Last week I ended my post on what I do well with these words, “Smiling is contagious and stories draw others in – therefore, the combination offers them a glimpse of possible joy and a glimmer of hope. This is what I love to do every day, and believe I have a God-given gift to do it well.”
What better way to start a post about habits – those good ones, or, even better, the awesomeness ones that I do in my everyday life – than reflecting on what I do well: stories and smiles. I love stories. I try to make them a part of every day, whether I am telling them, listening to others share theirs or reading them. Stories bring a smile to my face – even those that are tough to hear and harder to live through. I look for the glimmers of hope and glimpses of joy hiding just around the corner. Sometimes it is easier to see them than at others and yet I know they are there – maybe just out of reach for the moment, but never forever.
I must admit, however, that some days it’s harder than others to put a smile that goes clear to my eyes on my face, but oh, it is so worth it. It brightens my own day and helps to infuse a bit of sunshine into those I meet along the way.
I also find procrastination rears its ugly head when it comes to writing the stories down. I am working at developing a new habit that I think can be an awesomeness one – giving myself permission to play, to tell the stories, interact with people and share memory-making moments. After all, those are some of the things that stories are made of. I need to remember to go back sooner rather than later to writing, speaking, and coaching others to tell their stories.
To develop this habit of balance between listening to stories, reading stories and wonderful memory-making moments with family and friends through writing, speaking and coaching, I need some help, some accountability. I am part of several writing groups and have places I check in with fellow writers each week. We share goals, ask questions and at the week’s end, we share what we accomplished towards those goals.
I also have begun meeting with my oldest daughter as we help each other be accountable in our creative endeavours. We schedule a once a month, sit down face to face appointment to review our goals for the past month. Which ones have we met? What kept us from completing others? Do we have a valid reason to not finish or has procrastination and its horde of excuses simply showed up uninvited once again?
If we have a good reason (whether health concerns, unexpected events or those fun times to gather memories and stories from time with family and friends), we give ourselves and one another permission to extend a deadline, review the feasibility of the time we allotted for it, and plan the next month’s work. This scheduled meeting offers accountability and time together to encourage each other and enjoy what we are working on. It even brings smiles to our faces.
Stories and smiles help me be approachable to others which are key for my goals of helping others with finding their voice and discover they are not alone in the struggles of life. Accountability is helping me set new, effective habits to kick procrastination to the curb – at least most of the time. I am learning to take the time to refresh myself with reading, relaxing with family and enjoying a good laugh, a smile and some stories as well.