“Holding Tight while Letting Go”

I picked up “Live What You Love” by Bob and Melinda Blanchard to read yesterday morning. It was a random selection, something I do occasionally when I’m in between purposeful readings. The process: I stand in front of my bookcases and scan titles until the book I am meant to read jumps out at me. This book is orange. I don’t remember buying it, which is often the case – one of many impulsive book buys in my life. Trusting the Why will be revealed, I buy the books that speak to me. I don’t always read them until years later.I love the moment I understand the Why. This morning it was clear.

Timothy left for Utah last night and my heart is crying a steady stream of sadness, a whole body feeling that weighs you down from the inside. The outside can smile and express how excited you are for him. You can imagine his adventure and beam with pride at the young man you’ve raised. You can know with certainty that you have done a good job and prepared him well. You can know without a doubt that he will be better than okay – he will grow in so many ways. You can feel all of that incredible, positive, exciting stuff and still your heart will cry. Inwardly, knowing how much you’ll miss his smile, his laugh, his hugs, his sarcastic wit, and insatiable thirst for life.

You’ll feel like you should have paid more attention along the way. You should have realized the day he first left he wasn’t coming back. When was that day? It feels like it was the first day of Children’s House. He was three. I didn’t want to take him. It feels like it started then, his pull to leave – my pull to hold on.

Maybe I did pay attention but I didn’t listen. Maybe I’ve known for twenty years that he would leave me. My gut trying to tell me all those years ago, “Get ready. This one is going places. Prepare yourself. This one will love you fiercely but he’s gonna need you to love him enough to let him go.”

That is the Why of this book. As I read “Live What You Love”, I’m reminded of exactly what this child of mine is doing at this moment. He is living the life he loves, stepping bravely out there into his dream and I am blessed to be the mom who witnesses it. It is my honor to be the mom who encouraged the boy to draw geometric designs for hours and days and to love Frank Lloyd Wright to the point of obsession. Something inside me planted within him a seed that has grown into a passion for architecture and a spirit of adventure.

How lucky am I to be the mom who for years watched the passion he felt each time his foot touched the soccer ball, his enthusiasm and energy filling the space, allowing me to feel the excitement vicariously through him, that moment when his body, full of adrenaline pushed itself to be all that it could be. Now, that same young man has found a new passion for the outdoors and he’s moving to Utah to hike and explore a place he has grown to love with the girl he has chosen to share his life with. How lucky am I to be the mom of this young man?

So I’ll let my heart cry as long and as often as it feels the need. After all, I will miss him. But I will feel gratitude for all that this next adventure is with this boy of mine. Together we are growing as I learn to hold tight and let go in one grace-filled movement.


How lucky am I to have something that makes saying good-bye so hard.

Course Correction – where are those goals?

Course Correction – where are those goals?

As I write this, it is February 4th and we are 35 days into this new year. If you’re one of those who set goals for 2016 and actually wrote them down somewhere, then you are one of a small percentage of the population who accomplished this task. Most of us will make resolutions. We’ll promise to make changes, to eat healthier, to exercise, to spend more time with our children, to stop and smell the roses. But few of us will take the time to create specific definable goals. A Harvard study revealed that 83% of the population have no goals at all. Only 14% of us even have a plan in mind for how we want our life to go. Even fewer still will write any of this down on paper. Just 3% of us will take pen to paper. So if you are one of those who wrote your goals down, give yourself a pat on the back. You are the ones I want to talk to today.

Those goals that you took the time to think about and write down just a few weeks ago, where are they now? Sure, a few of you will pull an index card out of your pocket or refer to a page taped to your bathroom mirror. Some of you will have a journal, a day planner, or a notebook. But the majority of you have a quizzical look on your face right now because you can’t remember exactly what you did with that sheet of paper. For that matter, you’re a little bit foggy as to what those goals you wrote were even about.

Don’t feel bad. Although I don’t have a Harvard study to back me up, my gut tells me that you are not alone. In fact, based on my small circle, I’m gonna bet that you are in the majority of the minority. If I had to guess, I would say that only 3% of the 3% write their goals, develop a plan to achieve their goals, and then successfully track their goals. And that is why approximately 92% of the goals we set will fail within two weeks of setting them.

Goals that are written down and never checked are only slightly better than no goals at all. Writing goals gives us a target, a vision for where we want to go but tracking our goals helps to keep us on the right path and moving closer to our target. I once heard goal setting compared to a sailing ship. The captain might have a destination in mind for his voyage but if he fails to track the progress of his journey, he will sail aimlessly around most likely never reaching his targeted destination.

Don’t be discouraged. It is never too late to get back on course. Unless of course, you’re the captain of that ship and you’ve run out of provisions and your crew has died or the ship has sunk…but I digress.

So how do we get back on track? First, find that sheet of paper where you wrote down your goals. Re-word your goals if necessary to insure they are S.M.A.R.T goals. By this I mean:

S – Specific – Your goals must be as specific as you can possibly make them.

  • Bad: Write a book.
  • Good: Write a book proposal for “Nanny’s Wisdom.”

M – Measurable – Remember, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” As much as possible, quantify the result.

  • Bad: Save more money this year.
  • Good: Put 10% of each paycheck into a savings account.

A – Actionable – Start each goal with an “action” verb (run, eliminate, create) rather than a “to be” verb (have, be, am).

  • Bad: Be more consistent with yoga practice.
  • Good: Attend 3 or more yoga classes each week.

R – Realistic – This one is a bit tricky. Your goals should stretch you. If you aren’t stepping out of your comfort zone then you aren’t growing. Said another way, “if your goals don’t scare you, then they aren’t big enough.”

  • Bad: Write a best-selling novel.
  • Good: Submit a book proposal.

T – Time bound – Every goal needs a date associated with it. A goal without a date is just a dream.

  • Bad: Learn to use Quickbooks.
  • Good: Learn to use Quickbooks by March 31st.

Okay, now that you have written smart goals, you need to break these goals down into manageable and achievable actions. You are creating a road map that will help you get to your desired destination, ie. your goal. This time you are going to keep your goals in front of you. You’re going to refer to them often. I recommend that you read over your goals every morning. This is the secret sauce that turns dreams into reality. Thoughts become things. Read over your goals and visualize what you will feel like when you have achieved each one. Don’t rush this part. Give yourself time to reflect on each goal. Express gratitude for this part of your day and for the freedom to set goals for your life.

Track your progress along the way. Give yourself credit for even the smallest step towards your goal. My favorite definition of success is “steady progress toward a worthwhile goal.” Celebrate yourself on this journey. Ultimately, the journey itself will change you, if only you pay attention. You are a member of an elite group of goal setters. The few who strive to be, as Zig Ziglar liked to say, “meaningful specifics and not wandering generalities.” Congratulations for that.

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