Those who struggle to create and execute planning, or future thinking, often have executive function deficits.
Everyone has dreams, but without the ability see, plan and actualize the required steps, life just flies by and those dreams remain only fantasies. One of the key goals of my work is to help people understand how to support their brain so they CAN reach their goals. In fact, the last unit of my Seeing My Time course is all about how to take actions to reach future dreams.
About twelve years ago, before I could even imaging a business called Executive Functioning Success, I took a guided birding trip to Oaxaca, Mexico. I was expecting to see amazing birds, which I did. I was not expecting to experience the amazing food. I grew up in Southern California and then lived in Arizona. I thought I knew good Mexican food! But the incredibly complex and diverse flavors of Oaxaca’s food opened my eyes to a whole new world of tastes. I vowed then that I would return to Mexico to take cooking classes.
Well, then life happened. That dream was pushed to the back of my mind. I published my first Seeing My Time books. I started my business. I began offering online classes. I wrote another book. I hired employees. I created an online course for educators. I took some great trips with family, but somehow Mexico never got written down as a goal.
As I teach in Seeing My Time, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” No plan. No Mexico.
Last January first, when I began writing down my goals for the year in my new Seeing My Time Adult Planner, Mexico popped into my mind. One of the first things you do when you begin your Seeing My Time Planner is to carve out family / fun time. Under the heading of family goals I wrote down “Cooking classes in Mexico with Ron.” Just writing it down was the first step of a plan. I knew then that I would make that dream happen this year. A little bit of online research fixed my sights on cooking classes in San Miguel de Allende, north of Mexico City.
Well, my friends, what a lovely dream to have come true. My husband and I signed up for two mornings of classes at the Marilau Mexican Ancestry Cooking School. Since 1989, Marilau has been teaching the recipes that have been passed down mother-to-daughter for hundreds of years. Her devotion to detail and her family’s traditional techniques were a perfect match for what I wanted to learn. I had such a wonderful time that I added a third morning class! Such delicious food!
I noticed that she had a little book for you to sign if you wanted information about her future cookbook and online classes. When I asked her when she expected to have her cookbook done, she looked a bit downcast. She said she didn’t have the time, that she only had a little start. Her cookbook and her online classes were just a dream.
I couldn’t get her dream out of my mind. You see, I have spent the last eight years figuring out how to do the things that her dream requires. I know the resources for self-publishing, creating video courses and hosting them online. AND I have a personal interest in her reaching her goals: I want her cookbook! I want to take more of her classes! I want her depth of knowledge preserved.
I stayed after class on the third day to talk with Marilau about her dream. I told her that I believed that sometimes the help we need to reach our dreams just appears when we are ready. Many people have helped me reach my dreams. It is my turn to help her. I told her that to write her book she just has to start and that little by little, poco a poco, she will reach her goal.
What a perfect vacation I had! I learned new things. I made my brain happy, building new neuron connections. I have already had hours of enjoyment doing research for her project. I am happily looking forward to hours of recipe testing (Oh, YUMM). And I had such a flood of warm feelings when Marilau introduced me as “My American friend.”
What dream of yours needs a plan? Write it down. Take the next step. Who knows what wonders will follow?
Marydee Sklar is the president of Executive Functioning Success and the creator of the Seeing My Time Program®. She is an educator and author of three books on executive functions, as well as a trainer and speaker. Marydee has more than twenty years of experience working with students and adults with executive function challenges.