Has this happened to you as often as it has for me? You’ve spent a great deal of time preparing, studying, and believing in the opportunity that will get you closer to your dreams, but when that moment actually comes, you don’t seize it. You are then kicking yourself asking yourself why you didn’t do what you were supposed to.
This was my life for a long time. It was almost as if I was having an out of body experience while it happened. I knew exactly what I had to do and why I had to do it, but yet I wouldn’t take full advantage of my opportunities. You may have had similar situations whether you’re an athlete, a business professional or a student.
You see, we all have this voice within our head that tries to guide us, but often we doubt that voice because we don’t believe in our own power. Instead of acting out of instinct and doing what we feel is best, we hold ourselves back because we worry; what happens if I say the wrong thing or what happens if I do this, and it turns out badly? I’ve been there plenty of times.
I’m the kind of person that plans everything in my head before it even happens. I want everything to go perfectly. But how is that even possible? How can you enjoy your life if you are constantly thinking of your next step. Don’t get me wrong, you should visualize and plan your goals beforehand, but you should also learn to just live in the moment. I’ve ended up missing out on a lot of moments that I could have been, because I worried too much about what others would say or what they would think of me. This is no way to live so I made a decision that I would not live this way any longer.
Embrace the Process
I knew that if I was going to pursue my dreams, that I would have to go through a lot of ups and downs. I decided to embrace the process and make every situation the best I could. Some of these moments have been the best memories I’ve had in my life. While others left me with a learning experience.
The more pressure you feel the more you allow yourself to respond based on instinct. Whenever I was the most comfortable was when I did not allow myself to push through that proverbial wall. The size of your dream determines the amount of pressure you must face. Pressure is not a bad thing, this can be a very good thing. Pressure is something that forces you to be in a position where you must give it your best.
I still remember the day I was lead my first business meeting. I was 21 years old then and I had to give a talk about productivity in the workplace in front of an entire room of 250 people. One thing you should know about me, I’ve never wanted to be the center of attention. In fact, I would be perfectly fine just sitting in a meeting, taking notes, and learning from others. But do you know where that gets you? Nowhere.
To be a leader, you must step out from the crowd and do things that make you uncomfortable. So as I began to take more leadership positions, I had the opportunity to lead this meeting, and I felt excited about the experience. My heart was pounding out of my chest. I was afraid of stumbling my words and embarrassing myself. But then something happened, as I got up there and started to get things going, I began to live in the moment as I had never done before. I’ve heard people refer to this experience as being in “the zone”. I didn’t even need to refer to my notes or try to plan out what I was going to say next. It all came naturally. I simply felt engaged in what I was doing and did not have a single thought of doubt. I truly believe this was because I had 500 eyeballs on me and there was no time for me to doubt. These people were counting on me to deliver them a message that would empower them, and I simply could not spend any mental energy worrying about myself.
What Should You Do?
I cannot answer this question for you. Your situation is different than mine. Your story is unique, and that’s the beauty of it. You have a path that you must take, and I don’t know what that path is. I do know something about you, though. I know that you have a dream that you care deeply about, which is why you are reading this. And that only you know what that unique path to reaching your dream is.
Too many of us try to find our “why” by looking in the wrong place. We watch motivational videos online and search for our inspiration by looking outside of ourselves. “Are you saying I should stop watching these videos?” Not at all. What I’m saying is you must look within yourself to find your true inspiration.
So why are you are reading this? Whatever it is that just came to your mind, that is what you should pursue. It may not be a burning desire yet, but it is a start. Now learn how to cultivate that desire into something you MUST have and start to put yourself in a position which creates pressure towards excelling towards that dream. I can tell from my own experience that it is much more rewarding to conquer your fears and doubts than to live an easy and comfortable life.
If you’ve made it this far and you’re craving a transformation of your own, we can help you get there.
Jumpstart your personal transformation and get on track to build your best life with Goalcast’s new inspirational ebook, Explore Your Potential: Start the Journey to Your Dream Life.
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John is an entrepreneur, speaker and business consultant. He has read over 200 books on the topics of personal development, psychology, success, and business. He has also listened to and studied over 3,000 hours of audios on those same topics. John has a passion for empowering people and helping them to reach their fullest potential.
Every time I’m out with my kids – this seems to happen:
An older woman stops us, puts her hand over her heart and says something like, “Oh– Enjoy every moment. This time goes by so fast.”
Everywhere I go, someone is telling me to seize the moment, raise my awareness, be happy, enjoy everysecond, etc, etc, etc.
I know that this message is right and good. But as 2011 closes, I have finally allowed myself to admit that it just doesn’t work for me. It bugs me. This CARPE DIEM message makes me paranoid and panicky. Especially during this phase of my life – while I’m raising young kids. Being told, in a million different ways to CARPE DIEM makes me worry that if I’m not in a constant state of intense gratitude and ecstasy, I’m doing something wrong.
I think parenting young children (and old ones, I’ve heard) is a little like climbing Mount Everest. Brave, adventurous souls try it because they’ve heard there’s magic in the climb. They try because they believe that finishing, or even attempting the climb are impressive accomplishments. They try because during the climb, if they allow themselves to pause and lift their eyes and minds from the pain and drudgery, the views are breathtaking. They try because even though it hurts and it’s hard, there are moments that make it worth the hard. These moments are so intense and unique that many people who reach the top start planning, almost immediately, to climb again. Even though any climber will tell you that most of the climb is treacherous, exhausting, killer. That they literally cried most of the way up.
And so I think that if there were people stationed, say, every thirty feet along Mount Everest yelling to the climbers – “ARE YOU ENJOYING YOURSELF!? IF NOT, YOU SHOULD BE! ONE DAY YOU’LL BE SORRY YOU DIDN’T!” TRUST US!! IT’LL BE OVER TOO SOON! CARPE DIEM!” – those well-meaning, nostalgic cheerleaders might be physically thrown from the mountain.
Now. I’m not suggesting that the sweet old ladies who tell me to ENJOY MYSELF be thrown from a mountain. These are wonderful ladies. Monkees, probably. But last week, a woman approached me in the Target line and said the following: “Sugar, I hope you are enjoying this. I loved every single second of parenting my two girls. Every single moment. These days go by so fast.”
At that particular moment, Amma had swiped a bra from the cart and arranged it over her sweater, while sucking a lollipop undoubtedly found on the ground. She also had three shop-lifted clip-on neon feathers stuck in her hair. She looked exactly like a contestant from Toddlers and Tiaras. A losing contestant. I couldn’t find Chase anywhere, and Tish was sucking the pen from the credit card machine WHILE the woman in front of me was trying to use it. And so I just looked at the woman, smiled and said, “Thank you. Yes. Me too. I am enjoying every single moment. Especially this one. Yes. Thank you.”
That’s not exactly what I wanted to say, though.
There was a famous writer who, when asked if she loved writing, replied, “No. but I love having written.” What I wanted to say to this sweet woman was, “Are you sure? Are you sure you don’t mean you love having parented?”
I love having written. And I love having parented. My favorite part of each day is when the kids are put to sleep (to bed) and Craig and I sink into the couch to watch some quality TV, like Celebrity Wife Swap, and congratulate each other on a job well done. Or a job done, at least.
Every time I write a post like this, I get emails suggesting that I’m being negative. I have received this particular message four or five times – G, if you can’t handle the three you have, why do you want a fourth?
That one always stings, and I don’t think it’s quite fair. Parenting is hard. Just like lots of important jobs are hard. Why is it that the second a mother admits that it’s hard, people feel the need to suggest that maybe she’s not doing it right? Or that she certainly shouldn’t add more to her load. Maybe the fact that it’s so hard means she IS doing it right…in her own way…and she happens to be honest.
Craig is a software salesman. It’s a hard job in this economy. And he comes home each day and talks a little bit about how hard it is. And I don’t ever feel the need to suggest that he’s not doing it right, or that he’s negative for noticing that it’s hard, or that maybe he shouldn’t even consider taking on more responsibility. And I doubt anybody comes by his office to make sure he’s ENJOYING HIMSELF. I doubt his boss peeks in his office and says: “This career stuff…it goes so fast…ARE YOU ENJOYING EVERY MOMENT IN THERE, CRAIG???? THE FISCAL YEAR FLIES BY!! CARPE DIEM, CRAIG!”
My point is this. I used to worry that not only was I failing to do a good enough job at parenting, but that I wasn’t enjoying it enough. Double failure. I felt guilty because I wasn’t in parental ecstasy every hour of every day and I wasn’t MAKING THE MOST OF EVERY MOMENT like the mamas in the parenting magazines seemed to be doing. I felt guilty because honestly, I was tired and cranky and ready for the day to be over quite often. And because I knew that one day, I’d wake up and the kids would be gone, and I’d be the old lady in the grocery store with my hand over my heart. Would I be able to say I enjoyed every moment? No.
But the fact remains that I will be that nostalgic lady. I just hope to be one with a clear memory. And here’s what I hope to say to the younger mama gritting her teeth in line:
“It’s helluva hard, isn’t it? You’re a good mom, I can tell. And I like your kids, especially that one peeing in the corner. She’s my favorite. Carry on, warrior. Six hours till bedtime.” And hopefully, every once in a while, I’ll add– “Let me pick up that grocery bill for ya, sister. Go put those kids in the van and pull on up- I’ll have them bring your groceries out.”
Anyway. Clearly, Carpe Diemdoesn’t work for me.I can’t even carpe fifteen minutes in a row, so a whole diem is out of the question.
Here’s what does work for me:
There are two different types of time. Chronos time is what we live in. It’s regular time, it’s one minute at a time, it’s staring down the clock till bedtime time, it’s ten excruciating minutes in the Target line time, it’s four screaming minutes in time out time, it’s two hours till daddy gets home time. Chronos is the hard, slow passing time we parents often live in.
Then there’s Kairos time. Kairos is God’s time. It’s time outside of time. It’s metaphysical time. Kairos is those magical moments in which time stands still. I have a few of those moments each day, and I cherish them.
Like when I actually stop what I’m doing and really look at Tish. I notice how perfectly smooth and brownish her skin is. I notice the perfect curves of her teeny elf mouth and her asianish brown eyes, and I breathe in her soft Tishy smell. In these moments, I see that her mouth is moving but I can’t hear her because all I can think is – This is the first time I’ve really seen Tish all day, and my God – she is so beautiful. Kairos.
Like when I’m stuck in chronos time in the grocery line and I’m haggard and annoyed and angry at the slow check-out clerk. And then I look at my cart and I’m transported out of chronos. And suddenly I notice the piles of healthy food I’ll feed my children to grow their bodies and minds and I remember that most of the world’s mamas would kill for this opportunity. This chance to stand in a grocery line with enough money to pay. And I just stare at my cart. At the abundance. The bounty. Thank you, God. Kairos.
Or when I curl up in my cozy bed with Theo asleep at my feet and Craig asleep by my side and I listen to them both breathing. And for a moment, I think- how did a girl like me get so lucky? To go to bed each night surrounded by this breath, this love, this peace, this warmth? Kairos.
These kairos moments leave as fast as they come- but I mark them. I say the word kairos in my head each time I leave chronos. And at the end of the day, I don’t remember exactly what my kairos moments were, but I remember I had them. And that makes the pain of the daily parenting climb worth it.
If I had a couple Kairos moments during the day, I call it a success.
Carpe a couple of Kairoses a day.
Good enough for me.
Author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller LOVE WARRIOR — ORDER HERE
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