Ever wondered what to do with those long-term goals? You know, the ones that you have to wait a few years for? Luckily, this weekend, I got a bit of advice for you from Elizabeth Gilbert herself.
As you probably know, I spent a few days with Oprah Winfrey at her Live the Life You Want Event. Granted, it was thousands of other fans and me, but nonetheless, I was in the same room with her for two days incredible days. The event was life-changing!
There were four other speakers in addition to the Queen of Daytime – Elizabeth Gilbert, Mark Lepo, Rob Bell, and Iyanla Vanzant. I’m sure I’ll be sharing more about this event with you for weeks to come, but today I want to talk to you about my favorite of the speakers, Ms. Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love. I actually met her a few months ago at her book signing and had heard her speak before so I knew she was going to be phenomenal, but I was still blown away.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the author, a little over ten years ago, Elizabeth found herself in a marriage that was no longer serving her or the life she wanted to live. At first, she didn’t know how to leave, and she cried herself to sleep on the bathroom floor praying to God to give her guidance night after night.
Finally, she realized that it would be harder to stay than to leave, so she ended her marriage and embarked on a brutal two-year divorce battle where she literally lost everything to her name.
At that point, she knew she had to discover herself and what she wanted for her life once again. So, with the support of her friends and family and an idea for a book on her mind, she started on a year-long journey and traveled to Italy, Indonesia and India. Thus the best-selling book Eat, Pray, Love was born.
After telling her story at the conference, Elizabeth talked about how important it is to truly live the life you know you were born for. She said she has spoken all over the world and everywhere she goes, she meets women who resonate with her story and what to make a change.
However, she went onto explain that no matter where she is, there are also ladies who say that they’d love to do what she did, but they just can’t due to real, physical commitments. They say that there’s literally no way they could just up and leave or go on a yearlong journey to discover themselves. There are real family members to take care of, bills to pay and other legitimate limitations (not just excuses) to give attention to before they can reach their long-term goals.
Ms. Gilbert said she gets this completely, and she acknowledged that she didn’t write her story to convince you to leave your husband, put everything you own in storage and travel the world.
Instead, she’s urging you to listen to the little voice inside that’s saying, “I’m yearning for more” instead of just dismissing it or pushing it away. And once you know what life is trying to tell you, she says you need to create a long-term plan to make it happen even if it’s not something that can be reached in the near future.
Her advice to the audience this weekend was to take a step – any step whether big or small – towards reaching your long-term goals every day.
Elizabeth went onto describe a story told to her by a fan in a bookshop. This woman described her mother who was left by her father to raise five children under the age of ten alone.
On the very same day her husband left her, she decided that she was not going to complain (amazing enough it itself), but instead, she made a plan for the future once she was done with the job of raising her family – one that she very much wanted to do despite the circumstances.
So that very day, she started a “travel the world” fund by putting $1 a day in a coffee can in the back of her closet (so the kids couldn’t find it).
Although her family was quite destitute at the time, she knew that $1 a day was never going to be the difference between life and death.
She also promised herself that she would never touch the coffee can until her children were raised. (And you know with five kids there must have been times she was tempted!)
So for 20 years, she saved that $1 a day and of course ended up filling more than one coffee can!
When her children were finally happy, healthy and out in the world independently, she cashed in and took that dream trip. (And when she did, she of course surprised everyone since not even her kids knew of her plans.)
Doesn’t that story give you goosebumps?
The point is, you don’t have to achieve every goal in one day, a week or even five years. You can take baby steps toward reaching your long-term goals – any sort of action is better than none at all!
So what is it that you really want to do in this life? It’s important to get really clear on your goals so you can come up with a doable plan. Even if it’s a long-term goal, how can you ensure that you’ll reach it? In other words, what is your coffee can plan?
This week, I’d love for you to not just think about what you want, but to write it down as well – somewhere where you can see it easily every day. Then come up with a plan to make it happen – whether it’s something you want to do in the future or something you can make happen tomorrow, plan it out and then take the first step.
As always, I’d love to hear from you, so comment below to tell me what it is you have to do in this lifetime, and how you’re going to make it happen. I’m so excited to hear from you!
And if you want some help and support along the way, that’s what I’m here for so get in touch about my one-on-one coaching program.