It’s a new year, one that many of us feel we have desperately needed. A sort of clean slate, a fresh start. I didn’t crave this New Year, as I didn’t know how one day later would make the differences in my life and the world that feel uncertain, scary. I wouldn’t say I’m in a ‘good place’ entering 2021, but I choose a good place. Every day waking up to worship, journaling and claiming a today and a future that is better than how I may feel. I make a conscious decision to speak positive affirmations into my life, fight against my fears, and continue to work for what seems distant to impossible. I don’t do well at this always. Often, my evenings are found in crumbling resolve, tears falling softly, and my head in my hands, wondering where the answers are hiding. I hug the dog, talk to my boyfriend, sit in this space and again, fight back the despondency that I feel in this moment. Hang on, hold on, be patient, have faith. Oddly, even in this, my ‘not good place,’ it feels ok, good almost.
If the past year taught me anything, it’s that life can look hard or be an extreme opposite to the regular rhythm and yet, be filled with joy, peace, blessing, and beauty. If I am honest, I had a blessed year. Maybe not in the way that I became accustomed to financially, but in ways that are what money cannot buy. Growth cannot equate to a dollar amount. Your success doesn’t have to be seen by anyone to be considered ‘success.’ Truth is, if you made it through last year, that, in itself, is a victory.
I’ve asked God, and the Universe, for help with my audacious dreams. Then, I question why life feels challenging. Did I forget that every dream has a price? I think the biggest price we pay for stepping into our individual destiny is the way we are challenged to become more than we currently are. Audacious dreams require uncanny trust. It takes a long term vision and unshakeable belief that “now” is only a moment in the grand scheme of your purpose and path. Everything that I have asked for requires that I be willing to accept the cost. The cost has meant faith. I wanted to fly less, write more. Get my pilot’s license and have a personal life. I meant it when I said that’s what I wanted, but I had yet to understand how my dreamy request would stretch me.
I’m stretching and questioning and sometimes believing more than in other times that God really does make all things new. That He really can rebuild ruins and will bless and bless and bless. It’s easy to claim promises like those when I am flying high, in cities like Moscow, Tokyo, or London. The question is, will I believe when the outlook doesn’t look good? When my location feels less than ideal? Will I believe even if my dreams never happen, even if I never have anything more than this moment, whether it is uncomfortable or not?
That’s when and where ‘decision’ must arrive. Joy is not dependent on a New Year, your next destination, or your income level. I promise this. I’ve made $25,000 a year, and I’ve made almost $200,000. In each season, whether it looked abundant or scarce, I experienced challenge and triumphant. At the end of the day, I was still me. I could still choose happiness, joy, kindness, or courage. You take who you are wherever you are. Have we ever considered that maybe we didn’t like 2020 because it showed us everything we disliked about ourselves? We could not use travel, our schedules, or our flight attendant job as an easy escape. What about that?
I am a goal-setter, by nature, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve shied away from setting outcome goals. Outcome goals are saying things like, “I will have a job with American Airlines by February 15, 2021,” or “I’m going to be hired as a corporate flight attendant for Netflix in 2021.” Outcome goals are great, and I won’t discourage anyone from setting them, but I want to share with you another perspective. What if you set your goals with the process in mind, instead? What if you said, “I am the type of person, in 2021, that American Airlines would want to hire as a flight attendant?” “In 2021, I am the type of person who has developed the skills, training, experience, network, and personality that would be a great fit as a corporate flight attendant for an organization like Netflix.” See the difference?
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I love process goals due to a few reasons. First, process goals do not limit you. Who’s to say that there isn’t a better company, place, or organization than what you deem as perfect in your mind? We don’t know what we don’t know and process goals allow the Universe to work in your favor, bringing in options and opportunities into your life you never dreamed up! Secondly, when you focus on the process, and REALLY create excellence in your daily actions, which in turn, naturally sets you up for success. Life is about how you show up in the little things. The little things build to the big goals and dream jobs. Third, rejection won’t hurt you as much because process goals, unlike outcome goals, are not tied to the result. Process goals allow you to celebrate who you show up as, every day, AND who you become. Who you are and choose to become is what changes everything.
Who I want to become can feel like an overwhelming and far-away destination, across travel restricted borders and impossible to reach lands. To manage, I’m taking a process-oriented approach. I wake up and focus on daily tasks that have the potential to build me into the person that can handle the responsibility of the dreams I hope to achieve. I choose to do one thing today to get me closer to who I hope to be tomorrow. I choose to pick myself up when I fall, when I would rather give up. I pause when tempted to return to the safety of what I know. I ask God and the Universe for the courage I do not embody. I claim, against faltering faith, that this is the year to see bouquets of roses instead of ashes. Joy instead of news of doom. A praising heart instead of a languid spirit. I choose to hold to the promise that this is the year of His grace.
(To read the words referenced above, visit Isaiah 61).