Changes

Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE to plan and make goals. So of course I love a new year, fresh start, what will I accomplish in the next 12 months?!

I used to make goals that were all personal and family oriented but a new category has been added over the years for my business/working goals. So in December I was busy looking at my business plan thinking about what I wanted to do this year and how to do it. A big piece of my financial goals involved another person I started working with last year. I had reviewed my goals with him and we were both excited to take on 2015. I rang in the new year ready to go after those goals.

The next day I meet with the guy who tells me of a major change he is making in his business and long story short I decided I didn’t want to make that change and on day 3 of the new year a third of my business goals are irrelevant.

Change. Most of the time it happens incrementally, we barely notice it. I didn’t see my son grow from a baby into a man overnight but slowly over the last 20 years, one day at a time. However, some change is large and quite clear and you need to be prepared to adjust.

One of the things I have noticed over the years when changes come on, especially big changes that are not in your control, often they start out big, bad and scary but turn out to be good.

There is only one thing that never changes, God. But he is constantly at work. He works around us, through us, with us, for us, in us. God does not change but in my life he is change. Knowing him, following him, it means change. Good and bad, fun and painful. But no matter what happens next I keep following him.  I wrote a couple weeks ago about keeping on moving forward every day. And that is what I do in life and in my faith.

I am not the only one in my family I have seen make some big life/plan changes this month, but I see God working in all of them. And it is exciting! It is also scary. Changes come, we keep moving.

So, I made a few adjustments to my goals and decided on my own I still could accomplish a lot this year. It creates a little bit of an unknown for my business but so far I have loved the changes I have made and am more excited at the end of January for what this year holds than I was at the beginning.

Throw out the rules

BrokenRulesA number of years ago I was a homemaker with a preschooler and a husband who was newly self-employed. John had a part-time evening/weekend job to bring in a little regular income while getting started and was gone a lot. I believed in him and what he was doing but I was lonely and frustrated. Then one day it hit me. He is home all the time, just not at the traditional times I expect him. That is the day our life changed and we truly became a self-employed family. That is the day I threw out all the rules.

In my mind daytime was for work and evenings and weekends were for family. Those were the rules so even though he was often home during the day I never engaged with him or expected anything from him during that time. After my big revelation I started engaging more in the times he was home and available during the day. He would occasionally come to the zoo with us when Jake was little, was available for every school conference, went on field trips, met us for long lunches. I might still be home alone watching tv at night but I no longer felt left alone.

Every time I read an article on date night  it gives a list of ridiculous rules. Don’t talk about money, don’t talk about the kids, don’t talk about household issues. As if somehow your relationship is at risk if you can’t or don’t think of anything else to talk about. But we don’t have time to regularly have a separate meeting to discuss our business, one for the budget, another to talk about our kids, their needs and schedules and a fourth just to shore up our marriage relationship talking about random life stuff. We barely have time for the one night out. It has to do everything. And what we realized when we decided we could talk money, work and kids on our date nights is…we love our life. We love talking about the business. If we didn’t we probably shouldn’t be in the business. We love talking about our money because keeping on budget is what leads us to our goals and dreams. We love talking about our wonderful kids. And somewhere in there we talk about new dreams and goals, politics, relationships, stories of our day and more.

We tossed out the rules on everything else too and decided to make decisions based on what worked best for our family. As a result we have had many wonderfully unexpected adventures.

When I went back to work I forgot our “break the rules” attitude and got a traditional job. Unfortunately it didn’t work well with our non-traditional lifestyle. We tried going back but after a couple years I knew it was time for me to become self-employed and return to our wonderfully non-traditional lifestyle.

Even if you and your husband have a traditional work situation I bet you could still find a few rules to break with your family that would free you to embrace your family’s current lifestyle and draw you all together.

Go ahead, break the rules.

Keep Moving

Years ago, many, many years ago, my sister and I went into a haunted house that was set up in a mall. We were probably 11 and 13 or 12 and 14, maybe younger. Maybe older, I really have no clue. All I remember is it was scary. We were walking slowly together both getting more terrified. We were on a path with a soft uneven floor that I was afraid I would trip on, not really able to see where we were going. Suddenly someone jumped out right in front of us. We both screamed, my little sister pushed the person out of the way and I held on to her as she ran through the rest of the maze to the end.

Today I was worrying about various things in life and work and starting to feel overwhelmed and anxious. When I am filled with anxiety I want to crawl up on the couch or get under the covers and hide from my worries and fears. But it never helps. They don’t disappear when I am hiding. So I was trying to remember that over the years of feeling anxious I have learned the best thing to do is keep moving. Go for a run, clean the kitchen, make the phone call, finish the file, take action. But I really didn’t want to do that.

Then I started thinking about that haunted house trip with my sister. If our fear had frozen us in place we never would have gotten out, we would have stayed afraid. Instead we got moving and escaped the fear.

Now I am going to be honest with you. If I had been alone in that haunted house I probably would have stayed frozen in fear. It was not me, the older sister, who pushed the guy out of the way and started running. I was the one hanging on to the little sister as she pulled me to freedom.

Sometimes I can escape the haunted houses of life on my own but truthfully most of the time I need someone to push or pull me forward, someone who can see beyond the spot I am currently standing in or who at least still believes there is a spot beyond it. Today it was in talking with a friend that I was able to remember that I take action when I feel anxious. Without that accountability I probably would have crawled in bed and wasted a day.

Life is full of adventures, some wonderful, some not so wonderful. But as long as we keep moving we can climb that mountain or simply get ourselves out of the pit. So keep moving today and if you are stuck find someone, like my sister or a friend, who will push the bad guy out of the way and pull you to safety.