Episode 24: 3 Lessons From Trying to Achieve My 2018 Goals + A New Addition!

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Hi, I'm Victoria Hefty, and welcome to Activate Purpose, where I talk about finding purpose through action while balancing motherhood and career. In today's episode, I'll give you an update on the goals that I made as part of my 2018 New Year's resolutions, and share three lessons that resulted from trying to achieve those goals. I'll also share some wonderful news that will give new meaning to balancing motherhood and career. So let's get started.

Hello and thank you for joining me today. I am going to have to apologize in advance for any background noise, if you can already hear it. More specifically the noise of a newborn cooing or in this case, nursing slash grunting, and maybe occasionally crying, but mostly grunting at the moment. So you know what that means. The wonderful news is that baby girl number two arrived a few weeks ago, which is why I haven't posted. I'm sure some of you might've figured that out, but in case you were wondering, yeah, we've been busy with the newborn. The labor and delivery was great. It was much quicker this time around, around like two and a half hours from when I had contractions and my water broke to the actual birth. All of that is to say was that it was intense, but the good thing about the quick labor and delivery is that there's not enough time for me to really overthink or over analyze anything. So that was pretty awesome.

We also had amazing friends who watched big sister while me and my husband stayed at the hospital with the baby. They were wonderful and they were able to take care of her and that was a big relief for us, because that's something we obviously didn't have to deal with when we only had one child.

If you've been following me for the last few months, you know that this pregnancy was definitely more difficult than my first one. And so while I am exhausted like any new mom or really just any parent period, I am so glad that this baby is out and in the world and that I have my body to myself. That I'm very grateful for. In the future I'll dedicate an episode to what it means to I think Balance Motherhood and career when you have a preschooler and an infant. But until then I'm overjoyed with love for my new big family, and this new life that, that brings. But to be honest, I'm also craving the stability that I think we finally had built over the last year or so. Now it's just an unpredictable cycle of eat, sleep, play, bed time doesn't mean anything. So we're just figuring it out. Like I said, the first four to six weeks are always super intense.

At this point, forget taking it day by day. I'm just trying to take it hour by hour pretty much for the next month or so. Sleep routines are all frankly a myth right now. I'm trying to keep that in perspective and like I said, take it hour by hour, but overall things are great.

Outside of the big baby news, and I will say again, if you hear cooing or I have to stop in a second, please be understanding. I'm sure you are. But this is pretty much the only time I have to record, while her sister is in nursery school. So I am trying to get it done and so I can enjoy, hopefully, the rest of the day.

I did want to share three lessons that I learned in 2018, because 2019 is less than two weeks away. These aren't necessarily, I don't know, the biggest or most impactful lessons from the year because I feel like it's probably longer than three, but they are the ones that come to mind as I'm recording this. So I'm just gonna, again, jump right in.

Lesson one, setting a goal isn't enough. You need to actually share those goals. This lesson comes from when I decided to publicly share my goals for 2018 in January of this year. As I said, part of my New Year's resolution. I believe it's episode 10. I'll include links to everything in the show notes. Those goals were to write a children's book for my grandma, or based on my grandmother's life, to speak at a local TED X talk and to attempt to quote unquote own the maternity leave space for them from an entrepreneurial point of view.

While I am naturally a goal driven person, I also have to deal with the same normal chaos of life and work. And I find that as I'm getting older, it's harder to go, go, go all the time. I have my moments, but I will say the day to day, it's hard to constantly be on the hustle and doing things. Which is why I'm so glad that I decided to announce my goals on this podcast during that episode. It really did hold me accountable, because there was this voice inside my head that didn't want to let myself down or be a hypocrite and say these are the goals that I have, and then at the end of the year end up having done none of them, and not even have tried to do any of them.

I found that listeners wanted to know how things were going with my goals. And it was that little extra push and incentive that I needed to stay focused. So if you haven't caught up in a while, again, the goals were ... I gave actually updates on two of the goals, which was, again, the children's book and then the maternity leave space. But for the TED X talk, actually a friend nominated me to speak at a local event in my city, and I didn't get chosen. I know. I was pretty sad about it. But I'm also really glad that I applied and we'll probably, definitely ... I shouldn't say definitely still have that as a goal for next year. I don't know if I'll highlight it as one of my top three goals. It might be redundant, but I think I'll definitely have it as a top five goals.

The process of applying really made me breakdown all these different ideas I had about a potential talk and forced myself, forced me to actually ask myself why does this idea matter, and what do I have to say about it that is important for people to know. I think that the latter half of that is really important because I had over, I should say, underestimated how difficult it is to answer that question. Everyone could tell you what the problem is or what different problems are, but when it comes down to what do you as a person think is important for everyone to know and be able to speak confidently and coherently about it, I found that a lot more difficult when it actually came down to writing the pitch of what I would write about.

That's just something to keep in mind for anyone who was thinking about doing a TED X talk or something like that. Obviously I did not accomplish my goal as far as getting chosen, but again, I'm so glad that I did it and I feel like it was the first step in part of a longer journey to have that done.

I will say though, as far as the other goals, I did accomplish my goal of creating the book, which again, I talk about in last week's episode. Not last week's, but the last episode. Episode 23, which was a struggle and a half, but it is done. I think when I last finished that episode, the books had just arrived. Well, I am ecstatic to say that my grandmother loved the book. My family's now back from Kenya. It was a big success. And while I think I'm a little bit still too close to it, given all the trauma from completing that book, I know that in a couple years I'm really going to look back and be really excited that I was able to do that.

And then honestly, I'm not really sure if I would have done, and this is the whole point of sharing your goals. I'm not sure I would've really done any of this stuff if I had made it just a personal, private goal instead of sharing it with my listeners. I'm sure maybe I would have eventually gotten around to it, but that sense of urgency and accountability, like I said, really helped me to make sure that it did happen so that I would have an update. Human beings are funny that way. It doesn't take a lot sometimes.

Lesson two, you have permission to change your mind. This is one that I really took to heart this year, especially after I ended up taking an unintended break from podcasting when I figured out, or when I learned that I was pregnant and I was dealing with a difficult pregnancy. So I learned that while it's important to set goals for yourself, and yes, even share them with friends or family, or whomever you want to to hold yourself accountable, you must also give yourself permission to change your mind, if you get the feeling that that goal just doesn't make sense anymore.

Now I get it. This is tricky. It's a slippery slope between just being lazy and maybe not wanting to do the work required to achieve the goal, versus that instinct or that gut feeling that maybe, as was in my case, my motives for setting that goal or one specific goal, the maternity leave one, wasn't pure. And I wasn't excited about that goal anymore. The truth is that even over the course of a year, or even just a couple months or maybe a couple weeks, there are instances where you may have outgrown your initial goal. And you absolutely have the right to let it go without fanfare, without asking for permission, without feeling guilt to change your mind and do something else.

This may sound trivial, but again, for people like me who are ridiculous goal driven, and sometimes that is a disadvantage, I'm learning that once I write or share something, I sometimes feel beholden to that thing that I wrote down, even if I secretly don't want to do it anymore. And this was the year that again, I allowed myself to change my mind on a couple of things, and big things that I had announced, but that I decided, you know what? No. And honestly, here's the thing, it's the big secret in the room, though it's not really secret. No one cares. I don't know. I feel like sometimes we're so worried that other people are going to shame us or be like, "What happened?"

But everyone's busy living their lives. I feel like sometimes you overestimate how much your life means to other people. So if you want to change your mind, change your mind. It's totally okay. And this was the year. Nothing happened. No one said, "Hey, what happened Victoria?" It was like all right, cool. And you move on. So I think that that, once I changed my mind and I let it go, I felt so much better and it freed up a lot of mental space, and again, guilt slash anguish that I had been feeling. And I realized that actually no one cares. So find something, and again, if you feel like that is no longer in your heart, give yourself permission to change your mind. So that one was a breakthrough for me this year.

Lesson three is less scrolling, more talking. This year I decided to significantly reduce my time on social media. Specifically facebook and Instagram, those are my two vices. I use both of those sides personally and for my blog. So I guess you could say professionally. So it was a bit risky and a bit, I don't know, lonely in the sense of I didn't know what people were up to. But in hindsight I'm so, so glad that I did it. Again, I didn't delete them. I just went on Facebook maybe ... I deleted all the apps for ... So if I had to go on the site, I would go on it on my computer and type it in the browser, which is a whole thing. It's much less trigger happy than if it's just on your phone, on an app. And then I also only checked in maybe Instagram maybe once every couple of months, and then Facebook, like I said, once a month. Again, because I did ... And that was mostly to check on the blog and to see if anyone had tagged me in anything unusual. But I tried not to scroll more than five minutes if I did go on it.

I learned actually a couple of lessons from that. Was one, not much has changed. So in this sense of the same people that were posting last year were still posting this year, most likely the same type of post. I mean, outside from a couple of either marriage proposals or new additions or pregnancies, I wasn't missing that much, and that actually made me feel good. I think there's this real genuine fear of [fomo 00:12:54]. But I don't know. I realized that there wasn't that much interesting things going on. Maybe, again, one or two announcements that I would have loved to have known about as it happened. But outside of that, the vast, vast, vast majority of updates were really not that critical.

And then two, I learned that real conversation with real people is actually for me much more beneficial, and I'm assuming for most people, much more beneficial than actually just scrolling through my feeds and I think projecting what I feel like the lives are that other people are living.

Let me explain. Before I did this, I would initially go on Facebook or Instagram to see what my friends or people that I admire, or influencers, I hate that word, but yeah, were up to. And only to ... I had good intentions, right? But I would end up eventually feeling envious and ungrateful about all the good things that I did and do have in my life. It made me focus on what I did not have rather than all the good things that I was receiving or living. It seems a bit silly, but the quote comparison is the thief of joy. I love that quote. Sums it up pretty nicely. And in my mind it was like, well I'm just not going to go and look at it, because I can compare what I don't know. I'm totally going to be like an ostrich with the head in the sand. I don't even want to know what's going on with other people so that my mind doesn't start to I think work against me.

I realized that when I'm focused on what other people are saying or doing, it really just means that I'm focused less on what I'm doing, on what I'm saying, and that matters if like me, you're trying to achieve a goal of any kind, whether it be personally, professionally, personal development, you name it. I believe that you need to give yourself the mental space to be creative or to tap into your unique gifts or to figure out what your purpose is. And you really, honestly, you can't do that if you're so busy focusing on what other people are doing. And you may not even realize that you're focusing on what other people are. But by definition, you go on these sites enough and long enough, and it'll start to seep in there. And like I said, maybe you'll be like me where you walk away, you close the browser, you close the app, and you just didn't quite feel as good as when you went on it. That's not a great feeling. So I just decided to turn that off and focus more on talking.

What does that mean? Well, I decided that in parallel with closing down the apps, I was going to be very intentional about trying to talk and engage with people more. This could be actually having phone conversations instead of solely relying on text, or, for example, writing emails instead of liking someone's comment on Facebook, I found that this was a great way ... So for example, when we had our daughter, or this new baby I should say, instead of doing what everyone does, which is post an update on Facebook, I actually wrote emails to people, and to friends, family, whomever, but mostly friends actually. And even some friends that I would call not close friends, but acquaintances. And I was like, "Hey, I know this is random, but I'm not really on Facebook that much. And so I just wanted to give you an update." And I found the responses were so much more genuine instead of just a simple like, and typing in congratulations, and you know on to your next hit of news.

Those were the little things that I did in addition to bigger things like making sure I have more regular coffee chats or in person lunches with people.

What I realized is that I'm an extrovert. I just am. I'm a strong extrovert. But I'm in this new city, or I'm still getting adjusted, so I don't have a lot of ... I definitely don't have family here outside of obviously my immediate family. I had to rebuild a friend base, and that takes time, as you know. I also work from home and then I take care of my daughter. Well now two daughters. And then I'm obviously just trying to create and build a home. So there's just a lot of stuff that goes in that, which means that the vast majority of time, I spend my time actually alone.

One of the things that caught me off about being a mother the first time around is that motherhood is surprisingly lonely. And while I don't have to go to an office to work, which is wonderful and has allowed me to work with some amazing companies on types of projects that I love on my schedule, which allows so much more flexibility, the problem is I really do miss that social interaction of just spontaneously talking to your colleagues, "Hey, let's grab some coffee," or just sitting by their office or sitting by their cube and chatting for 10 minutes. Those are the little moments that as a deep extrovert, I really appreciated. So when you combine that with scrolling away and seeing other people live, again, what appears to be very social lives, I was sort of starting to have this pity party. Which is kind of sad. And I felt like probably, I took on a bigger, I don't know, made it seem like it was a problem. Like, "Oh, here I am alone," rather than realizing again that I could actually do something about it.

Once I realized that I am in control of certain aspects of my life, again, I made the very conscious and intentional decision to connect with more people.

What does that mean? I would meet up ... I tried to do once every two weeks. I felt like this is much more realistic, again, if you have a busy schedule, once a week can be difficult, but once every two weeks, that felt like okay, I can definitely meet up and have a meaningful conversation. That's anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours. Conversation with someone and really connect, figure out what's going on, what is happening with people in their lives.

It seems small, but it made a big difference in my mental health and actually my quality of life overall. So the relationships and friendships that I'm building now, they feel more honest and real than anything on social media. And frankly, it allows me to feel that that I matter outside of the context of being a mother, a business woman, and a wife. I know that many people can relate to this when I say I have a tendency to put my needs last. When you combine being action oriented to loving people and wanting the best for other people, I put myself very low if not last on that list.

This time, by taking the time to have a genuine conversation with another person, it really allowed me to get out of my own head, to share my struggles, to share my successes even. And I think most importantly just feel human. For that I am really grateful and I think it will be a really, really critical thing that I continue to do next year.

My challenge for you today is to look back at 2018, or if you're listening to this at another time, just look back over the last year, and ask yourself, what are you most proud of this year? It could be anything from obvious successes like, I don't know, getting a promotion, to the not so obvious but equally powerful success, like maybe saying no to something, or changing your mind about a decision. And most importantly, what lesson did you learn from that moment or thing that you did that actually surprised you, that maybe you didn't know you were capable of or didn't know you would feel?

I think that by doing this you might tap into something that I think maybe you were taking for granted, or a really important lesson that will be, sorry, really critical. I did mentioned grunting. That will be critical for you to think about, as you entered the new year.

Lastly, I want to say thank you for listening to me over this past year. It's been an amazing journey. I have so enjoyed sharing my experiences with you, and I look forward to a new year filled with new challenges and new possibilities.

If you have any questions, or just want to share what you've been up to or any ideas for me, again, extrovert, love talking to people, love responding to emails. You can email victoria@activatepurpose.com. Like I said, I'll include links to all the shows that I talked about that highlighted my New Year's resolutions goals for 2018 as well as updates on those. I'll have them on the show notes at activatepurpose.com/episode24. And finally, if you enjoyed today's episode, make sure to leave a review and subscribe to the next episode.

Until next time. Bye!

I'm Victoria, your host.jpg
Activate Purpose