Martha Randolph Carr Martha Randolph Carr, 8/21/2008 [Archive]

Martha's Big Adventure - A Blueprint to Build Your Dream

Martha's Big Adventure - A Blueprint to Build Your Dream

By Martha Randolph Carr

Sometimes, complaining is actually a very useful tool but only if we catch ourselves in the act. That can have a lot to do with who we choose to pour out our laments to and just how difficult that poor soul has found it to gently tell us to grow up and do something about it. Many listeners don't know how to say, stop, to those who are making their day miserable with verbal pollution. However, each time someone does they've not only honored themselves, they've given the whiner a chance to step back and look at what they're doing. Awareness is the first big step toward positive change but if we're too busy digging around in what's gone wrong, it can be tough to figure out how to make it right. Occasionally, a well placed snap-out-of-it will get us started.

Fortunately, I was recently caught complaining by someone who didn't try to rescue me, which can become a permanent job, or jump in with a laundry list of how she'd been done wrong. Instead, she switched my focus or in poker terms, called my bluff.

I was going on about not having a clear enough focus in my career and noticing how others appeared to be sliding forward effortlessly on a very nice, narrow path. Everything they were doing was headed toward a few specific targets. I was basically doing too much and getting fewer results, which was really adding to my frustration.

The suggestion was made to come up with a personal mission statement of a few sentences that encapsulated how I see myself. I was to follow that with every category that matters to me such as health, romance, finances, or career and then put down on paper their current status. Next step is to put down where I would like to see each category in one year, three years and five years.

Her next statement was the most important part and not one I often hear from how-to experts. With each goal or dream I was to write down what small steps I was willing to take today in order to head toward the realized picture in the future. The key words here are willing and toward rather than those tired words, should and results.

The first new word points out that there are choices to be made and kindness toward self is a necessary ingredient. The second keeps us in the present moment with a reminder that the journey is actually the whole point. There is no destination. We'll be working on our life projects until life actually ends.

Not only was I pulled back into the present moment with a tool on how to keep returning there, I was given an action step. That part makes it easier to assess on a daily basis if the choices I'm making are helping me to build my dreams or veer off into the woods. The consequences become more obvious.

That's when I spotted in my assessment that in the past I'd had some other intentions, such as pleasing others, that I'd been unwilling to recognize and the consequences were that I wasn't focusing on myself. No wonder I was always looking for something more to do without sitting down and asking, what do I want and how do I get there?

Changing that behavior means recognizing that not everyone around me is going to be happy all the time and therefore some people will choose to leave. The old reactions were based on a lack mentality that also showed up in my finances and health, while the new vision is recognition of an ever-flowing stream of people, money, good health or career opportunities and a confirmation that everything in our lives is a reflection of what we really think about ourselves. More adventures to follow.

Martha Randolph Carr's latest book, A Place to Call Home, a memoir about the reemergence of U.S. orphanages is available wherever books are sold. If you'd like Martha to come and speak to your group visit: www.newvoicespeakers.com. Author's email: Martha@caglecartoons.com or visit www.martharandolphcarr.com.

© 2008 Martha Randolph Carr. Martha's column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate. For info call Sales at (805) 969-2829 or email Sales@cagle.com. Download Martha Randolph Carr's black and white mug shot photo.

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