How many times have you heard someone say “take responsibility for your life”? How many people have said that to you? No matter how true, it isn’t always an empowering statement. Let me be clear that I’m not a fan of spoon feeding people what they want to hear or sugar coating the truth, however, I believe we have to reach people where they are. If I don’t “hear” someone’s great advice I’m not going to implement it.
So today I want to say this to you, “your life is in good hands – your own”! It’s time to be honest with ourselves and realize that our decisions, our actions, and our thoughts are within our control. If we want our outward world to get better our inner self has to get better. When we blame other people for where we are, what we have, and who we are connected to, we literally give away our power.
Gaining clarity about your wants and priorities is essential to success. It’s time to get out of your head and go from fuzzy ideas and wishful thinking to achievement. Setting goals helps you clarify what you want and what you need to do to accomplish it.
Write your goals (on paper or electronically). Putting your goals in writing is the primary action step toward making them realities. You will be able to see and celebrate your progress. Clearly written goals help you stay focused so don’t just write any old goal, take it a step further and write SMART goals.
SMART goals are:
(1) Specific – A specific goal has a much greater chance of being realized than a general goal.
(2) Measurable – Decide what criteria you will use to measure your progress and determine if you are staying on track
(3) Achievable – Goals should be attainable with available resources and important enough that you will stick with them
(4) Realistic – Goals should stretch you and challenge but be reachable
(5) Timely – Commit to a time frame or deadline
I have wanted a white 7 series BMW since I was in junior high school. Even after over 20 years of production of new models I still want the same car. No ifs, and, or buts – the white BMW 750Li is for me. I don’t want tinted windows or lots of chrome and I have the interior features all picked out. Contrast that decisiveness with my desire a few years to “live comfortably” which was followed by wanting to be “debt-free”. What does either of those things even mean? My subconscious didn’t understand what I was wishing for. I needed a specific number to aim for in order to hit the financial target. Now I know that wishful thinking rarely results in real results.
Clarity is essential to success!
Here is another one of my truths. I have the taste buds and eating habits of a five year old. I am a big fan of sugary snacks and don’t really like vegetables. Soul food and classic American diner cuisine are my weakness. Add this to the fact that I don’t exercise regularly and you get a few extra pounds creeping up over the course of a few years. Don’t stop the train and the pounds no longer creep – they show up at the front door with luggage in hand. Then there are those totally preventable diseases that litter my family tree like diabetes and high blood pressure – I am no longer inviting those into my future. I know I need to eat better and get active. Knowledge is not power in this instance. The power is in putting what I know into action. I’m not a dieter and probably never will be. I’m also not a “hit the gym” kind of girl. In the past I’ve walked a high school track and stopped eating as poorly (but didn’t make it to the point of eating well). I have no desire to go back to being “the skinny girl” but these extra pounds absolutely need to go. I am not going to declare that I will totally cut out junk food and carbs and exercise five days a week. I know myself well enough to know that it won’t happen – at least not at first. I am a proponent of playing to your strengths and achieving success on your own terms. In this instance it means getting healthy in my own way and my way is to play. I am purchasing a hula hoop and jump rope and hitting the roller skating rink. I know these are things I will commit to. Once I start to have more fun and build up my endurance I will add other activities and exercises to the list (like walking and Zumba). I have important work to do and a long happy life to enjoy!
Many interviewers still ask some form of the questions “what do you consider one of your weaknesses” or “what one area where you seek improvement is”. In my opinion, these are two very different questions. There are some things I’m fantastic at, some things I’m good at, and some things that I just don’t do well at all. I’m sure the same holds true for you. No one is perfect. We all have areas in our lives in which we can improve. The key is to know which things are important enough to work on and which things don’t warrant a third thought.
People almost always express one of two ideas when they find out that I have a Master’s degree in social work; (1) They think I’m a counselor or therapist; or (2) They think I snatch children from their families and put them in foster care. This isn’t an exaggeration. What comes to mind when you think of a Social Worker?
I presented a workshop earlier this month and was asked by a volunteer if I feel my social work education prepared me for my career in social work. My answer was that my life and professional experiences prepared me for my education. I’m going to take you back to my high school days to begin my explanation.
Packaged For Success specializes in personal empowerment, career development, program management, and youth investment. We help women reclaim their power, dream bigger dreams, achieve success on their own terms.
(Our Packaged For Success website is currently under construction…stay tuned!)
Nicki Sanders, Chief Visionary Officer of Packaged For Success, helps both youth and adults discover their personal power, dream big, and achieve success on their own terms. Ms. Sanders is an experienced trainer, group facilitator, and program manager who holds a Master’s degree in Social Work. Ms. Sanders has over fifteen years of direct experience with diverse populations in residential, school-based, and community based agencies.
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