Living the Dream Baby!

I went to the office yesterday for the monthly meeting and personal development session. I had one of those a-ha moments that Oprah always talks about, when suddenly it all clicked together and made sense for me. We’ve been doing goal setting and I’ve been getting a little down because my personal dreams and goals seem to have nothing to do with my current employment. I had started thinking that maybe I needed to think about either leaving my job and starting over or else give up my goals. Neither option felt good to me and I’ve been having a really rough month of personal debates with myself. Yesterday morning Gordie started the day with a goals refresher from last month. We had to think about where we are, where we want to be and whether or not we could do better. Then we had to quickly jot down two goals to have accomplished within one year, five years, and ten years. You can put anything, they don’t have to be related to your job and he stressed to think big. He gave us a few minutes to do the exercise, which would be plenty of time if we had completed our homework from the last session and thought about our goals. Here’s what I wrote:

Goals within 1 year: Move out and get a place of my own, Finish my novel and enter it for the Richards Prize

Goals within 5 years: Take a trip to Italy, Have my first novel published

Goals within 10 years: Own a house, Win the Giller Prize

Pretty exciting stuff, eh! Writing those things down and seeing them unfold in my mind’s eye really gets my heart pumping, I gotta say.

Gordie went on to say for us to set definite goals, at least two for each of the time periods and then make sure to read them first thing every morning and last thing every night. He gave statistics that proved just by writing them down we had improved our chances dramatically to achieve them. If we made the extra effort to review them it would improve our chances even more. Okay, this was nothing new, I’ve heard this stuff a million times if I’ve heard it once. And while I do believe it happens, I haven’t seen much evidence in my own life. In the next exercise Gordie asked us to write down six things we have to do tomorrow and then once we’d written them down, we had to go back and number them according to their importance. The idea being to get up the next day and hit the number one thing and get it done, then continue down the list. He said it wouldn’t matter if you only got the first two things done, at the end of the day you’d be able to look back and say you’d done the two most important things.

Here’s my List I wrote:

1. Finish BnM and send out the email

2. Write the Z press releases

3. Call the C guy

4. Finish the PR research

5. Finish K’s story

6. Go send money orders and pick up parcel

The first five things on my list have to do with my work and the sixth had to do with my creative writing. All the energy that excited me when I wrote my goals immediately went out the window. I knew I’d be lucky to get through the first thing on my list in one day. Using this method, I’d never get to do the stuff I needed to do in order to reach my goals. I was pretty glum before lunch and realised that this is exactly the sort of thing that has been sabotaging my goal setting since the beginning of time. My goals and the reality of my life don’t mesh. Again, I started thinking maybe I’d have to quit my job if I wanted to do any of the other stuff.

After lunch we watched a DVD of a motivational speaker about dreams (i.e. goals). He told the usual stories about how Jim Carrey wrote himself a post-dated cheque for $10 million when he was flat broke and booed off the stage at one of the comedy clubs. In the memo part he wrote for acting in a movie. By the time the date rolled around to cash the cheque he was actually being paid $20 million for acting a movie. About how Sally Jesse Raphael quit or was fired from over a hundred jobs, lived in her car and ate crackers with ketchup to survive before realising her dream of becoming an emmy winning talk show host. Some of the stories I had heard before, some were new. He told his own story about how seven years ago he was bankrupt, didn’t own anything, had to borrow a neighbor’s car to take his kids to school and so on. He wrote his dreams down and now he lives them. He said it’s a strange phenomena but when he decided to live in the pursuit of his dreams, his life completely changed. He started making more money, things started going his way. What really struck me was that his dreams were not work related, they were fun. He wanted to hike the Grand Canyon and sail the Nile, climb the tallest mountain peaks and travel the world. And now he does all those things and more. I started to wonder if my reality and my dreams might come together if I just had a little faith that they could, that they weren’t too far apart.

He said big dreams have four properties:

1. A big dream has EXTREME power.

People pursuing big dreams have tons of energy, they don’t need to sleep as much as the rest of us. Other people get excited, big dreams draw a crowd. Big dreams can cause huge changes. Take Walt Disney for example. His dream of Disney World completed changed the state of Florida in many ways.

2. Big dreams add life to your life.

When you’re pursuing a big dream you’re energised and excited and doing things you never thought you would to achieve what you want. Before he started to pursue his big dreams, he had never been out of the country. Now, he spends about 60% of his time out of the country.

3. To see it on the outside, you’ve got to live it on the inside.

The power of visualization. He used Walt Disney as an example again. Walt lived Disney World on the inside, he visualised it, and people thought he was nuttier than a fruitcake. But now everyone can see his dream, because it’s on the outside. Later in the evening Stacy and I went to the new Wal-Mart — the work of one woman who lived it on the inside so we could see it on the outside.

4. You won’t be a dream-maker, until you stop the dream-takers.

These are the people who say you can’t do that. They can be friends, co-workers, your family and even yourself. Self-talk is the most important. You won’t be able to make your dreams come true until you eliminate any negative self-talk. And you might not even realise you’re doing it. Like when you say you don’t want to get your hopes up, that’s negative self-talk. If you don’t hope and believe in it, who will? He said to identify your limiting words and get rid of them.

He told us to make a list of our dreams, a big list, with big dreams. If time nor money were an object, what would you do next week? He said making a big list was important, because you need to back up a dream with another dream. When you accomplish one of your dreams the adrenaline rush ends and you crash down. You need to start in on another one right away. Always be pursuing a dream.

After watching this speaker my heart was pumping again about my dreams. Everything came together and made sense. I think I may have found the missing piece to my personal puzzle that I needed to make things happen. We shall see and soon. I’ll keep you posted.

Mood: Charged

Drinking: Tea

Listening To: Bon Jovi, Crush album

Hair: half up, half down

Awards Day

I got up bright and early this morning to catch the live announcement of this year’s Oscar nominees. Actually, I didn’t get up, I stayed up all night, but really what’s the difference. The point is I was there parked in front of the TV when the names dropped. There were no surprises really. Of course it would be helpful if I could see some of the movies involved before the actual ceremony, but chances are slim. The only films I’ve seen that were mentioned are Collateral, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Before Sunset . . . all available on DVD. Our theatre is in crises, bringing in nothing new week after week, and certainly not bringing in anything for adult audiences . . . unless it’s horror. I have hopes maybe Hide and Seek with Dakota Fanning will come here because it looks frightening and has some big names involved. But then again I thought they would have shown White Noise, and that didn’t happen, so who knows what they’re thinking down there. You would think when you get a cineplex like that, with multiple screens, that you would get some variety and choices . . . but I’m really not impressed with what they choose to monopolise all the screens with. Is it too much to ask for at least one movie every couple of weeks aimed at the over 30 crowd?

In other news, U2 announced the first leg of their world tour yesterday and they’ve only got one date in Canada — April 28th or 29th (I forget which) in Vancouver . . . Vancouver, British Columbia . . . it doesn’t get much further away and still be part of the North American leg. So, there goes my New Year’s goal out the window. I’ve got a lot going on in April. There’s the WFNB AGM, which will involved transportation to whatever city is hosting this year, two nights lodging at whatever swanky hotel they’re having everything at, workshop fees, Awards Dinner, general meals and drinks (much wine). There’s also the Northrope Frye Festival in Moncton in April which may involve up to five nights hotel accommodation, train transportation to and from Moncton, taxis, meals, admissions, workshop fees, much wine, etc. I can count on spending at least a couple of hundred dollars on books during these things. That’s a lot of saving and preparation in order to be able to do all this. There’s no way I can also swing a trip to Vancouver for a U2 concert. They have some dates stateside in Boston, New York, Chicago, etc. But still it’s May and there’s no way I’ll be able to do that so soon after all the writerly activities of April and as I prepare to move by June. Plus, I really don’t want to go to the U.S. for some reason, I have an aversion. I don’t want to spend my hard earned money there. I had hoped there would be a Fall date in Toronto. And maybe there will be, this is only the first leg that they’ve announced, after all. But that’s what I had my heart set on, Fall in Toronto with U2, visiting old friends, going to see a show (Mama Mia maybe if it’s still going on), maybe taking in some of the Harbourfront International Festival of Authors or something — I had a plan! And maybe it’ll still happen, maybe I don’t even need Bono to go to Toronto this fall. Maybe I’ll just go anyway.

But I’m getting ahead of myself . . . it is still January isn’t it?

Mood: Tired

Drinking: Water

Listening To: Oprah drift down the hall from the living room

Hair: Severely ponytailed and just back from a fresh paint job

The First Day of the Rest of Your Life

Today is the first day of a three month contract I’ve signed with myself to eat better and exercise. So far so good. While my arthritis is generally better in the winter with the dry cold and only flares when we have a thaw, spring and summer and even fall can be a real pain in the butt, it helps if I’m in pretty good shape going in. My goal is to drop at least one size too in the three months, which doesn’t seem unrealistic at all. If I stay committed I should be able to do that quite easily and even more. I’m focused on inches, not pounds, so I took all my measurements this morning . . . scary stuff ๐Ÿ™‚

In other news, we had a surprise birthday party for Jenn on Friday night. It was a pretty good time and she was totally surprised. She had absolutely no clue . . . even after we all yelled surprise and freaked her out she really didn’t get what was going on. Lots of people showed up. We had cake with ice cream and various munchies. Played charades, Scene It, and a drinking game called I Have Never. I didn’t get to bed until well after 4am. And that’s that, the last of the parties and things until spring. Time to get down to business and focus on work and writing and saving money and all that fun stuff.

Mood: Driven

Drinking: Tea

Listening To: Knock on Wood, 54 Soundtrack

Hair: A friggin’ mess!

January Blahs

It’s so hard to get back into the swing of things this time of the year. Everyone seems to be so tired all the time, me included. *YAWN* I just want to curl up with a book or a movie, Nick, my fuzzy blanket, a hot drink . . . and just cocoon for the rest of the winter. But like everyone else I’ve got tons of stuff to do, a job, obligations . . . blah, blah, blah. Cocooning will have to wait until retirement I suppose . . . then at retirement I’m sure there will still be too much to do and no time for cocooning. *YAWN* I wish I could find some energy. I haven’t been blogging, haven’t been emailing friends, haven’t been going out much, haven’t been doing much of anything really . . . just the bare necessities, i.e. WORK. With any luck this too will pass in another week or so.

Mood: Blah

Drinking: Blah

Listening To: Blah

Hair:m Blah

Turning Another Page

I know when I get an email from Carol asking me where the hell I am that it is time to show my face around these parts again ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy New Year! I’ve been pretty busy with work. There’s a lot of stuff on BnM needing to be done to finish off 2004 and embrace 2005. And I’ve got a pretty big PR campaign on the go for a new client. So, I’ve been bogged down in media research mostly.

So, it’s another new year, huh. God, I love closing the book on one year and starting a new page with another! It’s invigorating, so full of possibilities. This is the time of the year when I set new short term goals and evaluated how I did last year. Actually, I start doing this sometime in November so I’ve already started working on the next stuff by the time New Year’s Day rolls around. They’re always pretty simple things, relatively easy to achieve . . . yet things that could go by the wayside pretty easily if I didn’t focus on getting them done.

The things I wanted to do in 2004 were:

1) Attend the WFNB AGM no matter where in the province it was held

2) Be able to wear a particular pair of jeans by April that I couldn’t get above my ankles at Christmas

3) Visit Sackville in the summer to see if it was a place I wanted to move to

4) Attend the Alden Nowlan Literary Festival in Fredericton in the Fall

Pretty easy stuff to do if you put your mind to it, pretty easy to let pass without doing if you weren’t focused on doing them. I’m happy to report I did do all these things in 2004! And I had a great time too!

Looking ahead to 2005, the tasks I’ve set for myself are a bit more tricky financially, and there are more of them. So, I’ll have to stay really focused and dedicated if I hope to achieve all of these things. Some are carry-overs from last year, things I did that I want to do again. Here’s the plan:

1) Drop one size by April and maintain it throughout the rest of the year

2) Attend the WFNB AGM in April no matter where it is held in New Brunswick

3) Attend the Northrope Frye Festival in Moncton this spring

4) Move to an apartment by June

5) Go to a U2 concert no matter where in Canada (hopefully Toronto)

6) Attend the Alden Nowlan Literary Festival in Fredericton in the Fall

7) Submit my fiction to magazines at least once a month

8) Finish writing my novel, to have a complete draft done by the December

So, the list has doubled and includes lots of trips and stays in hotels, not to mention rent on an apartment . . . Maybe I should have included look for a higher paying job in the list ๐Ÿ˜‰ Just kidding. It’s going to be okay I think. I don’t make much, but I seem to pick up extra just when I need it most. Anyway, there’s my list. It’ll be interesting to look back next year and see how I did.

What about you? Anyone set some goals for 2005?

Mood: Optimistic

Drinking: King Cole Tea (not steeped nearly enough) with half n half

Listening To: Bon Jovi, 100,000,000 Fans Can’t Be Wrong album, Always (Demo)which is quite different from the one that they finally put on a record

Hair: Time to dig out the dye bottle again to cover those grey on top that only people taller than me can see