Lesson 1: What are my dreams?




I did have some inkling of what my dreams were, yet this lesson helped me really clarify them … down to the “nth” degree.

I started at a very high level:

  • I/we want to move back to Southern California.   My husband and I were born/raised there, but a job transfer in 1992 brought us to Atlanta.  Every second I have wanted to move back.  I do not like the south, and never will.  Living here didn’t allow us to care for our parents in their final years.  We did try to move back once, but financially couldn’t afford to live there.

  • I want to run a business again.  When I launched Affordable Words in 1999, I never realized the success I would have without a college degree and business experience.  Even without those things, I jumped in.  My success milestones just happened over and over: first client in a week, 6-figures in 6-months, close to $1 million in 5 years.  I hired a business manager who in less than a year told me he couldn’t take my money any longer because I didn’t need help running the business.  I was that successful.

My takeaways from this lesson

I had a hard time getting into the details – e.g., just stating, “I want to move back to California” was too small of a dream.  What would my life be when I got there?  What about that lifestyle appealed to me?  As I worked through all the questions, I did have a few moments of heartbreak because I knew my parents were no longer there.  In addition, Jeff’s sister passed away 2 years ago from cancer and Atlanta is where we created our memories with her.  It was just tough to think about all that.  So, why was I going?

  • I miss the lifestyle such as having the beach so close, no drastic weather swings (it doesn’t snow on the beach), a non-stop culture of fun, and there’s so much to do and so many places to do it.
  • I miss the friends I’ve known for decades.  I miss the physical interaction with them. I miss running into people at the store and reconnecting.  I spent a lot of time in my hometown as my parent’s health went downhill.  With each visit I found it harder and harder to come back to Atlanta. Sure: I have a ton of friends here, but everyone is “too busy” to do anything and I only see them around the office.  My other close friends live scattered around the country and FaceTime just doesn’t cut it.
  • Jeff’s brother, his wife, and 3 kids live there.  These kids have grown up without us, and we want to be a part of their lives. I want to share Thanksgiving and Christmas with them.  I want to celebrate New Year’s Eve.  We do none of that now.  We sit home alone for every holiday.  What a bummer.
  • Jeff’s best friend lives there.  Jeff has some health issues and spends the majority of his time alone at home.  He has social anxiety disorder so being the “social butterfly” I am is not within his realm. Being with his BFF will give him enhanced quality of life.

The details for my business were much easier – because they were clearer.  They were not so wrapped up in feelings, but around what I did for myself and teaching others to do it for themselves.