Tag Archives: dreams

What’s Your Procrastination Style?

You have a dream and you even have a plan on how to achieve it, but you’re not making any progress.  So what’s in your way? If you are feeling frozen, spend some time considering what’s behind your procrastination and it may help you get moving.  In Dr. Linda Sapadin’s book, It’s About Time!: The Six Styles of Procrastination and How to Overcome Them, she discusses procrastinator types.  The following is a quick overview:

  1.  The perfectionist – They don’t finish projects because they need to be perfect and if it’s not done than it can’t be imperfect.
  2. The Dreamer – It can be fun to dream about doing something, but actually having to do the work and focus on details is another story.
  3. The Worrier –  This is living with the cup half empty.  Worriers fear change, they want to know the future.  What if the cup ends up empty?
  4. The Defier –  Does resistance to authority keep you from moving forward?  Do you resent being told what to do?  Many high school students who want to go away to school procrastinate filling out their college applications because their parents told them ‘to get it done’.
  5. The Crisis-Maker – Some people need to feel backed up against a deadline to get moving.  They feel most productive and alive when working in the overload mode.
  6. The Overdoer – I think a better name for this type of procrastinator is the Over-Giver.  It’s the person on every committee, the one always taking on the extra project.  An Over-Giver always has more to do than she has time for.  Did you notice I said “she”?  I think there are cultural messages that have created the Over-Giver.

Knowing your procrastination style will help you uncover the root of the problem and change your behavior.  So what type of procrastinator are you?

Click here to complete a short survey on your procrastination style.

Advertisements

Dream Big Challenge: Week Four – Course Correction

“Course corrections are spiritual interventions.  They occur when you live in constant denial or ignore your errors rather than being honest and confronting them.  Although such a mediation can be painful, it is your saving grace in the end.”—Sonia Choquette

Sometimes we need a course correction and when we don’t do it on our own, the universe is often happy to oblige.    This week I received an unwanted kick in the butt regarding my Dream for creating a comforting and peaceful home environment.  My BIG DREAM was to walk through my front door and sigh with contentment.  When I divided this dream into bite size pieces that I could sink my teeth into, there were pieces that I embraced with joy and others that I avoided, conjuring up millions of excuses to do anything else.

Paperwork is a beast that I have never been able to conquer.  When I clear off one table or filing cabinet, it morphs and suddenly four new surfaces are buried under paper.  This winter, I finally got the surfaces of my house cleaned by dumping all my paper into my office.  The result was that I couldn’t work there and had to move to my kitchen table.  Although I knew I had to deal with the growing mounds of paper for this challenge, I found it much easier to re-grout my bathroom.  After finishing the bathroom, it was time to move to my office.  Instead, I pulled out my list looking for an easier piece of the puzzle to a comforting home.  A new rug for the front entrance way…that was something I could do.  So I started locking the doors to go shopping for a rug, when somehow I locked myself in the backroom by my office.  I had no way to get back into the main house.  I had no phone, purse, car keys or jacket.

Hmm, Sunday afternoon, I could go visit a neighbor or begin working on the paper.  Two hours later, I had made a major dent through the mess when someone arrived home.  If not for this forced imprisonment, I think I would have done everything on my list before tackling that room.  Those two hours gave me the jumpstart to plow through the most difficult pieces of my challenge.  The elephant on my back was the mounds of paper.  It was probably the most important piece of my dream puzzle and I’m happy to report that most pieces of paper have been filed or recycled.

Is there an important task that you’re ignoring for your Dream Big challenge?  This week, look at your dream and priorities and instead of waiting for a nudge from the universe, make your own course correction.

Remember to leave a comment on all the DREAM BIG posts to be eligible to win one of the prizes!

Dream Big Challenge – Week 2: Action Steps

 

“Take the first step in faith.  You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”—Martin Luther King, Jr.

I hope you are enjoying the Dream Big challenge.  Remember to leave a comment on all four dream big posts to be eligible for the prizes.  In step one, we envisioned our dream.  Now, it’s time for our next step.

Strategy for week 2:  Start with Small Action Steps

Dissect the pieces of the puzzle that create your dream.  This is an important step in making the process manageable.  I have a broad goal that relates to how I feel the moment I walk into the door of my home.  I want my home to instantly elicit in me a sigh of contentment.  So how do I get there?  I look at the goal as putting together a puzzle entitled PEACEFUL HOME.  This puzzle has lots of pieces, including painting, new furniture, getting rid of stacks of paper….and more.  It’s a long list and seems overwhelming, but as I separate it into little manageable tasks I can move forward.  I believe long before all the pieces of the puzzle are complete, I will have already reached my goal of creating a home environment that brings me a sense of peace.  Just beginning the process this week, has already caused a shift in me.

 

Carve out time and take small action steps.   It’s easy to get caught up in the belief that you don’t have time to make any changes.  Unfortunately, this belief can derail your dream before you even begin.  Jennifer Lawler, author of the Dojo Wisdom series discusses how a martial artist trains each day, even when old and disabled.  He accommodates his life for his art.  One of my critique partners is a lawyer with a full time job, two active young children, a wife and he still manages to write one hour a day.  How does he do it?  He gets up at 5 a.m. each morning.  He put in the effort to accommodate his life to his art.

So how can you accommodate your days for the life you want to dream into being?  Even 15 minutes a day will begin the process of transformation.  Why?  Through those daily 15 minutes, you are informing your subconscious that you are committed to your goal.  You will be amazed after a week of allotting only 15 minutes how much you can accomplish.  Build it into your routine (e.g.  shower, coffee, 15 minutes). If you are ready to change your life, you will find the time.

So this week start with small actions steps and create the habit of pursing your dreams.  This step may lead you to dreams more magnificent than you could have ever imagined. 

Enjoy putting together the puzzle of your life.  

Join the 4 week DREAM BIG challenge

Are you experiencing the midwinter blues?  If you are having trouble taking action or if some of your goals seem to be languishing, then it is time to join the Do North four week  DREAM BIG challenge. We are going to join together encouraging each other to go after one dream….one passion that is withering from lack of care.

Over the next four weeks participants will select a dream or desire to push forward in their life.  It could be a big goal or maybe it’s a small thing that you just can’t seem to tackle.   Often the minor irritations in our life are really blocks to achieving our bigger dreams.   Each week I will share new strategies and tools designed to drive your goal forward.   AND what would a challenge be without prizes at the end? Prizes include:

  • Do North mug – a reminder as you drink your morning coffee to follow your True North
  • Two Personal Coaching Sessions – designed to catapult your life forward
  • A guided meditation – Releasing the past…embracing the future (mp3 format)
  • A Godiva chocolate bar – Doesn’t everything end with chocolate?

To be eligible to win one of the randomly awarded prizes all you need to do is leave a comment on all four DREAM BIG challenge posts.   If your comment does not show your name, please include your first name and last initial.  You can sign-up through email subscription to be notified of the next post, otherwise just check back each Wednesday.  So let’s get started with this week’s strategy for bringing your dream to life.

Strategy for week 1:  Envisioning Your Passion

This week take some time and dream about what it is that you would like to create in your life.  In order to manifest you passion, you need to dream it into existence.  Maybe it’s a new job or relationship.  So, what does it look like?  If you are struggling with the particulars, then just image how it would feel.  Once you have an idea about your dream there are many tools to help you envision your dream.  Select a tool from the list below that works best for you.

  •  Create a Vision Board – Grab a poster board and add images, words, colors and anything else that represents your dream.    If you’re a techie and want to create something online, check out pinterest.com.  It’s like a virtual cork board.
  • Use the sound device on your smart phone and record what your dream looks like. I call this creating a dream script.  When recording don’t say “when” or “if”, instead state everything in present tense, (e.g. I am…).
  • Use a mapping software to chart out the pieces that make up your dream.  There are great free mapping programs like freeplane or freemind.
  • Create a “day in the life” of your dream – You know what your dream is, so what would a day be like if your dream became reality.  Write it out or try jotting down a day’s schedule that represents you living your dream.

After you have finished this process find a way to interact with what you created each day.  You can put the vision board on your dresser or listen to the dream script each morning.  If you charted out the pieces of your dream, post the map somewhere or consider putting the “pieces” of your dream on post-it notes and sticking them on your bathroom mirror.  Just make sure that each day you spend a few moments reflecting on what you dream looks or feels like.

So, what are you dreaming into reality?   Happy Dreaming!

Personal Goals – How to Birth Your Dream

“I made the chickpea and tomato recipe from your blog.  I loved it.”  Being first generation Italian, I love Mediterranean cooking and Yvonne; being part Italian, never disappoints me with her new recipes at www.myhalalkitchen.com.  We had just left the organic farmers market in Lincoln Park and we were having a cup of coffee.

“It was so easy and tasty. So, where are you with your cookbook?”  I asked.

“I’ve been busy….” She said.

Yvonne is an accomplished food writer, recipe developer, culinary instructor and consultant. She’s published a book on organic cleaning and was recently featured in a half page spread in the Chicago Tribune about her cooking and work. BUT…what her heart wants is to publish her cookbook.  It’s almost done.  As a matter of fact she has drafts and outlines for three different cookbooks.  She has the expertise to succeed with this project along with a great platform for promoting her book.

Eventually she admitted that she hadn’t picked up the manuscript in over a year.  Like many of us, she needs to ask herself…………..WHY?

Why is it that deep down we know what we want to be doing, but we don’t do it?  Why do we let life distract us?  Is it fear, family demands, lack of clarity, old stuff we haven’t let go of?  The reasons dreams are left to dwindle and become fallow is endless.

How about you? Is your dream withering?  The first step is to really look at your dream and decide is this really what my heart wants or is it my ego saying I should want this.  Once you’re clear about what’s bursting inside you and you’re willing to move past fear, a few actions steps can catapult you to success.

  1. Dedicate a certain amount of time to the project each week.  Structure it any way that works for you.  Set the intention and keep it.  Start small.  Some people will carve out a block of time once a week; for someone else it might be getting up 15 minutes earlier each day to dedicate to their dream.
  1. Visually plot your dream into your life.  Either through words or pictures, identify all your responsibilities and desires.  Life requires a certain balance so dream big but be sure to take care of your basic responsibilities.  If you want to visually plot your dream on the computer try one of the free mind mapping programs.  This is a great way to re-evaluate and prioritize what you’re doing.
  1. Break your dream down into manageable action steps.  Each small step completed is an accomplishment.  The more you feel accomplished the faster you’ll move.
  1. Find a working buddy.  A friend of mine was struggling to finish her thesis.  Even scrubbing floors was more inviting than her paper.  I also had a few projects that needed renewed attention.   We decided to meet every Tuesday morning for coffee with our laptops.  We visit for about 15 minutes then both hunker down to work for three hours. It’s much harder to say ‘I don’t have time today’ when you’ve made a promise to someone else.

If you are really stuck and need jumper cables to ignite your dream consider hiring  a mentor or coach.  People often hire personal trainers for their expertise in order to formulate a program—and of course to get their butt kicked.  It’s the same with a life coach or mentor. Hiring a mentor is a commitment to change, a commitment to oneself, and ultimately a commitment to birthing your dream.  There’s no better time than the present to recreate your life.

Oh, and keep your eyes open for a great cookbook.  I have it on the best authority that it’s busting out soon.

This Week:  Incorporate one of the above dream actions steps into your life.

Overcoming the Odds to Graduate

“The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.”~~Ben Okri

I recently found myself at the graduation ceremony for Prologue’s alternative schools in Chicago.  To be honest, I really didn’t want to go and how I got there is another story, but I soon realized that I was amongst a very special group of young people.  The Prologue schools are primarily for students 18 to 24 years old who have dropped out of high school. Instead of getting a GED they attend a Prologue school to get a high school education.

I have attended many high school graduations, but have never been to one anything like this. My two sons graduated from Walter Payton College Prep, a topped ranked school in Illinois.  Payton is filled with students considered to be academic achievers.  In contrast, this graduation was for students that few believed would ever even achieve a high school diploma or succeed in life.   The graduation was in the Peoples Church on Lawrence Avenue.  At night the Peoples Church becomes a homeless shelter; during the day community events and church services are held there. Security guards circled the premises to keep out anyone without an invitation.  The audience was rowdy and somewhat disruptive, but the graduates attentive and respectful.  It didn’t take me long to discover that I was witnessing an amazing event.  I found myself at one of the most moving graduations I have ever attended; even watching my own sons graduate did not elicit as many tears for me as this graduation did.

Instead of having guest speakers, six students spoke. Of the six, five cried as they gave their speech.  They cried tears of joy and tears of thankfulness as they shared their stories.  There was the young man whose mom died when he was 13.  With her death, he dropped out of school and lived on the streets.  His grandmother took him in and he went back to school; then at 15 his grandmother died.  Once again, he spent several years living on the streets.  Eventually with hard work, determination and an amazing staff he graduated.

A petite 20 year old woman also received her diploma that day.  She dropped out of school at 15.  Her mother who had been helping raise her children, became gravely ill and needed her help.  She spent the next four years caring for her mother and her children.  Never letting go of her dream, at 19, she enrolled in one of the Prologue schools and stood before us, full of anticipation of achieving her next goal—a college education. The only speaker who did not cry was a young man who dropped out of high school six different times.  He said, “I was trouble, and no one believed I would ever do this. For a long time I didn’t believe I could do this.”   Now at 22, he received his high school diploma.

One hundred students graduated that day. All these students were dropouts that few believed had any potential to succeed.  Four students of the 100 received full rides to college.  One young man received a full ride to four different universities, one of them being Princeton.  He was still deciding were he would attend.

How did these young people from seemingly hopeless situations succeed?  I believe there were three key ingredients that helped them on their path.  First, they had a goal…a dream to graduate from school and improve their lives.  But a dream alone is not enough.  They had to do the hard work required, the action needed to graduate. They had to work and study, even when the environment around them made it nearly impossible. The third ingredient to their success was they had mentors, especially at the school, that believed in them and their dreams and helped guide them on their path.  These students are a testament to the possibility of overcoming great odds.  Having the privilege to witness their achievement was a great gift for me.

This week:  Put your struggles in perspective and remember if these graduates overcame their struggles, so can you. Have your dream, take the required action, and find people who support and mentor you on your journey.