Are You Dreaming Big Dreams or Simply Setting Goals?

Inspiration for midlife transformations

Hi and Happy Summer!

I was sitting in my office late one Tuesday in mid-May when I heard the corridor door open. I was startled at first but I checked the clock – 6pm – and realized it was the cleaning staff.

A few seconds later, a young woman was standing in my doorway. She was new and asked if it was OK to empty my trash. Of course it was, I told her. As she did the job, I started a conversation.

In the few minutes I learned her name is Inez and she is seventeen, in 11th grade, and is helping to support her family (including her 5-month-old son). Her mother works two jobs because her mother kicked her father out when he cheated (for the fifth time). There is no child support.

It was a lot to hear and you and I know that when that much personal information gets shared so fast, the person telling it is in pain. Her story reminded me of some of the stories I heard while doing interviews for my first book: Victorious Woman: Shaping Life’s Challenges into Personal Victories. The difference is that those women had already come out on the other side. Inez is still in it, probably near the beginning – and she doesn’t even know it yet.

I wanted to help somehow, and what I knew I could do was give her a copy of Victorious Woman. Maybe she would read it and find some solace and hope in the many stories of women overcoming seemingly impossible odds. However, I gave her an actual book (not Kindle or audio) and she’s seventeen…so, I thought, who knows if she’ll even look at it.

The next time I saw Inez, we talked more. She actually read some of Victorious Woman and asked me questions – including about my own life.

This past Tuesday, I was there when the corridor door opened – but there was no Inez. Apparently, she quit. It wasn’t a big surprise because turnover is huge.

What was a surprise came next. I opened a desk drawer and saw a note from Inez. In it she thanked me for listening to her and helping her find peace. She compared herself and her life to a caterpillar, saying “people don’t like them…they are ugly…but when they turn…they fly free.” It was quite an insight into her life.

midlife transformation - lessons from a catepillar

STILL, Flying free…what many of us have been dreaming of doing since the start of the pandemic. Yes, we did things to stay active – or not – but, while we survived, lockdown made us feel like caterpillars. Or maybe that was just me…

If it wasn’t just me, the good news for you and me now is that many of us are fully vaccinated. A doctor I know says she believes we are close to herd immunity. Are we ready to turn into the butterfly…and, if we are, what does “fly free” mean?

Does it mean a new dream?

I recently watched a Super Soul Sunday interview that Oprah did with her mentor, Maya Angelou, about a year before she died. It ended with Angelou reading her poem at President Clinton’s inauguration and this was highlighted: “Lift your eyes upon this day breaking for you, give birth again to the dream.”

Birthing Dreams. Sometimes, when life sucks the energy out of old dreams, it’s frustrating and keeps us from dreaming new ones. Then it takes work to get the energy back. Energy-generators like visioning, daydreaming, taking a class, finding a mentor, talking about the future, researching solutions. Some – or all – of those gin up that visioning energy – the dream-maker energy.

Goals and dreams aren’t the same thing…

Earning a certain amount of money is a goal. Getting a new job or retiring is a goal. BUT, why do it? The WHY is likely to be the dream. For example, when you make more money, what will that get you that will fill you up? A house at the beach, freedom to do whatever you want whenever you want, peace of mind? Knowing the answer is a big step to fulfilling the dream.

Do you have goals…but they aren’t really focused on your big dream? If you don’t know your BIG WHY, you won’t do it. Instead, you’ll be working against your own self-interest…stealing your emotional energy from yourself. Doesn’t make sense, does it?

Joseph’s recent diagnosis has been a catalyst for him and for me to dream bigger – do better at syncing our goals up to our dreams (and let go of the ones that don’t). NOTE: don’t wait until something awful happens in your life to dust off your dreams! Do it now!

What are YOU dreaming about?

What will make you fly free? Is it a new job, better relationship, a missed vacation, restored health, peace of mind, following a too-long-ignored passion? If it isn’t one of those, what is it? Please share it with us on FB a VictoriousWoman Project.

Speaking of the cancer

Joseph finally decided on prostate surgery instead of radiation and it’ll happen on July 12. Please say a prayer for a perfect surgery and an easy recovery – and thanks for your prayers and good thoughts.

After the surgery, we plan to take a vacation. Since Joseph will already be out of work, he wants to extend our trip to Maine by a few days and spend some time on Monhegan Island (made famous in paintings by artists Andrew Wyeth and Jaime Wyeth). In the meantime, we are both reconfiguring our worklife to include more fun as well as some non-business travel.

​And, since I last wrote to you, I’ve been paying more attention to what’s going on with my throat chakra and (good news) my voice is coming back – sometimes even back to full strength. It’s just not consistent yet….up and down.

Cool Publicity for The Five-Year Marriage!

Since we got such a great response from our appearance on The Tamron Hall Show, we are planning some Facebook/Instagram-live segments for the Five-Year Marriage while Joseph is recuperating. Also…more press: I had a great time on the Growth Marriage podcast, and this month I’ll be mentioned in articles in both Marie Claire and She’s SINGLE magazines. Wooo-hooo!

Come fall, and hopefully with my voice back, I’ll be doing a few workshops for both Savvy Sizzle and Five-Year Marriage. I’ll keep you posted! Plan to join me because they will be GOOD – and you don’t want to miss out!

Have a GREAT month – and – DREAM BIG!

With love and in victory,

Annmarie Kelly, speaker, author, lifestyle influencer for women over 40

I’m Annmarie Kelly, award-winning author, speaker, and lifestyle expert. I’m also the founder of The Victorious Woman Project, the empowerment resource for midlife women looking to make a change in their life or their relationship. Check it out…it’s full of helpful and inspiring articles, interviews with fabulous women who have been there and done that, and also classes and other tools that will help you find and nourish your inner spark.

Oh…and that’s also where you can get one of my inspiring and motivating self-help books. Victorious Woman: Shaping Life’s Challenges into Personal Victories, Victory by Design, and marriage game-changer, The Five-Year Marriage: Shifting the Marriage Paradigm.

I know how the past year has challenged you – body, mind, and soul. They’ve challenged me too. It’s been hard on everyone! But there’s good news – the future is what you make it! So it’s time to look forward to better days. And you can start RIGHT NOW.


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What is the Victorious Woman Project?

Founded by Annmarie Kelly, the Victorious Woman Project is a female empowerment resource containing articles, classes, books, podcasts and other tools for women over 40.

blog: Victory Tips

An extensive listing of blog posts that help you take control of your life and live empowered. These articles are full of victory tips.

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