At the beginning of 2018, I wrote a post in which I reflected on 2017’s successes and shortcomings, and made projections about what I wanted 2018 to be. This year I also began a new practice: using Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner, at the beginning of each quarter I’ve made a list of goals and habits I want to manifest or achieve, and have attempted to plan my days and weeks in service of those goals. Some days the entire day’s agenda has been nothing but check marks. Other days it’s been a complete washout.
We’ve just begun Quarter Three and the second half of 2018, and I thought it would be a good time to tell you how I’m faring.
Without sharing specific goals, in the January post I mentioned that I wanted this to be a year of leaving my comfort zone as much as possible. So far, I think I’ve achieved that in various forms:
Not bad for the first six months.
With each quarter, I’ve added some goals, deleted others, or revised the ones I’ve kept.
I also failed to achieve some goals, either because I made them too big (such as growing my mailing list by 1,000 subscribers each month), or I haven’t made enough effort, such as establishing rituals that improve overall health and wellness. And as far as leaving my comfort zone, some things, like creating an online course, for example, remain so far out of my comfort zone that I have yet to summon the courage to go there.
Plus, I need to update my website yet again. Will have to put that on next week’s “Big Three” to-do list.
Something else happened this year. When it comes to my career, in terms of leaving my comfort zone, I felt as if I lost my sense of direction. Although, if I am to be truly honest, I think I’ve been drifting for a couple of years now, and doing it mostly in silence. For one thing, I’ve been mourning the loss of writing as a sustainable living, and I’m facing looking for additional employment. Yes, many writers have second and even third jobs, so I don’t mean to be a spoiled child complaining that she has to fly Comfort instead of First Class. Writing, like other artistic ventures, is a feast-or-famine business. I was one of the few and fortunate to feast for as many years as I did, and never took that for granted. Who wouldn’t want to keep on feasting?
But it’s more than that. I’ve also found it difficult to be creative during such tumultuous times. I still love writing. I still want it to be my full-time, sustainable gig. I still want the freedom and the joy it’s given me for so long. However, for the first time since 2005, I don’t know if I have another book in me; and if I do, I don’t know what it looks like or when it’s going to show up—next week, next year, or five years from now. And that has frightened me terribly. I don’t want to let anyone down, especially myself. I don’t want the well to run dry. And I don’t want to do anything else as much as I want to do and have loved doing this.
So, what’s next?
Among the many gifts this move has given my husband and me, one of them is a blank canvas. They’re always a little scary, but I’m no stranger to re-inventing myself. It takes time to fill that canvas, to get an idea of what the picture will look like. A lifelong challenge and lesson for me has always been about maintaining patience during those periods of unknown. Trusting that everything I want and need will be revealed and available to me at the right place and time. Recognizing what actions I can take in the meantime, and making peace with the disappointments.
Throughout my life, following my heart has always been the guiding force. My heart has never taken me down a wrong road, nor has it ever taken a shortcut. It’s taken me out of my comfort zone for sure. But it’s also taken me over the rainbow and straight into pots of gold.
If the first six months have been about leaving my comfort zone, then perhaps the second six months will be about creating a new path along the way, one step at a time. And maybe, just maybe, deep down I already know where I’m going. I might even be there already.
I'm an author of commercial women's fiction and a writing instructor. My claim to fame: I can say the alphabet backwards.