The Hidden Truths in Honesty

Recently, my boss, Joe DeRing asked me to sit down with him to go over my professional and personal goals. It was somewhat impromptu, so I had to pull my thoughts together in just a few days. Work-wise, goals were easy for me. But when it came to my personal goals, I was completely and utterly stumped.

I’ve always had some sort of side project or am elbow-deep in learning some new skill. I pick up more new hobbies than the average person. It’s not abnormal for me to have some high aim for achievement around these things. Start selling whatever I’m creating, launch a website to share the things I’m doing, make things with utility that I can use on a daily basis.

So, for the first time during my tenure at Empower, I was dreading a meeting with Joe. Not because of him, but because no matter how hard I thought about it or with any of the soul searching, I couldn’t come up with personal goals. I couldn’t think of anything, at all. The very last thing I wanted to do was disappoint Joe.

We sat down under an outdoor pavilion, and socially distanced, I had to look him in the eyes and be honest. There was no other choice. Saying the words out loud felt like a betrayal to myself at my core because I thought it wasn’t the right answer. Joe simply looked back at me and said, “You don’t always have to achieve in your personal life, Sara.”

It hit me like a ton of bricks and not in a bad way. I’m always pushing myself to achieve, at work and in my personal life. It was such a simple, heartfelt statement from a person who’s watched me strive to be the best version of myself for the last two years. And most importantly, he was 100% right.

Not currently having any big goals doesn’t mean that I’m not taking steps forward. While doing the responsible thing and continuing to limit my social interactions & time outside the house over the last several months, I’ve had more time to do the things I really love. And I’ve seized the opportunity to expand my love for them.

I’ve honed in on my art. I’ve started practicing new techniques and watching tutorials on YouTube to improve. I’ve created new pieces and put out videos of myself doing them. I’ve live streamed while creating art on Twitch. I’ve caught up on many of the books that had been sitting unread for months prior. My dogs and I have learned how to enjoy the quiet streets of our neighborhood in new ways. Finding gratitude and beauty in the simpler things has become a daily practice. The value of a hug will never be the same again.

At Empower, we always say “control the controllables” and now those controllables have shifted. These days, we’re all striving to keep marching on, regardless of our individual challenges. Don’t forget to take some time to evaluate your wins, be honest with yourself, and you may find the hidden nuggets of real truth that were overlooked in the process. Sometimes, just making it through the day is an achievement. But, I would bet that you’ve achieved more than just that most days.

Here are some thought starters, intended for you to answer honestly, to help you find where you’ve had some wins or to help you find the ways in which you have an opportunity to control the controllables to make strides forward.

  1. What are some of the challenges you’ve faced over the last four to five months?
  2. What are the silver linings within those challenges?
  3. What are some of the controllables that you can control that can improve your life/productivity?
  4. If applicable, what’s stopping you from chasing some of your dreams and goals?
  5. Do you take time to be grateful each day?