Dreams Achieved…

howiachievedmydreams

I was thinking about when I decided to retire from a company I had worked for more than 25 years. I then thought about when I first interviewed with them; how I waited excitedly to see if I would get a job offer, and the exhilaration I felt as I opened the mailbox years ago and found the anticipated offer letter. When I opened it, there it was! The letter offered me a position as a college management trainee starting at $18,000 annually. Boy, that was big money back then, and I felt like the luckiest person in the world to be selected. No one in my family that I knew of had worked for an international company. No one had held a white-collar management job. I had arrived!

Through the years, I was very fortunate. I worked hard and smart, tried to be a good team member, and made it my goal to please my bosses. I rose through the organization to levels I wanted but did not really know how to navigate. Thank God for those who helped me along the way.

There are so many life experiences that shaped how I view the world. The story I just shared was a positive one that I will treasure forever. However, there were other experiences throughout my life that could have derailed my dreams. There were people along the way, who criticized, subtly belittled me, and in some cases, ignored me altogether. There were challenges that could have caused me to lay down and not get up again; circumstances that would make others give up. I did not. It’s not that I did not because I was so strong; I did not give up because of my faith, people who encouraged me, and sheer determination and grit. I remember being embarrassed by a situation early on in my career, I went home on my lunch break, cried my eyes out, finally got the nerve to return to work, and my boss was standing at the back door. He looked at me, said, “you ok?” I said yes. He smiled and I knew he believed in me and the “you ok?” was all I needed to hear. I knew I would.

What does any of this have to do with you? Everything! I meet so many people who just cannot handle difficult situations. They cannot get over criticisms, and they get stuck questioning whether they are good enough or capable of doing the things they dream of. When they can, if they would stop and see the thing they are dealing with is only temporary.

obstaclesdontblockthepath

Many of the challenges we face are designed to help us grow. Yes, that’s how I see it now and if anyone had helped me see that sooner, I would have gotten over a lot of hurts early on. This is why I share these experiences with you. I want you to learn how to navigate challenges in a positive way. You can achieve the things you dream of but dreams don’t generally happen on a bed of roses. Long-term marriages do not succeed without both people having to deal with a lot of stuff from each other. Career success does not just happen (at least, not for most), it happens for those who can take the good with the bad and strive in both environments. Financial success doesn’t happen without sacrificing and being willing to stick with your process for the long-term. Think about it, if you invest, you go through downturns in the economy and you go through upturns in the economy.

If you want to have positive things happen in your life, look at every situation you face as temporary. The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8,

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

The next time you are challenged, remind yourself that we go through seasons. Keep the faith. Tomorrow things will be different.

This Year Can Be Different…

new_years_resolutions_listEvery year starts with lots of New Year’s resolutions.  In fact, all kinds of goals are set. Resolutions range from fitness to career to relationship goals.  Many begin the year with all good intentions but for some reason, not too long into the year, those resolutions begin to fade into the background as every day life issues begin to happen.  Before you know it, you are at the end of the year again, only to look around and find that none of those resolutions you intended to achieve during the year never got started.

Disappointment set in. Then you become discouraged and ask yourself why. Maybe you try to ignore that you didn’t even try after your initial resolution was made, so you get a little perturbed with yourself. You might even blame yourself for not being disciplined enough to ever master your resolutions.  Well, don’t beat yourself up because you can do better.  Yes, you can even if you have tried over and over again.  It’s never too late to start again. You should never stop trying because I truly believe that you will eventually get the right process in place that will work for you. That is, if you won’t quit.

However, I will tell you this; it takes more than making resolutions each year to actually achieve them. You have to put some strategy in place. You see, sometimes New Year’s resolutions do not work because they are not well thought out. They are just thoughts that haven’t been formulated to be achieved. When New Year’s resolutions are made, generally, the person making them are just picking something fun to do or they may be frustrated with some area of their lives, so out of frustration,  they pull these types of resolutions out of the air and then announce what they “hope” they can master in the new year. Because they haven’t put any thought to the actual resolution, it fizzles out along the way.  When no results are seen, frustration, maybe even anger or disillusionment sets in and then you begin to tell yourself that New Year’s resolutions never work anyway.  You are right. If they are handled haphazardly, they don’t.

So how to do you ensure that this year’s resolutions don’t turn out the way your previous ones have turned out? Do things differently this year.  Begin your year with pen and paper. Write down your goals, put timelines and actions that need to be taken in order to achieve them. If you do these small actions, you will have better results.

YOU-DONT-NEED-A-NEW-YEAR-TO-MAKE-ADon’t let this year be just another year of loose resolutions when it comes to the things you want to see happen for you this year. Write down your top 3-5 goals for the year. Think through them. Make sure your goals are SMART, which means specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based. If they are, you are off to a great start.

This year can be different and you can achieve your goals. I don’t care how many times you may have missed the mark before.  Don’t you dare stop trying. Like with anything, the more you try, the more you practice, the better you become.  You may not have been the best at achieving your resolutions in the past, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t eventually. Maybe, you simply need to change your process.

Are you ready to live the life you always dreamed of? Are you ready to do the work, be committed and never give up until you see the results you want to see? Well, that takes time, its takes real commitment, diligence and determination. Most of all, it takes you not listening to others or to your inner voice that may tell you that you failed before, why try now. I tell you why, because you want to be better and you want to do better. As long as you have the desire to do so, you can.

This year can be different, but you have to be different too. So get started the very first day and keep at it everyday for the rest of the year.  You are bound to see better results. Remember, I am rooting for you!

God bless you in the New Year and may He help you with your resolutions too.