Have you ever wanted to do something, but you kept putting it off? Procrastination takes hold and life gets in the way. Before you realize it, your dream was moved to the back burner in someone else’s kitchen. You know that desire is still there somewhere, because it nags at the back of your mind, interjecting itself into your thoughts at unexpected times. It calls to you, in a soft subtle voice that nobody else hears. That idea has substance and a weight that isn’t measured in pounds but rather attention units. Always present, yet never in the forefront of your mind because you’ve chosen to put your focus elsewhere. Miraculously, this desire doesn’t die from neglect. It can’t if it is truly part of you. It grows in imperceptible ways, waiting for the right time to spring forth demanding you notice it once again. Demanding that you take action.
This was how writing was for me. Even though I’ve written my entire life, it was for myself. Sometimes others would receive heartfelt letters or I’d share a short story with a friend for whom it was written, but sharing my thoughts outside an intimate group wasn’t something I did. As I became focused on my career, my marriage and then children, there wasn’t time to write. To be honest, I didn’t make time. When my boys started school, the desire to write resurfaced. I had this crazy idea to write a novel. I wasn’t in a good place mentally however I found the writing cathartic. That novel was never published, nor should it have been. When I reread it years later I decided it would need a total rewrite, however that probably won’t happen, because that writing was more about me healing than sharing a story. Besides, the weight of the desire to write wasn’t unbearable yet so I put my efforts into other people.
When you concentrate on others it can be altruistic and cowardly at the same time. I threw myself into volunteering first. I found that the skills I’d honed in management positions were invaluable to organizations desperate for volunteers. Whether it was the PTA, an alcohol/drug rehab or the foster care system, my planning skills coupled with my ability to communicate, filled gaps for them. I was helping the organizations as well as individuals. That was the altruistic part. The more time I gave to others, the less I had to spend on improving myself. Ah, the cowardly part. If I was busy focusing on others I didn’t have to deal with my own fears, my own beliefs about myself and all those thoughts that weren’t benefiting me in any way. I could effectively ignore that part of me, the one calling me to a life purpose, if I was contributing to the wellbeing of others.
There was something inside of me that I couldn’t ignore so I compromised with myself. Whether you knew me thirty years ago or we just met in the past year, if we talked much at all, you figured out that I really wanted to help people, to be of service to them. I want people to do well, to be happy for themselves. Due to changes in our family situation, we closed our company and I began working for a large company. Since I had this purpose of helping others hanging over my head, I concentrated on developing and training those who reported to me. I’m direct enough that I cut through some of the excuses people give for not performing their best and we developed an incredible team. If you are wondering what the compromise was, here it is. At the same time we were achieving unprecedented results I was taking note of what worked and what didn’t, not only for the team but for myself. At the time, I didn’t know that these would turn into exercises I incorporated into my book, It’s Your Life..Own It!
When a desire or a dream isn’t overwhelming, it’s easy to ignore. That’s what I did for several years. Even though I was making some journal entries of what was working well, I didn’t think about sharing them. My grandmother used to tell me that when God closes a door, another one opens. Well in my case, I felt like the universe decided I wasn’t moving fast enough to the next door so a series of events occurred which put me on my current path. It started with a fateful Saturday when it took me fifteen minutes to recognize a feeling that overwhelmed me……happiness. Now there’s a wake up call, when you don’t immediately recognize happiness when it shows up. That gives you a small hint at the state of my life at that point. That incident, which I wrote about, provided the motivation for me to take a serious look at my life and decide what I was going to create for the future.
Deciding what you desire to create in your life sounds much easier than it is. Before I could develop a clear picture for the future I had to do some mental housecleaning. That cowardly part of me actually suggested we just keep living in our little status quo box but it was too late for that. I had to confront my fears, my mental blocks and I had to remember how to dream again. Once that door to possibilities was open I was flooded with ideas, concepts and plans which I had no idea how to execute. I traveled a great deal for my job so I began writing down everything that was coming to me. Sometimes I wrote in a notebook on my lap as I drove and other times I would use the dictation feature on my phone and record notes. If I was on my computer when these ideas came to mind, I sent myself an email so I could get it out of my head and refer to it later. That is how the book started.
It wasn’t until I made further changes in my life that I had the time to organize all of these random thoughts. My attempts were thwarted by my own self doubts as new fears arose. However fears weaken as passion grows. The more I focused on the message and helping others, the more passionate I became and with that my fears were lessened. Then something interesting happened. As I completed chapters of the book I felt as if a weight was lifting off of me. I’m sure that some will read the quote at the beginning of this blog and think about negative situations that need to be released. The opposite is just as true. When a purpose is carried without giving it the attention and focus it requires, it weighs on our psyche until it is allowed to flourish and find it’s place in the world.
I wrote It’s Your Life..Own It! so that others could recognize that they too have the ability to create the life they desire. You may have dreams and desires that are weighing on you and demanding to be released. You don’t have to know all the hows, I sure didn’t. You do have to start, first by recognizing what makes you happy and then taking steps to move toward that. I want to share what I’ve learned so your journey is shorter than mine. You can visit my website ChristieBakeman.com to see other things I have to share.