I was inspired this morning at 2:30 AM - Thank you Henry the Kitten for the early morning wake-up call and the zero dark thirty walk with Dakota (my 12 yr old husky.) Some days, aren't so different from being in the military :-)
I was going to publish an interview this week, but instead, I was inspired to record this podcast episode for you based on two things. A statement that I heard yesterday that stuck with me in a weird way, and a note that a friend wrote in a holiday card.
We are going to talk about newton’s laws today too – because these two objects interacted to create this motion!
One of the most common things I hear from my high performance coaching clients is that they feel stuck, trapped in a profession that they no longer love and they aren’t quite sure what to do. They have anxiety at work interacting with co-workers, making, literally, life and death decisions, struggling to communicate effectively with clients, and just not having enough left in the tank to enjoy time with family at the end of the day.
Energy? What’s that?!?
So let’s take some time today to review just how far we’ve come in 2021 amidst a seemingly never-ending pandemic. As an aside, as a public health professional, I assure you that we will get to a new normal, it just may take longer than we had hoped since we are learning on the fly and the virus is learning and adapting too.
At the end of every year, I like to do a yearly review. Or just quite simply take some time to be grateful and remind myself of how far I’ve come.
I encourage you to do the same. Let’s take some time together this morning to do this. Grab a pen, a paper, and your favorite mug of hot coffee or tea, and let’s take just 10 minutes to reflect on 2021 and this amazing life we live.
So many of us are goal-oriented and driven busy professionals, it’s how we were ambitious enough to pursue a professional degree in the first place. Yesterday, I heard those degrees, for the first time in a long time be referred to as "terminal."
Ummmm well, that explains why many of us feel stuck. We’ve been told, if only subconsciously that we are at the end of the road – we are there – at our destination, get off the train, nothing more to see or do here.
Having a terminal degree is not terminal. Having limitations is not terminal, these are opportunities to apply physics to real life.
So if you didn’t do this last year, I invite you to grab your pen and paper, and let’s review 2021 and create 2022.
This year, I shared my #1 insight of 2021 on several podcasts here on Beyond the Stethoscope and as a guest on the Charge with Gary Wilbers around making that key decision.
You know, that decision that unlocks everything and gets your life back into motion, just like a stick stuck in the spokes of a bicycle wheel.
That decision you’ve been avoiding making, the one that you know you should have made weeks, months, or even years ago, but you feel stuck and are maybe a little afraid of what that success or failure might look like if you tried something new.
Well, I took my own advice this year. And boy oh boy did I unlock that bike of life and get things in motion. I learned that I was on that bike peddling as hard as I could when I removed that stick that was blocking everything.
And what happens when you are stuck and suddenly that bike moves?
Well, it might be a good time to review Newton’s Laws. We all know the law of motion that says an object in motion will stay in motion; however, perhaps a more important law in this example is an object will not change its motion unless a force acts on it.
This is also true in life. Our life’s trajectory, or current motion, won’t change unless we make a decision to change it. Our decisions are like forces, the stronger our conviction, or force applied to our life in this analogy, the greater the movement.
So for example, when we get our diet really dialed in at the beginning of the year and we magically lose 20 lbs, that was a decision we made that shifted our current trajectory, it changed our motion towards gaining more weight or staying at the same weight. After all, change is not something that happens without intentional action.
Ok so let’s go through the five areas of life and what your goals were for 2021, where you are today, and where you want to go in 2022. Write these 5 areas down on your paper. First, I list them out and write down my goals in each area. Then I draw a Venn diagram so I can see them and ask, where can I apply force, in other words, where can I make a decision to move the needle in each area and how will it change my goal in all of the other 5 areas. It’s a fun puzzle and one way to visualize our life in motion.
At the beginning of 2021, we took inventory of the five key areas of life,
1) Health (physical and emotional health or wellbeing,
3) Spirit, hobbies, adventure, you know, that stuff that lights you up? For some, this is where their spirituality enters as well
4) Career, mission purpose, learning; and
So, for each of the areas, ask,
"Where am I and where do I want to go this year?
What can I learn and how can I best serve?
What impact do I want to have or create?"
What is it for you? If you made that one key decision, ALL of the five areas would improve, and you’d get magically closer to your goals in each area.
Well, in 2021, I found the stick that was stuck in the wheels of my bike. So I removed it and BAM, I crashed the bike. Turns out, I was peddling so hard that instead of going forward, I flew over the handlebars of the bike.
Well, what I heard myself say at that moment, that inner critic was like, hey, I told ya so, and that voice kept saying things like, “If I wasn’t so ambitious, my life wouldn’t be so hard.” “It would be easier, Why, did I have to go try to improve my life? Why do I want to serve at the highest levels? Why can’t I Just be happy with mediocrity?”
So often, we don’t’ take enough time to appreciate what we’ve accomplished. Remember that card, I got from my friend, well, in that card, she thanked me for helping her a few years ago with something very important to her during a difficult time and for being a great friend. Then she wrote something that was incredibly meaningful to me in that moment of doubt and fear –
“You have done so much to carve out a new path for yourself that is very inspiring.”
In the moment, we might doubt our decisions. But when we take a step back and ask, what did I learn from this? What can I take with me on my journey for future growth and am I closer to my goals?
That’s when we have a good laugh at why we decided to hold a pity party in the first place because terminal degrees are not terminal. No decision we make is the end of the road, it’s just the beginning of the journey of life and we have the ability to make a new decision, to apply new forces to other areas of our lives and still, get closer to our same goals.
And for me, I want adventure, and challenge, and fun
So what is it for you? What do you want more of in life? Write that down. Maybe you want more peace and joy or maybe you want to pursue a goal or hobby that everyone says is just crazy when in reality, it’s that logical next step.
And boy oh boy, that’s exactly what I got this year adventure, and challenge and yep, it was kinda fun. To the observer, it may look like I’m back where I started, but when I reflect back on the last seven years and what I wanted when I said, if I could just figure out how to XYZ, then my life would be perfect, easier, you know the drill—if only, I could achieve x success then I would magically be happy. And we all know from the research that isn’t true—but it’s really easy to catch ourselves in these thoughts—the goal is to catch ourselves, then spend less time here and more time in motion.
Well, I achieved all of that stuff—some goals took 5 years, some 7, some I was intentional, some I just kept in the back of my head and asked, How can I accomplish this, what would that look like, what are the opportunities available to me right now?
What is it for you? go down the list. What dreams and wishes have you achieved? I bet it’s more than you think!
I can click many of mine off the list, the income, rekindling old friendships, remodeling a foreclosure, travel, being a paid speaker and ya know what? my life is no more perfect or easier but I’m having new adventures, meeting new people, finding new challenges, and having more fun.
So let’s take stock of our bigger goals, how do you want to feel in 2022?
So in 2022, let’s replace the I can’t, with How Can I? The answers might just surprise you and it might be easier than you think.
Here’s to new adventures and enjoying the crazy journey that we call life.