Archive for April, 2012

How big are your goals?

April 30, 2012

Are your goals big enough?

We’re frequently reminded that we must set goals. Have you ever considered why? It’s fine to begin with the end in mind and understand that we require a clear destination, but what is the deeper purpose, the one that provide the impetus for action? And how high should we aim? To the stars and hit the moon, or something a bit closer to earth?

Let’s make sense of goal setting.  A goal:

–           Stimulates excitement, energy and effort.

–           Creates focus, motivation, momentum and purpose.

–           Builds anticipation of a future positive state.

–           Drives action to take you there.

Having a definite major purpose is satisfying, even before you’ve taken action, because it makes the journey as good as the destination. And the result is personal growth.

Committing to a goal helps find the courage to stretch and take calculated risks outside your comfort zone and to overcome the fear of failure. It creates a life of its own where, ideally, the outcome is never in doubt. You keep going until you get there. Starting is often the most difficult.

The scope of your goal must be reasonable and attainable. Setting impossible goals sets you up for failure and makes committing almost impossible. If you don’t believe it, how can you achieve it?

You can break down larger goals into smaller steps, treating each as a milestone. Then want each step enough to create emotional energy. Losing weight, gaining a promotion, winning at sport, finding the perfect partner, starting a charity; what are the first steps you can take today?

So how high should you aim? The answer is higher than you usually do and high enough to stimulate your imagination and innovation. Be clear on what you want and decide that you will achieve it. The removal of indecision and doubt sets your course and creates energy to get you there.

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A new life – what a rush!

April 26, 2012

A wonderful new life

It has been a few weeks since my last post; it has been a very busy and exciting time. We have a new addition to the family and I’ve just returned from a business trip in Europe. This is a rather lengthy and self indulgent post so I hope you enjoy it!

The first time I heard I was to be a grandfather was after returning from a holiday with my wife in Hawaii. On our return, Joanne and I were told by our daughter Holly that we ‘need to talk’. No, not now, later this afternoon at the café at our local shopping centre. ‘Is everything all right?’ Asking that question filled me with dread.

‘What could it be?’, I asked my wife.

Tom is coming as well so has something bad happened; are they moving out, is she pregnant or does she have a brain tumour? How can I possibly wait six hours to hear the news from this child that means the world to me?

‘Mum and Dad, I’m pregnant.’

So that’s it, she’s 20 years old and pregnant. Whoa, that means I will be a grandfather and I’m only 48: hang on, this time it’s not about me.

‘Are you happy about it, Holly?’

‘Ecstatic.’

‘Great then, we’re going to have a baby!’

Only days before in Hawaii we’d discussed how this was the first holiday in 20 years that we didn’t have to worry about the kids. I’d made a passing comment that we should enjoy this intermission; in five or six years we could be grandparents! It was funny then.

I was happy for my daughter; especially because she has a medical problem that may have prevented her having children. My little girl is pregnant. My baby is having a baby. The realisation of how our lives were about to change washed over me. I hadn’t seen this one coming.

A burning bud of white light ignited in me and began to grow. My initial shock abated and I felt a glow of anticipation. A new life, another generation and I’m young enough to enjoy it! Instantly I saw the world through different eyes; I need to make it a better place, I have a responsibility to this child and nothing will get in my way. I was moving up a notch in the life cycle; I was as nervous as I was excited.

Over the coming weeks, as my daughter’s belly grew, I watched her, sitting back, observing and taking it in. We were so excited.  We found out it was going to be a boy and the first time I felt him move I was in awe. I became impatient – when is he going to get here?

My wife and daughter became closer, her pregnancy strengthening their mother–daughter bond. In many ways Holly appeared to me more childlike: her look of wonder, the uncertainty in her childlike voice on the phone. Can she really be having a baby?

I felt privileged to take this journey with her, to be present for the first ultrasound and take her to obstetrician appointments when Tom was working. We laughed at the disapproving stares of people who thought I was her partner and she would say ‘Come on, dad’ to set the record straight. We sat in the hospital café after each appointment and talked excitedly about the meaning of life and our front row seats at this master performance.

As young parents, they will live with us for a year or so until they can get into their own home. I already know I won’t want them to go; being packed to the rafters is fine by us. With our other two children and my mother in law all living under the one roof I may be forced to take to the caravan for a brief respite – just me and the spiders.

Joanne and I had often talked about another baby; we thought there was another little boy destined to come to us. Now he has; he has just found a different path to get here.

I received the call from Holly at work last Friday afternoon.

‘My water has broken. What should I do?’

Hastily cancelling my appointments, I was on the way home in minutes.

‘Don’t freak out’, I told myself, it’ll be OK.

We arrived at the hospital but the baby wasn’t quite ready to come just yet. We went home with instructions to come back in the morning.

Dad-to-be Tom and I had a couple of drinks in contemplation of what was to come.

‘Not too many mate’, I said. ‘We could be on the way anytime.’

Two hours later, after an hour of sleep, we were. Bubs was coming, and keen to see the world.

The delivery suite was nice. Large enough for the four of us and we made Holly as comfortable as we could. The nurses were great at keeping us informed and her doctor updated – unfortunately for him it was 2.00am Saturday!

Three hours and several coffees (for me) later it was show time and I was asked to leave. Holly wanted her mum in the room along with Tom.

I was told to sit in the waiting room but lasted only minutes before returning to hover outside the delivery suite. Throwing enquiring looks to the parade of nursing staff coming in and out, I was reassured that everything was going along nicely. I wasn’t this anxious when my own children were born!

I could hear my daughter’s pain. Not a cry or a shout, more of a whimper tempered in fear and uncertainty; it ripped through me and it took all of my restraint not to run into the room to hold her. I paced up and down like an expectant father from a 60’s sitcom.

I watched the clock and the minutes painfully ticked by, the world reduced to a singularity residing behind that whitewashed door. On his last pass the doctor said ’30 minutes to go’ and as that time approached I strained my ears. Time slowed, the world turned to molasses, I could hear my heart beating and finally I heard him cry; a beautiful sound: welcome to the world little guy.

In a few minutes I was allowed in to see this amazing little person and my exhausted daughter. She had done so very, very well.

Now my little grandson is here and I marvel at his perfection.

I loved my grandson from the moment I heard his first cry and I’m very proud of the mother and woman my daughter has become. What a wonderful world.

Live long and prosper

April 10, 2012

How much time do you have?

After an excellent 2011, I’m again thinking about losing those extra kilos and getting fit.

I was so good last year, but let it slide over Christmas and haven’t regained my mojo. Disappointing, I hate going backwards in anything. Finding excuses is easy, finding motivation is somewhat harder. It used to be about vanity, now it’s longevity.

I recently read that the average life expectancy is 81 years; 79 years for men and 84 for women. That got me thinking. That’s around 29,000 days.

I’m 48, so I have spent more than 17,500 of those, or 60%.

I’ve experienced 17,500 unique days, had the opportunity to make a difference to my life and others, to experience happiness and to waste more time than I’d care to account.

Now I have 11,500 more opportunities to live in the moment, take responsibility, create significance, leave a legacy and grow.  I can slow the pace of life to enjoy my family and find peace.

Importantly, I have 11,500 chances to start over. But no one can guarantee me those 11,500 days. I could get more. But I know too many people who’ve had less. So I can’t wait.

So I will start with today.