I have this conflict that runs around my mind pretty regularly. I think it’s really one that underestimates my own potential and capability. It’s funny because I believe I can zoom in on other people’s hesitancy about daring to believe that greatness is within their reach. In fact I get really excited about encouraging people to take the risk in order to gain the greatest reward. I understand that what often holds us back, and I say us, because I am she, is an underlying message that we give girls. And the message in and of itself is not a bad one however, it can be what we lead with resulting in girls and women not fully leveraging their God-given gifts and talents. The idea that we need to be thoughtful, kind and accommodating. All of these qualities I believe, are appropriate, at times. For example it is pretty rude to push people out of the way to get to the dinner table first because you are hungry, especially if you are knocking down a child or elderly person to do so….Plain ole’ rude!
However, we fail to accommodate ourselves. We don’t allow ourselves to believe that I am more than a wife, a mother, an employee, a sister and a daughter. I am all of these women wrapped into one. Yet each of these roles pull on me at the exact same time and what happens then? The greatness and destiny that was born with us gets pushed to the back burner because we are thoughtful and accommodating. Hear me well, it is a good thing to think of others, but we often do so in ways that no one has even asked that we do.
Sometimes we will take being thoughtful a step beyond making sure the babies, hubby and grandma have food. We will sacrifice in a way that we place ourselves in ill-health. We will eat the cold leftovers off of our kid’s plates or not have anything at all so others might eat. We will forgo our workout time to help with homework or to finish up a project for work. While these are noble approaches that may even be necessary at times. Over time, I think, we begin to accept that approach as the standard. We expect the leftovers and the over or under done bits. We settle for leftovers in our careers, relationships and even in our finances. We accept the “what’s left” rather than the best. It’s hard to admit that sometimes placing the needs of others above our own results in a slow silent dying internally, one where we question whether we ever had any dreams to begin with.
Here’s the thing we all have dreams and purpose. I love, and I mean love interacting with people and getting little glimmers of the things that really excite them. I’ve heard co-workers wonder aloud, how can I make money while being an advocate for social justice? Or they mutter “So when I was coming out of school, I did not envision myself doing this. I kind of feel like now I have to do this. What else can I do? I’ve got bills.”
Bills and a 2 Minute Letter
We all have bills and we all have desires and passions and I don’t think that you have to focus on one and throw the other to the wolves. I believe there is a way to infuse the things you care about into what you do on a daily basis. You have to be creative and be open to the opportunity. I’ve found that getting clear on what you want helps a ton. It can be a scary exercise, but one that has helped me is to set a timer for about 2 minutes and write down the first things that come to your mind. Don’t worry about if you have the time or if you are financially able to afford it. Another approach is to write a letter to yourself about where you’d like to see yourself this time next year. Stash it away and see where you are in a year. I think that by formally writing down what we want allows us to begin processing and making necessary adjustments.
Is anybody up for giving this a try with me? Let me know if you’d like to join me in a letter writing campaign sound off in the comments below.