Point to Ponder:
Do you feel weighed down by unfulfilled goals, expectations and/or unfinished business?
If you’re like me, it was much more fun to celebrate my 2015 accomplishments, unexpected wins and everything that I am thankful for than to identify my 2015 disappointments, regrets, unfulfilled expectations, undelivered communication and unfinished business (a.k.a. the heavy five) from last week’s journal. While it was painful to dig these up and reveal them, it was necessary to pull them to the surface, look them over and decide what I wanted to do with them, because I DO have a choice!
When the Clean the Slate exercise was first introduced to me, I was bummed to realize that I was being asked to remember “the heavy five”, however when I was told that I had a choice as to what I did with them, my attitude completely changed. I think my reaction was something like this: “Wait! You mean I have a choice as to whether or not I pursue my unfulfilled expectations, unachieved goals, undelivered communication and unfinished business? And, I don’t have to keep them on my ever growing goals and to-do list that I can’t ever seem to complete?” Brilliant!
Upon going through the exercise, it allowed me to see the significance of releasing the burden of carrying anything that is unnecessary, non-relevant, or extra, NOW! Cleaning the slate also allowed me to precisely look at my New Year with a brand new pair of high quality, smudge free, Ray-Ban glasses while also determining what is really important to me, NOW! I don’t know about you, but that was and continues to be an epiphany for me–that I ALWAYS have a choice in what I continue to pursue (or not). Either way, what’s most important is that we pull the weeds, bring them to the surface, acknowledge them and make the important decision to do something with them. It’s like clearing your conscience!
In conclusion, the clean the slate exercise reminds me of a “choice dilemma” that my older sister, Shonna, experienced many years ago. Shortly after high school she became an RN and then received her BS in nursing from the University of Texas. A few years later she decided that she wanted to get her master’s degree in exercise physiology. She was accepted into UT’s program and attended, however six months into it she became very confused. She was not enjoying her experience, she was not enjoying what she was learning and she was pretty miserable. Ultimately, she wanted to quit, but two things tripped her up: 1). Our mom and dad raised us with the value of commitment. Once we started something we finished it. There was no quitting. 2). She always envisioned herself with a master’s degree, and specifically with the “M” initial behind her name. It was a right of passage that she thought she needed in order to prove herself.
What my sister lost sight of (that I think we all can relate to) was it was her life and therefore her choice. The “never quit” philosophy that we were raised with was great, as it taught us the values of commitment and hard work (my parent’s actual goals for us), however because that was a firm rule in our house, as an adult the line for her was blurred.
After talking through it, she was able to see that saying “no” to her master’s degree was not quitting. Instead, it was the wisest decision she could make because it was saying yes to her life, now. Trying to prove herself, please our parents or please anyone besides herself would make for a devastating waste of time (and money!)! It was the best decision for her and of course my parents didn’t care one bit! They actually never cared. Their ultimate desire was and is for her to be happy and pursue her passion. She made up all of the other assumptions (dang assumptions!). Finally, because she made the best choice for her, she went on to do exactly what she really wanted to do and was really good at: nursing in the ER at Brakenridge Hospital and becoming a mother of two.
All in all, when we make a conscious choice to pull our weeds, choose to toss them or keep them based on our heart’s desire, we become aligned with our spirit and are able to do our best work, be the most effective and make the greatest impact!
Review and reevaluate your unfulfilled expectations, undelivered communication and unfinished business from 2015. Acknowledge them and determine if they are complete, unfinished, and/or if you want to continue to pursue them and make them a goal for 2016. Whatever you do not want to take with you into 2016, choose to scratch it and move on.
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