Saturday, January 14, 2012

Life Goals

When I was in high school, a friend introduced me to the writings of Kahlil Gibran.  While his works were published during the first half of the 20th century – his words resonated with me.  And I was a teenager who knew everything.  Some of his aphorisms from Sand and Foam have stuck with me for the last 15 years.  One of my favorites:
“Words are timeless.  You should utter them or write them with a knowledge of their timelessness.” 
Re-reading Sand and Foam now provided me with a different view of his thoughts and opinions.  I was no longer a teenager looking for an intellectual justification for my angst; I am now a “grown-up” and I am hoping to rediscover that which seized me when I was younger.  It seems I am now looking for that next step. What do I want to do?  I am a Mom – but my youngest is 2 and ready to take off and enter the world.  I have been casually looking for a part-time job in the evenings and weekends but there isn’t much around for someone with limited hours.  Beyond that – I want to do something. I want to act on my passions and find a way to support them and spread the word and feel like I am doing my part.  I happen to have some pretty amazing people in my life who have made choices for their lives and gone on to achieve some of their desires.

Work In Progress Gallery in SoHo
My brother-in-law John Carr is an artist.  Like a real artist.  He lives in NYC and designs for work ( and has recently been able to showcase his personal work at the Work In Progress Gallery in SoHo.  He has given us some paintings and drawings and we get to enjoy them in several rooms in our house. 

John has always been creating images and moved to New York 14 years ago to further his passion.  What an incredible feeling it must be to be great at something you love and to be able to do it everyday.  When asked about what steps he has taken to get there, John says, “Setting aside time after work. Staying focused on day to day goals is very important. A seemingly huge goal is much easier to look at when broken up into smaller ones. Accomplishments beget accomplishments, so I try to stay in that "loop" as much as possible.”  While John has encountered the inevitable set backs, he doesn’t believe it is beneficial to look back.  He has drawn on some words to remember to help him continue to reach his goals:  “You get out what you put in. Everything begins with a thought. Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. Just do it. Focus on the positive and let the other stuff be.”  Check out some of John's work at
My Grandma has always been able to pass on some great advice whether it was helping me through an argument with a friend when I was a teenager or helping to understand when Zac was diagnosed with autism.  What I didn’t know about her was that she had gone to college at age 48, and in nine years, while working full time, received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.  It seems like such a huge undertaking – and it was!  But my Grandma knew that it would pay off in the end.  “I got very tired, but never thought about quitting – it just wasn’t an option.  I loved being in classes and found that the faculty preferred nontraditional students (i.e. old ones) because they were more passionate about learning and were determined to get their money’s worth.  My job involved working with students and their children, so being a student myself meant I could relate to them.  I wanted to be a good example.”  She had some serendipitous things happen that helped her achieve her goals and she advises, “I feel it is important to be open to the good things that come along, and to let others know if you have a need, even if they aren’t a logical person to help you – they may have the perfect answer to the problem.”  This is great for many of us who have a hard time sharing our struggles and asking for and accepting help.  

"A year from now you will wish you had started today" - Karen Lamb

My stepdad Richard set a lofty goal when he was in his twenties.  He decided that he wanted to be able to retire by the age of 48.  While he was in the Air Force, his brother Joseph encouraged him to apply for a job with the FAA.  Richard knew that he would be able to retire after 25 years with the FAA and he took extra steps to save money.  “I was determined to reach my goal regardless of obstacles. The largest obstacles I encountered were the air traffic controller’s strike in 1969 and 1981.  On both occasions I ignored extreme peer pressure and refused to go on strike.  I realized to do so would have jeopardized my job with the FAA.  My instincts were correct: several thousand air traffic controllers were fired as a result of the 1981 strike.”  I have learned from Richard that sometimes you have to make tough decisions and sacrifices in the short time in order to reach your long term goals.  He was able to retire a year early at age 47.
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” – Joe Sabah

Karen Whittaker is a Beachbody Coach, Mom, Wife, Blogger . . . the list goes on.  She always has great upbeat posts on Facebook and is one of those women who just seem to have it all together.  When I asked her about goals she passed on some really great tips.  She has set up her home business as a Beachbody Coach and it has taken some adjustments to figuring it all out.  She explains:  “One of the obstacles I've struggled with is trying to do too much. I had too many irons in the fire trying to find what worked for me. Now I've settled on three main components of my business to keep it moving forward successfully, while also building on my reputation for service. I suppose this is a learning experience a lot of people go through and it's best to find these things out for yourself. However, going forward in training people who join my team, I have a six week system, weekly homework for them to learn first, then explore, and then focus. In that way I hope to keep them from getting overwhelmed.  I also struggled with setting my goals too high. I have a busy life. My husband and I have three kids, I have a full time job...I put too much pressure on myself to get to a certain level in a hurry. I am realizing now that slow and steady really does win the race!”  To learn more about Karen and her brilliance check out her blog:  Karen Under Construction and her site

Some sites to check out:  Mindbloom and The Slight Edge

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