Did you plan something but now lost how to achieve it? Go to a quiet place, make yourself comfortable and follow this thinking exercise.
Think 3 steps to restart
For 30 years I enjoyed travel, experienced other cultures and enriched my life professionally and personally. Some opportunities were unexpected, others planned. Where I live now is because my children needed a long-term base for high school. I moved home a few times, changed jobs and became completely self-employed. This kept my 3 year average change cycle going but within the same area.
And then, I felt stuck last year when I succeeded in creating a “6 months on – 6 month off” lifestyle. I wanted to fill the months off with rewarding growth activities. Thinking about which activities fit these criteria I realised that they were travel and culture. So my first step was to go back to where my dream of these started.
The three steps that helped me were Introspection, thinking about my support, and assess where my dream was at today. This simple exercise drew my attention to the now. It also linked my thinking across time and helped me to take my next step.
Introspection – examine and consider
Introspection is examining and considering your own ideas, thoughts, and feelings, instead of talking to other people about themhttps://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/introspective
In 1976, I always listened to the Top 40 on Friday afternoons while doing my homework. Above my desk was a world map and my dreams were about going to as many countries as possible. My feelings drove this dream, not my reality. I was the eldest child in a single-income blue-collar family, living in an outer suburb of a small Dutch town.
While my friends holidayed in Spain, I spent a week in a caravan with family and a week away in camp. I loved Western novels and listening to the Pirate radio stations broadcasting from the North Sea. In the afternoons I watch slapstick dubbed in German. We had TV and I eagerly anticipated the weekly episodes of Zorro and Star Trek.
So my dream to go overseas came from early exposure to other cultures and languages. And being away from home on my own, even if just for one week a year.
Moral Support – encouragement
Moral Support is if you encourage that person and show that you approve of what they are doing, rather than giving practical helphttps://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/moral-support
My parents always praised me for doing well at school. They both believed that education was important and I remember my father by my side when choosing A-level subjects. I was good at Geography, languages, business administration and mathematics. I was one of three girls to finish high school with mathematics. And the only girl in my year to go on to tertiary studies.
These years built my self-esteem and confidence in achieving professionally. Over time, with life-experience I also learned to accept my limitations. Doing this step made me realise that I am on a journey.
Magical Thinking – belief does wonders
Magical Thinking is the belief that thinking about something or wanting it to happen can make it happenhttps://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/magical-thinking
I always wanted to go to America as that is where Zorro lived. I loved the haciendas, the sombreros, the horses, the gorgeous clothing, the weather. Today I have been to every continent, except the Americas. Doing this step made me realise that focusing on only one outcome restricts the magic of opening up to opportunities.
“Even with many years of experience travelling and working these three steps helped me to trust that such opportunities will come again, either unexpected or by my own making, just like before. “Me, 2018
Further interesting articles
- How to be introspective https://ideas.ted.com/the-right-way-to-be-introspective-yes-theres-a-wrong-way/
- Links to research on childhood experiences affecting you in adulthood https://www.businessinsider.com/how-your-childhood-affects-your-success-as-an-adult-2016-11?r=AU&IR=T
- Research on Self-esteem and confidence (by self-evaluation) in mathematics against gender differences https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13676261.2018.1468876