Tag Archives: goals

Impossible?

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It always seems impossible … 
until it’s done.


Nelson Mandela

This week I began step one in the plan to launch the nonprofit I’ve been working on. I suppose it’s not really step one because I’ve been doing many things, including mountains of paper work and putting a board together, but this week began a more public launch.  I made the first steps to teach in a community development organization.  It’s important for me to partner with other local nonprofits in order to make mine successful, so this feels like the beginning. My NPO will have a workplace literacy component, so getting back to teaching adult ESL courses is something I’ve been looking forward to. The students are all recent immigrants and, as always, there are a few students that really knock me out. This time it was a couple from a small African country that had been in the U.S. a mere two months and were already a month in to an English language class. Their lives, and that of their two children, have been difficult, yet there was no trace of self-pity. They have been through things that would have crushed most people, yet they are optimistic. They have lost every material possession, yet they are grateful. There is a mix of pain and beauty in their eyes as they struggle with the language.  It moves my heart in ways I can’t describe and makes me so sure that I am moving in the right direction. I am so honored to have the chance to touch their lives.  People, my own age, starting over with nothing but their spirit and determination for something better.  It is humbling, and it should be.

It made me wonder about people I know. People with every opportunity, yet they continue to be angry for all that isn’t handed to them. Instead of working harder, they continue to find fault with everything around them rarely looking at their own hand in the way their lives have turned out. Is it easier to place blame? Well, maybe in the short run.  Is it narcissism that causes some people to blame everyone around them for their own circumstances?  Is it having so very little that causes others to just work that much harder when life is unfair?

It didn’t take long but I’ve learned more than I taught, and I’m sure that nothing is impossible unless you decide it is.

When I let go of what I am, 
I become what I might be.


Lao Tzu

5 Questions to Make Your Dreams Come

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I thought this was great advice….

5 Questions to Make Your Dreams Come True By David Arenson

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs

Perhaps you feel stuck in a situation. Instead of seeing the situation as a learning point, or stimulus for making a change, you feel stuck in the perceived drama of it. 
If a relationship or job ends, it is not the end of the world even though it may feel that way. Some of our greatest leaders have suffered spectacular failures.
We often learn the most from overcoming adversity. Most people know this consciously, yet still feel that the world has ended when they experience a big change.
Most people who consult with me seek increased happiness or more fulfillment. Some have achieved financial wealth, yet yearn for spiritual wealth. Some do yoga but can’t seem to get ahead in their careers. Some already have it so good that they forget to be grateful.
How can your life become truly extraordinary? Ask better questions!
Here are 5 quality questions that will kickstart you on the path to achieving your dreams:
1. What do I dream of doing and how can I be paid to do it?
 
Another way to ask yourself this is: If money, time, health, etc. were not a factor, what would I love to do with my life?
If I could magically transport myself ahead 10 years from now, and look down upon this moment, what advice would I give to myself? How will I turn this around into an opportunity for realizing my goals?  
How will this make the world a better place? What can I do to be of service (for others and ultimately for all humanity)?
2. What is the ONE action step I can take today to get me closer to achieving my dreams?
 
Take action on your dreams.
 
3. How can I learn from this?
What did I do that was an effective strategy-how can I make it even better? Was there something that didn’t work so well, and if so, what did I learn from it? How will this help me improve myself? 
How have I handled challenges in the past? What solutions could I program for myself that will prepare me to face similar challenges in the future?
 
4. When will I start taking complete responsibility for everything that happens in my life?
 
Start realizing that this is not a dress rehearsal. If you’re not learning and improving yourself by taking responsibility for everything you have in your life, then your dreams may stay fantasy.
 
5. What am I truly grateful for?
Enjoy the moments you have. Quality time is taking the time to find out what you enjoy, know yourself better, and bringing that awareness into your life.
It’s extraordinary what magic will start to happen when you open your heart through gratitude.
photo via Steve Jobs
 

To write, write(s), wrote, written, writing

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I don’t care who you are. When you sit down to write the first page of your screenplay, in your head, you’re also writing your Oscar acceptance speech.
Nora Ephron

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thewritersworkshop.net

 I have a book in my head and my goal is to write enough to attend a workshop at the Fine Arts Workshop Center In Provincetown in the summer of 2013. Now this may not sound like an insurmountable task unless, of course, one has not written a single word. Then it becomes a little more difficult. 

When I was teaching I was lucky enough to have my class conduct a Skype interview with award winning children’s book author Linda Sue Park who wrote an incredible book,  A Long Walk to Water, that we had read in classOne of my students, who has a severe language based learning disability, intends to become an author and asked a great question. He wanted to know if she ever had writer’s block and what she did about it. Of course like everyone that writes she agreed that not being able to do so on occasion was quite disturbing and then related a story of a friend of hers, also an award winning novelist, who writes for 15 minutes a day, every day. She limits her time this way and rarely experiences writer’s block. My thoughts were that she must be a furious typist but I thought is seemed do-able. So, I promised myself I’d spend 15 minutes a day writing, every day, no excuses. That never happened, except for blogging which wasn’t supposed to count for that 15 minutes, until today. A full page is out of my head and saved on to the computer. I’m sure I’ll edit the crap out of it, figuratively and literally, but I like it. I can feel it when I read it it. Now that I’ve told all of you I suppose I’ll need to follow through too. 

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.
Benjamin Franklin

Delicious ambiguity

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You cannot have a happy ending to a miserable journey.

Abraham-Hicks 

Many of you who have followed my blog over the last few months (have I said thank you recently for that?) have watched me torture myself with the decision of whether to stay at my job as a special education teacher or to dive into a new business in a full-time capacity. The business has already been started and the nonprofit component is waiting in the wings for some attention from me. I can work part time at the business until I’m ready to leave my job or I can just run head long into a new life. Part of the dilemma is that I love the kids that I teach. Until you are a part of teaching a child no one thought would read, to read, or giving a student the confidence to raise his or her hand in class and believe they can add value to a conversation, you can’t imagine how rewarding this path can be. Unfortunately, because of the legal requirements of the special education system I spend about 85% of my time in meetings, writing IEPs, and answering emails from parents who have no faith in the educational system or dare I say have no boundaries’. I pass my lessons on to a tutor who has the joy of teaching it, often not in a way I’d do it myself. This all adds up to an enormous amount of stress and it’s taken a toll on my health and my personal life. I keep asking “is it worth it?” Of course any sensible person would say “no.” Then I get a card in the mail from a student thanking me for my dedication, or telling me they will visit me every day next year. Then there are the students that do come to visit and I get the chance to watch them turn into adults, and know that I was a part of making them understand that their disability is both a blessing and a curse. The fact that they struggle is difficult but as with any difficulty they have the opportunity to let that hardship turn them into people that know how to press on, to work through what would stop a weaker person. They also see the world a little differently and all of the most influential people in history have seen the world in a different way. That’s where we get the innovative thinking that changes the world. Oh, you can see I could go on and on about these wonderful people I’ve had the chance to know. I have been blessed, but it may be time to move on.

Then there’s the stress, which is incredible, and I have to be honest; it’s over-shadowing the good parts. Turning 50 this year, and watching so many people around me stricken down by illness, or worse yet die far too early, causes me to worry about how the stress is impacting my health.  I found the information below in a Huffington Post article but you could find the same in a thousand articles. It has become common knowledge that stress kills.

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University found that feeling stressed is linked with a decreased inflammatory response regulation. Their research was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

 “The immune system’s ability to regulate inflammation predicts who will develop a cold, but more importantly it provides an explanation of how stress can promote disease,” study researcher Sheldon Cohen, of Carnegie Mellon, said in a statement. “When under stress, cells of the immune system are unable to respond to hormonal control, and consequently, produce levels of inflammation that promote disease. Because inflammation plays a role in many diseases such as cardiovascular, asthma and autoimmune disorders, this model suggests why stress impacts them as well.”

So, I have given myself this weekend to decide what I will do. I think I already know what I’m going to do and having flipped a coin as another blogger suggested confirmed it, but I keep waiting for that moment when I’ll be 100%. Maybe we’re never 100% on anything. Maybe it’s just about following your gut and watching what unfolds.

Thanks for reading. I truly appreciate the support and the friendship I have found here.

Some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.

Gilda Radner

What do you want now?

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“You can’t ask for what you want unless you know what it is. A lot of people don’t know what they want or they want much less than they deserve. First you have figure out what you want. Second, you have to decide that you deserve it. Third, you have to believe you can get it. And, fourth, you have to have the guts to ask for it.”- Barbara De Angelis

How many of us really know what we want? Do you have a clear picture? Do you know you deserve it? Do you believe you can have it? Well then, go ahead, ask for it! Seriously…louder…there ya go! Keep asking until you get it.

I can teach anybody how to get what they want out of life.  The problem is that I can’t find anybody who can tell me what they want.  ~Mark Twain

Tenacity

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“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan, ‘press on’ has solved, and always will solve, the problems of the human race.”
Calvin Coolidge

Nothing impresses me more than a person with a goal and who is unwilling to give up. As a special education teacher I think my role, more than anything, has been to try and instill the belief that given enough hard work anything is possible. Watching the revelation that a student is capable of achieving a goal that they didn’t initially believe they could accomplish has been the joy of this job. Having been any part of making that happen for someone has been an absolute blessing in my life.

I think that is what makes moving on to something new so difficult. I have made my mind up, but can’t seem to give my resignation. Then, I remind myself that I have something just as important to accomplish in this new role. I thought when I decided to teach that I would be teaching. Seems like something easily assumed, right? But instead I find I spend most of my days responding to emails, testing, writing reports and in meetings. Often, I’m forced to hand over my lessons and ideas to a tutor who then teaches my class. It has actually become a treat to be able to interact with the students. Enough! But still I can’t seem to resign. I do love the students and I enjoy my role in lives but that isn’t enough anymore.

My hope for this new chapter is that I’m able to instill that knowledge that anything is possible given enough tenacity and persistence. I may even need the occassional reminder of that myself!  I hope that if I can offer support and also believe enough in someone at the right time, that they may be able to truly believe in themselves. That is the part of this job that has made me come in every morning and if I can recreate that I’m sure I will again feel just as blessed.

Good luck is another name for tenacity of purpose.” Ralph Waldo Emerson