The Realignment Process, Step One

Happy November! Happy All Saints Day (belated)! Happy Fall! Happy Birthday to my husband! Happy…everything! Can you tell how I’m feeling right now???

There is nothing like the promise of a new beginning! For me, it feels like a second (or third, fourth, etc…you get the picture) chance to make things “right.” I take time to reflect and joyfully acknowledge the start of every new week, month, season, year, birthday, school year, anniversary…you name it! I have all types of calendars, planners, and bullet journals to show for it. My family placates my enthusiasm for fresh starts with small smiles and gentle nods.

I don’t know why I’m bent this way…it is just how I am wired. And I embrace it!

I tend to look for opportunities, within the boundaries of time, to begin again…to recommit myself to realignment because life has a way of drawing me off course, unawares. A new month is a perfect time to review where I’ve been, assess where I am, and make some intentional decisions about where I want to be. And since this is November, I am also beginning to set some BHAGs for 2018.

“What’s a BHAG?” You ask?

It is a BIG HAIRY AUDACIOUS GOAL! It’s a pursuit that scares me a little (sometimes a lot) but I know is within the realm of my passion and purpose.

But before I get there…I must focus on alignment.

I drive the family car. I won’t get into its year, make, and model. Suffice to say, I plan to ditch this behemoth as soon as my youngest turns double-digits. Since it is the family vehicle, it gets a lot of wear and tear. We’ve driven it to Georgia to see my family and to Florida to see my husband’s parents…more than once. We load it up for our vacations on the Vineyard and for every Costco trip in between. That baby gets the job done.

Like clockwork, every few months, “ole reliable” starts to strain a bit. I feel her engine working extra hard and her tires veer to one side. Then I look at my reminder sticker on the dash, and realize…oh, it’s time for an oil change and wheel alignment.

That is exactly what I need (we need) on a regular basis. Pay attention to the additional effort we’re applying to complete tasks. At times, we slip into old habits that are well-worn pathways in our brains for comfort and relief, veering off our goal of building healthier habits. Unfortunately, there is no sticker on the mind’s dash to remind us that it’s time for a reset.

THAT is what I feel a new month or season marks for me, and can for you, too.

Here’s what I do…and plan to do with you this time. I ask myself a bunch of reflective questions. I answer them honestly with no judgment to gain some perspective on where I’ve been and where I am. Then I ask several more to draw me from my present into my possible future. I answer those questions with no limits or “buts” to identify my next steps. I do this for my business and personal life. This keeps me focused and always progressing.

Now…the “with you” part of this is simple. I will post my questions here for you to use in your own self-assessment (if you’d like to join in). Then I will include my answers to those questions. My thought is that everyone benefits from an example. Right?

One more thing…this year, I began segmenting my time to mirror the flow of my life…into trimesters instead of quarters. The “quarter,” or ninety days, has long been the standard in every industry of business and in life. Everywhere you turn, there’s a book or program proclaiming 90 days to this or 90 days to that. I could never seem to maintain that timeline. I thought there was a disconnect in me. But in the spirit of embracing who I am, as I am, I began to push back against this “standard” and to consider…maybe there’s another way. I began chunking my year into three four-month portions. Trimesters work better for me. It allows for the reality of life’s unexpected happenings that inevitable shake up my timetables. Also, I begin my year in September…like every other good educator. LOL. So, November marks the commencing of the second half of my TriOne.

Let’s get started…

What am I proud of this trimester?  I am proud of my consistency with writing this blog. I had been laboring over starting it for several months. For me to finally get it going AND remain consistent with it, in the face of life challenges, puts a smile on my face. I’m proud of this.

What was a good use of my time?  Organizing my time has been a good use of it. This trimester, I began theming my days and blocking my time. I have certain days that are for writing, others for editing, etc. I work in 90-minute blocks and take brain breaks. That seems to be working very well for me.

What was my greatest challenge?  Distractions. It’s not the usual phone or email notifications…I turn those off. It’s not social media or internet surfing. I get distracted by the sheer congestion of my own mind. The volume of “things” going on in there seems limitless. I could be working on creating an infographic and suddenly remember that I didn’t make dental appointments for my kids. Or I’ll be reading some important personal development material then think, “What am I going to do for dinner?”

What did I learn about myself?  I work best with structure. I am creative, yes, but I need to be intentional with the boundaries around my time and my commitments. When I have clear boundaries, I easily can determine what/who falls outside of them. That way, I don’t jump at every opportunity and don’t allow the others’ emergencies become my immediate concerns.

Who supported me?  My fantabulous family! That includes my husband, children, mother, sister-in-law…all who incidentally contribute, directly and indirectly, to what you’re reading right now. LOVE y’all. Thanks!

Also, my girls, you know who you are…they support me with words of encouragement, accountability, and prayer. Everyone needs a community!

Your turn! Click the link below to access your reflection freebie which includes these questions. This is step one of The Realignment Process. Next week, step two. Take some time, at least 30 minutes, to think about and answer the questions. Consider other questions that may come to mind as you answer. Write those down and answer them, as well. Personalize the process.

Remember: You cannot move forward in the direction of your goals without first considering where you’ve been and assessing where you are. C’mon! Let do this!