I just finished listening to the book on CD “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” by Marshall Goldsmith. Duh! All kidding aside, the reality is that there are things I want to do with my life — in addition to (or maybe in spite of?) being a full-time working mom with a very active pursuit of music during nights and weekends. And my usual hero/martyr/perfectionist self is only going to make it harder to take on any more. There’s just no more room — something’s got to give. And this is a good thing!
So I write this acknowledging that it’s a bit self-serving. It’s an exercise in awareness that I’m personally using to break old habits and build new ones.
At the very end of the book, Goldsmith walks through a visioning challenge where you imagine yourself as a 95-year-old person, and write a letter to yourself as you are today. What would you tell yourself, in all of your wisdom? This is where I would start.
1. Pursuing your dream takes a lot of courage. You are courageous. You are brave.
2. Don’t put it off. Make a habit of finding the small steps every day that help you work towards your big dream. Each small step helps to build your new habit — working towards what is most important to you rather than falling through your day, not knowing where the time went. Overnight success does NOT happen overnight.
3. You may feel guilt, or doubt at times — and that is normal. Just notice it, and move on. You may think — or others may say — that you’re spending too much time away from your family. You may doubt — or others may say — that maybe you’re not good enough. Look into your heart, and know that not only are you good enough, but you are grounded in a belief in yourself and your passions. You know that both music and family are your passions. Passion is a very strong emotion — and some people are threatened by that. Just know that and see it for what it is.
4. You don’t need to have it all — you just need to know what you want. And lucky for you, you already know! Some people spend their entire life and never figure it out. Realize that you are blessed for this.
5. It will not be easy — nothing worthwhile ever is. Who said that? Who knows. Just know that you will be tested. You may even want to walk away. Know that it’s just a test of your resolve. The passion and belief in yourself will come out on top if you let it.
6. Trust yourself. In many ways, you already know what you need to do. Maybe you don’t see the answer yet — but that solution is out there, and you will find it — and know it is right for you — when you are ready.
7. Know that your commitment to your passion makes you a wonderful role model for your children. You don’t have to apologize for *who you are*. What a wonderful lesson to pass on to your kids! In your heart, you know this to be true. Your children will learn this from you, because in all of your passion is also the desire for them to find their true selves as well.
I have ideas on how I can improve my balance, but I also know there isn’t a destination, a point in time when I will feel that everything is perfectly as it should be. I also know that there it will take time and resources to figure it out. And risk. And lots of open communication with my Dear Husband. Oh boy. Am I sure about this?
As they say… it will not be easy. Guess I’d probably be bored if it were easy. Guess that’s why it’s a big dream. Passion is complicated. Striking a balance as a mom, as part of a family, with another parent who has his own passions, is also complicated.
And as I said when I was 95, I already know what I need to do. I bet you already know too. Start small — just put it in writing!
Bio: Sitting still has never been easy for acoustic/indie/folk singer-songwriter Kim Jennings. A singer, piano and guitar player for years, the songwriting bug only bit her in 2007. Not three years later, Kim released her debut CD “My Own True North,” co-founded the indie record label “Birch Beer Records” with fellow singer-songwriter Dan Cloutier, and launched the We Support Local Music blog along with the “I Support Local Music in Massachusetts” Facebook page.
Named to Metronome Magazine’s Top 20 Hit List for 2010, and voted Best Female Vocalist in the 2010 Worcester Music Awards, Jennings keeps a busy schedule, performing as often as she can and running her record label. Not bad, considering that in her “free time” she’s also a full-time working soccer mom.
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Photo credit: Singer In Pub by Anthony Maragou