2014: To Be List

March. Already. I must’ve blinked. Where did January and February (and most of this month) go?!? Wait, don’t answer that. I know where they went. Or, more accurately, how they were spent. But none of that now. I’m the only one who know what it is I intended to do, to have done by now … what was on the to-do list that’s still there … I’ve been trying to give myself permission to jettison that self-imposed obligation, to give it up, to get over it, to let it go. I’m mostly winning. Mostly.

Goals. As opposed to resolutions. I’ve been thinking about these for some little while, now. Reflecting on the prior year, what worked, what didn’t, what I want to pull forward, what I should ditch … This usually happens in January. For reasons that do not need explored at this time, January and I tussled this year. February and I agreed to just call it a draw. But reflection. I’ve noticed several themes (characteristics?) that bear exploring.


I am a list-maker. The harder I try to avoid it, the more necessary a list becomes. I hadn’t thought of it until recently, but I think it’s because I’m becoming a better “straddler;” thinking and processing (predominantly) right-brain, but organizing and implementing left-brain. Macros and micros. Balancing between being a thinker and a doer. Thinkers need plenty of space for thinking big thinks. But doers need some sort of game plan, a checklist of sorts, to know a) if they are working on the right things, and b) if they are making progress. Hence my annual goal-setting. As opposed to resolutions. Goals get measured. And what gets measured gets managed. Resolutions get made. And then, well …



Which reminds me of a Michael Hyatt post  I read recently on to-do lists. Never mind my loose definition of “recently.” He reminded me of something I know, but forgot to remember. Specifically, it’s all one life. He said, “…I spend a crazy amount of time being strategic and intentional with my job, and I want to remember to apply that same intentionality to my relationships as well.” {face palm} Well, duh! Right?!?  {note to self #774}



But I was speaking of trends.

I fail forward. Sometimes with alarming frequency. But I think this is a good thing. And something of a skill. To risk trying something new, but be willing to abandon it if it doesn’t work. The outcome: I have an expanding knowledge base and collection of things I’m NOT good at. Which helps reinforce what I AM good at.

I am a constant work-in-progress. How I manage my time, productivity, relationships. How well, or not, I know myself. Or I think I know myself. I’m not sure there is such a state as “finished,” much less if I’ll ever get there. Sometime mid-February, I was forcefully reminded that I’m not the only one with a backstory, not the only one nursing hurts, in pain, not the only one in need of grace and comfort.

But back to goals. Last year, I reviewed the evolution of my annual goal-setting.

– 2011: More or Less List
– 2012: To Count or Not To Count List
– 2013: Stop Doing List

Which brings me back to 2014, and the idea of being intentional in every area of life: professionally, socially, personally. So, without further ado:

2014: To Be List

Deliberate: I want to be more intentional about the things I can do–and want to do–and float the rest. Letting those “if only” and “at some point” things loiter on the periphery pulls my attention away … because I know they’re still there. Less waffling, more decision-making, more doing. Commit, and be all in.

Graceful: I think I do a pretty good job extending grace to other people. But I’m pretty critical of me and stink at extending grace to myself. I want to (need to) treat myself like I would others: making allowance for and giving permission to be less than perfect, to not have it all figured out, to sometimes be broken. To fail forward. 

Authentic: This one may be the toughest of the lot. I want to be less constrained by, or rather place less importance on, others opinions of me. To open up and reveal what my friend Kristina calls “basement truth.” Authenticity demands vulnerability. And energy. Authenticity also requires a certain level of bravery, I think, and I don’t always believe I have the strength or courage to be brave. Last month I risked sharing with selected, close friends that I was struggling, really struggling, with a particularly horrible bout of busted Pollyanna. And something amazing happened. There was no judgement, no withdrawal … only a new-found richness in those relationships I hadn’t known before. That, I want more of it. 

Present: In both my work and private life, I’m either thinking and planning three months ahead, or looking in the rear view assessing outcomes and identifying trends. I want to spend more time here, in the now, experiencing the moments memories are made of as they happen. To put the phone down, turn the computer off, stop.planning.all.the.details. and just let the day unfold as it will, and live it as it does. 

Speed limit

So far, 2012 has been … in a word: busy.

Things are moving and shaking. I’m spinning a lot of project plates just now, both on the work side and the personal side. I’m certainly not bored. Good grief, I have no time to be. And that’s great!
Busy is good. But some days, “busy” is a four-letter word.

As I age, I’m coming to know myself.

I only have so much energy, and that ebbs and flows. Certain things charge me up, and those waves run high, fast, and strong. And yet I know I have to be careful, because I can only keep up the pace for so long. I’ve begun to learn my pattern, and I can feel when my endurance is starting to fade. I get wobbly; I start missing details and my attention span snaps.

If I’m paying attention, and I catch it quick enough, I can avert total disaster. Which makes charging the batteries that much easier and quicker.

If I don’t catch it quick enough, those waves I’m riding start to crash. And I end up in a puddle. And it’s not always pretty. I don’t like puddling—because it usually means something gets mucked up while I’m recharging and recovering.

Mario Andretti is credited with saying, “If everything’s under control, you aren’t going fast enough.”

My disclaimer: There’s a speed limit. And the flashing red & blue will graciously remind you what it is. Pay attention; don’t crash the wall. It wins.

Smack. The wall hit me this time. Hard. So much for thinking I had another week or two to slow down.

My Pollyanna needs a vacation. And the rest of me needs a nap.

To count, or not to count. *That* is the question …

Last year about this time, I sat contemplating whether or not I was going to set New Years Resolutions. What I ended up with was my 20-11 List: twenty things I wanted more of, and eleven things I wanted less of. A smart list, if I say it myself, and reviewing it throughout the year, one that helped me keep the important things important. 

I suppose I’ve always smelled faintly of chlorine. I learned to swim when I was four, and joined the swim team at seven. I swam competitively for 10 years, retiring from racing after high school. And I’ve managed to stay in the pool since. 

The difference between my workouts then and now is counting. When you’re prepping for the next meet, yardage is important. When you’re following the black line on the bottom of the pool to just stay in shape, yardage isn’t as important as whether or not you’re hitting your training heart rate. Some days I count laps, some days I don’t. I find I’m more motivated, and feel better about my workout, on the days I count. There’s a greater sense of accomplishment when I *know* I’ve put in a mile, instead of guesstimating I have done. Apparently, Coach, that training is a hard habit to break!

It dawned on me a couple days before Christmas that my morning workout is a good analogy for the rest of my life. I’m more motivated, and pay better attention when I’m counting. And I definitely don’t pay as much attention to the stuff I don’t count. 

So here’s my 2012 List: Things to count. And not to count.


Expressing gratitude
in the moment, when someone does something I appreciate
“please” and “thank you”
Precious face-time with my family and friends
capers from which legend is borne
also “celebrations,” “laughter, “gratitude”
Snail mail
… being tangible with family and friends across the miles
… that isn’t a solicitation or a bill!
Healthy habits
with friends
with the 4-leggeds
also “laughter”
health breaks: see also “moto,” “face-time”
to abandon old stuff
also “face-time”
Moto rides!!!
to nowhere particular
also “healthy habits”
Photo ops
mountains, rivers, valleys
cats, kids, cows
with friends
that memories are made of (and legend, too)


Not Count
The number of times it is “my turn” to talk
When a friend has the floor … be still, and listen
between the words (it’s what I hope they’d do for me)
When I don’t get my own way
In 5 years, will it really be important anyway?
Being right
Quarreling takes too much energy, and there never
are any real winners
Minor personal inconvenience
Especially if it’s while being of service to someone
Unanticipated change in plans
Often, the best adventures are unplanned. Definitely
don’t count if it’s family/friends changing it up.
How often I’m sent “up over” or “down under”
Being the young bendy one in the family means I’m
climbing the ladder or crawling under the house to do…something I’d probably
rather not. But, it’s precious time and relationship maintenance with my old
people I wouldn’t trade for anything. Count under “face-time” and “accomplishment.”
Rainy days
It’s Oregon after all. It rains here. But it means
fabulous green stuff and gorgeous blooming things.
* In no particular order
** Subject to change as I think of things to add