As I have been moving content from my various blogs over to my new online home, I came across this post that I wrote a year ago when I was getting ready to launch a vision for a business I had called FIERCE Nation Inc. After I wrote it, life took an unexpected twist, which threw me back into “someday” mode, and put all my plans for that business on hold.
While I was devastated at the time, feeling like my plans were crumbling around me, in retrospect, the outcome ended up actually being better because I am in a much better place now, and I am finally feeling like I am on my way to re-building the RIGHT online business for me – one that falls within my vision and purpose, yet better fits the season of life I’m in and my current priorities.
Although I know that path I chose to follow this past year was necessary, looking back now, I realize that I didn’t have to remain stuck there for as long as I did.
As I read through this post, what surprised me is that this post was essentially almost an exact snapshot of where I am in my life right now. Which is why I decided to update it slightly and share it with you.
So here it is:
We want to do it today, but we just can’t seem to make it work.
So we begin thinking about doing it tomorrow.
But when tomorrow comes, nothing has changed. It seems just as impossible as it did yesterday.
Instead of thinking about how we can make the seemingly impossible possible, we keep pushing it off.
Next week, next month, or maybe next year.
The days pass, and nothing changes (because of course we haven’t changed anything), so we keep pushing it further and further into the future.
Telling ourselves that “someday” things will change.
Someday we’ll have more time.
Someday we’ll have more money.
Someday we’ll have better opportunities.
Never realizing that our belief in someday is misplaced.
If something is impossible today, why will it be any less impossible someday?
We already know the answer to this.
No matter how long we wait, we will continue to remain stuck in our someday living.
Until we do something about it.
If you really want to know what your someday is going to look like, all you have to do is look at today.
Everything you are doing today, adds up to your someday.
Are you okay with that?
Do you like your todays enough to let them become your somedays as well?
It’s something each of us needs to ask ourselves, because if we don’t like our today, we won’t like our someday either.
Unless we want our someday to become a reality that we never intended or wanted, we need to change what we’re doing.
Everything you are doing today, adds up to your someday.
The Problem With Waiting For Someday
Someday living is something that I am intimately familiar with because I have been stuck in it many times over the course of my lifetime, in many different areas of my life.
Sometimes my someday has been relatively short, at other times it’s been much longer.
My biggest someday to date has been my vision of the kind of online business I want to have.
For years now, I have been carrying around a dream.
Had you asked, I wouldn’t have been able to give it a name, or even describe what it looked like.
I had no words to express my vision.
Only a feeling.
A yearning, I could feel deep in my heart and soul.
A certainty that I had a bigger purpose than I was living.
A belief that I was called to make a bigger difference than I was already making.
But exactly what kind of a difference?
I didn’t have an answer for that.
It was such a big question, and a really tough question.
Not something you can answer over a cup of coffee.
Or maybe I was making it bigger than it needed to be.
Either way, I never seemed to find enough time to really dig deep and find my answer.
So I sat on it.
I told myself I would “let it simmer” in my thoughts. Believing that if I let it simmer for long enough, eventually (ie. someday) the answer would come.
Only that’s not what happened (go figure).
Someday will never arrive on it’s own.
From high school student to university student, to a married graduate student, to a young professional, to a mom (many times over), to many evolutions of offline and online entrepreneurship.
Year after year my role kept changing, getting bigger and bigger….
And always more complicated.
My husband’s job took him away for longer periods of time, more frequently.
My family grew to 5 children, each with some form of health and/or learning challenge requiring outside help.
My grandparents moved in, my grandmother passed away unexpectedly shortly after, and I was left to care for my grandfather – an old-school European man used to being waited on hand and foot.
Throughout all those years of continuing to let my thoughts simmer, I was no closer to discovering my life’s bigger picture.
Yes I was living my life in the best way I knew how.
Yes, I was happy with, and grateful for the people and the opportunities that were in my life.
But I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was missing a big part of my true calling.
My someday still hadn’t arrived…..
And it never would arrive.
It took me 20 years to figure that out.
The Trap of “Someday” Thinking
The problem with someday is that for most people, it never comes.
Think about your own someday list.
Most of us have them.
It might be nothing more than a list you carry in your head.
Or perhaps you’ve taken the advice of well-meaning productivity and time-management gurus, and actually written it down.
Maybe you don’t call it a someday list.
Maybe for you it’s a wish list, a bucket list, or a live list.
At their heart, they’re all the same.
Wish List, bucket list, live list, someday list = never list. Make it more than just a dream.
It’s a list that represents the things you dream of doing at some point in the future (aka someday).
The problem with this list is that it usually ends up being a never list.
Because it lulls you into a false sense of security.
It makes you feel as though you’ve actually done something.
“I’ve put it on the list” – check!
But being “on the list” doesn’t mean anything does it?
All we have to do is look at our never-ending to-do list to see the truth.
How many things have you been carrying over from one day to the next on your to-do list?
The only reason they are still on your to-do list is because you are still hopeful they will get done.
You haven’t yet resigned yourself to putting them on your someday list.
The truth is that all our someday list really does, is give us permission to ignore these things. Which is exactly why most of the things on our someday list, NEVER end up getting done.
Yeah it does.
It’s supposed to.
The truth can be harsh, which is why so many of us shy away from it.
But it’s freeing.
You’ve heard the saying haven’t you?
The truth will set you free.
– John 8:32
Really, honestly, think about it.
How many of the things on your someday list have you actually done?
If you’re like the vast majority of people on this planet, then the answer is probably either few, or none.
My theory is that once we have decided that we are going to do something “someday” it removes the urgency of getting it done.
I’m sure you’ve heard the quote about the “tyranny of the urgent”?
Your greatest danger is letting the urgent things crowd out the important.
― Charles E. Hummel, Tyranny of the Urgent
The urgent things are the things that demand our time and attention, yet rarely get us closer to who we want to be and where we want to be in life.
The important things are the actual needle-movers, but because they don’t demand our time and attention, they’re easy to put off, or even ignore completely.
Now not all our someday items are important, and we’ll talk about this later on in the post. But chances are, a good number of them fall into the category of important, or very important.
Health. Relationships. Spirituality. Personal Development…..
When it comes to our someday items – because we’ve taken the urgency out of them, they ultimately end up on the back burner.
Life’s greatest tragedy is not that it will someday end, but that it will end while you were still waiting for “someday” to live. (Click to Tweet)
The Many Faces of Someday
Now maybe you’re one of those rare people who doesn’t identify with someday.
Maybe you don’t consider yourself to be a someday thinker.
Maybe someday is not a word that shows up in your vocabulary very often.
But how about “When I have time……”
“When things settle down……”
“When work slows down a bit…”
“When I have more money……”
“When the kids grow up……..”
“When I get married……”
“When the kids move out of the house……”
“Once I finish school…….”
Do any of these sound familiar?
These are all sneaky variations of someday thinking, hiding under the umbrella of being “legitimate reasons”.
The Mindset Shift from “Someday” to “Today”
Moving beyond someday thinking isn’t easy.
In fact it requires a fundamental shift in your mindset.
Something that you’ll be hearing me talk about a lot on this blog. Not just in the context of someday thinking.
Mindset is at the root of all success, and all failure. (Click to Tweet)
In the case of someday thinking, shifting your mindset requires understanding and accepting that “someday” is nothing more than an excuse.
It’s a way of staying within our comfort zone.
Change is uncomfortable, and often, most of the things on our someday list require us to stretch in some way. Often in a big way.
Although we won’t admit it, it’s easier to stay where we are, doing what we’re doing. Not realizing that in doing so, we are choosing to stay trapped in mediocrity.
Horrible word isn’t it?
But until we call it what it is, and face it for what it is, we won’t change.
It’s that pesky truth thing again.
So let’s start looking at today for what it is – the only day that really matters.
This day, this moment, is all we can count on.
We may not have a “tonight”, a “tomorrow”, a next week, next month, or even a next year.
Although we all know it, and maybe even pay lip service to it, it’s one of those unpleasant truths we like to ignore because it’s uncomfortable to think about.
Remember our conversation about the comfort zone?
Humans seem to be naturally wired to want to stay within their comfort zone.
Thinking about life and death often stirs up feelings of guilt and regret – ironically it’s usually around the things we haven’t done that we intended to. So, we try hard not to think about it, deceiving ourselves into believing that we’ll deal with it someday.
It’s a vicious circle.
The only way we’ll escape it, is to stop hiding from that truth, and start living in it.
I love the expression “It is what it is.”
When I come face to face with things I have no control over, I let go of the negative emotions that threaten to boil over by taking a deep breath and acknowledging that “it is what it is.”
It helps me to move forward.
Stop putting off what matters and instead move forward into living your life in the truth of what’s really important.
Once you are able to do that you will find that guilt and regret melt away and are replaced with feelings of fulfillment, meaning, peace and happiness.
Will You Step Out in Faith?
Today I am in a better place.
I know what my purpose and my calling are.
I finally figured it out.
Once I stopped waiting for someday.
Once I took the first step….
And then the next….
And the next…..
Not knowing what was coming around the corner, but continuing to move forward in faith anyways.
I had finally begun turning my someday into today.
Whether your faith is in God (which mine is), or your faith is in the universe (which I believe is God’s handiwork) – the path always seems to reveal itself.
But only after you start walking, and usually only a few steps at a time.
Which of course, is why you need faith.
Moving Beyond “Someday” Begins With A Decision
It sounds so simple doesn’t it?
Make a decision.
But a decision about what?
A decision to be a possibility thinker.
Do you remember me talking about the reason things end up on our someday list?
It’s because at the time, we felt as though our current conditions made it impossible to do it now.
Conditions which typically seem to involve either time, money or opportunity.
Instead of thinking about why something won’t work right now, we need to turn it around and ask ourselves how we can make it work.
I love the way Michael Hyatt asks the question in his podcast episode on thinking bigger:
What has to be true for me to make this happen?
– Michael Hyatt
For example, 7 years ago my husband and I took our first big trip together as a couple since having children. We went on a 10 day Mediterranean cruise beginning in Barcelona, Spain and ending in Venice, Italy.
It was such an incredible experience that my husband and I talked about taking a trip as a couple every two years.
It still hasn’t happened.
Sure, we’ve had plenty of weekend getaways, but an actual trip?
Well, money was an issue. Pretty much all our money was tied up with other things – major house repairs (new windows, new roof, new furnace etc.), our daughter is in competitive dance ($$$ – that’s all I’ll say about that), and we choose to pay for Christian schooling for our children (grade school and high school).
More challenging was finding the time and opportunity. My husband already travels a lot for work (so far he’s on track to be away for a combined total of almost 6 months this year). Our kid’s activities keep us constantly running. Someone needs to look after my grandfather – he’s 95, no longer drives and doesn’t cook or do laundry (or even put his own dishes in the dishwasher!). Plus I was running a full time online business that I was completely tied to (my own fault).
It just seemed too impossible.
So we kept pushing it off.
For 6 years…
Travel ended up being well on it’s way to becoming another addition to our someday list.
Until we finally decided that this was important enough to us that we weren’t willing to sacrifice it to “someday”.
We figured out what had to be true with regards to money, time and opportunity, in order to make it happen.
Our first step has been to start a savings account, and my husband has been having a specific amount deducted from each of his paycheques and then deposited into that account.
Do we have all the details figured out?
No, but we are moving forward, trusting that with each step we take, the next step will reveal itself.
In order to get this far though, we had to become possibility thinkers.
From Possibility to Planning
It’s no secret that if you want to make something happen, you have to plan for it.
If you don’t plan for your desires, they will remain nothing more than wishes.
If you don’t plan for it, it won’t happen.
When you begin possibility thinking, you first figure out what has to be true in order to move your someday beyond simply wishing or dreaming.
Once that’s done, you begin planning the necessary steps to make that happen in so far as you can see them.
Finally, you have to take action.
You have to execute (I love that word!).
Whether you are trying to move beyond a small someday or a big someday, I want to share with you an 8 step process I have mapped out that you can follow to bring your someday into today.
8 Steps to Moving Beyond “Someday” & Living In Today
Step 1: Clarify.
Get clear on what it is you really want.
Sounds obvious doesn’t it?
You’d be surprised at how many people have either no clue, or their dreams are vague and undefined.
I’m not even specifically talking about creating a vision for your life right now, although that is essential (and something most people don’t have – which I’ll get into more in a future post).
I’m talking about knowing what you want in both the big things AND the little things that add up to the big picture of your life.
What is really important to you, and how do your somedays fit into that?
For example, how many times have you heard parents of young kids say “I know we need to spend more time together as a couple, but it’s so hard right now that the kids are young. We’ll start having regular date nights out once the kids are a little older.”
If you consider your marriage to be a priority for you, then alone time with your spouse is important because it’s what keeps you connected as a couple.
Certainly for us, as parents of 5 children between the ages of 8 and 18, the reason we are still crazy in love with each other after almost 21 years of marriage (and almost 26 years of being a couple) is because we have made our relationship a priority. And couple time has been a HUGE part of that.
But couple time doesn’t just happen. Being a parent takes crazy busy to a whole new level. So if you want couple time, you absolutely have to plan for it.
(Before you ask, yes you can make couple time happen no matter what your situation).
Continuing on with this example, knowing that couple time is important is just the first step. Getting clarity also includes spending time in possibility thinking.
In other words, figuring out how to make it happen – “What has to be true?”
It could be saying something like “we’re going to get the kids to bed early one night a week so we can share a quiet dinner and a glass of wine together.” Or “We’re going to trade babysitting with our neighbours so we can go to a movie, to dinner or even simply go for a walk.”
Let’s get back to the example of my dream of having my own business.
As a third generation entrepreneur, entrepreneurship is in my spirit.
Long before I ever started my first online business, in fact from the time I was a young university student, I have dreamt of having my own business.
But what kind of business?
I never took the time to sit down and get clear on what I really wanted.
I had no idea what kind of a business I really wanted, or what kind of an impact I wanted to make.
I didn’t take the time to really think through what I wanted to do (what my product/service would be), and who I wanted to serve (my avatar and target market) in relation to what was important to me.
As a result, I ended up starting a lot of businesses over the years that while they did make great money, either didn’t fit with who I was, weren’t fulfilling, didn’t work with the season of my life, or had no hope of helping me create the kind of life I wanted to live.
Had I taken the time then, to gain the clarity I have taken the time to find now, I might already be where I want to be, rather than essentially starting again from scratch.
If you don’t know what you want, you’ll never get it.
Get clear on where you want to go, otherwise you’ll end up where you don’t want to be.
Step 2: Connect.
Often we put things on our someday list that we have no emotional connection to.
Maybe it’s because we feel it’s expected of us – perhaps someone else is talking about it and it sounds exciting.
Maybe we put things on our someday list because it’s a way of putting off something that we don’t really want to do, but for whatever reason think we should be doing.
In Marie Kondo’s book Spark Joy, a sequel to her best-seller The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up she encourages readers to ask themselves a simple question when deciding whether to keep or discard each item in their home.
That question is “Does it spark joy?”
If it does, the item stays.
If it doesn’t then Marie believes the item does not belong in your home.
I believe that we need to connect with our somedays in much the same way.
We need to get to the heart of why something is on our someday list.
Why is it important to us? Does it align with our purpose, beliefs, our core values?
Does it spark joy?
If it doesn’t, then we need to let it go, otherwise it will be nothing more than mental, emotional and spiritual clutter that gets in the way of what’s really meaningful to us.
Ask yourself: “Does this item on my someday list spark joy?” If not, you need to let it go.
Step 3: Choose.
As much as we’ve been told “you can have it all”, the reality is, you can’t.
To make your someday happen, you need to create the space for it.
This tends to be a forgotten step.
It involves choosing what’s most important to us, and getting rid of what’s not.
I like to think of it as de-cluttering.
In the same way that most of us need to de-clutter and organize our homes (I am right in the midst of this myself), we also need to de-clutter our lives.
We need to make room for our somedays, otherwise no matter how clear we are, or how connected we are, we still won’t be able to make them happen.
For example, in my post Letting Go and Letting In, I talk about how in order to move forward in my life, I had to let go of a thriving online business – Paper Crafter’s Library (PCL).
Although I don’t go into it much in that post, I had actually been wanting to launch a business that better aligned with my life, my purpose, my passion and my values. However, I ended up being so busy with PCL, and before that my other online ventures, that I was never able to find the time.
I had to decide what was most important to me.
It wasn’t PCL, so I let it go, in order to let something new in.
In order to make room for our somedays we need to de-clutter our lives.
Step 4: Commit.
A commitment is defined as “the state of being bound emotionally or intellectually to some course of action.”
When we connect to our somedays we are creating the emotional bond that will fuel our commitment to moving our somedays to today.
Emotion although important, is not enough.
That’s where commitment comes in.
It is a promise that we make to ourselves to take action.
This will move us from the realm of “I might” to “I will”.
Committing also involves making our promise tangible.
We have to make it real to us.
We can do this by turning it into a goal.
Something specific. With a date attached to it.
Then we begin breaking it down into action steps (in so far as we can).
Remember. Don’t get too caught up in the details.
You don’t always have to be able to see the entire path. In fact, a lot of the time you probably won’t.
All you have to see is the first step.
Step 5: Complete.
Also known as execute.
Or take action.
All the planning and scheduling in the world means nothing if you don’t act on your plans.
Going back to what I’m currently doing – in the “commit” stage I planned out what I wanted (and want) to do.
The “complete” stage involves putting in on the calendar and actually doing it.
That’s where having a system or process to follow is important.
I created a personal system for myself that included elements of a few different systems I have researched.
Your system doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact it shouldn’t be complicated.
If you don’t have an actual “system”, then at the very least, block off time in your calendar for it as you would any other appointment or commitment.
Step 6: Contemplate.
Despite our best intentions, nothing ever goes according to plan.
It’s important to develop in ourselves the mindset that a setback or a failure is never final unless we quit.
Yes – more mindset stuff!
Instead of giving up or giving in on our goals, we need to look at our setbacks and failures as experiments and learn what we can from the experience.
That’s where contemplation comes in – it involves reflecting on the experience – what worked and why, what didn’t work and why, and what else can we try?
When it comes to where I’m going now, I am being very intentional about reflecting on and learning from my past business experiences.
In my post called Letting Go and Letting In, I talked about letting go of Paper Crafter’s Library – a 6 figure business that was going strong for me.
A big factor in my decision was the fact that it didn’t work with where I was in my life. It demanded more of my time than I could realistically give.
Knowing that, I have to make sure that as I plan out my next action steps, I do it in the context of where my life is now, along with my bigger vision for my life.
I can’t emphasize it enough – our previous experiences are a gold-mine.
Sure you’ll find some gold when you just pan for it, but if you really want to strike it rich, you need to dig deep.
If I had not taken the time to really look at why Paper Crafter’s Library (and a previous 6-figure business I had closed down in order to open Paper Crafter’s Library) wasn’t working for me – then I could very well have set myself up for the same thing all over again.
But let’s face it, digging deep takes time, and effort.
Our life experiences are like a gold-mine. If you want to strike it rich you have to dig deep.
Sadly, there are very few people who are willing to do what it takes to really mine for the gold in their life experiences.
Instead they settle for panning. “Whew, that was tough – I won’t make that mistake again.” And they leave it at that.
Or even worse, maybe they ignore the gold altogether. “You know, I have enough already.”
Does that sound stupid to you?
Yeah, me too.
But when we bury our head in the sand and pretend nothing ever happened, dismiss our failures as insignificant, or let our failures keep us from trying again, we’re doing exactly that.
I could very well have said “You know what? Having a online business doesn’t work for me right now, maybe it will down the road when life slows down (aka someday).”
Had I approached it that way, I wouldn’t be here now, on the cusp of what I know will be an exciting adventure (because in the past year that I have been offline, life hasn’t slowed down at al)l.
Instead, because I took the time to dig deep I can say with certainty “Yes, having that kind of an online business doesn’t work for me. Here’s what will work better…”
The only way we will be able to move beyond our somedays and bring them into today is if we step forward, commit to being brave and ask ourselves the tough questions. Once we do, we’ll realize that the questions are not as tough as we thought.
The truth will always help us move forward, faster.
Step 7: Calibrate.
This step involves taking what we learned during the contemplation stage and using it to adjust and fine-tune our action plan.
So what does that look like in practical terms?
Well, is there something you tried that didn’t work?
Take it out of your system.
Did you think of something else you can try that might yield better results?
Put it into your system.
Imagine yourself a scientist fine-tuning an experiment. With every variable you try, whether it works, or doesn’t, you are still learning something, and as long as you keep going, you will figure it out.
When you get discouraged, remember Thomas Edison’s famous quote:
I haven’t failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work. – Thomas Edison
Step 8: Celebrate.
In our achievement-oriented society, we seem to pay little attention to anything but the finish line.
Even when we’ve crossed the finish line, instead of taking the time to celebrate, we’re usually gearing up for the next race.
The next big thing.
Celebrating your wins is essential because it is motivating. It fills you with an “I can do it” feeling, which then inspires you to reach for even greater heights.
But celebrating just the big wins is not enough, because big wins don’t always happen frequently enough.
Imagine you’ve been wanting to lose weight. A lot of weight.
Or maybe you’ve been a couch potato for the last 10 years and now you want to get fit enough to run a marathon.
Neither of these are going to happen fast.
My own journey to losing the extra 30 lbs I was carrying took 6 months, and getting to the level of fitness where I can now bike 70 km in one stretch has taken 2 years. And I’m still not where I want to be.
That’s a heck of a long time to wait to celebrate.
Research has actually shown that nothing can boost motivation more than feeling like you’re making progress in something that is meaningful to you.
Celebrating your wins helps you feel more engaged and happier. It can increase your creativity and productivity. It can even lead to achieving greater levels of success than you originally expected.
All very powerful reasons to build celebration into everything you do.
Celebrating the small wins creates the momentum that carries you through to the bigger wins.
Living in Today Is A Process
I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination
– Jimmy Dean
Moving beyond someday living and living in today is a process.
Scary when you start, yet exciting once you get going.
I’ll never forget the summer my husband and I took sailing lessons. My dad had encouraged us to start with learning how to sail a dinghy.
A dinghy is much smaller than a sailboat, and is in many ways, much harder to control.
First off, it’s way easier to capsize. Unlike a sailboat, a dinghy doesn’t have a keel. The purpose of the keel on a sailboat is to keep the boat from being blown sideways by the wind, and it holds the ballast that weighs it down and helps keep the boat upright.
Being smaller than a sailboat, a dinghy is much more sensitive to maneuvering, making it harder to stay on course, especially when the wind is strong and the waves are high.
Let me tell you, there’s nothing quite like experiencing strong winds and high waves when you’re in a dinghy.
There was one day in particular where there were three of us in the dinghy – myself, my husband and another student. It was our second lesson on the water.
We were flying through the water, the sails were completely filled, and the dinghy was heeling (leaning) at such a steep angle that the top edge of the boat was almost skimming the surface of the water. My feet were hovering just inches above the water.
My heart was pounding, the adrenaline was coursing through my veins, and I was terrified that we were going to capsize.
I still remember the moment we realized we had lost control.
Although it happened in an instant – it felt like an eternity, feeling the boat slowly flip over and then being thrown into the cold waters of Lake Ontario.
Within seconds of surfacing, I couldn’t help but grin. Other than being cold and soggy (as we were fully clothed), it wasn’t half as bad as I had anticipated.
More importantly though – it was actually an essential part of learning how to sail a dinghy.
Because the next step was learning how to right the boat.
Not long after we capsized, the instructor arrived in his own boat. He was adamant that we each had to learn how to right the boat. So one after the other we practiced capsizing and righting the boat until we could each do it on our own.
As the summer progressed we became better and better at handling our boat.
Much like sailing, letting go of someday and living in today involves learning to respond to the changes in the wind and currents of your life, making the necessary adjustments to your sails to keep yourself on course, and learning to right the boat when you capsize.
With practice though, you eventually learn how to master your boat.
Follow these 8 steps, and keep following them, and you’ll eventually master the process of living in today.
Once you do, you’ll finally be able to appreciate and relax into the exhilaration of the journey – the feeling of the wind whipping through your hair, the refreshing spray of the water against your skin, and the feeling of freedom as you watch the water rush by, taking you closer and closer to your destination.
The life that you were meant to live.
Your best life.