You Are Not a Flake

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Have you ever sat up at night planning how you were going to tell your spouse about your latest scheme?

Do you refer to your dreams and goals as schemes, or imagine that other people do?

Do you wait to share your ideas until you’ve come up with the perfect justification for changing course, confident that your friends and loved ones are comparing your newest declarations to previous ones?

If you’re the type of person to come up with dreams worth sharing, you might also be the type of person who is afraid of being a flake.

I just want to stick with something for longer than a year.

I received an email from a reader recently that echoed my own insecurities about flakiness, an insecurity I’ve learned is common among seekers and dreamers. It seems that many of us worry about being seen as irresponsible and worry that we’re really just too lazy or too weak to stick with something.

Here’s the deal:

Seekers are constantly moving.

We evaluate. We reflect. We are always open to new ideas and information. Our state of constant motion requires it.

And sometimes we change our minds.

The reality is that everyone changes their minds as they grow and move through life. Even the most stable person you know is not the same person they were 20 years ago. They’re priorities have been tweaked, their goals adjusted. The difference between you and them is that you probably take bigger strides and move more often, which makes your continual change more obvious.

It’s not unusual to change course.

When Jared and I first started talking about selling our house in Florida in order to travel for a year, I worried that I was flaking. We’d moved to Florida just four years earlier and had made quite a fuss about how important it was for us to leave our friends and family behind. It was hard to let go of the old dream of raising kids in Central Florida, but our new dream was a better fit for who we’d become.

Changing course is not necessarily irresponsible.

Steve Jobs dropped out of college.

So did Suze Orman. She also quit on her dream of owning a restaurant in order to pursue a career in investing.

Maybe you’ve come across new information that you didn’t have when you made your last decision. Maybe you’ve achieved one goal and need to set another. Maybe you’re not lazy, afraid of hard work, or wrong, but simply need to accept that it’s time to adjust.

What are you afraid of?

If you find yourself constantly thinking about making a change but hesitating, ask yourself what you’re afraid of. Are you running from the hard work it would take to stay the course – or worried about what other people might think of your decisions? If it’s a fear of work or failure that’s driving your desire to change, try refocusing on your original goals. Suck it up for a bit longer. But if it’s someone else’s opinion that’s haunting you, remember that almost no one is stressing about the decisions you make for your own life. Really.

You are not a flake.

You are someone who has the opportunity to live multiple lifetimes in one. You will have many adventures and delight your grandchildren (or your friends’ grandchildren) with stories about all you have done.

You only need to have faith in how you were made and the courage to take the next right step.

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  1. Carrie says:

    Yes. There are times I want to feel like a total and complete flake. Because that seems to be natural.But I've finally gotten to the age I don't care what every one else thinks.I've said several times, "Listen, you're not the one laying your head down at night thinking it out. All I ask is for the same support I'd give you." And that usually puts it in another perspective for whoever is doubting me.And because of that…there are many times I've heard, "Girl, I am not surprised you did it. Only you could make something like this work."And that is music to my ears.

  2. i love you. miss you, too.how's that for a test comment?

  3. Megan says:

    We are the music-makers, And we are the dreamers of dreams, Wandering by lone sea-breakers, And sitting by desolate streams. World-losers and world-forsakers, Upon whom the pale moon gleams; Yet we are the movers and shakers, Of the world forever, it seems. With wonderful deathless ditties We build up the world's great cities, And out of a fabulous story We fashion an empire's glory: One man with a dream, at pleasure, Shall go forth and conquer a crown; And three with a new song's measure Can trample an empire down. We, in the ages lying In the buried past of the earth, Built Nineveh with our sighing, And Babel itself with our mirth; And o'erthrew them with prophesying To the old of the new world's worth; For each age is a dream that is dying, Or one that is coming to birth. Arthur William Edgar O'Shaughnessy

  4. Lisa says:

    "remember that almost no one is stressing about the decisions you make for your own life"I need this printed out and hung above my desk. I know that many times I worry what other people will think. Partly because as a kid, I was focused on one particular goal…..but as an adult, not so much. And I worry that my parents will wonder why they put me through school to be an engineer if I turn into a teacher, or a nurse, or a gift basket business owner, or a yogurt shop owner, or……..I have so many ideas.

  5. Tina Sutherland says:

    I am looking at this from the other side. I am 55 and have been very happily married for 35 of those years. I traveled around Europe for a year, was a Vista volunteer with food banks, been an RN and worked for our Union, owned an antique store, raised 2 children and am a very happy grandmother who now lives in an RV full time, travels all over the US and sells sewing patterns online. NONE of which I could have predicted growing up. I have done wildly different things, lived many lives and still have a few good years in me. ;-) Be brave and go out and do it. There are surprises around every corner.

  6. "You are someone who has the opportunity to live multiple lifetimes in one." so true. once my cousin asked my grandfather about his life. he responded, "well, patty's dad was owned a restaurant, kathy and chris' dad was an iron worker" on and on for all nine kids. life is short, but it certainly can be an ever evolving adventure! "But if it

  7. Thank you for this. There are things I have been very good at expressing + writing about. This is not one of them – this fear of flaking, of never finishing anything.I am realising that not everything needs to be finished. Or perhaps that "finished" doesn't mean what I thought it did at the beginning.Thank you for writing about it. So that I could see it and know it and grok it. I feel this way about a lot of your writing. I'm so glad to have discovered your internet home.

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