2023 April 4 Follow your dreams because you're worth it

Apr 04, 2023

Hi, this is Jim Cranston from 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com, the podcast and website about re-imagining your life. Thanks for joining me tonight for a brief talk about taking personal responsibility for your goals. Let's get started. If you like what you hear tonight, please leave a like and tell your friends and send me a message.


First, Happy Easter, just a few days away. 


Today was a very interesting day and a very interesting week. For Christians, this is Holy Week, the week before the most important Christian feast, which is the Feast of Easter or Pascua for my Spanish friends. That means there are a lot of religious activities and church services, plus big attendance and most services for those that go occasionally.


But it's also a time of reflection on many different things about life and your part in it. I was  starting from that mindset this morning, of it being somewhat reflective, when I went off to my Spanish class this evening, where we had this abrupt change of teachers.


There was  some pretty unprofessional written correspondence from the sponsoring organization about that change. It turns out that a number of students from the previous cohort had written some pretty scathing criticism of the previous teacher. To put it in perspective, by the end of the first class, every single person in that room was speaking in Spanish. It may have been rudimentary, but we were all speaking Spanish - in sentences, everyone. But here's where the drama begins. Not everyone wanted to stand up and work through their basic Spanish in front of the classroom, even though every single person got a round of applause every single time.


If you have studied a foreign language, you probably remember and realize that the fastest, and arguably the best, way you learn is to make a lot of mistakes. Particularly just try to find words, laugh it off, and just move. But instead, a number of students decided that instead of participating and moving outside of their comfort zone and challenging themselves, they would just complain.


So the sponsoring organization got some bad reviews and, adding more bad decisions to the fire, instead of asking the entire class for reviews, took those few bad reviews and changed the teachers. Now I'm in with the new teacher, and they're fine, but there's nowhere near the class involvement nor participation or the depth of explanation that there was in the prior situation.


I forgot to mention that the first teacher actually worked full-time teaching Spanish to children at a local, quite exclusive private school. She obviously knew what she was doing. But even more insightful is the fact that none of the complainers bothered to return to the next cohort, even though they were all contacted, and a big point was made that there was a new teacher.


So once they weren't able to blame the teacher, since there was now a new one, they elected to just give up and not return. Now, I'm sure they all personally had very good reasons that they left and that their friends all agreed with him. But by now, if you've been hanging around with me for a while, hopefully you can see what was really going on.


When they had to go outside of their comfort zone, most likely their brain went into full, ‘get back into this safe zone’ mode that meant they had to stop taking chances. But not only does your brain want to keep you safe (we talked about that a lot), it also doesn't want you to perceive yourself badly about what you're able to do.


So this is where the blame of the external comes in. It must have been because (insert whatever external reason or factor you want to put). We've all done it at some point. We were late because there was a line at the gas station, when in reality we were late because we knew yesterday that we had an early appointment tomorrow, but we didn't feel like getting gas the night before.


I could have finished that report at work, except my boss asked me to do something else this afternoon. But that report was due for weeks, and we just put it off until it was an emergency today. There were a couple of lessons I picked up today, which I hadn't really expected.


I'm certainly aware of lying to myself. We all do it at various times, about why something didn't work. But honestly, I've forgotten the degree to which our brain will reconstruct our reality to remove blame and allow it to keep us safe. In my real world example, I suspect many of these people did this three step dance to get back to their safe state.


They couldn't accept operating outside of their comfort zone, but they didn't want to just quit or admit failure. So they went and fabricated a story, or a different reality, that it was because of the way the class was being taught that they couldn't participate, to reassure their own self-esteem.


They then had to focus that blame on someone else since obviously, a number of people were succeeding in the class. It had to be someone's fault, so it had to be some other external factor. This is all really important because we can see how we undermine ourselves in such a way that we can excuse ourselves from almost any situation, but we're never moving closer to our goals.


I expect a number of those people had ‘learn Spanish’ as a goal, but it wasn’t a SMART goal. They need to be specific, measurable, actionable, reachable or stretch goals, and time based. They have a time limit.


So even if these people had the first three things done, which is unlikely - they probably weren't particularly specific, they weren't particularly measurable and they probably weren't actionable, other than showing up - Even if they did, though, when it came to that reach or stretch goal, they just were not able to operate outside of their comfort zone.


Because of that, they rewrote their own reality, which we are all very capable of doing, and we actually do all the time (for better or worse), and they excuse themselves from trying to reach that next level. Now, I hope you're starting to see just how important it is to write good goals and just as important to accept personal responsibility for either working towards that goal or to get the courage to admit that the goal wasn't really that important, and to reevaluate your goals and move on.


But letting your brain push the blame off onto others in order to keep yourself safe is not fair to anyone, especially yourself, and then most certainly to someone else. This was really brought to the forefront this morning for me when I was doing my morning priming. If you don't remember what the priming is about, you can look at the episode from last week, March 28th.


I had a really difficult day planned. These days have been challenging. There's a lot of stuff going on, a lot of things around Easter, a lot of things at work. I had this difficult day planned, and suddenly I caught myself starting to excuse myself from what I had to. I hadn't even started yet, and I was already giving myself a reason, an excuse. Once I caught myself, I realized that the only person I'd really be hurting would be myself. 


So now is a good time to reexamine your goals and your progress towards reaching them, and then honestly, look at your progress and make sure your goals are still relevant. If you've given up on some goals, now is actually an excellent time to go back and honestly evaluate. Was it really too hard or too far away (or whatever reason you gave yourself)? Or was it just that you were getting out of your comfort zone and just needed a reason to get back to the familiar, to the things that you are comfortable being around?


Perhaps the goal really just was no longer that important or relevant. Honestly, maybe it never really was. All your friends decided we're going to learn how to play Canasta, and you said, Oh, I'll learn too. I don’t even like to play cards. Why don't I learn this stupid card game? Look at the goal, see if it was really that important to you in the first place. But no matter what, be honest with yourself, and give yourself grace, reevaluate, make a revised plan, and start to move forward again, this time, with a little more experience and a better plan. 


So that's it for tonight. Thank you very much. Happy goal setting, and just as importantly, happy goal revision when it really makes sense. Remember, you should always take personal responsibility for, and to, yourself because you really are totally worth it. Thanks so much.


As always, please remember the war in Ukraine. I talk about that a lot. People need help everywhere. There were recently the earthquakes. There are disasters and suffering in a lot of places.


If you can and you're able, the page for the Ukraine donation links is up at UKR7.com. There's also a link there to World Central Kitchen. They do a lot of humanitarian work around the world, providing meals for people in need. So the link is there for them too. WCK.org.  Remember, one of the best ways to care for yourself is to care for others.


As always, thank you for stopping by. If you found something interesting or useful, please pass it along. Please hit that like button, and if not, please drop me a comment as to what you'd like to hear. Have a great week. Remember to live the life you dream of, because that's the path to true contentment. Love and encouragement to everyone.


See you next week at 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com. I hope you have a wonderful Easter if you observe it. Thank you again.


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