goals · music · procrastination

O|M

4-11-18.jpg

About a decade ago, I worked for a Jewish non-profit in San Francisco.  I was a program assistant, so I got to sit in on the Professional Development seminars that I bought the bagels for.  One of these PDs was on program development: there are a hundred ways to do anything, but what is your goal?  Thus, the facilitator introduced the O|M method.

O|M stands for Outcome|Method, and also appeals to the hippie-dippy present in all Jews–well, maybe the Bay Area ones!  On a sheet of paper, draw a T chart with Outcome on one side and Method on the other.  Chances are for each goal you want to accomplish, there’s only one outcome, maybe two, you’d like to achieve.  Once you’ve written that down, go at it! on the right side.

Every and any method you can think of to accomplish this goal, write it down!  Don’t be shy about outlandish ideas; that’s what this process is here to help facilitate: think outside your own box, beyond your preconceptions and doubts and judgments.

However.

Once you’ve generated this list, you need to choose a Method.  And this idea pivots my thoughts today to the “SMART” choices acronym that has been cropping up in my sphere–first Deepak, then financial articles.  Although there is some debate about the wording, here’s my approximation of what Deepak said:

S: Stretch more than I can reach

M: Make everything Measurable

A: Agreement with my inner self and those around me

R: Record my progress!

T: Time limits for acting and getting a result.

It does not matter if my Outcome is to play “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” on the piano by Christmas.  It does not matter if my Method is to practice 3 times a week.

If I do not have a Measurement for smaller actions or a Time limit for taking such actions, I will procrastinate… and I will achieve nothing.  Except self-derision.

Someone said recently, Goals without Action are Wishes.  (And to quote a dear friend, “If wishes were horses, then hobos would ride”!)

I do have this goal.  But I do not have a method that has yet been actionable.  I haven’t had a plan — I haven’t had a method.  So what I think I’ll do is to open my brain to the right column, brainstorm, write down any ideas realistic or un- and help myself overcome just even the very first hurdle.

 

Because surely, if you’re like me, that first one is the highest.

 

Advertisements
addiction · career · fulfillment · humor · procrastination

"Admitted we were powerless over Netflix, and our lives had become unmanageable"…

There is a great proportional equation in my life: The more
fearful I am, the more Netflix I watch. 
Perhaps you have a similar equation?
As Summer School draws to a close — both my morning job
teaching it and my evenings learning from it — I begin to feel more anxious.  I begin to poke around job sites, as half-heartedly as I have been for weeks since this summer school job began,
but more fretfully as the job nears completion… tomorrow.
As I look at teacher jobs, I am reminded that, honestly, I
feel out of my depth to put together full-time lesson plans, learning arcs, and
curricula.  Hence my desire to earn a
teaching credential, aka more schooling, aka not til next Fall if that
happens.  There’s plenty of “go get ‘em”
attitude in me that says, “Meh, who needs it, you’ve taught, you’ll be fiiine.”  But there’s a great dose of reality that
reminds me that as someone who’s never taught full-time it’s not fair to me or my students to simply “wing it,” to
throw something together — and to throw myself into the deep end.
And it’s unclear to me which of these voices is more
valid.  So, I poke half-heartedly.
In the meantime, as I have come home these 6 weeks from my morning gig
teaching a creative writing elective to middle schoolers (which, yes, I love more
than any job I’ve had), I have a few hours before my evening physics class at a
nearby city college.  In those hours, I
could: study for the physics final, which is this evening; I could look for
work; I could reach out for help; I could learn my monologue for Sunday’s
audition; or… I could watch Netflix.
Oh!, you great and terrible time-suck!
And cowing under the realization that I am unable to
moderate my time spent … wasted … whiled … and lost in front of the pixelated
numbness, last week I began to try to find ways to moderate.
Oh, it’s not like I haven’t tried to reign
myself in before.  There’s my “Anything
more than two hours is avoidance and isolation” awareness.  There’s the “Never after 10pm” rule.  There’s the “Just one more episode” mantra
that somehow repeats unto the depths of my pockets of time.
And so, I decided, Enough! 
I looked into suspending my account (at least until I’ve found a job),
but you can’t do that.  I even enacted
parental controls to restrict my access to the website, even by a few
steps, but instead I managed to prevent myself from even accessing my
email.  I found a way around
those restrictions (since I still can’t figure out how to undo them), and Lo! found
myself right back in front of the “Continue Watching” button.
Finally, with a deep mood of disgust, regret, and
resignation, last week I cancelled my Netflix account.
And began rereading all the Harry Potter books.
auditioning · career · family · procrastination · progress · theater · trying · work · worry

Meet the New Year, (not quite the) Same as the Old Year.

there’s so much and little to tell you: 

i have to decide whether to ditch work and attend my annual women’s meditation retreat next weekend. how to tell my boss when I asked for that sunday off — originally for the retreat, but now for an audition — that I really do need that time. and I’m taking monday and tuesday off for my friend who’s visiting from canada. 
that the couple who were the subject of the “day before christmas” poem/blog came to visit me on tuesday, and took me out for sushi, and it feels like i have this sort of surrogate parental couple right now. even though they live in vancouver. we exchanged all our information, i got a happy new year email, and i’m going to talk to him about mediation. like, becoming a mediator, and what that would look like. another career goose chase maybe, but worth looking in to. 
that my mom is having trouble sleeping, and doesn’t want to change her work schedule even though she could. that she’s having health issues that she could address, but procrastinates on. 
that two years ago, right very now, I was waking up in lahaina, maui, hawaii. in the bed of a school boy whose parents graciously invited me to stay and kicked their son to the couch, so a bald and chemo-riddled me could have a vacation from a cancer. 
i have to call the student loan people so they don’t raise my payment from $67/month to over a thousand, but being my mother’s daughter, i haven’t yet. 
I am excitedly waiting for the indiegogo campaign to end and for the funds to be sent to me, so I can write this final check to my landlord for my back rent accrued while i was sick. and to watch that number in my budget line fall to zero. 
i am looking forward to my first real paycheck from the retail store, but as i’ve figured the numbers, amazingly, i’ll have earned the exact amount i would have if i were working at the desk job i quit in october. 
though i wouldn’t have that back-rent money, because that only came about as i was sitting in a cafe with a friend in november, looking for work, him too, and i mentioned the wanting to art again and the potential art studio upstairs, and the back rent. and he said, you should do a kickstarter. 
so, i wouldn’t have that, or at least not now, if not for being unemployed and sharing with a friend who was also spending a mid-day cafe work-search. 
i have a script to read and a song to rehearse for two auditions this month. 
the first is because a friend from mockingbird suggested i try out for this one company in town, and i said i wasn’t good enough, and he said i was and i should and made me promise. and so i did. you know, just a few weeks later!
it’s a classical play. i’m nervous, as i’ve never done one before. 
the second is another musical. and, i’m nervous! but. i’m excited for the role i’m auditioning for. it could be a lot of fun. 
they would run consecutive to each other, one closing, and a few weeks later, rehearsals for the other beginning. so it could work. but not with this sales job. i think. assume. project. worry about. 
but then, too, i have to remember the whole “from thanksgiving to thanksgiving” thing/blog: to not worry, to trust, to at least notice I’m worrying and begin to try to trust. 
i have all these collage cards i still want and need to make, holiday cards and thank you cards. but with the constraints of buses and bart and standing and … (*breathe*) from thanksgiving to thanksgiving. 
i flaked out on my NYE plans. i think i may have disappointed my friend by doing that. but it was a day off for me. i got loads of stuff done early, and by the late afternoon i was home and cozy, i didn’t want to leave. even though it’s a 9:00pm ball-drop! i had to work yesterday, and yadda yadda excuse excuse. i just didn’t feel like getting all dolled up. though i’m sure it would have been fun and my FOMO-meter ran high. 
instead i stayed home, and it was lovely. i know it won’t always be so quiet. but it was nice. 
i have a lot and same old happening right now. i don’t know if any of it is interesting to you, but today is more a state of the union address:
all is well, amorphous, covered and uncertain. 
i have friends and opportunities and procrastination habits and work issues. 
i have a warm home to leave and come back to. 

and two auditions to get ready for. 

Happy and Healthy New Year, Friends. You rule. 
aspiration · authenticity · consistency · courage · death · fear · life · procrastination · responsibility · self-abandonment · writing

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow…

Normal
0
0
1
532
3037
25
6
3729
11.1287

0

0
0

Why aren’t you writing for a living?
Because it’s just a hobby, an escape.
Why aren’t you writing for a living?
Because it’s too hard and I’m not good enough.
Why aren’t you writing for a living?
Because I don’t know how to show up consistently.
Any of these types of questions ever cross your mind? Any of these questions
and immediate quashings?
This morning, that question came to me. I always dismiss my writing becoming a means or an ends.
I don’t make the time; I haven’t touched the essay my aunt said I should submit to
the New York Times’ Modern Love section. I haven’t crafted anything for the The
Sun
, a magazine at least 3 people have
suggested I submit my work to.
It’s just me
being me. How is that worthy or interesting or enough?
Because I saw someone else had clicked on it, I just re-read a blog I wrote in January, Remember What the Redwoods Told You, about being “told”
by the trees that I was going to live through my cancer. And as I read through
the end of it, about being given the chance to
be in my life, to make this time worthy, I think about
all the procrastination and fear I still let grab hold of my ankles.
This is not a self-flagellation blog; as you can read in
italics above, I already have plenty of those thoughts. But, they are just
thoughts, not facts. And thoughts can be changed. Through action.
“Act your way into right thinking,” the phrase goes.
I’ve “thought” for a while about waking up earlier (yes,
even earlier) to do some “real” writing.
It hasn’t happened yet, and that’s okay, but I know that I work better in the
morning, when my brain cells still have some anima.
And as I was finding this question arise in my meditation
this morning, goading me to find a legitimate reason for postponing my good, I
thought of a perfect resource friend I can reach out to about this, and
actually get something into action. And maybe deadline.
Because, as my acting friend told me earlier this week when
I asked her how she “makes” herself learn monologues, she answered, Deadlines.
She sets up deadlines by signing up for auditions, and makes sure she has a
back pocket filled with current monologues.
To paraphrase, Our growth can come as much from our actively
seeking it, as it can from being forced.
But, it helps to be pushed a little.
That’s what registering for these auditions is for me, a
push to get back into it, to not let another month and another month slide off
the calendar. To make this year “worthwhile,” to me means to actually do those things that I think are for other people,
people with talent or time or resources. Bull.
The only difference between them and me is action. Nothing
more.
A rallying, warrior cry sounds every day for me. It is my
choice to heed its call or to roll over and hit Snooze.
And yet, it is also my choice to condemn myself or not on the days
I do hit Snooze. As I wrote yesterday, there’s no use in beating myself
up for not being where I want to be – that doesn’t actually get me there
quicker.
What helps with all of this is accountability, which a
deadline is, but also what friends can be. I’ve been toying with the idea
(thinking, again!) recently of getting an “Action Buddy,” or “Accountability
Partner” whatever you want to call it.
I know this is a system that works for many people, and I
believe it could work for me. So, with all irony, I’m going to add “Get an
Accountability Buddy” to my list of personal actions… and see if I can hold
myself accountable to that!
Because there is no reason I’m not writing that is valid. I
know there’s grist here; I know there’s “enough” talent. I would love to take
actions that reflect that knowledge. Because, if you haven’t noticed, I seem to
think that Time is our most precious natural resource of all.

action · addiction · clarity · commitment · community · fear · fortitude · procrastination · progress · recovery · self-esteem · self-love · self-pity · self-support

Forte. Più Forte. (Loud. More Loud.)

It’s come into my awareness again this week the fallacy of
perfection, and its venomous tendrils. The three “p”s: Perfection,
Procrastination, Paralyzation.
I’ve also read that procrastination is simply another way
for us to prolong feeling crappy about ourselves, and to delay feeing proud of
ourselves.
This week, after a conversation with some people of
authority at work last week about my position, my ambition, my vision of “Where
I’d like to be;” after I was given the feedback that, great, sure, put it in
writing and we can talk more… I stalled and dragged my feet.
It wasn’t acres of time, this time; it was only from Friday until
Tuesday evening, when I finally wrote what I needed to
write. But I could see those tendrils curling up around me, waiting to choke my
ambition and self-esteem from me. The tendrils of hopelessness (What the use
anyway), uncertainty (What about acting, my art, moving), and simple
perfectionism (If it’s not perfect, they’ll reject it, and then I’ll be stuck
answering phones the rest of my life, anyway, so f* it, I’ll just watch some
more Once Upon a Time).
It was so helpful to hear other people talk about how this
weed of perfectionism crops up in their lives, marring their attempts at a full
life—it reminds me that I’m not alone, and mostly, as I heard people talk about
their struggle with perfectionism, I sat
there in that chair and decided (for the hundredth time) to go home afterward
and do the write-up I needed to hand in to my superiors.
I heard them battling the beast, I heard them being flayed
by it, and I decided I wasn’t going to let that be me, if only for an evening.
I cannot tell you how many times I make this declaration to
myself. And then, simply do come home
and watch Netflix, or surf Facebook. I wonder if the advent of television and
internet has created in us a generation of procrastinators, but I certainly
know that I am none too helped by it! (in binges, especially)
But for whatever reason (and I won’t call it exasperation,
because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been exasperated, and still done
nothing), I came home on Tuesday night, wrote what I needed to write, emailed
it to a few friends for feedback, and handed it in yesterday.
And here’s the/a reward for overcoming perfectionism: It may not go the way you wanted anyway. I may hear, “Thanks, Molly, but we’re not
in a position to… We’ll think about it for some undetermined date… This just
isn’t in our vision or budget… We just need someone (you) to stay doing what
you are doing indefinitely, or at least through the next year or more.” I may
hear things I don’t want to hear in response to my action on behalf of myself
and my ambition, BUT, the reward is that I get to hear something at all,
instead of sitting, spinning, resenting, foaming, fuming, and … watching
Netflix.
The reward for overcoming perfectionism (and it’s
paralyzation) in just this one moment is that, no matter the results, no matter
the response, I am actually moving
forward, internally, for sure. What this does is tell me that, See Molly,
once you did something. One time you took action on your
own behalf, and instead of delaying your good, instead of languishing in a sea
of self-pity, you get to feel proud, pro-active, like a leader. You get to feel
like yourself, instead of like the skin of mutating fear that creeps up yours
and mimics you out in the world.
I don’t know the result of the action I took, externally, at
least. However, having put things in writing and gotten clarity around my
vision and desire, if I don’t get the result I “want” here, in this environs,
then I get to take that information and that knowledge and shop it around
elsewhere. Because I took the action that I did, suddenly, I have a beginning
instead of what my brain and that malevolent skin tells me is an end, a sorry, pathetic end.
Finally, I’ll repeat something I heard a long time ago,
which I’ve agreed with and disagreed with over the years: We ask “god” for what
we want; “he” gives us what we need; and in the end, it’s what we wanted
anyway.
I know that what I wanted anyway was clarity and
self-esteem, so, Team: Mission Accomplished.