I finally found it.

It’s something that was missing for quite a while. At first I searched frantically for it, but then I just let it go. I knew it would turn up eventually. I also knew that when it did, finding it would represent an accomplishment in itself – and the information it contained would probably be even more relevant and timely than it would have been earlier.
The missing item was an envelope containing a list of my professional dreams and goals for the year. On the outside of the envelope I had written, “Open on December 31, 2009.”
A little perspective on when I first compiled this list: It was after I had attended a workshop in which I discovered the buried treasure that eventually led to my mission in life, but before I started my business of helping people find the treasure in their own lives.
It was after I had worked with a Dream Coach on some of my own dreams, but before I became a Dream Coach myself.
And it was after I had started working at becoming more intentional and organized, but – obviously—before I created a filing system that would have allowed me to file the envelope in January and find it again in December.

It’s more than a little embarrassing to admit that I lost the envelope in the first place, and to acknowledge how long it took me to find it. Once I did – while cleaning out one of the cubbies in my office closet – I realized I had placed it in a location where it was close at hand, but where I wouldn’t keep coming across it throughout the year. Or, as it turned out, several years.
I was both eager and apprehensive as I opened the envelope to read about the dreams and goals I had in 2009, and to see which – and how many – of them I had completed. At first I was disappointed as I realized there were some goals that I still haven’t achieved, even today. But then I realized that some of my dreams from 2009 aren’t even relevant anymore, and some have come true in ways I never could have imagined.

It turns out that there were only two things on my list that I hadn’t completed. One was achieving a specific annual income, and the other was qualifying for a professional organization that is no longer the priority it once was.

I achieved everything else on my list – although I didn’t have them all done by the end of 2009, and they haven’t taken me all the way to where I eventually want to go. Finishing the first draft of my first book, for instance, was an accomplishment in itself, but didn’t get the book polished and published. The presentations I’ve done in Uganda fulfilled – in an unbelievable way – the goal of delivering my first presentation outside of the United States, but didn’t establish the international speaking career I still hope to have. And finding my long-lost list reminded me of how far I’ve come, but didn’t mean that I’m now totally organized in every area of my life.

Although it’s long past the traditional date of writing down goals and dreams for the year, I’m making a new list right now. It will build on things I’ve already done, and on things I still want to accomplish. It will include some items that weren’t even on my radar in 2009, and some that feel as though I’ve been working on them my whole life. And it will incorporate something I understand more fully now, which is that we don’t accomplish our dreams and goals by making a list – although that’s an important place to start – but by the steps we take and the work we do to achieve them.
So when I get the list done, I’ll include it in an action plan of projects, tasks, and steps that will help me complete my goals by the end of the year. And I’ll still put a copy into an envelope on which I’ll write, “Open on December 31, 2013.”

And when that day comes, I’ll know exactly where to find it.

The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on March 21, 2013.©Betty Liedtke, 2013

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