All I want for Christmas is…

At my office we have a whiteboard which I’ve been using to detail exactly how many working days are left in the year as means of motivating my staff to complete their goals. As I was updating it on Friday, one of them joked with me that all I was doing was reminding him of his impending mortality. He was actually rather poetic about it. I however was not swayed – we have only a handful of days left after all and we still have goals to make (or miles to go before we sleep) and the large red number seems to get that message across nicely.

As I returned to my desk I realized that the same countdown applied to my Christmas shopping. Cue the look of stricken panic. I’ve only scratched the surface of my gift buying. (This is the downside of my refusing to have anything to do with Christmas until after Thanksgiving).

Once I was back at home, I scrolled through the saved wishlists of my family, almost all were filled with books, games, and toys for my nieces and nephews, and nearly nothing for their parents. I thought about my online wishlist. If anything, there was even less of me represented on that list than my sibling’s. (My kids claim to have been very, very good this year)

I am seriously beginning to wonder if my house is bugged because shortly after I made this realization I heard from both my stepmom and my sister-in-law. They both were pleading with me to add some additional items on there. My sister-in-law told me that if I didn’t, she would be getting me a zombie survival kit (little does she know that rather than being a threat, that if it wasn’t so expensive, that would sound awesome to me).

Ever since getting their notes, I have been thinking hard about what I want for Christmas, and I am no closer to adding things to the list than I was on Friday. The things I want don’t fit nicely in a box.

I want my husband’s business to grow with sustainability. I want my toddler to be potty trained over night and be willing to eat his vegetables (really is this so much to ask?). I want my kindergartener to continue to look at the world with the same joy next year as he does this year. I want my published book to sell and my unpublished book gain some buzz. I want to be able to take a vacation or work when and where I want to (at my same rate of pay of course). I want more of the things that add value to my life, moments that live on in memories. Above all I want us to be healthy and happy. I want a lot of things, but I don’t want many things.

So I apologize if I am now in the hard to buy category. A gift card. A bottle of wine. A book or three. I will be content knowing that I was thought of this holiday season. As soon as I figure out a way to fit my wishlist in a cart I will be the first to let you know.

Success and Happiness Quote
original image by Gray Lensman (flickr)

Fake it until you make it

We took a quick road trip over the weekend. The boys demanded a movie within seconds of the engine starting. We have a pile of DVDs ready for just such an emergency however we’ve played them so many times now that the hubby and I can repeat the dialogue by heart. Therefore we weren’t exactly thrilled to fire up the player. We told them they were going to have to wait until we reached the interstate.

We have two sets of headphones that go along with the entertainment system so that backseat passengers can listen to their movie while the front seat listens to the radio. Unfortunately my two-year old is too young to appreciate the benefit. He has no interest in keeping a large electronic accessory strapped to his head.

My eldest was patient for approximately ten minutes which I am sure felt like hours to him. He begged us once again to turn on a movie. We told him that we would put the movie on after his brother fell asleep. He immediately turned to his brother and said, “go to sleep so that we can watch a movie.”

If my youngest was any older, I am sure that would have been exactly the wrong thing to say to achieve his goal, instead my youngest smiled and pretended to fake sleep, including snoring. Snoring loudly. Then not so loudly.

I turned around. My youngest was sound asleep in his chair. He pretended he was asleep until it became his reality. I handed over the headphones to my eldest and fired up the DVD player. Three out of four of us achieved our goal.

The morale of the story is sometimes you have to fake it to make it. Or in my sons’ example, have your underlings fake it until you make it.

Mark Twain once said that “to succeed in life you need two things: confidence and ignorance.” The ignorance part is easy. We all start out as amateurs. Had I known everything I know now would I have taken the same path? Maybe. I can’t say, but I wouldn’t be the person I am today had I not veered off course or made a mistake or two hundred.

The confidence part is trickier. How can you build up your confidence when you’ve never done something before? Some people take issue with the phrase fake it to make it as the word fake implies that what you are doing is deceitful and or a lie. I understand where they are coming from, but I fear that they may be getting caught up on the literal definition. You should never commit fraud or portray yourself as anything other than authentic, but adults can and should still play make-believe. Like a toddler mimicking the actions of an adult, or older sibling, you have to act in the manner in which you believe a successful person should act. It’s not brainwashing. It’s practice. In this manner you gain experience, which reinforces belief. Belief then fuels confidence. If you can convince yourself that you deserve to succeed, then one day you may just discover that you are no longer pretending.