I was chatting with my health coach this morning about writing my next blog post for our website and asked if he had any requests for a specific topic. His reply was “Only What Your Heart Desires.”
Wow I thought, what an unknowingly yet overwhelming response he delivered. I instantly began to reflect on what my heart desires. Inquisitively, I asked myself if my actions and behaviors convey what my heart desires. Are my desires merely wishful thinking or are they motivators that stimulate my mind to act accordingly to achieve them? Hmmm I have some things to ponder here.
I’ve been an extremely goal oriented person most of my life. I was fortunate as a teenager to discover what profession I wanted to be in. There was a pivotal moment one Tuesday afternoon during my sophomore year in high school. As the teacher was wrapping up that day’s lecture in the accounting class I had chosen as an elective, I was overcome with the most inspiring emotion and realized at that very moment in time that I wanted to have a career in accounting and finance.
I grew up in the foster care system in a small town with little financial means. The truth is we were poor and it was humiliating. I was ashamed and hated myself because of it. The idea of going to college was unthinkable. “Girls like me don’t go to college. Girls like me are not smart enough. Girls like me are not good enough.” These were the thoughts that weighed so heavily in my mind. Even so, I fantasized about being independent and self-sufficient. I daydreamt of being smart, beautiful and confident; of wearing gorgeous dresses and impressive business suits in a corporate office where no one would ever know that I was once fed by the local Food Bank or that my unkempt clothing came from the neighboring thrift shop. My heart’s desire was to accomplish these great achievements and make a life for myself that would reverse the cycle of my impoverished childhood. Unfortunately, I never did graduate from that high school. I quit and let me dreams die with it, at least for the time being.
Not long after I gave up on myself, an unexpected door opened (a story for another time) and my aspirations for another life were renewed. My heart’s desire was revitalized and I began to experience a new emotion. It was hope. I was fearful of this feeling and was reluctant to have faith in it yet I could not turn away from its lingering presence. With the encouragement of an amazing mentor I took the GED exam. Then I attended community college and a luckily a boss hesitantly gave me a chance at an entry level accounting position.
After years of hard work and ongoing education, I ultimately worked my way from accounting clerk to Chief Financial Officer in a Fortune 100 publicly traded corporation. Of course there were many unforgettable steps and milestones during this journey. In the end, the small town girl who believed she would never be good enough evolved from high school drop out to achieving numerous college degrees including several post graduate gradations and had become a well-respected corporate executive. I now get to wear those beautiful business suits with pride and have proven to myself that a heart’s desire can indeed be achieved but not without action.
I’ve often wondered why I have not been able to apply these same disciplines to my health and wellness goals. I certainly have the heart’s deepest desire to live mindfully but have a long history of short-term successes and long-term failures. I wish I could tell you why I’ve abandoned this ambition so many times before but I am at a loss as for the reasons.
What I do know now is that I have finally discovered an approach that works for me and I realize that my success is dependent on the mind and body working together. As I stated previously, a heart’s desire is merely a wishful thought if not acted upon. I’m learning to reject the voice in my head that occasionally tries to convince me that I can’t do it or I’m not good enough.
I am aspiring to obtain the same conviction with my health and wellness goals as I have in my scholastic and professional life. Like those other journeys, it’s a process with many stepping stones and lots of ups and down along the way but in the end, the fat woman who lacked confidence and self-control is now evolving into a healthier and self-assured version of herself.