The intangible

So, some weeks are more inspiring than others… and last week I was fortunate enough to sit in on a goal setting presentation.  Truth be told, I was not expecting to get much out of it, there has been a lot of gibber gabber about goals (including on this blog) and conflicting opinions and theories on the value of goals. If you set goals too high, you are bound to fail and feel like crap.  If you set them too low, the euphoric feeling of accomplishment is short lived.  *Sigh* how to win at this goal setting business?

And to add to the confusion, how to determine progress towards an intangible goal?  I am analytical by nature and profession, so while at times I feel metrics are a bit of smoke and mirrors in the business world to make things appear better (or worse) than they are… I conversely feel they are quite valuable in personal goal setting.  The easiest example that comes to mind is losing weight, if you set a goal to lose a few pounds, particularly with a date in mind pertaining to some reward or reason, monitoring that goal and the likelihood of achieving it is greater.  There are facts abound to support this theory.  The tangible results of fitting into clothes that were previously too tight is an amazing boost.  You can FEEL it, physically. It’s real, no doubt about it.

Continually reevaluating, trying to find different techniques to ultimately conquer my striving goal of more patience, is where I struggle.  Before the presentation last week I tried meditation, visualization, empathy, and a bunch of other stuff.  And while I feel all of those techniques mentioned have their place and value in the world, they were not helping me get the results I desired.  What I realized is that a goal of more patience wasn’t clear enough, solid enough, or tangible.  So what to do?

The quest and frustration has continued, but I now see a hint of hope.  The presenter last week was inspiring and used a simple trick that I think may just help me on my journey to patience.  He stated that there can always be some sort of metric that will lend itself to improving what you are after.  He talked about different examples, such as, documenting smiles in a day to be kinder or counting the swear words you use and writing the amount down with the goal to reduce anger outbursts.  And he even addressed the allusive goal of more patience, citing examples he has tried and succeeded with to achieve that sought after patience with his own kids.

And through all the motivational speakers I have seen, through all the techniques I have tried, this one simple trick of adding a metric to an intangible goal really clicked for me.  Such a simple, free, easy to implement practice.  Notice I did not say solution, because I do not kid myself that I will ever have the patience of a saint.  But that does not mean I will not continuously improve.  That does not mean my journey will not be gratifying.

Perseverance, the will to try, to show up and mean it, to take a good look at yourself, your actions and stop blaming external factors on your well being… to accept… life. Your life, and make the best of it one goal at a time.

Life is not a hashtag, a “like” or instant text reply.  Instant gratification is not real, it’s a moment in time that passes just as quickly as it appeared.   Not everything will be peachy, Facebook perfect or Instagram worthy… if it was it wouldn’t be real.  If it was, you wouldn’t feel the good parts either.   Accept and persevere! 

blog 4-18

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Don’t Miss the Magic

As we have all heard and those who live it, parenting is hard.  There are days when you lose your mind and days when you lack sleep and feel half alive (like today).   It’s so easy to harp on the negative, to think about all the things not done… the forever accumulating to do list. The challenges, the exhaustion, the LAUNDRY… ugh.

The key to achieving a more calm state, one I need constant reminding of, is to accept and on top of that… ENJOY.  There is magic to this time, to every age of a child, to every experience in family.  I find myself sometimes rushing the years ahead in my mind… oh I can’t wait until Little Man doesn’t need to get picked up constantly when I’m trying to make dinner, or Little Lady doesn’t need help with homework or endless answers to the constant chatter.   Moments later I think… there will be a day when they don’t need or want me like they do now.  I get glimpses when my daughter is sassy pants and wants to be left alone….   When you think about your own adult self and the independence you have now, it’s crazy to think you ever NEEDED anyone to survive… right?  But we did, we all needed someone.  If we were lucky enough, we had parents that loved and supported us… even amidst yelling and  stress and jobs and LIFE.. they were there.

So I strive for this and to not MISS the magic happening right now.  The sweet way my daughter still believes in the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, and Santa…and adamantly defends them to the older kids at after care that tell her they are fake.  She loves the magic still, the princesses and everything that entails… she’s so innocent and sweet… and even when I was yelling my head off today, she patted my arm and said “It’s OK Mama” with her big blue eyes shining up at me.  I really hope she never loses that, that inclination to lean towards compassion instead of anger.   I pray she passes it onto her little brother who adores her and smiles every time she is near.  The magic between the two of them is already palpable.

So many moments can just pass us by if we don’t take notice to them.. if we don’t allow ourselves to feel them.  Not all of them will be rosy or end well.   I think that’s OK too, life isn’t a fairy tale, but it’s real and amazing and getting hung up on the small stuff is just not worth it.

Take your moment today and flip it around… be appreciative of the hug at the end of the fight, the compassion you extended or that was extended to you… take the good feeling away, don’t hold onto the hurtful one… smile.  Take the approach to the day in which you live, laugh, and love.   I promise I’ll do the same… the world could use it.

2017-04-13 09_52_05-smile laugh love - Google Search

Robbed Time

When I started to think about what I wanted to write about on this topic, I had one intent.  Releasing the anger that builds up inside when I feel cheated out of time with one or both of my kids, along with the time set aside for me.  For instance, when looking forward to time with my little man, still not able to walk and trying his best, all smiles and giggles, and my little lady decides she needs all my attention at that moment.  I was bubbling up with anger towards her, yelling far more than I should and expecting (Ugh, I should know better… read about expectations here: The thing about expectations) her to get  that the baby needs my time too.

I then would also rush towards anger when my son wouldn’t stay asleep during my daughter’s bedtime routine.  That’s the time when she confides in me, we read together, and we snuggle.  It’s our 20 minutes a day of mama / daughter time.  And he was robbing that from her, and again, I was angry.

I started obsessing about the me time I was missing.  Where was my time to write?  When was my downtime to veg and watch The Voice? And what about workout time… that’s been nonexistent!  Instead I was falling into bed knowing I’d be woken up by one or two kids at some point in the night for who knows how long.  And inside, the rage continued.

Now with all that said, I should note that my rational self realized throughout these feelings that I was lashing out and getting unreasonably fired up.  I have two kids, a full time job and a traveling husband, this is life as I have chosen it to be.  I have read enough and continue to about positive thinking, so what the heck is going on here?  I have forgiven myself somewhat, knowing I was operating on not enough sleep and solo.  However, I don’t want rage to be my default no matter what the situation.

anger-inside-out Credit: Movie- Inside Out

Even if feisty by nature, the happiness of those around me and myself has really been suffering.  At this stage in life, Mama is my children’s center.  And if their center is always teetering on erupting, well that doesn’t leave a great foundation for the times we are not together and how to cope with their own struggles.

So, here I was, coming around and realizing for the umpteenth time in my life, it’s better to roll with it than get upset.  To help the littles realize they have to take 2nd or 3rd slot at times and it’s going to be OK.  I was slowly coming around to all of this when a tragic incident happened at an event in my community.

My best friend is a runner and our 3rd musketeer was in town, so we went to cheer her on in a local race.  We had a really nice start to the day, got to see each other and our kids on a beautiful sunny morning (not so great for the runners) and cheer our friend on as she finished 13.1 miles.  I left feeling refreshed and looking forward to the day.  I found out later on that a woman a few years younger than me with 3 young kids collapsed at the end of the race.  She has now passed on.  And I can’t stop thinking about her… about how her time was robbed and there is no turning that clock back.  What a reality check, she was young and healthy, doing something good for herself and her body and for whatever reason her time was up.  That could be any of us on any day and we forget that, ALL THE TIME.  We waste time being angry or worried, not smiling, not laughing, not cherishing those we love and care about.  There will be moments when we are down, angry, and unreasonable.  I get that.  But getting lost in it is the real struggle, not able to step back, breathe and remember our time here is short and then determining the way we want to spend it.  To face situations with understanding, to give a hug vs. a harsh word. To remember we we are all human, and therefore flawed.

To NOT forget our time is finite… let go of the anger and hold onto the sweetness.  I urge you to enjoy yours as I continually try to create this balance for myself.

Thank you for reading and helping me towards that goal! I wish you the best towards finding your balance as well ❤.

life balance

What does Success look like to you?

Let’s start this one off with a dictionary definition (source – dictionary.com):

Success [suh k-ses]

noun

1. the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors;the accomplishment of one’s goals.
2. the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.
3. a performance or achievement that is marked by success, as by the attainment of honors: The play was an instant success.
4. a person or thing that has had success, as measured by attainment of goals, wealth, etc.:

She was a great success on the talk show.

 

My favorite is the first one noted above, centering on goals.  We all have goals right?  Big ones and little ones; realizing the right mix helps us to feel accomplished.  Conversely, too many big or difficult goals that are hard to meet can make us feel deflated.  And too many goals in general… utter chaos and overwhelming!

My latest attempt at goal setting is doing my best to pay attention to what grabs my attention and makes me feel something.  Then if that passion continues, set some goals around it.  Counting my blessings daily as posted here: The Best Perspective has been one avenue for me to tackle the goal of becoming a more consistently positive thinker.   I even have a metric built in for this one! I love a good SMART goal.  Measure success

Some other successes I chase after… when thinking about my world, am I doing enough in my own circle to feel like a successful human being?  Being the best parent I can be, a supporting wife, friend, daughter, sister… the true goal to choose kindness and understanding, to convey compassion vs. frustration.  This one is tricky for me, I have a short fuse at times and lean towards taking things personally.  So I need a lot of reminders, like the one below, and also a bit of patience with MYSELF first.

56573-quotes-about-not-taking-things-personally

There are lots of other goals as well…losing weight, to finally cleaning up that email inbox, to obtaining a master’s degree, or maybe writing a book (yikes!).   Part of life is shifting the goal to be more manageable, flexible, or even in the world of technology and business…agile.

For example. one of my goals at the start of this blog was 3 posts/ week.  I am averaging 1 per week since I created this blog a few months ago.  I have a lot of reasons and excuses.  No time, too tired, busy busy busy!  Truth be told, I didn’t factor in the fear of writing.  Of being read… of reaching MY success. Self-sabotage has come into play because it’s SCARY to do well.  For instance, it’s great to have a blog that hit home with many… and then the next gets no views.  So what if you have that amazing post, and then a not so great one?   Will you lose the followers you gained?  And if so, do you forge ahead, virtually brush yourself off, and get your thoughts out to the world again?

My latest mantra…

IMG_3115

Keep going.  Keep trying.  Your definition of success gets closer with every step.  

Thank you for reading and I would love to hear about your personal picture of success!

 

Puzzles

Have you ever faced a challenge that you couldn’t get to the root cause of, no matter how hard tried?  This almost sounds like a foreign concept to me based on my career of choice, which incorporates searching and unveiling hidden causes of stress and waste.  And though I am a strong believer in the “data doesn’t lie” statement that supports that data can tell the story of an issue, I realize that the data alone does not show the complete picture.  Nowadays I see there is another way of looking at things, an emotional, not quantifiable, way of learning the stories.  The anecdotal hints or reasons. These are equally important and should not be ignored.

So, when you are faced with a puzzle or challenge that is not easily solvable, what do you do?  And taking into account that your particular puzzle may be part of something or even of someone you hold dear, where do you go from there?

When it’s really scary and close to the heart, do you run and hide and hope it works itself out?  Or do you go after it head on and push fear aside? In my experience, I have done both.  In facing the challenge head on, there can be a lot of disrupt, lack of comfort, and all around uneasiness.  Who likes that?  So, maybe I have taken to hiding and hope it all works itself out.  Does it usually?  Truthfully no.  I have changed my ways in recent years and realized that most puzzles need to be faced head on and are worth the frustration.   What’s thrilling is when you can solve it and have that wonderful feeling of accomplishment!  On the flip side… when it’s an emotional puzzle, for instance,when the puzzle is a person you care deeply about, and you’re using your empathetic muscle to the MAX and feel like you are continually hitting a wall…OUCH !  The resulting overwhelming feeling of failure can feel like a sucker punch.

In my case, my recent puzzles of question are my kids.  My son who is still an infant took quite a while to figure out in regards to eating and sleeping… and I might note I’m watching him roll around in his crib as I type, even though last night and the night before he didn’t move an inch at this time.  Oh well, I will take the glass half full approach tonight and look forward to the snuggles ♥… I was not mentally able to do that months ago, luckily my brain gave up on fighting that battle and learned to accept what is right now.

As for my daughter, she’s tougher in so many ways.  You would think it gets easier as they get older, rationally they are now able to verbalize what they’re thinking and feeling.  Right?  Nada.  She just turned 7 and for the past several months she has been struggling at school.   It didn’t make any sense to me when she would seem to know her stuff at home and then fail when tested at school.  We’re still working out what’s going on there.

And her behavior has been all over the place at home, yet she remains an angel for her teachers.  I won’t even pretend to have her figured out on this front, but luckily, as in every complex puzzle, I think I am starting to find a few of the key pieces.  For one, when she flips out at home, I FINALLY got her to confide in me that she’s not getting along with a couple of friends from class.  Of course it breaks my heart to hear how she got her feelings hurt when one of her buddies was dismissive at recess.  In her world, that’s devastating to her and she really falls apart inside.   What’s so interesting is that she doesn’t let any of that out at school and promptly takes it out on me, Mama, within minutes of being picked up at the end of school day.

Now I know I am not alone on this one, but it sucks!  To have someone you love more that anything else in this world continually take out all their frustrations on you is rough; however, I gotta tell you… I see glimmers of hope.  I see the edges of the puzzle forming and now figuring out the middle will take some time and with any luck I’ll be able to figure out where most of the pieces fit and it will be worth every second.  I know I’ll never have every piece of this puzzle, I don’t think we really know anyone 100%… but I have faith that as long as she knows I’m trying to understand how she fits together, she’ll know she’s not alone and Mama will always be here, just hopefully not as the punching bag.

Until next time…good luck solving all of your life puzzles!

Photo credit: GT