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June Converse

Thriving After Trauma - Author and Writing Coach

I Am Enough (And I Could Be More)

I don’t usually do this, but I’d like this blog to be experiential. Rather than just read, could I ask you to grab a sheet of paper and do a little work? I like my blogs to not only be authentic but also to be meaningful. To that end, I’d like this blog to be useful in a real way. Ready?

Your turn. Write the following statements (notice the capital letters):

I am enough.

I am Enough!

I am ENOUGH!!

I start with those statements because I’m going to be discussing change and change has a connotation of something “needing” to change because something is “broken”. This is NOT the case. I am ENOUGH. You are ENOUGH. I am NOT broken, and you are NOT broken. Breathe deep, take that in and now let’s discuss being more.

Growth

While I am enough, there are places I could grow, places I’d like to grow. Last week, I introduced you to Jeffery and Jami Downs’ Streaking process. I have three streaks going and going strong. I am still excited to mark ‘complete’ on those simple streaks. As I mentioned, though, in chapter 8, the book finally asks that we dig deeper, use streaks to actually grow into the person we want to be.

“But to be exceptional at anything, you need to consciously decide who you want to be and then determine what you need to do to realize that choice. When streaking, you create ‘be statements’ to capture the essence of who you aspire to become, and then align your streaks toward that end.” [emphasis mine]

Who I Am Today?

Our first task is to list those things we already are (based on how we spend our time and resources – using empirical evidence). I am a spouse - writer – teacher – reader – leader – striver – lover of concerts – exerciser – editor – cook – parent – worrier – traveler – idea generator – friend – coach – impulsive – grandparent – housekeeper – dog owner - learner.

Your turn – think through the last couple of weeks. Where did your energy, time and money go? Who are you right now?

Who Am I Tomorrow?

The Downs are not the first authors to suggest we decide who we want to be. In the past I’d rush to make these “to be” statements. I’d write more “I should” than “I aspire”. I’d hear my father’s voice or the world’s opinion. These would influence my “to be” choices. This time, I decided to write down everything I could think of – no holding back. I’d include what my father would dictate, what the world would demand and what I want.

“Steaking is about identifying the person you want to be, crafting a be statement, and then aligning your streaks.” [emphasis mine]

“When writing a statement of who you want to be, you reinforce what you need to do to be that person. Your ‘be statement’ may be one sentence or several.”

The book recommends we look at our lives in four areas: personal, social, spiritual, and professional.

My Round One “To Be” Aspirations

  • I am an author who writes consistently and confidently.
  • I am a wife who expresses gratitude through his love language.
  • I am a writing coach and teacher.
  • I make enough money to balance out the spending (or I am not a drain on the family finances).
  • I travel the world.
  • I am an intuitive eater who consistently prepares and pre-plans healthy meals.
  • I am in charge of my spending habits and my finances.
  • I am comfortable with experiencing, sharing and releasing my emotions. (authenticity)
  • I am a great friend.
  • I am a connected parent.
  • I am a true day hiker.
  • I am a master of my own body with nourishing food and appropriate exercise.
  • I am a lifelong learner who is open minded.
  • I am a spiritual person.
  • I take pride in my belongings.
  • I am a leader.
  • I am a person who finishes projects in an organized, attentive fashion.
  • I am involved in creative endeavors (beyond writing).
  • I am a person with clear boundaries and a willingness to say no.

Your turn. Take five minutes to make a list. This list took me several days to refine. I kept adding things as I went through my days and watched my life.

Wow, if we could master all of those, we’d be something else! But you know what, I don’t have a need to be something else. I just want to grow.

Of course, I can claim some of these already, but they made the list because I want to be more, or I want to grow deeper in the area. For example, I am a good friend, but I’d like to be better than I am now.

Can’t Grow Everything

I am not a gardener, but I do know a good gardener doesn’t try to grow every crop available. My friend has a great garden, but she doesn’t grow watermelons or gourds or cactus. A garden takes effort and focus for healthy plants to bloom. A garden requires a lot of weed control.

For me, then, I need to plant only one or two gardens at a time. If I spread myself too thin – try to make too many changes or add too many tasks – the weeds will take over in all areas. I will not grow. I will go backward instead of forward.

What To Plant?

If I were to make a decision to be all of the above, I’d fail and become none of these.

“To be that person, what do I need to do consistently? What do I need to do daily, weekly, or monthly that will make me who I want to be?”

I’m going to ask the question a different way:

What areas am I willing to focus consistent effort (daily, weekly or monthly) to be what I strive to be? What aspirations are worth my effort at this moment in my life?

See the difference?

I can work on all of these –and I do. But I can’t focus on all of them in a meaningful way. Can you imagine the list of streaks I’d have? I’d spend all day checking off streaks. So, which of those aspirations am I willing to put concerted, consistent effort? Which areas are most important to me right now?

I’m going to tell you my answer next week. I need to think about it – really be honest with myself. Really really honest! Painfully honest! I know I have a tendency to jump into the deep end and do it all. Not this time. I’m going to journal (remember, that’s one of my streaks). I am going to picture my life five years from now and see where I want to be. I’m going to think through what it would take to see growth and assess if I’m willing to make consistent change. Where do I want to be exceptional?

Remember, though – and this is important – when we make a choice, we will develop streaks. Streaks are by definition so simple as to be silly and doable. For now, don’t worry about the how to become, decide only what to become.

A hint: if you decided last week to start a few streaks based on a gut level idea, look at those choices. What aspirations do they support?

My three streaks are: read one paragraph in a non-fiction book a day; journal one sentence every day; write 50 words of original content.

These three streaks are consistently working toward: I am a lifelong learner. I am in touch with my emotions. I am an author. Those three aspirations are clearly important to me. But what else is important – honestly important?

Your turn. Use this week to journal and think about your ‘to be’ statements. Imagine life five years from now. What do you genuinely want to see? Narrow the focus. Plan the garden. Next week, we’ll find the seeds to plant.

Please buy the book. The Downs give so much more information, advice and direction.

Are you willing to share your lists and thoughts in the comments?

Journal Time

Did these activities create anxiety? Did you judge yourself? How can you release those judgments and embrace the fact that you are enough? How can you accept you are enough AND you want to make some adjustments?

Visualize yourself in five years! Take some notes.

All quotes are from Streaking: The Simple Practice of Conscious, Consistent Actions that Create Life-Changing Results by Jeffery and Jami Downs.

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June Converse with purple hair
Choosing to rebuild a life after a breakdown has been a challenge. I became an author and a blogger who openly shares...
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