Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mapping it all out

"You can always change your plan, but only if you have one."
-Randy Pausch

Last week I launched fully into goal-setting and life-planning mode, which I have found to be lots of fun and super energizing. There was even more of that this weekend. Things are starting to take shape!

Saturday morning I slept in, headed out for a 3 mile walk/run, showered, and was sipping on a yummy protein shake before the morning was through. Since I felt I'd been pretty productive, I decided to do a couple of things that would help me continue with figuring out my goals and plotting out a course for the next few years of my life.

First, I re-watched Randy Pausch's "The Last Lecture".

Glorious. I laughed, I cried. The part that always gets me is when he serenades his wife for her birthday. My heart breaks looking at her, knowing that all she wants is to get to celebrate another birthday with her husband. While I always struggle, trying to make sense of why such a warm, wonderful, and incredibly bright man had such a short time on Earth, I try to hold on to each and every little gem of wisdom he shares.

I've made a mental note to make sure I to re-watch this at least once a year, because I am not as smart as Randy and I need to hear things more than once to learn them ;) There are a couple of messages that resonated with me this time around:

>>Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted.
Last year I had a big disappointment, and for a while I kind of shut down....I didn't know what to do, or how to fix my situation. 6 months later, I am less angry and a little smarter, and I can see reasons why maybe things worked out for the best...and how to rethink my strategy to REALLY get what I want this time.

>>The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough.
Yes, lots of brick walls lately. Last week they were just annoying, but now they are opportunities. I've worked out some big goals for myself and yeah, I want them badly enough. I am more than ready to break through!

If you haven't watched "The Last Lecture" yet, PLEASE do yourself a favor and give yourself an hour-long gift.  

The second thing that I did was to sit down and map out my life's plan in flowchart form (yes, I am a nerd) -- it actually ended up looking a bit like my very own board game for the Game of Life:

Your eyes are not deceiving you -- we'll call this artfully blurry.
I am ready to admit my dreams and goals to myself, but not
quite ready to share all with the world just yet. Stay tuned!

There are some gaps and a few shooting-for-the-stars type goals, but surprisingly I was able to map out a solid 5-7 year plan. I don't know quite why I did this, but it was actually really fun to sit down and map it out. It made me look at the big picture, thinking about what I want to do and what kind of work I need to put in to get there. It is one thing to have all of those ideas floating around in your head, but something really different to get it on paper. It made me realize that I'll have to work on prioritizing some facets of my life over others, and that I may really need to kick things into high gear in the next few years in some areas (basically, I should start stockpiling sleep now because it may become scarce next year). But rather than being scared, or overwhelmed, I felt excited --  because I know what the ultimate goals are, and they are incredibly worthwhile!

I know a lot of my blogger friends are plugging along on their own goals and dreams, and many of you have all kinds of tools to keep yourselves on track. But if you don't, I can't recommend this little exercise highly enough. I plugged in lots of things -- races I want to run, trips I want to take, as well as work, life and relationship type goals. They may not all happen as I've plotted them, but that's OK. Randy says I can change my plan, and he is one smart guy!


  1. I love this! There is just something about listening to that speech that makes you get your butt in gear isn't there? Soooo powerful!!! Now I've gotta go watch it again tomorrow!! Love that you love the same quote about the brick walls...that one always seems to help me focus on taking something from being an "excuse" to a "challenge" and that is so empowering!

  2. Yes, it definitely lights a fire!

    And that's exactly it, all it takes is a slight change in thinking to really turn things around. I think sometimes I am too willing to take no for an answer...but if it is worthwhile, it is worth fighting for! And I have a little fighter in me ;)