So, who has this muddled mind and why a New Year blog?
Well I am a 41 year old married working mother of 2 young boys, (all pretty standard so far) who constantly feels like she is underachieving and that somewhere there is greener grass and ‘success’ – which is yet undefined, hence the muddled mind.
This blog forms part of yet another set of new year’s resolutions, another set of ‘secret goals’ that I am determined to achieve but if 2016 is anything to go by, I will fall disappointingly short. But don’t panic, I’m not giving up, I’m a Taurus, we are nothing if not stubborn and determined.
So what is ‘success’ and how do I achieve it in 2017?
As a self-professed over-thinker I have done A LOT (yawn) of personal reflection and have reached some conclusions as to why I wasn’t where I had ‘hoped’ I would be as 2016 comes to a close.
The key being ‘where I had hoped’ – I had lots of ideas, that I naively referred to as goals, but they were little more than dreams because there was no real plan. Most of the change I wanted to effect on my life was out of my hands, I put my faith in a bit of good fortune and the cooperation of others, neither of which paid off. Main lesson of 2016? Only you and ACTION can change your life.
To the outsider I end 2016 in much the same place as I entered; same job, same house with the same to do list, same weight (and lack of fitness), same issues, same, same, same. Much has happened, but nothing’s changed (other than I have lost a fringe, which on reflection I should have kept!).
But I refuse to write a whole year off because stuff has happened this year and as a result I have learnt a lot. I have bulleted for brevity and neglected to go over the ground that bought me to these conclusions, you could probably guess at some, they would make excellent blogposts all of their own:
- Trust – people should earn it, not be handed it to abuse
- Instincts – mine are good, go with the gut more
- Ambition – its ok to have some, your kids will benefit and be inspired
- Fear – do things that challenge you, it’s how you grow
- Guilt – the undeserved definition of being a mum, lose it
- Fun – have some daily, embarrass the kids, they’ll remember it fondly as adults
So I’m getting by but how do I ‘get on’?
Through some miracle I have carved out a very nice life for myself without ever once asking ‘what do you want to be?’ Partly because I am a people pleaser of Greek decent who was trained at an early age to choose the path of least resistance and not to do anything that might embarrass ‘the family’.
I hopefully have as much of my life to live again and its time I got serious and challenge myself to be the best I can be, stop coasting and letting others determine what I achieve or who I will be. To quote my favourite film of the season ‘you should be the leading lady in your own life for God’s sake!’
I have observed and listened to some very successful women in recent weeks, some close and personal to me who inspire me daily by their successes of varying scale (you know who you are) and others that I admire from afar who have challenged the glass ceiling or redefined what it is to be a working mum today.
I have also managed to collect quite a number of books, apps and theories for how to be a better you, each as convincing as the one before but I already know most of them won’t resonate with me (inherently lazy, far too practical and have no time to read!). So I have opted to take the best of the things that I have seen and to keep it simple by focusing on the one thing they all have in common – a plan!
Getting from nowhere to somewhere
Goals and ‘hopes’ are nice but are nothing if you haven’t written the roadmap; how are going to get there? You don’t start out on any journey without first consulting a map (or typing into your satnav) so why should life be any different?
So here I am on New Year’s Eve pondering what I want from 2017, what changes do I want to make, what is The Plan? And that my friends is why my mind is muddled.
41 years old and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, let alone how I get there!
So being a practical person I have found a tool to help, a ‘Passion Planner’ (google it, it’s a thing) and I’m trying to roadmap my life, or at least the next year and it’s not easy. First step is being honest about the life I want and the goals I want to achieve (before worrying about the practicalities of getting there).
And that, I think, may be the answer to unravelling this muddled mind – total honesty and a plan, to be shared, so others might help me get there, or at least understand me a little more.
Being authentic, brave and a little more ‘leading lady’ is the order of 2017, check back and see how that plays out for someone who’s uncomfortable just typing it let alone living it!
‘Those who matter won’t mind and those that mind don’t matter’ – Bernard M Baruch