‘dream shaming?’
Throughout my life, I’ve been around big dreamers. I’d listen to their lofty plans, goals, and dreams and wonder why my own dreams didn’t match up with their big vision. And then this would lead me to ask myself, “What’s the matter with me?” (because that seems to be my standard go-to question).
And rarely did the big dreamer ever ask me about my dreams. Or even help me brainstorm something bigger and better for myself. In fact, I got the definite impression that these big dreamers were shaming me (silently, of course) for my lack of big dream focus.
It took me years to come to terms with accepting my own focus, my own sensibilities, and my own dreams without the self-criticism that would ordinarily accompany what I determined were my ‘small’ dreams.
My ‘small’ dreams revolved around being of service; around helping people to feel inspired and empowered; to assist them in finding comfort and peace when they were discouraged, fearful, or questioning; to guide them to uncover their own strength, courage, and brilliance; to support them during times of crisis; to educate them on the correct use of their mind and aligning with universal spiritual principles (just to name a few).
Would I like to speak in front of thousands? Of course! Would I love to facilitate sold-out workshops and seminars? You bet! Would I love to write a book that sells 1 million copies? That’d be awesome!
But even more important to me is connection and community. As Oprah says in the quote above, I’m interested in significance. And I want that one-to-one feedback that lets me know that I’m making a difference.
Standing ovations are great, but a personal testimonial is even better!
Last week I was at the Celebration of Fine Arts Festival in Scottsdale.
"Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart." ~Rumi
I talk a lot about desires (and dreams and goals).
And here’s why. So many of us have put our desires on the back burner. That was most definitely true for me when I was busy working for a living, settling for a job that helped pay the bills, build for my retirement (or so I thought), and offered medical and dental insurance. But was so very unfulfilling in every way.
I was starving my desires until one day they simply withered away. Now, years later, after careful tending, watering, and weeding, they are growing again…and thriving. And I still need a lot more practice in nurturing and embracing my desires.
And I’m not the only one.
I talk to young women who tell me that they’d rather be liked than be happy. And so they silence their voice and squash their desires. I wonder what their life will be like in 20 years. Will they have completely forgotten their passion and dreams because they buried their gifts and spent their life trying hard to simply ‘be liked?’ This breaks my heart.
I talk to older women who are ready for retirement but they see retirement as an end to their identity and not a new beginning of possibilities. They were too busy raising a family to think very much about passion and desires.
I talk to spiritual people who tell me that desire is ego-based and that desire leads to attachment and that leads to suffering. And who wants to suffer, right? So they are practicing on how not to desire and all of my talk about goals, dreams, and desires really annoys them.
I agree that attachment to a particular outcome could lead to disappointment. And even if we attain the particular outcome, we’re not satisfied for very long – we want to experience the next level of joy, satisfaction, and success.
So desire gets a bad rap.
"When the first big paycheck with 'Dumb And Dumber' hit, I went: 'Gosh, I wonder if this will affect my performance. Will I do a take and think, was that worth $7 million?' But that never happened. If anything, it made me rebel against that thing when people who get rich start playing it safe."
I’ve always felt different. Like an outsider. I didn’t want to be different or be an outsider. I wanted to belong. I wanted to fit it. I wanted to feel ‘normal.’ So I learned to fake being normal. I was sort of like a shape-shifter and I’d shape myself into what I thought was required or acceptable.
Along the way I got to sample a variety of experiences and values and ideas and groups. But I wasn’t able to identify the one experience or value or idea or group that fit. Of course, this made me shape-shift even more.
I decorated and re-decorated my ‘good box’ (you know, that ‘box’ that would allow me to fit in and be accepted, valued, and loved). And I never got it decorated quite right.
I was absolutely convinced there was something wrong with me. I had a longing to go deeper that scared people away. In fact, my own depth scared me away from myself as well.
But here’s what happened from my shape-shifting encounters:
Janet Kingsley is an effective 'Belief Change Expert' who helps clients transform frustration to focus, confusion to clarity, and self-doubt to self-confidence.