A Decade of Growth and Change

Welcome back and Happy 2020! I hope you enjoyed your holiday(s). My last post, My Four Lessons of the Last Decade, was about the life lessons I learned. This post looks back at accomplishments and change. Now it’s the new year and a new decade. Time for new intentions. But before we make or discuss plans for the new year and new decade, let’s review the old year and decade. For me, it was a decade of Growth and Learning.

Image of gold 2020 against a brown background with Happy New Year message while we look back at a decade of growth and change.

The Beginning of the 2010s

In 2009, my husband and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. My son was 30 years old and married for the second time. I had five grandchildren (two 9-year-olds, a seven years old, a six-year-old, and one one month old) and three dogs (8-year-old miniature schnauzer, a 7-year-old mixed breed, and a 4-year-old Yorkshire Terrier). a registered nurse at the local children’s hospital, I worked forty plus hours each week.

Writing was my weekend passion. I had been writing stories since 1980. Three stories for children and two science fiction novellas written in collaboration appeared in magazines.

I had written three novels and had begun the fourth. But it wasn’t right. By right I don’t mean perfect, I mean it was missing something. 

Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be our best. Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth; it’s a shield.

Brene Brown

The novels didn’t work. They were missing an ingredient or two. I didn’t understand story engines or story structure or pacing. I wanted my passion to be more than a passion, but I had a dreamer’s idea of how to be a writer. The business of writing? No clue what that entailed. I had no tracking system or any system for improvement or progress. No author brand, scant social media presence, and no website. I began the decade with a burning desire to learn and grow as a writer.

He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Last Year

In 2019, my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. Our three-bedroom ranch home is now seventy-years-old. Remodeling projects have made it more suitable for a wheelchair-bound individual. 

My son turned 40 and is married to the woman of his dreams. I have eight grandchildren (a 24-year-old, two 19-year-olds, a seventeen-year-old, a sixteen-year-old, two eleven-year-olds, and a four-month-old). Some of you may have realized the ages don’t line up with 2009—Your right, they don’t. I include precious grandchildren-by-marriage. 

I have three Yorkshire Terriers (a 14-year-old, a 9-year-old, and a 2-year-old). 

And I retired from my nursing job two years ago. Writing full-time is a joy.

Image of a girl reading a book with stars and light streaming out of the book--much like me looking at my past decade of growth and change.

Growth and Change

One of my (our) challenges has been the many medical issues my husband has had over the past ten years. Those challenges are compounding. I sit in his room at a rehabilitation facility as I write this.

Over the past decade I learned about plot, story engines, story structure, pacing, and so much more. I learned to create systems for tracking progress, improvements, learning, and goals. I know that I’ve written more than one million words during the decade (no records for the first three years). 

I’ve refined my writing process and learned about self-publishing and marketing. I’m having moderate success with my two published books. The outline for book two of the My Soul to Keep series and I’ve written about 30,000 words of the first draft.

I have a social media presence, an author brand, and I blog regularly on my website. Blessed, I even have followers both on social media platforms and on my blog. *Yup, that’s you! Thank you.*

A Change of Perspective

Prior to completing my decade review, I had a poor opinion of what I had accomplished in the past. Tracking and reviewing has erased that opinion. Sure, I wanted to accomplish a ton more, but look at where I started. Without tracking systems, I would not know how much I achieved despite the many challenges I had. Knowing allows me to analyze what allowed me to accomplish things and what held me back Now I can see what areas I would like to improve for the next decade. And I’ve already started working toward another decade of growth and change.

There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder.

Ronald Reagan

The two-word description for my past decade is Growth and Change. Have you done a decade review? What would be a two word description of your 2010s?

Lessons from 2017 & Strategies for 2018

It’s New Years Day. Happy New Years! Did you make a list of resolutions? I didn’t. According to Forbes, less than 8% of people achieve their resolutions. I can attest to that fact. I’ve made a ton of resolutions and rarely achieved my goals. For a long time, I thought that meant I wasn’t a goal-oriented person. Hogwash!

The only real mistake quote from Henry Ford, resolutions, lynettemburrows.com

I spent a portion of 2017 documenting what I achieved in my bullet journal. My bullet journal was an experiment. I wanted to record goals and accomplishments, desires, and what I learned each day. Turns out the lessons I learned in 2017 were many. I learned that I accomplished a lot of things. And I learned a few things I hope to use to make 2018 a better year. I’m sharing my lessons here in the hopes that you might use one or two of my lessons and also have a better year in 2018.

Healing happens in its own time.

This applies to healing from diabetic wounds, healing from grief, or even healing from a common cold. To say that it takes time is an understatement that is a disservice. Not because of the amount of time but because healing is not something that happens in a straight line.

Be patient with yourself or others going through a healing process.

Draw comfort from the sources that give you the most comfort. Practicing creativity, hobbies, or new interests can be therapeutic. Acknowledge the feelings you feel. There will be many. Some you won’t understand.

Give it time. There will be days when you think you’re done and days when you know you’re not. Get through the bad days. Live in the moment on the good days.

You can’t control everything.

My personal journey over the past two years has been an emotional yo-yo. I transitioned from life partner to supportive partner to full caretaker and then to a part-time caretaker. Life is also not linear. Coping with the ups, the downs, and the sideways twists is difficult but there are ways to cope.

Focus on what you can control—namely yourself. Your thoughts and actions are the only things over which you have control. Want to live a more positive life? Choose to think and act more positively.

Identify your fears. Our worst decisions are made from a place of fear.

Concentrate on your influence. What can you do that will make a difference? How can your actions influence others for good? Focus on what you can do.

Differentiate between problem cud-chewing and problem-solving. We all get caught in circular thought patterns. Break out of that pattern by problem-solving. Can’t see a solution? Focus on what you can control.

Sometimes it takes a Leap of Faith.

I retired a couple of weeks ago. Scary because I retired earlier than I’m really comfortable with. Scary because–change. Scary because I’ve committed to being a writer FULL TIME. Writing in the cracks of time has been my life up until now. Now I must learn to write daily, to produce regularly. Different skills entirely.

Listen to your inner voice. It actually knows more about what you need that your brain does.

Practice Daily Self Care. Get enough sleep. Good nutrition. Exercise. Especially be kind to yourself.

Change fear of the unknown to a desire for what’s next. It takes practice, kind of like affirmations. Say it out loud. Repeat until it’s a habit.

Allow yourself to be supported. This one is tough for me. I’m working on it.

Quit Comparisons. You know that’s right. When you find yourself making a comparison, step back, remind yourself you have your own journey. Easier said than done, but again, it takes practice.

Celebrate what you’ve manifested to date. Celebrate the small victories. Every. One. Record what you’ve accomplished. Reinforce that your leap of faith won.

Have the strength of your conviction. You have a lifetime of knowledge and skill, use it to bring your vision to life.

Is your decision fear-based or love-based? Love wins hands down.

Choose a date. Believe in yourself by making a choice and sticking to it.

Handle the naysayers—fear makes bad decisions,

Come in for the landing — crash, get up and do it again. Let’s face it, some leaps of faith won’t end the way you want them to. It’s okay if you crash this time. Learn from it. Dust off your knees and do it again with new knowledge and experiences to build on.

Growth takes patience.

Lots of it. Having a puppy for the first time in a dozen years has made me acutely aware of the patience required for growth. This reminder applies to growth as a writer, a blogger, a person, or . . . a puppy.

How do you develop patience?

Pay attention. When pain or irritation occurs pay attention. Is it uncomfortable or intolerable? Intolerable needs swift attention. Uncomfortable can wait. Training your brain to identify what the problem is and the severity of the problem will help you come up with a solution that will work.

Slow down. Take a few breaths, count to ten, do some isometrics, or sit and listen to an entire song on the radio. Think through what you want to rush (second helpings of dessert, a snappy comeback, a not-quite done project). What outcome do you want? What will happen if you wait?

Practice. Spend time practicing patience. Stop. Start small (fifteen minutes, half an hour, an hour) and build up to a full day of practice. Record your progress. You may surprise yourself.

These are lessons I needed. I’ve taken a leap of faith and will need to use each of these lessons in the coming year. So I made an infographic for when I need reminders.

infographic on Lessons from 2017, resolutions, lynettemburrows.com

Did you find any of this helpful? You can download a copy of the Lessons & Strategies infographic here.

(Edited 1/7/18 to correct link for download. It will work now. Sorry about the inconvenience.–LMB)

Would you care to share how you might use these lessons?

Did you learn a lesson in 2017 that you’re willing to share?

Top Ten Posts of 2012

As we say goodbye to 2013, I’m saying a big thank you to all of you who’ve followed my blog, commented, tweeted, shared and linked to my posts. You made these my top ten blog posts for 2012:
1. Breaking Out of Numb
2. And the Answer is: Happy Rodents and a Lucky Snippet
3. Warning! 10 Signs You’ve Pushed Too Hard
4. A Void in My Heart
5. The Road To Success
6. Be A Child
7. Speak Up Readers, What Do You Think?8. Are You Saying No to Success?9. Glorious Mistakes or Wave of the Future?10. Monday Mash-up: From Sopa to Nuts

my top ten posts for the year

If you were expecting the next Going to Mars Word by Word blog post, I apologize. Due to the holidays, the next post in the Going to Mars Word by Word series has been postponed. Check out our next stop: The Sands of Mars by Sir Arthur C. Clarke next Monday, January 7th.

I know that your time is precious and I deeply appreciate that you’ve spent time with me during this past year. Thank you. Without you, there would be no top ten posts here. Best wishes to you and yours for a safe and Happy 2013!

2011, The Good News

2011 is coming to an end, and for some, not a moment too soon. You might question my sanity with the post title 2011, the good news. There were politicians, businessmen, and celebrities who behaved badly. Earthquakes, tsunamis, and tornadoes that killed and destroyed. Economies of many nations hover on the brink of collapse. There were heroes who struggled to save, to take a stand, and who perished in that fight. Even on a personal level, I had many challenges that took huge chunks of time to process and overcome.
2011 is coming to an end, and for some, not a moment too soon. You might question my sanity with the post title 2011, the good news.

Many people, particularly the news media, look for the shocking, the tragic or the disheartening stories from the past year. They seem to revel in the ugliness of behaviors and events.

Not me. I am a glass-half-full kind of gal. It’s that attitude, that expectation that helps me see the huge range of good that happens. Despite all the economic downfalls, natural disasters and humans behaving badly, things were not as bad as they seemed. There were stories of heroes across the world and in the US, stories of advances in science and health, and of course, changes in the world of publishing, too.

Heroes

In Egypt Thousands of Muslims for a Human Shield for Coptics.

In UTAH strangers ignored the danger to themselves and saved a man trapped beneath a burning car.

Wildlife rangers protect animals in the Congo at great risk to themselves.

CNN’s search for heroes found some amazing people. And the hero of the year is helping women and newborns in Indonesia.

This video is long at 19 minutes, but it is an amazing story of how Alberto Cairo found humanity and dignity in the midst of war in Afghanistan. He calls his talk There Are No Scraps of Men.

It started with One Person in Michigan and spread around the country. Secret Santas pay off layaways. Thanks to Janelle Madigan for this story.

Science

There are amazing advances in science from better hip replacement devices, to plasma brushes that promise painless dental work, to solar energy systems in North Africa that will provide clean power for the region and Europe here.

Health

How about this amazing piece? New Leukemia Treatment Exceeds Expectations.

Book News

Now, who says fantasy authors don’t get no respect? Author of the Year.

Just think what this means for ebook sales!

As The Year Closes

I count 2011 as a huge success. You will find my list of accomplishments here. I’ll share my goals for 2012 in another post. I hope to exceed those goals.

I don’t pretend to know what 2012 will bring, not on a personal level, a professional level, a national level, or a worldwide level. There will be bad things that happen in 2012. That’s the way of the world. But I know there will be good things that happen, too. That’s the way of humanity. We’re a mixed bag of good, mediocre, and bad. You have to be wary of the bad, but don’t be so on guard that you miss the good.

So on this eve of the New Year’s Eve, my wish for friends, family, and yes, even foe is that you make the effort to see the good despite whatever happens because attitude and expectations can lead from good to great.

What about you? Do you look for the good? What was your 2011, the good news? Won’t you share those stories with us?