Chasing Inspiration

Friday, January 16, 2009

Making Time

One of the things I realized over the last week is the difference between finding time and making time. Finding time is more serendipitous and out of our control, whereas making time tells me I'm calling the shots.

Let's take writing, for example. In my Dream part of Dream, Plan, Act, I am dreaming of the things I want to do this year. I want to finish two of the manuscripts I'm writing. In order to do that, I need to write. In the past, I have fallen into my writing time. In other words, I went with the "find time" approach. This time, I'm going to make the time. I'm going to make choices and agreements with myself to write a certain number of pages every day. To keep that agreement, I'm going to look for the discretionary time I have in my calendar and instead of making choices to surf the net, instant message, read a book, watch TV, etc, I'm going to choose to write.

There are three big things that keep us from doing what we say we intend to do. I believe. Fear, time and knowledge. Let's continue with writing. We can increase our craft skills through study and practice. We can address the fear through confrontation, truth telling and prayer. We can address the time issue by looking at where we spend our time, making decisions about priorities and then building habits that align with our priorities.

I've been using this for myself to get me in the chair every day. And to get me to do something toward a job search every day. I believe this can work for you, as well. I think I'm going to develop a seminar on this topic. More information to come.

In the mean time, look at the choices you're making and what you're telling yourself about your situation. And experiment. What if you wrote for an hour instead of watching TV? What if you taped your show to watch after that hour of writing? What if you reclaimed your lunch hour at work and wrote then?

There's more behind the obstacles and conditions we put on our time. But it starts with being honest and being open to change.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Dreams to Intentions

I start off 2009 full of dreams and fears and hopes and desires. As I sit at my computer, I realize that I start off every year this way - full of the dreams or the fears but no plan. I have no intentions, just ambiguous lists of some-day-maybes.

I sat down yesterday, after a long 20 hour consulting job developing a first run at a project plan for an IT implementation, and thought about what makes good projects work. They are full of goals, deadlines, check points and dependencies (interconnections). Activities are assigned to specific people who are then accountable for the results of the work. But the plan is not enough. The plan is only a piece of paper. What makes it work are the intentions behind it. Those commitments and agreements to move the plan forward until it is completed.

I used to make plans like this for the projects I worked on at my former place of employment. They were simple plans. But they were like a compass. They kept me on course. And when in doubt, they helped me tease out what my next step should be. They also helped me to determine when I was being successful.

I'm not a huge fan of MS Project and huge project plans. But I was a fan of having a map of sorts. So this year, instead of dreaming and wishing and hoping, I am going to take my dreams, pick the few most important, and create some intentions around them. Dream. Plan. Act.

The first step is to dream. I'm going to take this week to dream about what I want to do. What I really want to do, not about what others what me to do or what I think I should do. And because intentions are more powerful if they are publicly declared, I am going to share those dreams, plans and actions with you.

Join me on this journey! And maybe start a little journey of your own.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Cool Things

An acquaintance from the Susan Elizabeth Phillips bulletin board is staring 2009 with a wonderful contest. Sanna is a very talented seamstress and designer and is starting 2009 by giving away a handmade handbag. My friend April has one of her handbags and loves it!

Hope on over to Sanna's Blog and follow the instructions and you too may be the lucky owner of an Angel original. *g*

One Of These Days

Isn't that what we always say? One of these days I'm going to...fill in the blank.

All through 2008 this was my mantra. My energies were focused on staying positive at work, finding a new job (still working on that one), renovations and continuing to nurture my marriage. Then I lost my job. And suddenly most of my excuses fell away. Financially, there were plenty of things I couldn't do, but I had all this time where I could knit, reconnect with friends, read books I had sitting on my shelves for months or even years. I had time to write, to build my coaching practice. To be.

And yet, looking back, I feel I squandered some of that time. I didn't write every day like I planned. I didn't network every day. I didn't pull out my Bible and read a passage every day. I didn't even get out of my house every day. I certainly didn't increase my blogging activity.

It occurred to me this week that I had bought into the there-will-always-be-time mentality. I would likely be out of work for 6 months (so say the stats) so I would have all this time to write and journal and coach. I could put off the things that weren't motivating me or were difficult. I could plan and talk and plan as much as I wanted without executing. I had goals. I had dreams. But I didn't have results.

2009 is a brand new year. And I'm going to start it off right. I am going to not just plan, but I'm going to follow through. It means changing how I think, how I plan and what I focus on. But I know deep in my heart of heart it will be worth it. I almost want to change the title of my blog because I'm not going to keep chasing inspiration, I'm going to hit it over the head!

So, how am I going to change? Well, I read on occasion this wonderful blog titled Zen Habits and the author of the blog has written a book titled The Power Of Less. Since my lay-off, I've been contemplating the theme of less being more. We aren't going through money as quickly because I've been uber-conscious of what we're spending. And we aren't missing the little things like I thought we would. I've been passing on books more than buying them and my heart doesn't hurt when I let a book out into the world like it used to. I've been simplifying some of the systems we/I have created to keep ourselves organized and on track and I feel less stress. Big duh moment here.

But what I'm getting from The Power Of Less is to learn more about goals and purpose and honing in and honing in with that laser intensity that helps to shake all the rest away so you can complete your goal(s). Part of that process is to publically commit. I'm taking the next couple of days to really figure out what my goals are and purpose is for 2009 and then I'm going to commit. Publically. Here for all to see. Keep me honest, people. Ask me the hard questions.

It's time to put an end to "one of these days" and to live with purpose and passion today. Is it going to be easy? I suspect not. But it will be oh so worth it in the end!

Happy 2009! May this be your year of purpose and passion and living in the now!