A Tribe. A Family. A Dream?

I am blessed. By a group of people who are supporters, confidants, mentors, prayer warriors, cheerleaders, encouragers, think tanks, truth tellers, ideas people, accountability partners, driven, goal-setters, dream-pursuers, and….like family. Also known as a tribe.

Why do people think pursuing a dream has to be an “alone” journey? It doesn’t matter how unique your dream is or how much of an introvert you are, it’s possible to find people to make key connections with. And it’s good for you.

Becoming a tribe member introduced me to others with similar passions. Being part of that tribe has helped me grow as a person and leader, tremendously. It has helped me see the world in broader and deeper terms. It has exposed me to sheer joy. It is one of the things in life that has helped me develop in the direction I was created to go. And I will always treasure those relationships. Even though they may always remain cyber.

So. Whether or not it’s on the internet–through blogs or other forms of social media, or talking face to face–go find people to connect with. A group that’s just as passionate about specific things as you are. You just may find exactly where you were meant to be. And someday find yourself in the middle of your dream.

Who are your people?

Who are your people?

Do you have a group of people like that? On the internet, family, work, school, church?

5 a.m. What?

5 a.m. Some people view that time….literally, because that’s when they wake up or are already awake. Most people I know….see 5 a.m. and cringe!

No one wants to wake at 5 a.m!

No one wants to wake at 5 a.m!

I used to think I was not a morning person. But knew I was definitely not a night owl. I liked to say I was an afternoon person….whatever that means.

Anyway, the past several days my husband and I have been attempting to create the habit of waking up at 5 a.m. I mentioned in a previous post (Purposeful, Intentional, Productive) that I had spent the last week of NaNoWriMo getting up that early. It’s easier to rise when you have a very specific goal in the morning. Also, December being a hectic, holiday-filled month, getting up that early was sporadic at best. We have progressed to rising earlier than 5:30, so still in the middle of transitioning into the habit of a 5 a.m. rise and shine. But we’re getting there!

Why?? Why are we attempting something so crazy, when we don’t have to? ….you may ask.

Because all the people we want to be like… The leaders. The achievers. The people who make a big impact on the world around them…. All those people we look up to, and want to be like, were self-disciplined enough to be early risers. At 5 a.m. you don’t have the interruptions that you have the rest of the day. That first hour in the day, you can do whatever you like. Every day. Consistently. Which in turn, enables you to achieve your dreams!

What habits help you to achieve your dreams? Are your dreams important enough to you, to alter your lifestyle?

Purposeful, Intentional, Productive

Okay, wow.

I did it! I reached over 50,000 words in the month of November. For those of you wondering what I’m talking about, it’s NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo Winner 2012-180x180

The month was a crazy one:  Moving everything we own one weekend, working on a church project every night another week, and of course, the Thanksgiving holiday with family. On top of having a full-time job. I spent the last week getting up at 5:00 a.m. to catch up on my word count. And strangely enough, it turned me into a morning person. Which I now love!

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to write about this last Thursday–I was sick for an entire week. Which brings me closer to the point of this post…

After training for and running a marathon (see Here We Go Again… and Good vs. Crappy Runs and My First Marathon:  The Wonderful in the Horrible), after trudging through NaNoWriMo (see NaNoWriMo!!!!!!!!!!!!), and after a week of being sick, I decided to take an evening “off” from everything by watching TV and surfing the net. Of course, I did a few productive things like eat supper, play with the dog, and put laundry away/organize my closet (it’s still a little crazy after moving). I expected to feel relaxed.

Nope.

I felt like the evening was a complete waste. And I was frustrated because I had no idea why. Well….. Having spent every spare minute in the last six months working productively and intentionally toward huge goals, I have reprogrammed myself. Just like a person can “become” a morning person (see Michael Hyatt‘s post, How to Become a Morning Person), a person can become other things. I am becoming purposeful, intentional, and productive.

So now I’m struggling with conflicting feelings about the “new me”. I’m excited because being purposeful, intentional, and productive will propel me toward my future goals, life dreams, and crossing things off my bucket list. But I’m also a little saddened because I wonder if I will never feel relaxed again. But my husband reminded me, relaxation could just be redefined.

All in all, even if I have lost the ability to feel relaxed doing “nothing”, I am beyond excited at the future accomplishments and realization of dreams before me!

What Will You Do?

There always have been and always will be obstacles and challenges in life. They surround us. It’s how we react to them that determines where and how far we go.

What’s your breaking point? At what point do you resign yourself to the “inevitable”? What has to happen for you to consider a goal in life not worth it anymore?

Too many people give up way too easily:  It’s too far to drive. I don’t want to give up my daily Starbucks for that financial goal. I don’t have time, I need to relax…in front of the TV. Still, there are fighters!

In fact, I saw a fighter tonight. She was running toward me. Usually I make eye contact with other runners and say “hey”, but she didn’t look my direction. That’s when I noticed she was missing a leg. In place of her leg was a prosthetic. Later, we passed again. This time I said, “Hey, you’re an inspiration!” She replied, “Thank you.”

How many people would have taken up running, without a leg? How many people would have even thought of the possibility? What about areas in our own lives? Things we have no control over…Things we may be missing….Things that make us different… Are we willing to think outside the box? Are we willing to commit the hard work? Are we willing to go a different route? Are we willing to push through the pain?

Are we willing to do what it takes to achieve dreams others label as impossible?

Do what you need to do to achieve your dreams!

It’s been a year!

I published my very first post on July 21, 2011, titled The Beginning of Our Impossible Dreams.

Let’s celebrate!

So much has changed in just a year! A year ago we debated moving halfway around the world. And my husband decided to quit his job to pursue his passion of the fine arts. Now, even though we decided not to move to Thailand, we do live in a very different city, and my husband has a very different job. It’s crazy all the things that can occur in a year. The craziest thing of all is that we both believe we’re exactly where God wants us.

In honor of my blog’s year anniversary, I thought I’d list my top five posts. This is based on the number of views each post received, not including being read from the home page view.

1.  WealthRock: Joseph Irons

2.  Financial Success: James Smith

3.  The Beginning of Our Impossible Dreams

4.  Can Stress and Communication Co-exist?

5.  Get Motivated! Business Seminar

Thanks for reading!

Journey With God

Most people are surprised when they hear the choices we’ve made. I mention this in Initial Reactions….from friends, family, acquaintances….and strangers. But that’s an old post–there have been even more unexpected choices since then. Many being kicked off with our Changes in the New Year. We typically get people who are excited for us, or people thinking we’re out of our minds. Our choices tend to go against what is deemed as the American Dream….. I guess we’re anomalies. At least I thought we were anomalies, until I saw this video:

Are you an anomaly? 

Envy.

I am being tempted. With this thing called envy.

Typically, people envy tangibles:  house, car, boat, dog, spouse, kids, vacation, money, etc.

But I am being tempted to envy the intangibles.

I love where our lives are headed! But many things are “still in the works”. We’re still going through the process of figuring out how we’re going to live the next stage of our lives. Other than my job, not very many things have been solidified. We know what we are working toward, but we don’t know yet how things are going to work out, or even when. When I think about it too much, my mind begins to wander in the direction of envying others.

I’m faced with the temptation to envy intangibles:  time, timing, reaching goals, seeing dreams fulfilled, stability, having answers before the question is asked, knowing, having a plan. When I’m tempted it seems that everywhere I look, others have those intangibles within their grasp. But us. I know that’s not true for everyone…

My husband reminded me that even though others may have those intangibles, they do not necessarily live the life we desire. That adjusted my way of thinking. I realized I am willing to put up with the unknown, to keep the dreams we are enabling down the road.

Heading Into the Unknown

When is the last time you plunged into the unknown to reach a goal, or enable a dream?

 

To Excel, Or Not To Excel…

Today and tomorrow I’m taking part in a two day Excel class. This may be the nerdiest confession I’ve ever made, but….. I’m loving it!

I used to believe I would grow up, be employed at some mundane job to make ends meet, and when kids came, stay at home. All the while, doing everything mediocre because I saw myself as a person with no talent, smarts, or usable interests.

Sure, I had dreams growing up. But they were the unreachable kind:  being able to fly, having a pet tiger, being a hero, etc. After typing those, I realize I did not fit the mold of a stereotypical girl. Anyway…. Not believing I was good at anything and not having “attainable” dreams led me to not having purpose. And that can be pretty depressing.

But a couple years ago, I discovered the secret. 

Most of my life I was looking at things other people enjoyed, and trying to fit myself into those opinions/desires/preferences. I had to step back. I had to figure things out for myself….and ultimately what God wanted for me.

When I did that, it no longer mattered that I wasn’t good at team sports. It no longer mattered that I wasn’t good at working with children or teens in large groups. It no longer mattered that I wasn’t an extrovert. It no longer mattered that I wasn’t book smart. It no longer mattered….

And when I allowed myself to believe it no longer mattered that I couldn’t meet others’ designs, I was able to focus on discovering what I was good at and enjoyed:

I am a runner. I am good at working with individuals. I can very efficiently and effectively use both sides of my brain–I am both logical and creative. I love discovering. I love learning. I love implementing. I love growing.

I am getting such a high out of this two day Excel class because it involves what I love to do, and it reminds me that yes, I am good at some things. And yes, I can make a difference in the world around me.

Have you allowed yourself the room you need to discover your purpose?

Disappointment & Discouragement (& possible Deflation) in a Dream

Most of the time when people dream about their dreams, it’s in a positive light. It involves all things good. They wish they were pursuing their dream, more than anything.

People who do step out and pursue a dream, find out pretty quickly that it’s not all sunshine and roses. One of the big negatives a person can run into (seemingly completely contradictory to the whole dream-idea) is disappointment.

Disappointment can show up in different ways. A couple examples:  In the people around us. Or in a turn of events. Each can lead to discouragement.

If we aren’t careful, disappointment and discouragement can lead to deflation. Feeling deflated, or the deflation of our dream. If we don’t get a grasp on things, these three ‘D’s can be a real dream-killer.

So what do we do?

Hope in the Storm

There are two things I keep in mind. First, God is number one in my life and with him in control, things will turn out for the better. Second, I have to remind myself discovering disappointment is almost like going through a phase–I can work through it. It doesn’t last forever.

Working through disappointment can sometimes feel like trudging through molasses. Sometimes I feel like I’m barely moving, but as long as I can tell I’m still moving, I keep plowing through.

I guess you could say I hold onto hope–I’m still holding onto my dream.

A friend of mine shared motivation he heard from a lady behind him, while going uphill in a recent marathon:

“Suck it up, cupcake!”

People…And the impact they have on our lives

“Hi, Laura! This is ________ from _________. Not sure why but you have been on my heart all morning. Just want you to know that your sweet spirit is valued and appreciated! Praying that you have an abundantly blessed day!”

I received that text the other day and boy did it lift my spirits!

People are definitely important when it comes to pursing “impossible” dreams. No matter how determined we are in our pursuit, there will be key points in our journey when we need encouragement.

There will be people who temporarily appear in our lives, people who impact only a part of our lives, and those who have a huge impact on our lives.

"man's best friend"

My husband definitely has a huge impact on my life. I know it’s cliché to say my husband is my best friend, but it’s true! He is the first person to believe in me. He has helped me develop into who I am today. I know he loves me despite (or maybe because of!) my imperfections. I used to cry over spilt milk, literally. He would stop me, make me look into his eyes, tell me that he loved me; it was okay, an accident, and taught me the best four-letter word out there:  oops. I know if I have a hard day, I am coming home to someone who loves me.

The other person who has influenced my life as much (or maybe more) is my dad. He laid the foundation for who I am becoming. I remember growing up, my dad would come into my room before I went to sleep and we would kneel next to the bed. We would solve the world’s problems and pray together. There are three reasons why those moments had such an impact on me:  My dad listened to me, responding with care and respect—that showed me I had value. My dad would share his thoughts, explaining the “whys” behind them—that taught me to consider everything before making decisions. My dad made sure we prayed about specific things, instead of just going through the motions—that taught me the importance of prayer. I am constantly reminded of how much I owe my dad for who I have already become.

A friend of mine recently called, crying. She said she just needed to talk to someone who loved her, understood what it was like to be an emotional female, and would not take her conflict the wrong way. Her description is the type of friend I view her as. It was not long before she began to feel better, and I was glad she called me. That type of friend can be rare and should always be treasured.

Another person, whose friendship is a more recent development, is my writing partner. Getting away from the norm to talk about writing, goals, life, hardships….while drinking chai lattes and eating cookies just out of the oven….is the best! Those times bring relaxation, clarity of mind, and a sense of life coming together (even if it really isn’t!) In other words, her friendship provides a much-needed break from the daily grind!

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.”  -Eleanor Roosevelt

Who has impacted your life?