BY Kathy Zucker • Tuesday, September 16th, 2014
I first launched MomCondoLiving.com on February 2, 2009, under the name Hoboken Mom Condo. My goal? To provide one central place to answer the hundreds of questions flooding my inbox about parenting in Hoboken, NJ. In the process of trying to help people, I watched myself change into someone who gets questions from parents around the world.
Today, in honor of Working Parents Day, I launched KathyZucker.com. My new goal? To help parents create their dream lives without sacrificing finances or family. I will still be updating this site but I don’t know how frequently it will happen. Thank you all for following along on this wild ride, I have loved interacting with everyone I met here.
My first post for KathyZucker.com is below, I hope you will continue to follow me on this new chapter of my life!
How To Create Your Dream Life – Step One
A gorgeous woman walks past you on the street, pushing a stroller and talking to a little boy beside her. You think, nah, that can’t possibly be her baby in the carseat. She looks way too thin and svelte to have given birth six weeks ago. But as you stand next to them at school pickup and see her accepting congratulations, you realize it is indeed her newborn baby. You look at her adorable form-fitting outfit and cute kids and think, why can’t I have that life?
Every time that happens, take notes. Literally, make a mental note, and when you can, email it to yourself. If it happens online, email yourself a link to whatever caught your attention. Create a label in your inbox and file the email under it. I call my aspirational folder, “Blog Post Material/To Do.”
Why am I saving social media posts and taking notes on other people’s lives? Because I am compiling data. Everyone has an opinion. Your mother, aunt and next-door neighbor all think you should be doing something different from what you are doing. But the question is, what do YOU really want? Because ultimately, you are the one who owns your decisions, whether you felt powerless or not when you made them. Everyone has an opinion when it comes to making choices but when there are consequences, they all disappear. So you may as well own your decisions and move in a direction that makes you happy.
And how do you know what makes you happy? By paying attention to those moments when you have a visceral reaction of envy. Envy isn’t pretty. We all experience it, the same way we judge ourselves and others. But envy can be useful, because it can help us figure out what we truly want in life. What does that person have that makes you envious? Is it her kids? Her clothing? Her figure? If you can zero in on the thing or things that generated that stab of envy, then you can figure out how to replicate them in your own life.
Don’t bother trying to copy this person wholesale. We are each on our own unique journey through life. Even if I wanted to replicate the steps Jeff Bezos took when he built Amazon.com, I couldn’t do even if I had exactly the same resources at my fingertips. The moment has passed for creating Amazon, but there will be another gamechanging blockbuster that comes out of nowhere, and then another. What you are looking for are those one or two elements that make you think, “I could do that.” You take that and put your own special twist on it.
Focus on three goals. Two should be attainable, and one should be a wild fantasy. Why three? Why not one or ten? Because three is all that most people can focus on at one time. If you try to do too many things at once, then you miss details and opportunities. And frankly, none of them get done well.
And one is simply not enough diversification. When you pursue one goal with single-minded intensity, when things don’t work out it feels like the world is ending. Having multiple goals teaches us to be flexible and to prioritize. What I find is that when I set goals, it’s never the most promising one that materializes. Instead, it’s something related to the goal last on my list. I once happened to be standing in a conference hall waiting to meet someone when a woman stopped to admire my baby. As we chatted, she said she was looking for bloggers to participate in a review panel. I said, “Sure!”
That panel changed my life. Our first group effort garnered a Times Square billboard, and one of the people in the group turned out to be a friend I will keep for life. She also happens to be a killer video blogger, an area where I am sorely lacking. Sarah Mock was kind enough to use her mad video editing and interview skills for an episode of her show, Our 2 Cents.
So now you have goals and you are pursuing them. Guess what? The goals are not important. Yes, they will seem all-encompassing as you dive after them. But it’s not the goals that matter. It’s the process. By identifying goals and pursuing them, you are building toward your dream life. You will find as you pursue them that you are changing. And you may find that once the goals are within your grasp, you no longer want them. You have evolved to a higher state of being that now has different priorities.
And that, my friend, is step one in how to create your dream life.
September 16, 2014 is Working Parents Day. The launch of KathyZucker.com was intentionally timed to coincide with that day in dedication to all the parents who work so hard to care for their families.