Today, Jacqueline Boone is sharing with us about perseverance. I forget exactly how I came across her site, 6 Months to Live , but I’m so glad I did. We have the same philosophy: that life is short and you should embrace it as fully as you can. I am excited Jacqueline has decided to participate in this series. Thanks, Jacqueline! You rock! You have really encouraged me to persevere in this journey. I hope we can collaborate in the future.
If you asked Jacqueline, “What is the most important goal in your life?” She would answer, “To follow my heart every step of the way.” Her heart has taken her to some pretty phenomenal places, including living in China for 3 years, one of them in rural Hunan when she didn’t speak the language, to working on a ranch in Montana, to San Francisco, in the midst of a recession, and to many others.
Nearly 3 years ago, she began writing a blog called 6 Months to Live, which started out as a life experiment and turned into a life philosophy. Jacqueline’s vision is to create a community of people who support and inspire each other in choosing meaningful and authentic lives. Life is waiting. Will you join her?
1.What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? Who did you receive it from?
Great question! I’ve been given several valuable pieces of advice along the way, but if I had to choose one, I’d like to reference a dear friend and cowboy, Louie. Louie is an amazing person. He’s over 70, but you would never guess it by how he looks or his enthusiasm for life. He’s taught me many things about life both in what he’s said and through his actions.
One evening, while driving back to the ranch I worked on for a summer after returning from China, he said to me “Our God is not so cruel to give us eyes to let us see our vision and not let us achieve it.”
That phrase has always stuck with me. I’ve even written a banjo song about it called “Give Me Eyes to See.” It’s so easy to get caught up in life and forget to live. His advice reminds me to keep dreaming and that anything I can envision is possible.
2. How important is mentorship in terms of your success?
Everyone needs guidance at some point in his or her life. I’ve had several mentors at different points in my life who have been tremendously helpful, and I’m sure I will have many more. I believe you can learn from everyone, and we all have something to offer. None of us can do it alone, and I’m deeply grateful for all the guidance and support I’ve received.
3. What has been the best moment in your life so far?
Whoah! Another great question! There have been so many “best” moments, but I will share one. When I was living in rural Hunan province my first year in China, I would often go for runs on narrow paths in the rice fields. That time was incredibly sacred because it was the only time I could really decompress from all the attention around me (got a lot of attention as one of the only foreigners in the town).
It was late in the afternoon and the sun was beginning to set. I was jogging, as I normally did, while listening to my iPod. All of a sudden, I heard what sounded like footsteps behind me, and at first I dismissed it, but the sound persisted.
I turned around to see a young girl, maybe around 8 or 9 who was absolutely beaming with joy, as she was running behind me, flapping her arms like a bird. I was so struck by her unbelievable happiness and playfulness that I joined in too. There we were, a little Chinese girl, and a more grown-up American girl, running through Hunan countryside, flying.
4. What tips would you have for living a healthy life?
- Be and honor who you truly are. It can be difficult at first, but it will change your life forever.
- “Worrying is praying for what you don’t want.” (borrowed from my Mom)
- Explore! There’s so much to see and do.
- Face your fears and move through them.
- Laugh—alot, especially at yourself! Life is more fun when you don’t take it so seriously.
- “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
5. How do you motivate yourself to persist despite setbacks?
Don’t give up (unless it’s time to) and refocus on your passion and why you’re doing it in the first place.
6. What has been your biggest setback? How did you deal with it? What did you learn from it?
I’ve had many setbacks. It’s probably a reason I’m so persistent. Life has showed me over and over again that persistence pays off. Although this story is not necessarily my biggest setback, it was my first real lesson in perseverance, especially when the odds were not in my favor. I also learned the valuable lesson of knowing when to let go.
As a ninth grader, I tried out for the basketball team and instead of making JV (i.e., Junior Varsity) like all my friends, I made the 9th-grade team. Translation: it was commonly known as the “loser” team for players who would most likely end their basketball days after that season. I was devastated. I had been playing basketball since I was 9 and had been first string for most of my basketball-playing life. How could this have happened? I shed many tears, but I decided that wasn’t going to change anything.
I resolved to work my butt off to make Varsity and completely skip JV the next year. It took a LOT of work, but I did it. In 10th grade, I made the Varsity team, and I was absolutely thrilled! Interestingly enough Varsity wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, and after that first year of mostly sitting on the bench, I realized that I was going through the motions. Basketball started out as a love and passion and had become a chore. Even though I didn’t want to think of myself as a “quitter,” I realized that there’s a time to let go. After months of deliberation, I finally asked myself, “If 10 years from now, you’re in a job you hate, are you going to stay in it?” I thought to myself, “Hopefully not.” I decided that if I wanted the answer to be “no” 10 years from then, I should start living my life that way now. Even though I was scared, I quit, and shortly after, I began running Cross Country and absolutely loved it.
7. How do you deal with critics?
I listen to them and consider what they have to say. If there’s truth or value, I take that into account, but at the end of the day, it’s my life. There will always be people who don’t believe in what you’re doing. That’s okay. They don’t have to. At the end of my life, I want to look back with no regrets. I would much rather try and fail than wonder what could have happened.
8. How important is social support in overcoming obstacles?
Very! Having people around you that know, love you, and support you for who you are is incredibly important and powerful. You also have to be strong in yourself as well. People can tell you ‘til the cows come home how great you are, or that things will be okay, but unless you believe it, nothing will change.
9. What advice would you give others about goal setting?
One of my favorite quotes is Lao Tzu’s “A thousand mile journey begins with a single step.”
Set goals that are achievable and that you actually intend to follow through on. There’s no reason to set yourself up to fail, so setting a goal that’s too far out of reach isn’t helpful. With that said, dream big! Then create achievable goals to get to your big one. Deadlines are important, and I often tell people about my goals, so I’m held accountable.
10. What life lesson have you learned that you would like to pass along to others?
Go for it! Maybe you’ll fall flat on your face. Maybe you won’t. No matter what, at least you’ll know you tried!
Thank you, Jacqueline, for sharing your thoughts with us! Keep up the amazing work you are doing. Plus, I’d love to hear your banjo song sometime!