I've been wanting to write a book for years. It's a career goal. I know I will get to it someday. But I haven't really committed to when that someday might be. And, frankly I don't want to.
These days, we're told to be goal oriented. We're told our goals won't get accomplished unless we write them down, put them on our calendar and tackle them a little piece at a time. I get it. I've seen that approach work for ambitious people.
The problem for me is --- work life balance.
By that, I mean priorities. Sometimes, they get in the way of ambition and career goals.
My oldest daughter is going to be a high school senior this school year. My middle son will be a junior. All of a sudden, I realize that the window of time to influence my kids character and values is short, just like other working parents warned me it would be. As much as I want to write a book, I want time with my teens that seems so fleeting. For now, writing a book is still a career goal, it's just not a priority.
Sometimes, I'll run into people who ask me how my book is coming along. I feel guilty saying I haven't even started it. But the more thought I've given it, I've decided it's okay to have goals that I'd like to do -- some day.
1. Losing the guilt is an important factor in your happiness level.
I would bet, many of you have a career goal or life goal that you haven't tackled yet, something you've wanted to do for years. That list might include growing your business, landing a promotion, or maybe taking a job overseas. But for right now, something else takes priority, something that makes you happier -- maybe it's spending time with an aging parent or a young child. My advice: lose the guilt.
2. Know the difference between some day and never.
I have about six more years with kids in the house to influence their life direction. I have decades after that to focus on my ambitious career goals. I know I will succeed in getting the book done because my definition of success is giving myself permission to work toward my goals on my time frame. It's not about proscratinating forever and then having regrets that some day never came. It's more about writing down the goal, understanding your priorities and re-evaluating your time frame.
3. Happiness matters more than checking off a goal.
Each of us make choices constantly between work and family, exercising and relaxing, making time for others and taking time for ourselves. For most people, sacrifices and hardships are a necessity when balancing work and a personal life. Trying to do it all and expecting that it all can be done exactly right is a recipe for disaster. My friend wants to grow her bookkeeping business to more than $1 million in revenue in the next two years. It's her career goal. She also wants to be hands on in caring for her aging father. Yesterday, we had a heart to heart. As we spoke, she began to realize she couldn't do both at the same time. She admitted that for now, she is more fulfilled by spending time with her father on the weekends than by seeing her business explode. She may hit the $1 million mark -- some day. It's a great goal, but so is being happy with her choice for now.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating you let procrastination hinder career success or find an excuse to justify putting things off. I'm just saying that while it's fabulous to celebrate career accomplishments, it's also okay re-evaluate personal choices and priorities and set your own time line -- without beating yourself up over it.
As for me, I'm keeping a file of book possibilities. When you see me on tour, you will know my "some day" has come.