If we don’t know where we’re going, we’ll never get there.
That’s probably one of the biggest truths I gleaned during my professional career. It’s hard to believe as I sit here in my yoga pants with sticky kid messes underfoot, but I was once a deeply driven, overly ambitious business professional. 🙂 I spent endless hours learning the art of non-profit fundraising, branding and marketing, and loving every minute!
And while day-to-day life looks a lot different now, I feel like a lot of the lessons I learned in that season still resonate with me, and I’ve been thinking about them a lot lately in my role as a mom (in those spare moments between doing dishes, folding laundry, and cleaning up cat throw up, lol!).
My professional stint taught me that having strategic vision and being deeply intentional and purposeful are key ingredients to success in a whole lot of areas of life. At work, I sought out mentors, attended all the conferences, read all the books, listened to all the podcasts, followed all the thought leaders in my field, put in all the late nights. And with those inputs as fodder, I developed a clear vision for what I realized was possible, bringing all that back to my desk day after day, my little realm of influence, to radically optimize and deliver results as a branding and fundraising executive.
I had vivid clarity for what I wanted out of my career and the various roles I took on during that time. I was relentlessly methodical and goal-oriented, with complex strategic plans hashed out over many late nights to help my team accomplish the vision I thought we could achieve together. And those strategic documents full of tangible action steps, while not always perfectly executed of course, were nonetheless a palpable bridge between what was in my head and the road to getting there. Articulating goals in so many words on paper helped breathe life into those goals, somehow literally guiding those goals into reality.
Sometimes that phase feels like a lifetime ago. I look back and wonder, who was that organized, efficient, purposeful woman? If I’m honest, I sometimes feel like that woman has morphed into the incredible mommy hulk who just tries to survive the day to day so I can collapse into bed at night. I think sometimes I secretly scoff at the idea of planning, purpose, and being intentional as a mom. Let’s just be real…some days I’m just trying to keep everyone alive, get done what needs to be done, and try not to yell too much 🙂 Anyone else know the feeling??!
But I know it can be so much more. I desperately want it to be so much more. I’ve enjoyed the thrill of climbing the corporate ladder in years past, and yet looking back on my humble five years of mothering, I can see vividly that this work today is the most important and fulfilling work I’ll ever do. And the hardest. And most grueling and depleting. And most beautiful. I’m still learning so much about being a mom, still trying to get my act together.
What’s been stewing and circling in my head these last few months, and finally erupted with clear words to me this morning is: I need purpose and vision even more now than I did professionally. It’s not the time to put away those skills of vision-casting, of being intentional, of being strategic. So much more is at stake. Souls are at stake. Time to whip out those skills! Time to get back out a trusty pen and paper and write some things down.
I don’t want motherhood to be something that just happens to me—I want to be driving it to some degree.
Sure, I no longer lead a team of other professionals, but I still lead a team of people, and that takes leadership and strategy. Today, I lead a tribe of young people who look up to me every day for their cues on the world, on life, on how to treat others, on how to grow and thrive. If I don’t take on this great task with purpose and vision, I know with complete certainty that busyness, distraction, laziness, social media, and exhaustion will keep blowing me all over the place, and I’ll wake up looking back wondering why I didn’t accomplish what I hoped to.
So I’m challenging myself with this: I want to be radically purposeful and visionary in my unique areas of domain in this life stage. I want to get some things down in simple writing as a simple guide that I can return to for inspiration and gauging progress.
Because here’s the deal: I can say with my mouth that certain things are important to me right now, when in reality, my daily patterns would say that they are not. I want to change that. For example, I say growing in my faith is important and being more spiritually in tune is important, but I know that in reality, I’m spending most nights zoning out on facebook instead of praying for my kids or spending a little time in a devotional/Bible. So is spiritual growth really important to me? My choices and rhythms tell me no. I’m not prioritizing what I say I am. I want to change that.
I need to put my time and resources where my values are. Life settles into rhythms and routines that I can either be driving, or that end up driving me. Right now, too often they drive me.
And I only get one life. I want to be radically purposeful. Not out of wanting to control everything, because obviously I can’t control my life. But out of a desire to be the very best steward I can of this one little life, to propel the influence and impact and legacy I hope to leave as deeply as possible into the lives of my children.
I believe that leaders and people worth remembering are people of great purpose and vision, whatever life throws their way. I want to be one of those.
So with that, I’ll be writing a very simple Motherhood Manifesto. Sound complicated? It won’t be! It will actually be very simple. It will be a listing of my current areas of domain: Motherhood, Marriage, My Home, Spiritual growth, Personal growth. Then will list goals for each area, and the simple tangible rhythms and steps I’m implementing into my life toward each goal. It will be a living document I’ll add to over time or change as my life stages change with my kiddos. I’ll also share some fun stuff, like my Family Traditions document I’m working on to catalog all the fun seasonal ideas, recipes and rhythms I hope to incorporate into our family season by season, and something I can give to the boys as a special treasury for when they start their own families so they can remember the special memories we shared and how we made them.
I’ll be sharing all this just as encouragement/inspiration for any other mamas in this same stage as me, who have high ideals, limited sanity, and need something to capture in writing all the twirling swirling goals and ideas they have for their family so stuff actually gets DONE. 🙂 🙂
I’ll be sharing in my next blog post, once I’ve finished working on it.