Why not me and why not now?

This post is not about food, but about motivation. What gets us going?

“We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. . . There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won’t feel unsure around you”

~Marianne Williamson, spiritual activist, author, lecturer, and founder of the Peace Alliance

These questions cross my mind from time to time; Why not me and why not now?

Hiding from our talents does nothing to further the world along or to reach the potential we are capable of reaching with focused effort.

We all have talents somewhere.

The problems lay in not defining or creating a focus on which to either concentrate or to direct our activities. Without direction how do we know what to focus on or in what direction to go?

Using an old analogy: when you start on a trip and head out the driveway, which way to go? Interstate, airport? How do we get to where we are going? Do we know where we are going or just wandering around?

This is why I make goals and lists of the steps I think will take me there.

Oddly enough, I have found making lists really works for me. Even if I scribble a few places to go, things to pick up while out, people to visit or weeds to pull in the garden, if it is on my list, it gets done. This works for simple and complex projects. Make a list of baby steps.

I used to teach at another college in Georgia. One year they had written some clauses in my employment contract that would require me agree to teach culinary arts at the #1 top security all-male prison in the state. I visited the area once and my blood ran cold.

(Think female in a high security all male prison – not for me! Very, very scary)

As I read my employment contract renewal, I saw a clause that said I would agree to work at the prison and anywhere else they decided anywhere, any time. I thought about what would I really like to do instead and it came to me that what I really wanted, above all else, was my own restaurant and to be my own boss.

So, I outlined the steps it would take to open my restaurant. Less than a year later, I had quit the teaching position and opened a wine room for tasting and sales; a kitchen shop for everything you could want for your kitchen, a recreational cooking school and a cafe.

Writing the business plan really helped clarify what I wanted, when and who I needed to help.

This was a great experience that clearly demonstrated that having a clear plan of action really works.

Recently I have been wanting to fulfill more of my potential and have felt like my wheels have been spinning without traction.

So I decided this is the year to work on the book I have wanted to write for a while. Obviously a cookbook. If I don’t get it started, it will never take shape.

Why not me and why not now?

If not me,  who?

If not now, when?

I have two neighbors who have awakened me to ask those questions more and more and to seriously ponder the answers.

One woman, Donna, had retired earlier this year. She and her boyfriend went to Spain on  vacation to celebrate. She began to not feel well while on the trip so when she returned, she scheduled a doctors visit. The outcome of that visit was she had stage 4 pancreatic cancer. She spent the last months of her life  in and out of various therapies. She died this fall, only 7 months after being diagnosed.

Another neighbor is “90 and 1/2″ as she would proudly tell you. She is active and refuses to have any help because she says as soon as she doesn’t keep moving and doing things she won’t be able to. The other day, she severely burned both of her hands in a flash grease fire, was rushed to a burn unit for surgery and now cannot use her hands at all for anything. Now, her family is looking at placing her in assisted living because she needs full-time, all the time help.

They say she will be alright but it will take several months for the burns and surgery to heal. To someone who measures “90 and 1/2″, this may be a long time for her. It definitely changes the rest of her life.

This illustrates clearly we have no idea what in coming down the pike for us. So why do I squander days of not really doing anything?

We have no guarantee of time. We have no guarantee of talent or success.

All we have control of are our choices and intentions.

So my challenge to you is to ask yourself

“Why not me? Why not now?”

Make a plan and see what happens.