Do you have goals and dreams that seem incredibly out of reach? Or, maybe you feel like you need to put job, family and other responsibilities first—so your personal goals get pushed off. You are not alone!
I’m certain there are many books and podcasts that address this challenge, but today I wanted to look at it from a more personal point of view. So if you don’t mind, I’m going to share a piece of my dream with you.
First though, I must start with my sister. My sister is older by four years. She dropped out of high school to be with the man she loved. Started out raising his two children (both under three years old), then had two more of their own. She never whined. She went back and got her GED. Time moved forward and she landed a job as an EMT. She loved that job, but some bumps in the road came along and she left the field. She bounced through a few jobs, but kept focus on supporting her kids and her husband and decided she was going to go back to school. She landed a position at the local hospital as an LPN and earned a reputation as a hard working, no-nonsense kind of co-worker. Suddenly on a holiday weekend, she lost her husband of almost 20 years to a cerebral hemorrhage. My sister was a widow at 40 with four kids.
Fast forward. Over the past 10 years, my sister intermittently took courses to try and improve salary and career opportunities. She approached her employer about helping her with financial assistance and schedule flexibility to help her go back to school for her Associates Degree and RN. This past spring, she sat for two exams that would admit her into this program at a local college and passed. She started her courses two weeks ago. When she completes all of her courses with passing grades this year, she will graduate alongside her youngest daughter in May 2012.
We talked about how long it took her to get to this point and told her how I love her and admire her for her tenacity. Her response to me: “Just because it takes a long time to get there, doesn’t mean it won’t get finished.” Needless to say, I really am quite proud of her.
For me, for my dream, it’s about not getting bogged down in discouragement, frustration or perfectionism. Every day I am aware and feel the challenges because I already KNOW what I want to be doing (Storytelling)—but must take care of many other responsibilities along the way. Like many others, I have to work full-time and I’m a mom to a teenager. It is taking a long time to get there. Putting some of the pieces in place as time permits--- feels like I haven’t quit or given up hope that I will actually get there. Just might not be on my timetable…but that doesn’t mean I won’t get there eventually.
Sara Ban Breathnach writes in her September 28 meditation [Simple Abundance: A Day Book of Comfort and Joy, Warner Books, 1995]
When we cannot do it all at the same time, we are meant do only some of it. In order to find out what that “some” is to be, we need to ask: What is it I truly want right now? What is it I truly need? How do I get it? How much does it cost in life’s currency?
This might be the season for you to wipe a runny nose. That doesn’t mean the season of running your own business won’t occur. This might be the season of living out of a suitcase. That doesn’t mean the season of restoring a colonial farmhouse will never come. Making deals doesn’t mean that someday you won’t be making school lunches. The seasons of life are not meant to be frenetic, just full.
The power of tenacity shows itself in the joy of a professional athlete- reaching the pinnacle of their career after many starts and stops. (See Ray Bourque- Colorado Avalanche.) It is the administrative professional being hired as an executive assistant to the CEO after dozens upon dozens of interviews and applications. It is the small child shrieking with glee after getting those training wheels off and barreling down the hill on their two-wheeler. It is the afterglow of the accomplishment of a long-loved and arduous effort; the soul-freedom of truly knowing you gave it your all and have not a single regret. It is a 50 year old mother of four, grandmother of eight- receiving her associates degree and RN designation.
Friends and colleagues understand when we turn away from our dreams or goals because the obstacles (imposed and self-imposed) continue to block our direct path. Only you know if you have the inner determination, grit and persistence to pursue the goals that make it all worthwhile. Tenacity is not the glamorous facet of life- it’s not the celebration or the cocktail party. It is, however, the vehicle to drive you there.
Kemetia MK Foley, CPS/CAP
Kemetia Foley has more than twenty years experience providing administrative support to senior level executives in health care, higher education, corporate entities and not-for-profit organizations. Ms. Foley earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Mary Washington College and also served on the university's Alumni Board of Directors from 2006-2008. She attained her Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) rating in 2006, and her Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) rating in 2007. She has been a member of the International Association of Administrative Professionals since 2001, and has served as an officer since 2006. She currently serves as chapter president for Old Town Alexandria Chapter in Alexandria, Virginia. [@OTACPresident/Twitter]
During daylight hours, she happily trots off to work at The American Staffing Association, located in Alexandria, Virginia. [www.americanstaffing.net]. She is employed as the Director of First Impressions and Staff Assistant to the Director of Finance.
Kemetia’s has been accused of being an insomniac as she loves to blog, tweet, and post up on LinkedIn and Facebook. Make a point to visit her blog: http://superppn.blogspot.com, which she created as a way of communicating some of the more humorous and subtle challenges of the administrative profession.