Reflections on the Past Year

Do you use the “F” word to strengthen or crush your challenges?

Reflecting on the past year signals another year of service on the job, when you enjoy what you do, or make the decision to change and have more impact at work.  Every day there are challenges and experiences that surprise us because we weren’t expecting them.  I faced challenges this year that came one after another, forcing me to either accept them or resist.  Being flexible and learning just in time, was a smoother response, albeit not always easier.

One month after another, I was writing the manuscript for my book, working with the editor and publisher… then launching the book.  There were parts of the process that were easier than I thought.  There were other parts that woke me up at 3 am because I couldn’t stop thinking about what was next, and if I missed any steps in the process.  In the bigger picture, it worked out.  Yes, it’s called life.  I had an ongoing projects and accomplishment list that didn’t seem to give me a break.

I scheduled events that changed my business this year.  Some of them went well, and others didn’t turn out quite the way I expected.  I take full responsibility for the outcome.  There are lessons I learned about myself, how much more time I could have spent and when my actions weren’t exactly what was needed.  I’m tough on myself and know I can push myself to achieve my goals.

The people in my life this year were amazing.  My clients that wanted change in their lives and had goals, followed their plan.  Again, some resulted in how they wanted and others were completely surprised by their outcome.  After the fact, we compared their outcome with their plan.  After reflection, they concluded similar findings, to devote more time in some situations and taking tougher actions to achieve profound results.

I am in awe of how many colleagues I’ve talked with who admitted this year was not as they expected.  Yet, business as usual for me means there are days when things don’t work and I have to celebrate the successes.  On another note, there are always surprises you may not be prepared for.  For example, the outcome of the presidential election, the country was surprised.  This surprise caused distraction by what was going on politically and how it affected business and the economy.  We are still responding to the surprises and distractions.

Each year, my coaches challenge me and this year was no different.  As we approach the end of the year, there were two relationships that impacted me much more than I expected.

Have you been challenged this year?

  • Did you have a relationship that changed you?
  • Did you use the “F” word in response to your challenges?

The two relationships that affected me profoundly were a birth and the other, a death.

They happened in two different times this year.  The birth in the spring, brought joy.  It opened a part of my life I was ready for.  The joy of a baby, my granddaughter was a blessing.  My perspective changed.  I had been so focused on my career when my daughter was younger. She reminded me it was time to enjoy the new person in my life.  And she is a joy.

The other was in the last days of fall, and was my father’s passing, a man I didn’t always see eye to eye with.  There were many times, we had different approaches to how we would resolve situations.  He offered advice.  Frankly, sometimes, I didn’t want to hear what he wanted me to do.  I did learn a number of lessons from my father.  I listened to the voice in my head that many times was his.

The man that gave me life, was now, eighty-five years old and struggling for his.  His health had changed over the past ten years.  I would suggest how he could make changes to ease his discomfort… he responded with he would try.  Unfortunately, his attempts to try were interrupted by my mother who felt change was too difficult for him, and would say he couldn’t follow my suggestions.

I listened and let him decide what’s next, it’s his choice.

The three things that impacted me the most this year:

My relationships with others. 

The people in your life are part of your family (whether they are related or not) and your circle of influence.  They are your life connections to what’s important because you are likewise important to them.

How you are supportive and connected. 

You provide the conversation and connection to be a partner, and person of significance in their life.  You can inspire, motivate, and lift them when they need it.   More importantly, let them know you care and love them.  Your words and physical touch cross the barriers to comfort them.   Sometimes you forget, a hug lasts a long time and is exactly what they need.

Reach out beyond yourself. 

Being available and flexible is comforting to others. Knowing you can overcome any past difficulties with others confirms your ability to forgive (for your own healing process).  It would have been easier to let what stood in my past with both my daughter and father and say I really am busy.  Reaching out beyond who I am and what is needed at the moment to rise above what barrier I allowed and let it go.

Yes, it would be easy to put on the mask I’ve worn other times and walk away and say under my breath what I couldn’t say to their face, but it wasn’t important.  I also didn’t have the words and in that moment, nothing else matters.

You can hold onto your ego or let go and live in the moment.  What’s important and how do you want to remember these moments.  This is not the time for holding back and living in regret because you didn’t have the opportunity to say what you wanted.  It is the time to say what’s in your heart.  When you share it, you will feel the cloud of what’s held you back be released.  You can feel it, see it and know you were being the person you knew you could be.

I’m sure you had events this year that were similar to mine and tested you to your core.  Were you able to use the “F” word and rise to make this year your strongest ever.

Yes, the “F” is Forgiveness.

It releases the burden, frees the ego, and allows you to rise above.   It takes a Herculean effort to engage the “F” word but your life will change as a result.

I’ve processed forgiving myself in other situations, and it had an impact.  The forgiveness I had toward the relationship with my father, I would have tried it earlier had I known the effect.  I’m glad I did in our last hours together.

Use forgiveness in your life.  Forgiving yourself is more important than forgiving others.  You are more critical of what you’re holding onto.  Unless you see it has no value, you’re allowing it to take away the love in your heart that was meant to be shared rather than locked up and hidden.

Over the next twelve days, I invite you to make a decision to incorporate forgiveness in your life, in your relationships, in your circle of influence and reach out to give yourself permission to forgive and you will start the new year with love, inspiration and new outlook.

Happy Holidays!

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