Work in Progress

As I’ve been looking back over my last set of posts, I realized that I’ve been sharing a lot about personal lessons learned. It hit me that this makes me seem like I have it all together.  Not so!  Like most of us, there are lessons that I still need to learn and that I “go to school” on each day. I love the concept of growth mindset – the theory is that we all have the capacity to continue to grow and learn, no matter our age or situation. A big part of the theory is adding ‘yet’ to the end of each sentence.  I’m not good at ___ yet.  I don’t have the success I want at ____ yet.  Do you see how that changes the possibilities?

Conversely, I am not a big fan of New Years resolutions but … it is the time of year that we start thinking about – out with the old and in with the new.  So, rather than resolutions, I thought I’d share my journey, what lessons am I currently learning, what I haven’t done yet and what I continue to need to work on.

Listening – Really listening; to tone, body language, feelings … without distraction and without thinking of what I am going to say next.  This is the hardest at home, especially with Tom.  We are in such close proximity with each other, for so long, that its easy to get lulled into thinking I know what he’s going to say or (worse) what he’s thinking.  He continues to surprise me and I need to get better at really listening to him.

Being vs doing – We are human beings, not human doings.  I am a very very good doer, I want to get better at just being.  If I’m being honest with myself, I am jealous of the dog. Nikki is all about being. She enjoys a warm spot on the floor, in the sun. She LOVES fresh snow and goes absolutely bonkers to just run through the snow unleashed. Nothing is accomplished by this other than pure joy.

Being present – I think this is at the core of the above challenges but … with 4 kids, a husband and a dog, its easy to move from one thing to another without thinking, on auto pilot. I want to take more notice of my surroundings; people, nature, music, food…  Now that I’m the family chauffeur, I need to be more aware of the invaluable car time I get with the kids.  Perfect opportunity to connect with them on a micro level with whats happening in their lives.  And, with all my driving lately, I was able to see 2 sun dogs last week.  NEVER would have gotten that experience at work behind my desk.

Say “yes” – Especially as a parent, my 1st inclination is usually ‘no’.  Why not ‘yes’?!  Whats the harm in saying ‘yes’ more?  The kids are past the point of unconditional spoiling, we have laid a ground work of strong values and now … they need to make their own mistakes and have their own learnings. How can they do that if I’m always saying no?  Plus, I suspect it’ll be a lot more fun around here if I say yes more frequently.

How will I do this?  One tiny baby step at a time. In past years I have challenged myself by taking drum lessons for a year in Cananda (fulfilling a long lost desire to be a drummer in 7th grade), taking up a bit jogging on my morning walks (not my favorite endeavor but proud that I worked through it), committing to riding my bike more (rode in November this year!) and having a book constantly in progress of being read (just finished the new Lee Child Reacher book but my favorite this year was All the Light We Cannot See).  (What a minute?! These all sound an awful lot like doing not being, yikes!! I have a lot of work to do…)

This year, this post is my 1st baby step. You keeping me accountable is my 2nd.  Other baby steps I’m considering and ideas I need to noodle on …

  • Giving myself permission for a nap, or to watch ridiculously stupid TV shows
  • Turning off my phone in the car so that I’m really with my kids
  • Putting down my phone and listening to Tom at the end of each day
  • Looking for reasons to say ‘yes’ to the kids – ice cream runs, one more TV show, quick stops at Starbucks

And, in typical universal serendipity, my friend Michael Sunnarborg posted this as a great reminder today….

What are you working on? What’s your “yet” statement?  Whats your work in progress as we move through the holiday season and into the new year?