I saw the sign on the wall of a public restroom. The first four words were ‘Please do not flush.” What followed were the items I’d expect to see on such a sign – paper towels, wipes and disposable diapers.
The next line was for something less likely but still very possible: Cell phones. I have a friend who dropped her phone in a public toilet so know this does happen.
I was amused to see we were next told not to flush kittens, puppies and dead goldfish. I’ve heard of flushing goldfish but not in a public restroom. Puppies and kittens – never! The sign had just become interesting enough to keep me reading.
The last items listed were old love letters and hopes and dreams. With a love gone wrong, these could be linked together.
However, it was the last part of this line that resonated with me. I have been tempted to flush away my hopes and dreams.
Sometimes they appeared too big to accomplish. Other times the struggle to reach them seemed overwhelming. Thoughts such as, “Who do I think I am to reach for these dreams?” flooded my mind. Fear of failure washed over me like a tsunami. If I just give up I don’t have to risk failing. In effect, I flush away my dreams so no evidence remains.
I’ve heard it said that people who avoid failure also avoid success. I don’t want to be one of those people so will take the final words on the sign to heart. Hopes and dreams are not to be flushed away.
When you fall into the trap of making excuses, you limit yourself from going after your dreams. “I can’t” is the lie you tell yourself so you don’t have to try.” – Robert Herjavec
One morning, the exercise instructor gave us an unusually difficult workout. She then told us she’d be away for the next three weeks and wanted to make sure we got the most out of this class.
One woman close to me said, “Your goals are not necessarily my goals.” In other words, this particular trainer might be taking three weeks off but the majority of us would carry on exercising with another instructor while she was gone. We didn’t need to work harder because she was taking time off.
Later that day, the words, “Your goals are not necessarily my goals” kept coming back to mind.
I thought of all the times I’ve felt the need to be and do the same as someone else. It wasn’t necessarily what I wanted, but what I felt I had to do to fit in. I wasn’t being true to me.
Just as bad are the times I’ve expected others to keep pace with me and become frustrated when that didn’t happen. They might not have even known or cared what my hopes for them were.
We don’t all have the same aspirations and it is unfair to make those types of comparisons. When we know ourselves well enough to follow our own path, comparisons won’t become stumbling blocks. We are each responsible for our own experience. And that is how it should be.
“If pulled in one direction, the world would keel over.” – Yiddish Proverb
Here we are at the beginning of a brand new year, filled with possibilities. This is a time of anticipation and hope for the future.
I recently read something that asked the thought-provoking question, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?”
If you are having difficulty coming up with an answer to this, it’s been too long!
What better time than now? I’m not talking about making New Year’s resolutions. Over the years I’ve made many of these; some have been successfully achieved and many others have not. All too often they are forgotten in a couple of months or even weeks.
It’s not another resolution I’m referring to here but the opportunity to follow your dreams, goals and passions. They may seem out of reach. Is it crazy to take steps towards something that you can’t be certain of?
I guess that depends if you can be content in your safe, predictable life or if you want more. I’ve discovered by forcing myself to stretch I can reach much more than I thought possible.
I needed to step out of my comfort zone and do something that required a leap of faith. This required suspending my limiting thoughts and believing in the possibilities.
A quote by Mark Batterson (author of The Circle Maker) helped me put this into perspective. “I learned that if you’re not willing to put yourself in ‘this is crazy’ situations, you’ll never experience ‘this is awesome’ moments.
So, call me crazy but I am determined to start this year not with resolutions, but with embracing first time experiences and the possibilities they hold. I hope you will do the same. It’s going to be awesome!
Tentatively I stepped on the scales, hoping to see a lower number. After all, I’d cut out sugar, reduced my portion sizes and been drinking more water so the weight should be dropping off. It had been three whole days of this new regime and I figured the results should be starting to show.
Instead, there was no change. How could that be? Had I resisted the sugary treats for nothing?
It may sound ridiculous that I expected results in just a few short days, but that was my mindset. Since this new eating plan wasn’t giving me the desired results, maybe it wasn’t worth the effort. I could say, “Oh well, I tried” and go back to my old ways.
Something inside of me said I may have been expecting too much, so I didn’t quit. Over the next few weeks, the number on the scales would go down slightly one day and then be up again the next. I was disappointed until I thought about my clothing that wasn’t fitting quite as snugly as it had previously. Come to think of it, I’d had more energy and better focus lately, too.
This was a big lesson in perseverance. The benefit of doing what I knew was right even though it was challenging was not lost on me. I was proud of myself for not quitting when I failed to see instant rewards.
I may not have achieved the results I was looking for, but I did get what I needed. If I can use this as my inspiration to keep moving toward my goals and not let setbacks stop me, I’ll be able to reach much more than I thought possible.
Great works are performed not by strength, but perseverance. Samuel Johnson