While the future may be looking very uncertain for Nigella, one thing is not. That the pain in her private life is now in the public domain and that millions are cheering her on to be the strong woman we've always seen her to be - not just in the kitchen, but in her life beyond it.
Martin Luther King Jr once said, “You don’t have to see the whole stair case, just the first steps.” And so when it comes to doing something that leaves a wide cavernous gap between where you are now and where you ultimately want to be, don’t think that you need to know how to bridge it before you take the first step forward. What matters most is knowing the direction you want to head, even if you aren’t clear on a specific end-point destination (I sure wasn’t at eighteen!) Once you know the direction, then think about what you would like to be doing 12 months from now that would be moving you toward it. Then think about what you’d be doing 6 months from now. Then 2 months from now. Then 2 weeks from now. Then tomorrow. Then today. Life rewards action!
As our online networks have grown ever more expansive, our relationships offline have thinned, leaving many people feeling more alone with fewer confidents than they had in the era "B.F." (Before Facebook.) As social media appeals to our vanity and vulnerability, we must be vigilant not to hide behind the technology in communicating with the people around us, escaping the ‘real work’ of addressing the issues which arise in real (and truly authentic) relationships.
we human beings are wired to be risk averse. In other words, we find it much easier to settle with the status quo, keep our mouths closed and our heads down rather than to make a change, take a chance or speak up and engage in what I call a "courageous conversation." When weighing up whether to do something that makes us vulnerable to failing, losing face or some other form or loss, we have an innate tendency to over estimate the size of risks and under estimate our ability to handle them.
If Angelina Jolie’s bravery has a lesson for us all it is this: That sometimes life calls each of us to decisive amidst uncertainty; that sometimes after weighing in all the probabilities and measuring out the pro’s and con’s, we each need to tune out all the noise and opinions around us and turn inward to listen the voice within making whatever decision feels most right for us, even if we’re not 100% sure it’s 100% right. We then have to trust ourselves more deeply to meet whatever challenges those choices may give rise to.
Is how you define success keeping you from achieving it? How you define success determines not only how successful you feel throughout your life, but how successful you become in terms of the impact you make on those around you, the quality of your relationships, and the value of the contribution you make along the way. Taking time to decide how you want to measure your life, framing those measures in ways that enable you to feel enjoy success today – and tomorrow –enables you to stay more purposeful, more courageous and more optimistic, even when your efforts don’t produce the outcomes you’re working toward. Which, let’s face it, can be more often than we’d like.
As you go about getting your mother a token of gratitude this Mother's Day, think about also about how you can help support the millions of equally deserving mothers (as well as their daughters) in those parts of the world who'll never get to experience the joy we've come to associate with Mother's Day. As Nicholas Kristof, author of Half the Sky wrote in his New York Times column, it's time to "think about moving the apostrophe so that it becomes not just Mother's Day, honoring a single mother, but Mothers' Day - an occasion to try to help other mothers around the globe as well."
Don't should on yourself and don't let others should on you. This term was originally coined by Dr Fritz Perls to describe people who let others expectations and judgements determine what they will do and say ahead of what they truly want for themselves. I'm sure there are people who think that as a mother of four I shouldn't be gallivanting off to the far side of the world for two weeks of book/self-promotion. But here's the deal, and what I had to remind myself of this morning: How can I tell my kids to follow their dreams if I'm not following my own?! Who say's I shouldn't?! And why would anyone else's opinion matter more than mine?!
Making changes to our regular schedule, much less our life, is not easy. If it were, everyone would be doing it. If it were, I wouldn't be falling on my sword right now! But whether in our work, relationships or how we manage our daily lives, sometimes we are called to make a change, to let go the familiar, and say no to something that is “good” to open up the possibility for something better.
Indeed there’s a science to success when it comes to achieving goals and making life changes – whether on January 1st with your New Year Resolutions - or any other time of year. On the link below are 7 strategies to help you make the changes you want in the year ahead – including making the right resolutions to begin with. I hope you will read it, but more so, I hope you will apply them so that 2013 will truly be the best year of your life. Not because everything will go as you want, but because you be firmly at the helm of your own life – living by design rather than by default.