Earlier this week I read a fantastic little article on a blog I follow called Leadership Freak. The article (which can be found here: http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/how-to-stop-drifting-and-find-focus/) was about how to stop drifting and find my focus.
I’ve been accused of being a drifter, and I readily confess. Now before I go beating myself up, I’d like to acknowledge some of the positive qualities of being a drifter:
- Drifters are flexible.
- Drifters are not afraid to take risks, because they are open to changing course if things don’t work out.
- Drifters let go easily; they don’t waste their time banging their heads against walls that won’t budge.
- Drifters are open-minded and willing to listen.
- Drifters live in the present and don’t get as hung up on worries about the future.
- Drifters are in tune with their intuition and let their gut guide them.
The great thing about being a drifter is that I’ve learned how to “go with the flow.” Being a drifter has tempered my controlling tendencies, and I’ve found I’m much more willing to listen to the guidance of other people and the promptings of the Holy Spirit than I might otherwise be. I’m also willing to stay in an uncomfortable work or relationship situation, at least for the short term, because my “short term mentality” assures me I won’t have to stay in there forever before the winds of change whisk me off to new and better circumstances.
This approach has worked for me for as long as I can remember. I’ve been blessed to find jobs that suited me and relationships that prompted my growth. But lately I’m beginning to see how the drifter mentality is keeping me stuck, too. I feel as though I have no direction, no goals, no focus. That’s probably because I don’t have direction, goals, or focus. Instead, I have lists of short-term tasks that need to be accomplished in order to survive. Survival is a great short term focus, but it’s time to strive toward thriving.
List-keeping is a skill I’ve developed to help me cope with my short-term, drifter mentality. I realize this is something I can apply in developing a long-term, focused mentality, too. Setting goals is a very new thing for me, so I’m going to start small. I’m going to have a few daily goals, a few weekly goals, a few monthly goals, and a few annual goals. I’m not going to think any further than next year. Baby steps for this drifter.
I need to spend a little time thinking about what those goals are, and I need to write them down in a place where I will be reminded of them every day. To that end, I’m creating some really cute “dry erase boards” to hang in my office. I went to the Goodwill Store and bought several pictures in decorative frames. I spent maybe $10. I brought them home, popped the pictures out, and painted the frames white. I found various sheets of scrapbook paper at Michael’s to put behind the glass. I may make some labels for each one (today, this week, this month, this year). I expect the project to cost me no more than $15-20 total. I can’t wait to finish and hang them on my wall!
That’s my “outer work.” My inner work is actually setting the goals themselves. I’m sure the internet is just teeming with blog posts about how to set realistic goals. Here’s my strategy for this year; set one realistic and reachable goal for each area of my life. I don’t want to set them too low; I want these goals top stretch me, but not until I snap. I’m setting them just a step or two on the other side of my comfort zone. Heck, just setting goals is a step outside my comfort zone! The areas I’m going to focus on are: work, physical health, kids, relationships, time management, home, spirituality, and creativity. Please let me know if you think I’m missing something!
I’ll report back when I’ve made some progress on my inner and outer goal setting work.