Your happiness is your personal responsibility. Nobody else’s. If there’s something you want, it’s up to you to go get it.... Create what you crave.
~ Susan Hyatt
But you look around your life to see that it has been taken over by friendly invaders: Your job. Your adorable kids. Your aging parents.
You love them! Of course you’re going to attend to them.
But here’s the problem: You’ve given away the whole garden to these friendly invaders.
And now it feels impossible to take it back.
I know. I've been there too.
If you know me, you may know that for the past year and half, much of my attention has been devoted to caring for my dear old Mom and Dad as they struggle with life-altering cancer and the not-for-sissies challenges of old age.
It’s one of the most important things I’ll ever do.
But last year when the New Year rolled around, and I would normally be setting my vision and plans for the year, I had nuthin’. Nada.
My vision consisted of escaping for a 20-minute walk. Maybe spending one night a week at home with my sweetheart (I live 1.5 hours from my parents).
Fantasizing about sneaking away to browse at the Kmart in Mom and Dad’s town for half an hour. (Really??? Desperate times indeed.)
And I saw no end in sight.
No hope of gaining momentum any time soon in this work that I love.
No chance of giving my business (and life) the love that it needed. Plus, there was that troublesome sucking sound in my bank account.
In desperation, I grabbed my phone and escaped for that much needed walk (Step 1). I called my dear friend and coaching buddy Wendy (Step 2).
I walked and talked. Wendy listened and empathized. She’d been there too.
And then she said this:
“I’m hearing you say you’re stuck where you are. That you have to be there for your parents and that’s just how it is. But what if you give dreaming a chance?”
See, I had talked myself into believing it was the “right thing” to put dreaming on hold for the people I love. I'll bet you’ve done that too.
And so, I planted my flag. (Step 3)
We’d figure out how to get Mom and Dad cared for, even if it meant hiring help.
But Tuesday nights were for me and my dreams. And you know what happened?
The space around my flag started to grow.
- Since I was going to be home on Tuesday nights, I scheduled coaching clients for Wednesday mornings.
- At lunch, I started looking at pictures of beautiful places where I want to offer workshops one day, even if it’s not this day.
- I started to play with making a fun business plan for the year. And guess what? I’m bringing it to life.
Since that day, many things have conspired for me to do the work I love.
I’ve got my dear siblings to thank for stepping into the gap at some critical moments. I’ve got my parents to thank for soldering on with courage and grace. I’ve got the Universe to thank for this (mostly) stable period for my parents.
But here’s one thing I know for sure.
MY life wouldn’t have shifted one inch if I hadn’t planted my flag.
- Do something today to nurture YOU. Just you. Take a walk. Make a green smoothie. Set a date to browse your favorite bookstore.
- Reach out to someone who will give you and your dream some love. A kind friend. A coach. A memoir of someone who overcame pain and adversity to breathe life into her dreams.
- Plant your Flag. Say "yes" to what makes you happy. Take one step - no matter how tiny - in the direction of your dream. Sign up for a class. Buy your domain. Hire a sitter for 2 hours a week and go shoot photos. Do one thing.
In that one, small act of flag-planting, you declare dominion as the Sovereign Queen (or King) of your life.
Now, watch the space around it grow.
Next week, we’ll talk about planting your flag in the world of work.
P.S. What are you going to do to plant your flag? DECLARE IT in the comments below!