My artist friend, Gweneth*, recently told me of a new position she’s considering at work. A promotion always sounds great…or does it.
“Wait a minute,” I said to her. “Are you sure you want this?”
Don’t get me wrong: a promotion can be a very good thing. But my friend’s new position will mean supervisory responsibility plus about 10 hours of additional work each week. Just last year she changed jobs so she could have more free time to pursue her passion of art. Her goal was to be a full-time artist within three years (make that two years now).
Another one of my friends, Andy*, wants to be a professional speaker. I recently told him about some educational speaking CDs I bought, but he thought the price was too expensive. I chuckled to myself when I heard about his week-long family vacation this summer. Instead of staying at a hotel, he could have camped and saved the money to invest in his speaking education.
Gweneth and Andy are no different than most people I know. Everyone has life goals they claim they want to pursue. Yet, why do so few people actually do more than talk about their aspirations?
Saying yes to one thing often means saying no to another. In other words, we have to make choices that support our goal.
Let me give you an example in my own life. For the last decade, I have wanted to write a book. Through the years I have talked about writing one, have taken writing classes, have generated topic ideas, and have even researched material. I didn’t actually complete my first book until I made it my priority. I chose to write over all the other activities I could do in my free time. These are some of the things I’ve had to give up over the past year:
- Most lunch hours: Instead of enjoying a break in my day to relax and meet a friend, I spend my time writing, editing and researching.
- Long bike rides: My weekend time is extremely valuable for my writing and side business work. I can’t justify four-hour bike rides on Saturday and Sunday these days, despite how much I love riding. (I’ve reverted back to jogging instead of cycling. It’s still a good workout but takes a lot less time.)
- Television: I still watch a bit of television, but most nights I have chosen and continue to choose to spend my TV time on my book (now recording an audio book) or book marketing.
- Travel: No exotic trips for me this year! I need to save my money and vacation time for book priorities. I have made time to see my daughter and do work-related travel focused on my book and its promotion.
Has it been fun giving up things I enjoy? Nope. I sometimes am very frustrated that I’m riding slowly, don’t seem to have much time for fun, and spend a lot of time indoors when the weather is so nice.
The better question: has it been worth it? Absolutely! I started writing my book a year-and-a-half ago, and in that time, I have finished it, found a publisher, have started doing a lot more speaking, and have made invaluable connections in the writing/publishing world. It wouldn’t have happened without making the choices that support this goal.
My question for you: What choices will you make today to say yes to your goal?
*Not their real names.