If you’re an avid reader of ours, it’s likely that you’re not one to accept a mediocre life, but rather a life spent considering purpose, intentions and values. You’re a thoughtful person who understands the benefits of a plan and realizes that the universe holds the capacity to create all that you could ever imagine. In fact, it’s likely that you conjured up your very own goals because you saw it happen for someone else. But is it really your goals, or goals you think you should be having?

This past year I put a lot of pressure on myself to get the job, get the raise, meet the guy. I thought it was time to truly start creating the life that was in line with what I had always wanted for myself. I worked hard, I studied applicable blogs, I asked for the right advice, I made myself vulnerable. And so, eventually I got the job, began working toward the raise, and I dated. I was moving forward.

But what I wasn’t doing was considering what I could handle, or if I could actually take care of these responsibilities coming my way. The job I had no experience for, the raise I didn’t deserve, and the guys I didn’t really have a connection with were all making me very unhappy. From there I became stressed, the work I was doing became rushed, careless, and incorrect. And when I dated, I didn’t like the girl I was becoming: nervous, young and drunk. I was unprepared and didn’t like myself.

Lately I’m realizing that times of stress, uncertainty, and confusion are almost always born from moments when we move away from ourselves. It’s not that my goals were off-base, it was the timing that was. I was so busy looking forward instead of inward because that’s where the excitement is: up ahead. “Up ahead” can be anything you could ever dream up for yourself.

I was able to talk my way into making others believe that I was ready, and in doing so, tricked myself along the way. If I had been ready, I wouldn’t have needed to rush through my work and wouldn’t have needed to drink away the nerves on a date. I needed to slow down and sharpen my current skills so that when I am ready for the new job and the raise, I will be bursting with the confidence and the knowledge to do right by the company and me. I need to work on my confidence and consider what I really want out of a partner rather than allowing my self-consciousness to take over wondering if I’m good enough.

I hadn’t put in the time of looking inward and readying myself for when I got what I was asking for. These moments of bumping up against discomfort are guides gently nudging you back into your lane.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t be pushing yourself. I only pose the question, Have you honed your skills and laid a strong enough groundwork that when you get what you’re asking for, you can continue to do right by you? Achieving your goals shouldn’t come at a sacrifice, but rather they should come when you are fully prepared and can receive what has been given to you– integrating them into your life with the ability to function with the same values. Put the ego, competition, and pressures aside and perhaps you will see that where you are now is a perfect place to build the skills and confidence necessary to form a solid foundation– one that will make you truly wonderful and unwavering when your intentions are realized and you can authentically excel.

I still want the raise. But when I get it, I want to be experienced enough to do a good job. I still want the boyfriend. But when I meet him, I want to be strong enough that I can be respectful to us both.

The fun part is the setting of the goals because of the excitement and hope it stirs. That’s why that is the easy part. But the not-so-fun part is the preparing, the looking inward and considering whether we are ready for what we’ve been asking for so that we can begin to prepare for our fullest purpose.

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