As I mentioned in my August Shareable Moments, in September I turned the big 4-0. I’ve been reflecting on this, stewing really, during a rather tumultuous month at work. It made me wonder, am I on the right course…?
In 2007, I took part in a leadership program at work, and ironically, I was asked to write a blog to inform others about myself. This was way before the idea of a blog, or a neighborly life, existed. This was before the idea that creative writing was an allowable mental indulgence. I was always told that English and writing wasn’t my thing. I was an introverted math wiz… a technical accountant. I was told those skills don’t mix with creativity. Frankly, that’s probably why as said (below) I wasn’t a reader. That was almost 10 years ago.
In the last 10 years, I’ve explored those things that both challenged and yet strengthened me. I’ve dreamed, I’ve set goals, and for the most part, I’ve accomplished what I’ve set out to do. I’ve even experienced some things I never would have even imagined were possible. I’ve discovered what drives me: I love to speak. I love to teach. I love to travel. I love to cook. I like to write. I even like to read at times. Not all these things come naturally to me, but when I do them, I feel Stronger. Happier. These are my sails.
Having just crossed over the hill to 40 years old, I look back and think how prophetic this blog entry was. In these past 10 years, I have taken risks. I have stepped outside my own comfort zone. I have mastered those things that once scared me. I have discovered me. The wind is now at my back, pushing me ever forward. The winds around me may shift, but I adjust my sails, and stay true to me. I allow those things that make me stronger and happier drive my direction. And because of that, I have no regrets.
As I look at the horizon ahead, and chart my next moves, it is my sails that will guide me, and no more will I let the current push me from my intended course. So, am I on the right course? I say there is no “right” course, only the course that your sails take you in. What I can tell you is that where I am now is not where I will be tomorrow, and I look forward to the adventure tomorrow has to offer.
How to be Neighborly: Stay true to you.
(2007 Blog Entry) While out shopping this weekend, I stumbled upon a decorative sign for my house. I have lots of these cutesy things in my home, most are French, explaining to my guests the purpose of each room- salle de bain, boudoir, etc. Cute, but not all that important. My guests know where the bathroom and bedrooms are.
This sign was different; it was more about what could be then what it is. It reads:
Explore. Dream. Discover.
Now, I’m not a well-read person. Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain, was the last book I’ve read of any importance, other than my cookbooks. Before that it was Harry Potter. So, I had to look up where this came from (thank goodness for Google…), and found this:
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
Funny, beautiful as they are, I didn’t even have to read the first five lines to feel the importance of those last three words. While they are simple words, I connect with them. I live by them. Take public speaking, for example, one of the many human fears. I was too shy to talk to people one on one much less a whole room full of people. I had a self awareness of total incompetence, and it bothered me. So I did what I feared, I asked to facilitate for [my Company]. You know what? I was OK. And the next time, I got better. Now I do it all the time, and I’ve come to discover that I’ve become good at it. Just the other day, someone complimented me on one of my presentations, and asked, “How do you do it? I’m so nervous when I speak in front of a group.” I thanked her, and we chatted about the things I’ve learned. Hopefully that helped in her journey, but ultimately accomplishing our goals is our own experience.
Why shouldn’t we all live by these words? These words don’t have to mean a physical journey; it’s just the accomplishment of your dreams, goals, or even overcoming your fears. Could you fail? Maybe, but isn’t that better than not trying?
So go ahead. Explore. Dream. Discover. If we don’t, then what are we living for?
(Yes, the sign is still in my house. The new (old) French one.)