Friday, January 2, 2015

Building the Word for 2015

In the beginning of December, I started to think about what my word would be for 2015. I had already determined that my word for 2014, Strive, was absolutely on point. I challenged myself and refined processes that were lacking in my life. I took steps to further my career and made myself vulnerable by pursuing a passion. With confidence, I can say that I pushed myself to strive in 2014.

I asked myself: How could I build on the work I've already done? I know that the coming year has to rest on the foundation laid in the prior year but also make sense for the the season I am in. I made the decision to invest in my future in 2014. I don't expect to see a full return in 2015, but I know that I have to be in a position to make the most out of the investment I made. Does that make sense? It seems so... hard to explain. Let me try to break it down further.

I began playing an unfamiliar game in 2014. I understood the goal but was a tad fuzzy on the rules, so I figured I would learn as I went. In 2015, I would focus on using strategy to win the game. When it comes to strategy, the most important tool is to recognize what is working and what is not. Then, it's about knowing how to re-calibrate mid-game.

That is the best way I can put it. I had already taken the time to review the great strides I had made at becoming a functioning adult. What I did not do is review my margin of failure. I did not get a 5/5 out of each goal. The next question had to be which goals did I fail to achieve and why? Here are the goals I failed:

Get my house in order.
Save more money.
Ask for help. 
Do it. 
Go to Vegas, see Britney. 

It's less encouraging to look at each goal as a pass/fail. I had nine total goals and on the fail list up there... well, there's five. So that sucks. But I'm shaking it off and I still feel like a winner. I look at those goals and I don't see the failure, I see the progress that I have made and that Bryan has made. He was essential in getting the house in order. He and his Dad did all the big projects and he did most of the deep cleaning. I am happy to say that I contributed by trying to be less of a hurricane, doing laundry and by purging all the crap we had in our house. I even cleaned the bathrooms a time or two. Go me!

I see that we couldn't quite gain traction in saving money but other than my schooling, house and one car, we have no other debt. I see the teamwork in paying bills, the many conversations, and budgets we set (even if they failed). I look back and see all the meals we made at home and the nights out we turned down. Progress is progress!

Of all of those, the one that feels like a punch in the gut and a huge revelation all at the same time is fighting my inability to ask for help. I grew up feeling like an afterthought, far from special or important. I developed an inner voice that recites, "You aren't worth showing up for." It is what I told myself when my sisters left for college and rarely (if ever) made it back for any of my school functions or birthdays, when my Dad was too drunk to pick me up for school or hell, even walk me down the aisle. It is what has kept me from making friends or drawing any attention to myself. This inner voice is detrimental to my self-worth, my relationships, my marriage and my future. I couldn't put it into words until 2014 and after I did I realized that it was a MAJOR player in what I faced in 2012/2013. It is the reason I never asked for help and why I never felt worthy when it was given.

I have been in friendships, romantic relationships and jobs that I would go above and beyond for and would be met with silence when I was in need, or when I wanted to take the next step. My friend Colleen is the catalyst that caused me to identify this issue. She came to me in a time when I had nothing to give, when I was so sad and so broken and she poured into me and encouraged me. In that, grew a desire to expect more from the people/relationships/job in my life. I think on it now and realize that she made me feel worth something at a time that I felt worthless. At first it made me so uncomfortable. How could I ever repay her? I felt indebted because surely there was a catch. And when I would voice it to her, she would kindly tell me to shut the hell up.

Because of that, I started to question that inner-voice and soon I started to get a little fiesty with it. When I felt that I wasn't "whatever" enough I would tell myself: I am WORTH showing up for. I am worth staying sober for. I am worth investing in. I deserve more than broken promises. I deserve more than an entry-level job. I deserve more that just accepting what is easy accessible or given. I can do more. I can be more. I won't accept scraps and I won't settle for less. I have a purpose and I'm worth pursuing it.

I started with asking for my work to believe in me and to support me in going to school but they weren't able to financially help. It was a stumbling block, but I refused to let it stop me. They encouraged me to apply anyways and said they would support me an any way that they could. My heart was sure that the program would turn me down. I expected a letter nicely saying "Thanks, but no thanks. You aren't educated enough. You aren't worth investing in." When I received the yes phone call saying that they didn't care that I didn't have a degree, that they wanted me in the program and they would train me to be successful in school business I was thrown. So Bryan and I said we'd figure the money stuff out and I was off on my new path.

This program is intense and with all of the other things I was juggling, there were times that I needed help. I would say that I just sucked it up and didn't ask for help about 60% of the time. But my progress lies in the 40% that I did. I asked for help and sometimes the answer was yes. Sometimes it was no. At first, I took no's hard. What was most likely a conflict of timing or availability, I took personally. And from the depths of me I would hear, "See?" I would falter for a moment only to rally a moment later. No does not mean this person doesn't love me or won't show up for me. Sometimes no is just no. Just like that, I would be back on the path of changing that inner dialogue.

Can I just pause and say DANG I didn't mean to get this heavy in this post. Yikes. Sorry about that.

The last two failures were Do it and Go to Vegas, See Britney. Having a goal of "Do it" really equates to "Stop being lazy and stressed out and DO SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE." Ya'll know I'm lazy. Sooooo lazy. Which is a problem because successful people don't have the luxury of being lazy. At least, not all the time. I knew I had to fight that and stop wasting so much dang time! I wasted much less time in 2014... But I was still lazy. I'm pretty sure this is going to be an ongoing struggle. I don't think you ever overcome true laziness. You just learn to compartmentalize your lazy. There has been progress but there can be much, much more.

Then there was Go to Vegas which on the grand scale of "life goals" is on the "Not Essential but Would be Nice" end. So I'm not sweating it.

Since I've been extra chatty, I'm going to try to wrap up all my crazy as quickly as possible. I mentioned in my last post that for most of year I felt like I was scrambling. Because of that, I definitely did not feel like I was succeeding. Now, when I say scrambling, I definitely do not mean hustling which is completely different. There was a lot of hustle going on. Hustle happens when you are trying to chase dreams. Hustling and scrambling are two very different things and most of the time that I was hustling, I felt like I was scrambling. Which was not ideal OR efficient.

I believe that this was essential in why I failed these goals. I was accomplishing tasks as they came to knock them out out of the park and be on to the next, because there was no time to waste. Life is like that sometimes. But there is also something to be said for being thoughtful in your plans. To have an organized way of dealing with everyday life, with goals, with dreams. I knew that to make the most out of my investments, there could be no more flying by the seat of my pants.

In 2015, I plan to be Deliberate. Intentional. Purposeful. Organized.

My plan is to dedicate time to prepare for desired outcomes. My goal is to have a successful and efficient approach to tasks and relationships by being thoughtful with my time and resources.

I have a few ideas on how to accomplish it and I'm still researching others. There will be trial and error. I am not expecting to get this right the first time... But my strategy is to be Deliberate about what I do in this season, so I can win the game.


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