Ambition, Time and Frugality

I had started a completely different post to share with y’all today.  But I’ve scrapped it because this has been relevant for me this month, and possibly, just maybe someone else can relate and be encouraged.

One of my character strengths/flaws is being ambitious.

It’s a strength because it gives me great drive to pursue goals. And I am always and forever working on goals – I don’t think there will ever come a time for me to just sit and chill longterm.  This ambitiousness propels me forward to pursue things that don’t come easy and gives me motivation to work hard.

It’s a flaw because well, for all the things listed above.  I’m very goal oriented, not people oriented and I can get so involved in meeting self imposed deadlines, and working goals that I can lose track of time and forget that relationships are the core of human interaction.  It can be very hard for me to pull away from a task when I’m in and working hard, but some days I have to set a timer and stick to it – it’s the only way for me to limit myself.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and found myself once again today immersed in a whole pile of to-do’s.  You see I’ve been a bit frustrated lately about being “behind” on my 90 day goals.  I’m behind for a very logical reason, but I’m frustrated with myself because I feel I could and should be doing more.  Does this make sense to anyone?  I had to sit down and evaluate where my time was going.  See I have a part time job that usually holds itself to 10 hours or less.  This month every week has been above 25 hours.  That in itself should make me feel better, but still…

Most of my days are 17 hours,  some are slightly less, and some are more.  I make myself take the first two hours of my day and create space in my schedule.  The space gives me the opportunity to drink my coffee, wake up and watch the sunrise, pray for my friends and family and spend time reading my Bible.  I’ve taken on an ambitious reading plan – 10 chapters a day – which has helped me to finish the following books of the Bible already this year –

Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I Thessalonians, II Thessalonians, I Timothy, II Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, Joshua – almost finished with Matthew, Genesis, I Corinthians, I Peter, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Judges, Isaiah, Acts.   In this time I also read and review books which have included 3 Bible Studies this month, getting ready to begin another one.

From there, my days involve a variety of tasks – just like many of you.  Cooking, cleaning, homeschooling, helping my children run a business – sometimes this includes advertising, social media, copywriting, etc., running to the doctor, dentist, well checks, etc. etc. etc. etc. I am taking classes on marketing, building my brand, SEO adwords, websites, landing pages, and online courses.  I am working to create a new landing page and starting my online course website including curriculum handouts and important info.  I have 12 writing projects that I want to flesh out this year, and get contracts for – a girl can hope. And I’m working on speaking/conference materials. I teach piano lessons, and run kids to sports activities and events and babysitting. I create daily coloring pages for free, and keep the books of multiple businesses and our personal finances.  I haven’t listed church work yet, but I think you get the picture already – right?  And at the end of the day I’m tired, and don’t feel as if I’m getting much done.

Anyone tracking here?  So I have also been thinking about something else.  I am by nature very frugal.  Or stingy…or whatever other word you like.  I sympathize with Paul and his writings when he said he knew how “to be abased and how to abound.”  I’ve been there – when we haven’t had two nickels to rub together, and when we have been comfortable.  Doesn’t matter, I tend to be very conservative with my spending…but here’s the kicker – not so much with my TIME!

Bear with me, I’m just coming to grips with the reality that just because I can do something, it doesn’t mean I should.  I mean if I need to create nice pictures, memes and posts, I will spend the time and energy to do it and figure it out.  The problem here is the time factor.  Someone else could for just a few dollars create something just as nice and wonderful, and I could spend my time doing the things I’m made for.

Maybe you’re not worried about making memes and posts.  What about the convenience of grocery shopping services.  How much time could you save, if you just went and picked up your food, instead of spending the time looking for the groceries.  Would it be worth $5?

What about discount clothes? I spent years ONLY buying things on sale because I couldn’t justify the added expense of buying something I really loved when it wasn’t on sale.  My husband reminded me that buying things that don’t look or fit right just because they are on sale, they are actually a waste of money instead of a savings.

Don’t get me wrong.  I prefer a sale, and I have loved my couponing days.  There’s a huge thrill to getting those things that I do love, for a great discount. If at all possible I do try to get things for a discount or with a coupon code.  I always try.

But with regards to time, my husband has been trying to communicate this to me for years.  I guess I’m just a slow learner. I always thought he was against doing crafts and projects because he thought it was silly, but the reality was that he was against the time factor.  His view that if it’s not a strength, and we are just trying to do it to save money, we are just spending time instead.

Sometimes outsourcing the tasks you do, makes more sense. Perhaps not in a financial way, but a way that matters more – time is a commodity we all only have so much of.  We have to use it wisely and spend it doing the things we were put on earth to do.  Just because I can do it, doesn’t mean I should…I’m learning.  I’m not there yet, but I’m learning.

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Goal Setting is Inspiring & Encouraging

I made a quick Facebook post yesterday asking what people were planning for their goals for 2017.  It was a post generated from my personal assessments and plans that I’m putting into place for this next year.  I always spend most of December thinking through the last year and anticipating what things I can jump into for the new year.

Here’s what I posted –

What goals are you setting for 2017? I’d love to hear them. Share away!!

I’m not sure what kind of response I would receive but I was pleasantly surprised to see that the longer the post has been on my page, the more responses I receive.

One of the things I have learned through adulthood is the value of accountability.  I’m mostly a lone ranger at heart – only child, very driven and ambitious, and not much of a team player.  I’ve always been able to do more on my own.  But as I get older, I can see the value of accountability in relationships.

Perhaps it’s the blunting edge of age on my life, or motherhood and finding sisterhood in that journey that’s helped me see that journeying WITH others is better than lone ranger.  While I’m still in charge of my own destiny, knowing that others are aware of what I’m trying to accomplish and that they are cheering me on or giving me a swift kick when I’m down, accountability has been such a good thing for me to seek out.

Accountability to others helped me accomplish my goal to memorize the book of James this summer.  Knowing that I would receive a text asking how my scripture memory was going, or an email or even an encouraging message on Facebook about what it meant to them to hear those verses recited out loud.  I felt the extra push some weeks that someone would regret not hearing me share if I didn’t reach the memory goal for the week.

Sometimes I think we don’t actually share our big dreams, or goals because we are worried about failure.  I wrote about failure not too long ago over on my other blog – you can read more here if you’d like.  The reality is most of us are afraid to fail.  We’d rather not step out of our comfort zone if it means we risk failure.  The beauty of success though is looking back and realize that failure might have happened along the way but it was not a stopping point, it was the catalyst to the success that came later!

Anyway – I found that several people were willing to share their goals with me – and I was given the unique opportunity to cheer them on.  Some I know very well, some not so much – but we were each bound with the anticipation and inspiration of looking ahead and saying out loud what we want to accomplish.  So.very.powerful.

So I ask you the same question – I don’t care how young or old you are.  I don’t care how busy you are or how difficult is right now.  The moment you stop dreaming you stop living. I speak from experience.  Sometime in the middle of motherhood, I found myself just doing what needed to be done each day without really allowing myself to dream about the future.  With dreaming about the future, planning ahead is so important, and for so long I didn’t do it.  I was afraid to fail, and afraid to want something that I couldn’t have.  Totally faulty mindset there.  Don’t fall in the trap!  Be inspired!  Be encouraged!  Think about those things you’ve always said you’d do. One day. When the kids are grown. Maybe that’s not what you are waiting for, waiting for any next step to happen before you dream about the future is stifling and limiting.

So share with me!  What are your goals for 2017?  I’d love to hear them and cheer you on!