Is There Such A Thing As Too Ambitious?

I have always had big plans for my life. My expectations are as huge as my imagination. When January started, I had a list of half a dozen things I just HAD to accomplish this year.

My reality is usually ten steps behind what my ideal deems a reasonable amount of time to bring a creative endeavor to fruition. For this reason, I have loads and loads of projects waiting to be finished. One or two a year is more my actual pace lately, but that doesn't seem to put a stopper in the idea machine. The cogs are always turning, and I feel like my brain will explode if I don't move into action on these. I fear loss of opportunity if I don't respond immediately to the thing I am dreaming up.

The trouble is, I'm attached to it. I love being an idea machine. It is useful and inspiring and makes me feel alive. But lately I'm wondering if there's a way to take it off the turbo setting, or if I even turned it up that high myself? (Distraction is a lovely addiction, after all.)

So how do I do it? How do I choose the project that is most important to me?

I've had a fast-forward button pressed on my life before. You know, that moment where mortality looks out of the mirror and reminds you it's closer than you think, and suddenly the clarity of what you want most in life shines through and motivates you to make big changes. Oh, you've had that once or twice, too? I wonder if this sense of urgency I feel is a choice of my own making, though. It's far less romantic to go through the everyday humdrum with a keep moving forward in the business of living attitude.

I've made the mistake of not waiting at all to try to do the things I love, and that's where my health always begins to break down. There is goodness in motivation, of course! Motivation is important and necessary, as long as the motivators are healthy. If I'm operating on a sense of urgency that my time is running out, though, that's called fear. It's a monster of a motivator. It's not really something I want in the driver's seat.

I am trying to discover the goodness in the idea of pacing myself. I think. I can't say how committed I am because I still have that addiction to distraction I mentioned earlier, and I'm a little too comfortable with it. I might be afraid that balance is too boring. It seems necessary, though. What can I really accomplish well if I am always in a hurry do it all? Don't answer that.

During one moment of my angst my husband asked me if I could save one thing in a fire, what would it be? I immediately answered "my keyboard" (i.e. synthesizer), followed by, "and my laptop," because I'm that sure I will have time to grab it and put it in the bag with my keyboard. I appreciated the exercise, though, because it helped me prioritize. I realize music is still high on my list even though I have not done much with it in the public eye for over a decade. The second thing on my list is creative communication; the laptop is the tool that makes a variety of my chosen work possible, and my projects are the means. (To be sure, music is also creative communication, but it's important enough for a class of its own.)

So here in that one extreme question about what I would save, I have filtered down to the essentials of what I truly want to do. On my Google profile, I refer to my calling as being a "bright force of good will at work in this world." That's not just a euphemism for being in between jobs. There and in other places I have stated my values: I want to enrich my life and the lives of others. That is my objective.

The next question is, in light of my tendency to follow every distraction, how do I remain true to my objective? Or perhaps before that one, I need to flesh out what that objective reasonably implicates in terms of utilizing my skills and following my dreams.

Before I do any of that, I need to halt in its tracks the assumption that every other person besides me who has a blog and a dream and a real life with real drama somehow has it all together, (and I'm problematic if I do not.) That's what we refer to as an attack of the gremlins. Nobody I know is immune to these.

So I'm asking around a bit. What's your strategy for combating the doubts, fears, and distractions that make you want to walk away from it all or at the very least give yourself a hard time for having a hard time? I'm ambitious enough to think there's an answer and a way to overcome. Tell me what you think. Or what you would save in a fire. Or how you're in the same boat of questions. I could use some solidarity!



Jamie Bagley