Dreaming with Discipline - 1 of 7 - Choose Your Own Island

 by EMILY ORTON

This is week 1 of 7 in a series counting down to the launch of our new book, Seven at Sea.

Warning:  These stories are not like a made-for-TV cooking show where the counters are wiped down, the aprons are clean, sous chefs chop all of the ingredients, and a gorgeous version of your dish already warm and waiting in the oven.  These are real crowded counters; what can I use as a substitute?; crap, I have to go to the store again; who turned the oven off? 

The is the real deal Dreaming with Discipline.  It doesn’t have to all happen at once.  It doesn’t even have to happen every day.  It can come in spurts and seasons.  But once you have a vision and you take one step in that direction, you are on your way.

 
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Step 1 – Choose Your Own Island

This is not me, But it can feel like this when we’re considering our options. Pixabay image.

This is not me, But it can feel like this when we’re considering our options. Pixabay image.

Story

My nineteen-year-old daughter, Alison was agitated and discouraged.  She had completed her first year of college, her first year away from home, and was still in the achy heart stages of a broken engagement.  We happened to be in Hawaii, so you can imagine that we walked and talked along Waikiki beach, if you want to.  But the reality is that we walked miles under a freeway along a chain link fence near Honolulu airport occasionally avoiding dog poop.  I wore flip-flops because, Hawaii.  Five miles later my fortysomething feet were devastated.  I limped for the next week.  But here’s why it was worth it.

Alison said, “Our family is all about making plans and making them happen, but I can’t make a plan because I don’t know what I want to do with my life.”

Referencing her age would have been cold comfort.  Instead I told her the truth—that feeling lost is not a cause for alarm because it’s actually perfectly normal to feel that way at any age.  We move in and out of knowing where we want to go next with our lives.  

I explained my view: Just like boredom leads to creativity, (You can bet my kids hear that every time they tell me they are bored), being lost leads to exploring and discovering your way.  

 

STEP 1 –Choose Your Own Island

Choose.  Your.  Own. Each of these words is important. Every time you pass through a season of exploration, you have the opportunity to know more deeply how many choices you truly have.

There is a classic line in so many movies.  One character will throw down this excuse, “I had no choice.”  Our SJ usually voices my mental dialogue, “Yes.  You had a choice.  The bad guy said do this or a destroy you.  That’s at least two options.”  

More commonly, we hear people say, “I hate this job, but I have no choice.  Where else would I go?”  There are so many choices in those few sentences.  

  • Choose to quit, stop earning, and take time to think about what else you might want to do. 

  • Milk that cash cow and bank it for a future dream, which puts a new perspective on that “lame” job.  

  • Search the internet for where else you would go and cast a new vision for yourself.  

  • Stay and acknowledge that you like the steady paycheck and the familiar predictable way of obtaining it.  

Each of these scenarios leads to more honest and empowered language than, “I have no choice.”  There are people on this planet with severely limited options, but if you are reading this, you’re probably not one of them. You do not have to keep doing what you’re doing unless you want to.  And if you want to, congratulations!!  You are doing what you want.  Enjoy it.

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Almost twenty years ago, I was a stay-at-home mom; new to New York City with two toddlers I got jealous when a single neighbor told me about her upcoming trip to Peru.  But I came to the conclusion that I was doing exactly what I wanted with my life.  I was married to exactly the guy I wanted to marry.  I wanted to have children.  That wish came true.  I chose to have children young so I would have lots of energy as they grew up. That was all going according to plan. I’d chosen not to accept job offers and Erik agreed to support us.  I was living my dream.  Sure, travel would be amazing, but I was not in a position to have everything.  My circumstances only had room for what mattered most.  

That’s what choosing your own island is all about.  We’ll end with some questions to consider.  These questions stay away from how you are going to get from where you are to where you want to be.  Maybe you want to start a business, end a toxic relationship, or be home with your kids. Maybe you want to climb a mountain, sail an ocean, or go viral on Youtube.  Maybe you want to be a golf-pro, open a yoga studio, or spend a season in the English countryside.  Maybe you want to be debt free. (Such a worthy and hard-won adventure). I’m pulling ideas from real life, so if you see your dream here, woot-woot!

We stay where we are, doing what we normally do until we believe with enough confidence that something better is out there; a better place, a better way, and we believe that the effort it will take to transition to Better is worth the risks and challenges required to move from the current situation to a new situation. Cultivating that vision is the first step.

So many islands, so little time. Bora Bora 2017

So many islands, so little time. Bora Bora 2017

Choosing your own island is only concerned with the final destination, not the route or mode of transportation.  As you explore and discover what matters most to you, these questions attempt to guide away from excuses, worry, or fear in any format. 


7 Guiding Questions 

  • What do you want more of in your life?

  • What do you want less of in your life?

  • What do you want, but are resisting?

  • Is there something you’ve always wanted to try, but feel embarrassed?

  • What if you weren’t afraid?

  • What if you knew you would be successful?

  • What could go right?


Questions NOT to Consider (at this time) 

  • What if my spouse and kids don’t have the same dream? 

  • What about my responsibilities at work, church, or home?

  • What about the money? 

 
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We’ll kick that can down the road.  Now is not the time to figure out logistics. It’s time to Choose Your Own Island.

This is Erik, but it could be you…

This is Erik, but it could be you…

Tuesday Jan. 22 1pm ET/11am MT: Facebook Live discussion on 1 of 7 - Choose Your Own Island.
Mark your calendars to listen live or listen later to the recording.

Saturday Jan. 26 Coming up, Dreaming with Discipline - 2 of 7 - Chart Your Course

If you want to help spread the word about the book, please join our Seven at Sea Launch Crew. It’s a closed group accepting members through Feb. 8. We’d love to see you on the inside and work closely as we launch this book into the world.

This post is 1 of 7 in a series counting down to the launch of our new book, Seven at Sea.

The Cash Strategy

The Cash Strategy

Raise your hand if you have a 401k.  Raise your hand if you have an IRA.  Raise your hand if you’ve looked at the stock market lately. 

I’m a big believer in action.  Taking action makes things happen.  However, there are times when doing nothing may be the best action.  I’ve written previously about this in The Ancient Art of Waiting, but this time I want to talk about it in the context of money.

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Your Life at a Glance

Your Life at a Glance

One day, I noticed an unusual chart my sister-in-law had taped to her refrigerator.  It was a grid of squares.  Each square was coded with different colored stripes.  She told me, “Each square represents a year of my life.  These squares are the years before I had children.  These squares are the years my children will be home full time.  These squares show school days.  These squares show the kids moving out.”

Brilliant!  If you were enjoying parenting one day, you could see at a glance how short and precious your time together was.  If not…well, you knew when it would end. There were decades before and several decades after in which to make all kinds of other choices. I made my own grid not knowing precisely what life would bring, but knowing that it would surely come to an end

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Busking

Busking

by ERIK ORTON

I grew up playing classical music (violin in orchestras and symphonies, piano recitals, and Suzuki competitions). Now I prefer to play music for fun with friends and for strangers.  As we’ve traveled through Europe we’ve come across street musicians in every major city. I feel best when I’m in a city with street musicians; buskers.  There’s something aspirational and generous about buskers.

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Life is Measured in Two Kinds of Time - Chronos and Kairos

Life is Measured in Two Kinds of Time - Chronos and Kairos

by EMILY Orton

Erik and I were listening to this podcast on our way from Germany to France. We learned that the ancient Greeks measured time in two different ways and used two different words—chronos and kairos.  Chronos is time measured in seconds, minutes and days.  Kairos is time measured in meaningful experiences—moments that shift our paradigm, open our eyes, touch our hearts, and deepen our relationships. 

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3 Things I Learned From Lost Cities in Italy

3 Things I Learned From Lost Cities in Italy

by EMILY ORTON

Pompeii –You Don’t Know, What You Don’t Know 

Since grade school I’ve heard about how Mt. Vesuvius covered nearby Pompeii in ash and rubble, killing the inhabitants and preserving the city as a time capsule of average Roman life circa 79 A.D.  The question I had, but never raised my hand to ask was, “What did they expect, living at the base of a volcano?”   

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Your Big Picture

Your Big Picture

by ERIK ORTON

Precision planning is everything.  I made a perfect plan.  It was so perfect it’s going to take a few sentences to spell it out, so bear with me.  [cue heist movie soundtrack]

John’s boat. I recruited Alison as my assistant and booked us on flights from Naples (a one hour drive north of Salerno) to Athens. We would fly out in the morning, arrive in Athens mid-day, get the van out of long-term Athens airport parking. Then we would drive seven hours north to Igoumenitsa, Greece, where we would catch the midnight ferry to Brindisi, Italy.  We would sleep on the ferry, arrive around 8:30am and drive six hours to Salerno, arriving in time for lunch.  The thing that makes this plan perfect was that I’d arranged a rental car so Emily could drive us to the airport at 7am and we’d even arranged to get the car the night before in case the rental office opened late.  AND the car could be used to get John and Michelle to their flight to the U.S. the next day and still have the car back in time for it to be a one day rental.  Perfect. [end heist movie soundtrack]

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Greece | Family Travel Highlights and Insights

Greece | Family Travel Highlights and Insights

by EMILY ORTON

THINGS RARELY GO ACCORDING TO PLAN.  

We left Helsinki for Athens thinking we’d be sailing the Greek Isles by morning.  Instead we got to spend nine days near Athens while our friend’s boat, Wicked, got some electrical upgrade love.

We’re traveling with digital nomads, John and Michelle, and their four kids, one dog and one cat.  We met when both our families were sailing in the Caribbean. 

Note - Everyone has different family travel highlights. Eli’s would be that day I surprised him with a bottle of Mountain Dew. These are some of mine.

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