Somewhere between October 2019 & now I realized we’d just been coasting through the last couple years. Coasting in our business, in our finances, in our home life & in our dream life. Nothing was necessarily wrong, except there was minimal dream growth in any of these areas. It was as if we were sleeping & doing the things that we needed to do just to get by. And let me tell you one of the greatest discouragements in life, at least for me, is when I am standing in the exact same place I was the year before. That pain is unreal! Now don’t get me wrong there has been some really great internal growths overall which can often be better than outward growth & we tried really hard to make advancements in a lot of the above areas, but the truth is we lacked the discipline & drive to keep moving forward.
I am not sure what prompted the wake-up moment in my life exactly. It could have been a meeting I had with a dear photographer friend & hearing all that her & her husband are doing to push their business forward. Or it could have been the great realization that we’ve all been gifted with things we are suppose to do in this life & it was up to me to make them happen, not leave it up to chance. Sometimes the pain of no progress over and over again makes you realize something just has to change.
With all this contemplation, I began to do some deep soul searching & real evaluation to my problem. A friend of mine texted me & shared how she struggles with procrastination. Me, a fixer by nature, decided to investigate all the reasons why people procrastinate. I seriously love knowing why people tick the way they do. In my research I discovered most of us live for the now. We like instant gratification. We’ll avoid, like the plague, any and everything that requires pain. So instead of saving those extra few dollars it feels so much better to spend the money on what we want now. Or instead of taking the few moments to work on something that can drive us forward we sit on social media & waste precious moments. Don’t get me wrong we all need down-time moments, but when we are living constantly for instant gratification we could be missing out on the dreams that are so graciously living inside of us.
This realization caused me to have a come to Jesus meeting with Jake, my husband. I mean a straight come to Jesus meeting. We’d had these conversations before, but they never met any lasting change. Something was different about this conversation. I think it was just that I was exhausted of meeting the pain of a procrastinated life. It’s one of the most painful things to watch others get the victory you really want. It’s painful to realize they were disciplined & you just have not been. Pain can cause us to do crazy things. It can instruct us to grow in positive ways, but if left un-dealt with it can rob us of precious years because what most of us do is suppress it & numb it, so we don’t feel it & just fall back asleep & just keep coasting, until the next time we slightly arise & realize we are in the exact same spot. This becomes a painful cycle.
Thankfully, I had this aha moment. Thankfully! So Jake & I sat down & started etching out what we wanted each piece of our lives to look like. From our home life, to our business life, to our relationships, to the things we are dreaming about but don’t quite have a release to move forward in just yet and every other thing in between. It seemed overwhelming at first. But we started with simple goals. For example, we want to be completely debt free & pay off our mortgage in 10-12 years. We honestly don’t have a lot of debt, but our spending is ridiculous. Like ridiculous. Some years we’re like where did all that money go? So a simple goal we now have is to debt snowball our 3 debts (one recently added because Jake FINALLY got a new car). The debt snowball will move us forward into paying our mortgage off sooner. So this year we will pay off one debt & roll it on to another. Pretty simple. We don’t want to over do it and try to pay them all off super fast because steady plodding in life gets the best results. And we don’t want to be discouraged & give up all together.
Another area is mentoring. We’ve challenged each other to find mentors & also be mentoring others. For me, I have a very widely stretched life. Meaning I run this full-time wedding photography business, homeschool my son, have to wife, mother, we volunteer at our church a little, and run a Marriage Enrichment group in our home. So in order for me to mentor others I have to keep my numbers on this a little lower because my time is already so stretched & what is left over is so valuable. So my goal is to mentor 1-2 people this year. Again slow & steady. Jake can do more. If I decided to just wing this and pour into everyone that I had the desire to, I’d burn myself out really quickly.
I also chose the friendships I want to intentional about pouring into, that way I am growing the exact ones I am suppose to on purpose & not wasting my energies. Obviously, if the door opens for a new friendship I’m not going to be closed minded.
In the area of our marriage we chose a few goals for us to work on. Some are personal & some we want to just be more diligent in doing. Like praying together consistently, doing bible studies together & even just dreaming intentionally together. We actually put these things on the calendar so they aren’t forgotten & we are moving toward them. This blog post is one of my goals on my vision board & I’ve written three blog posts today. Nothing beats sitting in an airport.
I am sharing all these personal things with you in hopes to inspire you to do the same for your life. You have the power to choose what your life looks like. If its something as simple as reaching out to more people. Just make a plan to get this done. I’ve heard people say I just don’t have the time. I’ve said it! But I promise if you take the time to plan it out & become intentional about how to do things you want to do you can make time for them. Maybe not all at once, but be strategic & chomp away a little at a time. Again, steady plodding. And you may have to get creative. For example, I have 58 people on my list of people to connect with each week. I wanted to get my wedding clients on this list this year. Its important for me that client relationship is at the top of our business experience. I’ve noticed I’ve been slacking on this big time & wanted to improve it. I wasn’t sure if I could weight that amount of people to my texting each week & in reality I had to think how I was going to do this strategically. I don’t believe in being on your phone all day. So, I decided if I could take a few minutes each day to text 12 people I could get this done in 5 days. And I’d probably only need 10-15 minutes a day to do it. Not too bad if you break it down. Our clients can see that I care about them, I get to feel more connected with them & I am honoring what we sell to our clients, “relationship!” You’ve heard the saying, “in the end people don’t care about how much you know, they want to know how much you care.” Each client must be that important to us. I want to know their life & their story & not just show up on their wedding day.
What we did is took the categories of our life such as: Business, Finances, Kid Life, Home Life, Our Marriage Relationship, Serving/Involvement in Our Church, Our Future Church & Our Personal Lives. Then we wrote out what we hope to accomplish in each of these areas this year. We asked ourselves what growth we both wanted to see in some of these areas. We did this individually & then combined notes. Surprisingly, we both hoped for most of the same things. Then we put action steps to these goals. Some of those action steps required me to be intentional about putting it on my calendar weekly or quarterly, so I won’t forget them.
The Reward Is Worth It I Promise!!!
I read something so inspiring the other day it said, “The reality is you can’t be committed to the dream & attain it. You have to be committed to the process of putting your dream into practice.” -T.D. Jakes
That is so powerful. It’s not actually getting the dream on the paper that counts. It can still go nowhere & that is discouraging. Every year I’ve lived there. It requires what I’ve chosen for my year word, “discipline!” It requires action steps & being intentional about those action steps. When faced with procrastination pushing yourself anyways. Whew! The minute my mind tells me to do it later I’m learning to cue the alarms & push myself to do it now.
I am learning that the reward is worth it. Its painful to do sometimes, but after its done the pain isn’t there anymore, just a sweet sense that I’ve moved toward something I promised myself I’d do. I’ve moved toward building something that was in my heart. Its fulfilling to say the least.
After reading this incredibly long blog post, we hope that you will be inspired to do the same. Write a vision board for your life and then put discipline into action & watch your life be so different at the end of the year.
To all the people who secretly inspired me to wake up to some things, thank you! Let’s see all the good things we grow in in 2020!