Bucket List Life Dare: Your Scariest Life Goal

october-2016-bucket-list-life-dareThere’s no way. 

That’s impossible. 

I hardly dare to dream.

Admit it, you have aspirations for your life that you don’t even speak out loud because you’re afraid the mere mention will negate them ever happening. You’re afraid people will call you arrogant or foolish for thinking you could go after something so audacious. You worry that trying and failing will be worse than never giving it a shot.

Or maybe you don’t. Maybe you have always stuck with what’s safe, what’s reachable. You set goals that you know you are capable of achieving and then make them happen.

But what if?

What if you did allow yourself to dream big? What if you shot for the moon for once?

What if you brought that lifelong desire out into the light? The one that makes your heart thump loudly in your chest and your mouth to go dry.

What if you toyed with it, thought out the steps necessary to reach it, considered the mental, physical, financial and time resources required for it?

And what if you took just the very first step toward making that big hairy, scary goal happen?

I dare you.

Because life is too short to always play it safe. And if there is something you care so much about that it scares you to think about it becoming reality, then it may be time to stare down that fear and honor that heart cry – even just a tiny bit by doing one small thing.

Because you just might be braver and stronger and smarter than you thought. That goal may be hounding you not for the finishing of the goal itself, but for who you will become in the process of going after it.

This may be the month where others celebrate ghosts and ghouls and seek out thrills at haunted houses. But why not be the one who faces fears of another type? Take action on your scariest life goal.

I dare you.

CoursePromoImageWant to bring your family closer by creating and living out bucket list dreams like this one? I can teach you how. Check out my book in e-book or paperback or take ”my online course,” now only $15!

Back to School Tips & Helps

1608AlaskaParent It’s back to school time and the parenting magazines have plenty of good tips, information and inspiration for parents this month. I’ve rounded up some of my contributions to August issues that I think will make back to school better for you and your family.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your child’s academic performance this school year, you should check these out:

Help Improve Your Child’s Memory gives you 4 methods you can use with your child to improve his skill at memorization. They’re simple and sensible enough for any parent to put to work.

Exercise Smarts for Teen Brains offers strategies that teens can use to maximize the proven benefits of physical activity on brain performance. Have your teen try them out!

Studies say that families ought to sit down to dinner together, but how do you get the conversation rolling once you’re at the table? If your kids are anything like mine, they’re probably expert at giving one-word answers to questions about school, 1608PittsburghParenttheir day and what’s up with them and their friends. 21 Questions to Jump-Start Conversation gives you alternatives to “how was your day” that can enliven your dinnertime chats this school year. Like this one: “what part of your day do you wish could have lasted longer?”

Fall sports are ramping up, which means football for the boys and girls’ basketball – two sports known for concussion-producing collisions. Lest you think a concussion is merely a bump to the head followed by a headache, read the essay I wrote following the 9-month ordeal my daughter went through with post-concussion syndrome: Heartbreaking Moments for the Mother of a Concussed Teen.

My girls go back to school today. It’s the last First Day of School for me with my high school senior. I’ll be spending the day trying not to be weepy or sentimental. How about you?

Pinch Me Moments: The 2016 Olympics

Pinch Me_ 2016 OlympicsThe 2016 Olympics have begun! If you watched the opening ceremony on Friday, you’ll know that it began with as much flash and regalia as previous Olympics. Famous Brazilian singers, large-scale dance performances, Gizelle taking her final walk as a model. It was spectacular!

Now imagine being one of the Olympic athletes there that evening. You’re clothed in your official Olympic uniform – one that matches all of the other Olympians from your country. You wait for the Parade of Nations to enter a stadium packed with fans and dignitaries. And then, the moment comes: the announcer calls out your country over the loudspeakers and you follow your flag bearer into the stadium. It’s a sea of noise, lights, people. You think, “This is it! I am at the Olympics! I am in the Olympics!”

For all of the first-timers, and even some of the returning athletes, Friday night was a “pinch me” moment. One they had long dreamed of and worked hard for. Bob Costas and the other Olympic broadcasters highlighted this fact again and again. The thought stirs those of us watching. We imagine how awesome that moment must be.

But did you know you don’t have to imagine? You could be having your own pinch me moments. That’s what pursuing your bucket list goals is all about – those moments where you are thinking, is this for real? Pinch me! I can’t believe this is happening!

I experienced that this past spring when our tour bus rounded a curve and out before us spread the green hills of Tuscany, dotted with orange-roofed farmhouses flanked by slender cypress trees. I had imagined that view hundreds of times. I drooled over photos of it in travel magazines and watched the movie Under the Tuscan Sun again just for glimpses of the countryside backdrop. And suddenly there it was, right in front of me!

How about you? Are you ready for a pinch me moment? Take time to write down a goal you’ve been imagining coming true, followed by the next step you need to take toward it. Your next step could involve researching options, looking at your calendar, getting a book about it or signing up for a lesson.

Use this Olympic season as a reminder that putting in hard work toward an important goal is worth it. Each time you hear the broadcasters talk about a particular moment being meaningful for an athlete, envision your own meaningful, pinch me moment. Then do the hard work to reach it.

CoursePromoImageWant to bring your family closer by creating family bucket lists? I can teach you how. Check out my book in e-book or paperback or take my online course, now only $15!

August Bucket List Life Dare: Seize the Summer Moment

It’s August. Our school district is clamoring for my attention again with registration forms in the mail and orientation reminders in my inbox. As much as I want to ignore it and pretend my mornings will forever be blissfully quiet with kids sleeping late, summer is winding down. School will be starting again. Soon. And that feeling that we haven’t done everything we wanted to for the summer niggles at me.

August 2015 BLL Dare_ Seize the Summer Moment (1)You too? I have some good news for both you and me: it’s not over yet. Even as we shop for school supplies, we can still complete something we had planned this summer that we haven’t gotten around to. And even better, we have a natural deadline to spur us on – the first day of school.

So that’s the theme for this month’s bucket list life dare: Seize the Summer Moment. Think back to the first day of summer. What did you envision the three months of June, July and August 2015 to look like? What did you hope you and your kids would be able to do or create or see or learn or visit or encounter?

Hopefully you can say your summer lived up to much of your vision. And maybe you were pleasantly surprised by experiences you hadn’t dreamed of ahead of time. But there are probably one or two things that you couldn’t fit in or just plain forgot about. That’s what this dare is about. Pick one or two things, preferably bucket list goals – things that you have never experienced before, that you still want to get in before summer ends. Then make them happen in August (or by Labor Day, if you want to give yourself until the official end of summer).

My goal is to take my kids to Magic Waters, a water park we have never tried. We pass it every summer on our way to my in-laws’ summer home, but since we go out there to boat and fish and swim, it never made sense to hit the water park. This year we were fortunate enough to be given passes to Magic Waters. But first summer school and its rigorous homework prevented us. Then vacation away, appointments, work and other obligations made it hard to get out there. Now we have no reason not to go – we just need to make it happen. And I can’t wait for the fun we’ll have when we do!

How about you? What is one new adventure you want to still squeeze into your summer? Take the August Bucket List Life Dare and make it happen.

Abundance: Bucket List Goals in Community

Members of the Redbud Writer's Guild at our 2015 Retreat

Members of the Redbud Writer’s Guild at Our 2015 Retreat

I recently had the opportunity to gather with more than 30 other members of the writer’s guild I belong to for our bi-annual retreat. We held workshops, learned from industry professionals, and heard the stories of published members about their road to publication. But more than that, we shared our lives – our hopes, our dreams, our heartaches. And we left profoundly changed by each other’s presence that weekend. I think I can safely say that each member on that retreat has a renewed courage for stepping out to achieve her next writing dream.

In the past week I’ve watched different members chime in on our FaceBook group with blog posts they finally gathered the nerve to write and book proposals that they are at last drafting and submitting. The energy is palpable and it is extending into our group beyond those who attended the retreat.

I’m also part of another online group of writing professionals. We share our career challenges, swap feedback & critiques, and are emboldened by each other’s risk-taking to step out into our own new ventures. And we eagerly champion the works of all the members in the group.

A common theme in both of these groups is a spirit of non-competition that sees the pie as being big enough for everyone to have a piece. In the world of publishing, this attitude of abundance is, unfortunately, extremely rare. Yet it is inexpressibly valuable.

Think about your bucket list. How do you react when someone you know accomplishes a goal that is on your list? It’s hard not to be a little jealous. In fact, I think it’s a natural first reaction. But what do we gain by that? And what instead could we gain by celebrating others’ successes with them? How could we learn from what they are doing that could translate into our future success?

Similarly, who do you know that is pursuing a goal you’ve reached who might benefit from your skills, resources, and knowledge?

It’s easier to take risks and try new things when we have someone beside, behind, and before us. It’s easier to reach our goals when we don’t waste our energy competing with others, but instead lend a hand to lift them up with us or give them our shoulders to stand on.

In what way could your world be better through linking arms with another instead of hoarding your experiences for yourself? What could you do this week to help another person get closer to reaching one of their bucket list goals? Look for ways to foster a spirit of non-competition among your fellow bucket list adventurers. Because abundance begets abundance.

Photo credit: Redbud Writers by Dorothy Greco, used with permission.