There are certain times in life when you are ready to make a change. It doesn’t matter what that change is, but in order to make that change, you need to:
“Stop hanging onto something that keeps you in your comfort zone.” —Larry Jacobson
- Are you ready for a CHANGE?
- Are you scared?
- Can you visualize what that change would look like?
- Do you trust your intuition?
- Are you ready to become Gutsy?
Gutsy Living ™
is about taking risks in life, and making bold decisions and if I can’t do that, how can I write about it, and expect others to be courageous and follow their dreams?
So what’s my change? I have many going on right now, including:
- Selling our House
- Looking for a wonderful job to supplement my income as a writer
- Applying for the Peace Corps which I’ve been wanting to do for many years before my sons get married and I have grandkids
- Write another memoir based on experiences in different cultures
- Interview and share stories of people I meet during my future Peace Corps work (country unknown as of now.)
- Keep blogging, coaching and publishing the “My Gutsy Story®” Anthology
What fascinates me about the Peace Corps?
- It’s about the people and experiencing different cultures
- New adventures
- Meeting people who know how to be happy with their simple life
- Learning to listen to others
- Stop focusing on my own wants and needs (something we excel at in the developed world)
- Learning to live in the present moment
- Appreciating what we take for granted in the western world.
One of the important lessons I learned from my family’s year in Belize, was to not impose our American ways on the locals. Unfortunately, I was too hasty in my desire to start a business in Belize. I made the mistake of assuming that creating a business the American way, would guarantee success. That hard work, honesty and dedication were the core principles and that we would be successful. Little did I know about the importance of taking the time to trust, and earn the trust of the locals. I did not listen to the advice given by our fellow expats about “getting to know the locals first, and that this could take two years or more.”
This was a life lesson I shall remember to take with me on my future Peace Corps assignment. I have read several stories written by Peace Corps volunteers, and they share how they made the mistake of trying to change things before the locals trusted them. One PCV in Morocco said he finally understood the importance of drinking sweet tea with the locals before they had any desire to listen to him teach a basic computer class.
Unfortunately, many westerners believe our way is the right way, and everyone should do it our way. We need to adapt to their ways, not the other way round.
My friend, Janet Givens, is publishing her memoir: At Home on the Kazakh Steppe, about her Peace Corps experience in Kazakhstan. She interviewed a fellow memoir writer and author friend,Ian Mathie , who guest posts about his 30 years in Africa, and the ten lessons he has learned. (You can read his fascinating stories on Janet’s blog here.)
“Africa thrives on proverbs. The first I ever learned has lasted me a lifetime and proved itself time and time again. So I’ll offer it to you now:
Kila ndege hurukwa kwa bawa lake –
Every bird must fly on its own wings. Think about it, and then stretch out your own wings.”–Ian Mathie
- Look and listen more than talk
- Exploit people’s desires
- Let people choose; then they won’t give up
- Put ideas in contexts people understand and value
- Learn the system and get involved
- Use the local talent (including the sorcerers!)
- Choose your timing carefully
- Always be open, friendly, and co-operative
- Let people fly on their own wings
- Always be positive and avoid “don’ts”
I’ve highlighted the 5 that I shall keep in my mind so as to avoid the mistakes I made in Belize.
And most important of all:
Are you ready to fly?
Every bird must fly on its own wings. Think about it, and then stretch out your own wings.