Posts Tagged ‘goals’

Challenging women’s lib and success defined by wealth

December 1, 2010

Once again, a morning sales training session has triggered a revelation about how I perceive success and why I am struggling to share and embrace my journey in pregnancy and starting a family.
The training was on goal setting. We all named five “top performers” and discussed what their life goal may have been; how they may stay focused on goals; how they deal with adversity and failure; and how they view risk.
The list of people included Obama, Lance Armstrong (and many other pro athletes), Oprah, Warren Buffet, Donald Trump, Jack Welch and even Will Smith. In less than an hour, it struck me as odd that none of us, myself included, listed a person like Mother Theresa, the Dalai Llama, Greg Mortenson or any great healers, teachers, spiritual leaders or authors. We all listed people who’s “top achievements” are defined by wealth or winning.
That perception of success is why I am struggling with my biggest personal change.
Growing up, I have had two major goals pushing me. First, since probably age 7, I have had a burning desire to be a famous author and speaker. Second, since my pre-teen years, I wanted to prove that I can do any job as well as, or better, than any man. I always said I wanted to support myself and I believed that a big salary would solve all problems.
Now, I realize only one of these goals match my core values. I’ve had a skewed definition of success in my life.
I still want to be a famous author and speaker, because I believe I can help people through both avenues. I’ve discovered my highest core value is to help others in business and personally. I believe I can earn a good living doing this, but the money is not my first priority. (My roles as a starving reporter and a thriving money lender were both defined by this core value.)
On the women’s liberation front, however, my former goal is preventing me from embracing the joys of being a woman. I’ve proved the equality point well enough by excelling in academics, working hard labor jobs, carving a niche (and big income) in the male-dominated finance field and competing athletically alongside men. It’s time to put that goal on a shelf like a tacky trophy that collects dust. I need to embrace the fact that I need my husband’s support and protection. Not that I can’t stand on my own – but that I don’t have to anymore.
At five-and-a-half months pregnant, I need to stop hiding the truth and joy from my professional circle. I must stop thinking I will either fail at being successful professionally or at parenting.
The only way I can begin to reconcile my desire to nurture and my passion to excel professionally is to face the truth. I can’t blame this conflict on hormones. I’ve had less respect and admiration for terrific moms, housewives who sacrificed careers for the family and spiritual people who live by faith than those “top performers” with millions and athletic triumphs. I’ve forgotten the poorly-paid teachers who noticed in that I excelled at writing and encouraged me.
Since I can visualize being a great mother and wife AND being successful professionally, I shouldn’t be ashamed of being on both paths simultaneously.
If goal setting begins with figuring out “what you want,” then I need to accept that deep down, I have always wanted it all – to excel in every role. Only “how” I will get what I want and “when” I will get it is uncertain … and out of my control anyway.

Blogging keeps the monsters out of my head

February 9, 2010

I don’t know why I took a break from blogging. Let’s just call it laziness. (A bad habit is as easily set as a good one). Some readers missed my writing, but I realized yesterday I am the one suffering.

Blogging keeps me in the habit of writing, which is good. Plus, rewriting and editing each blog hones my wordsmith skills. More importantly, writing helps me think creatively and explore unexpected thoughts.

Analyzing my thoughts helps me distinguish between fact and fiction. Often, I create a truth in my head that is upsetting and detrimental to my goals and relationships. Those negative thoughts roll around in my noggin. Like a snowball, they get larger with every roll. Pretty soon, the thought is a horned monster that stabs at my confidence and enthusiasm. He gnashes his terrible teeth and roars his terrible roar just like the characters in my favorite book.

Then, I put him on paper (or screen). When I dissect the monster, I see it is either a tiny, baby monster or no monster at all. Either way, it is no match for facts.

So, I need to get those pessimistic thoughts out quickly so they cannot build momentum. I know some people write their fears and concerns and then burn the paper – or freeze it in blue water.  In some exercises you write the worst possible scenario imaginable (in regards to that fear or worry) only to find it ridiculous or comical. Some people journal or write letters they’ll never send just to work out their thoughts.

Method aside, I must examine my thoughts continuously. In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill says the subconscious mind is like “a fertile garden in which weeds will grow if the seeds of more desirable crops are not sewn.”

His work focuses on feeding the subconscious creative thoughts – and mine must too.

An avid gardener, I know my love and passion for the crops is unequaled. Sure, people enjoy my tomatoes – and my blogs – but the genuine nourishment is mine.

So I’ll strive to tend the garden more often and rid it of weed sprouts and imaginary monsters.