Is there something you’ve been meaning to do/finish/complete but life just keeps getting in the way? It seems almost impossible, right? Well I (Nikki) had one of those things lingering for the last five years, and on Saturday, I finally fulfilled on it! I’m here to tell you to go for it, that you can do it, and that it feels so good to finally get it done.
Five years ago, I started to write down the life story of a close family friend of mine. I met her at just three days old when she was enthusiastically waiting for my mother to bring me home from hospital. She started off as our house-keeper, but very quickly morphed into an integral part of our family. She has arguably experienced the most amount of adversity a person can possibly face in a lifetime. Yet she remains so caring, positive and full of life. She is one of the most inspiring individuals I know and I felt privileged to undertake this task. But then life got busy, and I got distracted with study, work and travel. Completing the book became a daunting task that slipped further and further down my never-ending to-do list… until a few months ago.
I was participating in a self-expression and leadership program at Landmark, and as part of it, I was encouraged to take on a project that made a difference. My family friend immediately came to mind. What better way to acknowledge her life and the difference she has made to others than by completing her book, and gathering her friends around to express how much she means to us? And so… 6 months later and I did it! 160 people gathered together to acknowledge what an incredible human being she is, we surprised her with a video comprised of friends and family from around the world, and we sold 68 copies of a book that we wrote about her life. Most importantly, she remarked on the phone to me yesterday how happy and uplifted she feels and what a difference it has made to her world.
So trust me, whatever you’ve been meaning to do/finish/complete, you can do it too! Here are four insights I learned from my journey that might help you along…
- Connect to what’s important to you. What are you up to in life? What difference do you want to make? I love what I do and how I spend my time, yet I constantly carried with me this sinking feeling that the impetus to me finishing the book might end up being the passing of my family friend. I got connected to wanting to make sure that didn’t happen!
- Make it a priority. Let me guess, you’re super busy and there’s lots going on. Trust me, I get it…At the time I took on this project, I was running a business, writing a Psychology thesis, and trying for a baby at the same time. So the first step to fulfilling on a project is to acknowledge that there will never be a more ‘appropriate’ time. Life will only ever keep getting in the way, until you get connected to what’s really important to you, and make it a priority.
- Set a deadline. There’s nothing like a deadline to get your butt moving. I know it’s daunting, but here’s a tip… you don’t need to know how on earth you are going to meet the deadline when you set it. In fact, you don’t even need to know what your end goal actually looks like. For me, I just knew what the outcome of my project felt like. An amazing woman acknowledged and uplifted.
- Enlist the support of others. There is no way I could have ever written a book, made a video and organised an event (on top of my existing commitments) without the help of the people around me. In fact, what kept stopping me all these years was the assumption that I had to do it all myself! I failed to recognise that there was a whole team of people around me that also deeply cared for my family friend, and all that was required was me sharing my vision and asking them for help.