They say that time flies when you're having fun and that times goes by in the blink of an eye as you get older. Yet, here I am feeling like this year has been stretched to the limits of space-time like an infinite band of taffy. As we hurtled through the end of 2013, I turned for a moment to gaze back at the distance I'd traveled. Much to my surprise, I couldn't even see the start. I simply cannot believe so much has been done in so little time. It reminds me of this study regarding the illusion of time passing quicker as we age and that concept relating to the decline in learning new things as adults. Clearly, this year has been proof of slowing time down by becoming a student of life again! This year, has been so long, I hardly recognize the person that nervously toed the line on January 1st. When this year began I was hopeful, intimidated, lacking confidence but sick and tired enough to start making changes, and being wildly dragged along by the beautiful but wild team of horses that is BMK. As usual, where I thought I was going, and where I ended up going were two different ways, and I've learned over the past 365 days to let go or be dragged.
The biggest lessons I've learned this year?
1.) Dream BIGGER
Our biggest goal for 2014 was to either find our own space or find space in a newer/better kitchen. December 30th we received an offer, December 31st at 9am we had a meeting to finalize the details and by 10:30 am we were at U-Haul renting a truck and with the help of our amazing guys moved our entire kitchen by 7pm New Year's Eve.
That left us sitting at home laughing at ourselves and stretching tired backs wondering, "What now, 2014?!" Clearly, we need to level up our dream content! Like any habit, it strengthens with practice and one thing we've practiced a LOT this year is growing and doing what scares us. In the beginning of the year, claiming my independence from my office job was absolutely terrifying. Now, it's small potatoes compared to what's next. And the best part is that we've done so much that we didn't know how to do, that making big leaps is no longer that scary. Last year, it would have taken a lot of deliberation and stress to decide which road to take - this year, we are so firmly rooted in our path that we made the decision simultaneously and immediately. Yes, this is the way to go!
Not used to seeing your dreams come true? Commit to them. Sail to a new land, burn your boat. Take the safety net away. Take steps forward. Take bigger steps. Watch the creation of your new world!
2.) Build a community
Don't know how to do something? Ask someone who does, or who might know someone who does. There is only so much time in a day, and only so much energy you have before you fall flat on your face. I'm used to working alone and doing all the work, so I've learned to delegate and share and pass things off to those who are better at them than I am. An honest evaluation of yourself and your community can yield tremendous results. Many things that I'm not good at, Adam excels at, and vice versa. There's still a handful of things that we both are decent at, but take too much of our time, and we've tapped into our community to find people who really shine at public relations, web design (coming soon!), business advice, and more!
Recruiting your community to be an active part of building your dream makes sense and spreads out the excitement & experience of a new venture to reach more people. It's exciting to work on a new project, and the more involved people are, the more they want to share their pride in what they do. And then we have more time to do what we're really good at!
3.) Start NOW
There is no someday. You may never make enough for your nest-egg. You may not reach retirement. There may never be a "right time". How long are you going to wait? How long before the frustration of living a life that doesn't satisfy you outweighs the fear of starting something new?! Don't know how to do something? Think you're not qualified? Don't have a savings? So what!?
If you are passionate enough, and if you are driven enough and if you are sick and tired of the same-old routine enough, and if you're willing to work hard enough...you will succeed. And you don't need a fancy certificate or years of experience to begin building your new path. The #1 thing it took for us to get here? A mixture of faith & balls. That's it. Dreams aren't always built on a careful collection of dollars, details, degrees and time. I think at the heart of successful entrepreneurs there's a daredevil spark that wills one to step off the edge and trust that a bridge will appear and to take grand leaps laughing into the starlight, merely praying that you'll reach the next branch.
The only way you will ever reach your goals is to start now. Thinking about it, what-iffing about it, worrying about it and talking about it will get you nowhere.
4.) Get on Track
"I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright." ~ Thoreau
Throughout my life there have been times where I felt lost, like I was skittering all over the road map of my life wildly careening about searching for something. As I've grown older & wiser, I've realized that there are things that pull me into those wild spins - addictions, not sleeping enough, poor eating, alcohol, emotional vampires, unhappy relationships, debt, not exercising enough. Those activities and people that create excessive emotions and exhaustion only serve as one thing - a distraction. The first thing I did when I realized I was truly, honestly, fully sick of being on the hamster wheel of life was to quit drinking entirely, change my diet, get rest, start triathlon training, and withdraw from all relationships that either weren't happy, inspiring or were full of chaos and arguments. I recall waking up each morning, feeling fresh, clear and at peace. I realized that I could handle anything that came my way and slowly started to realize the possibilities in my life.
As time went by, both Adam and I noticed a pattern in our lives. As we changed the circumstances in our lives to make the living easy (just by taking care of our basic needs - eating right, sleeping enough, consuming very limited alcohol, exercising plenty, and surrounding ourselves with positive, uplifting people), the right opportunities kept showing up. Each time we stood up in life, faced the unknown and said, "Okay, Universe! We're going to go THIS WAY!" a few things would happen that made the process easier. Like a tiny red carpet being rolled out to say, "Yes, you're right! This is the way!" The more we yield to the "subtle magnetism in Nature", the more people we meet who exponentially rock our world, the more ideas come to fruit, the more opportunity knocks until we are no longer straining to hear a single whisper of knuckles on our door, but we've grown accustomed to the steady drum beat of choices and chances we can take at any time.
Now, I'm not saying that everyone needs to try it this way, but we spent a lot of time mulling our lives over having wonderful conversations over a glass (or three) of wine and we woke up feeling even worse and going nowhere. Alcohol, high-drama relationships, television, lack of sleep - these are all things that will take precious energy away from actually being able to do something.
I wrote about this here, but it is an underlying principle of our lives. You are a complicated piece of work - all the atoms and molecules and nuerons and tendons and bones and fibers that make up your single human body, all of the memories, thoughts, dreams and ideas that shape your mind, and all of the stardust from the very creation of the universe that make up YOU. Don't be one of the average Americans who spends 3 1/2 hours a day parked on the couch watching TV. Go out and DO! BE! Make! Create! Inspire! Move!
Living a life petrified by what-if, or the pending struggle, or fear of failure when guaranteed with certain death anyways just doesn't seem like a good time. You're going to die. Might as well have a good time first! The more you live on the edge of your life, the more you take on what scares you, the easier it becomes.
Questions? Thoughts? What were the biggest things you learned last year???