It’s the holiday season and I’m contemplating the year behind me and the year ahead. While the season is the busiest time of year, juggling holiday parties, work and family, it’s important to take time to contemplate the milestones of 2012 and how you’d like to grow in 2013. I’ve certainly had a year of unexpected twists and turns. I’d like to share my lessons with you.
Business and Life Lessons From 2012
1. Not all that glitters is gold.
While in theory we generally know that what mainstream culture upholds as valuable–isn’t actually that important–sometimes it’s harder to remember that. Even people who are famous and rich have their own problems. Sometimes they seem even more unsatisfied with life than others who have less. When you see the beauty and richness in the mundane around you, your whole perspective changes. Turn on the television and you’re told that you need a fancy car, perfect body and expensive jewelry to be happy. The truth is you have everything you need right now to be happy. It REALLY IS all in your mind. Can you appreciate what you have? Can you let go of the critic who tells you you’re not enough, you don’t have enough and all that garbage? Let it go, learn to laugh, see all the wealth around you.
2. Don’t fall in love with being famous, fall in love with the work.
Perhaps due to the internet, everyone seems to be interested in getting famous. After all that seems to be the ultimate life achievement–that old trope of moving out to hollywood to be discovered. With the blurring of scripted television and reality television–and YouTube discovered stars like Justin Bieber anyone can be an overnight celebrity. At the same time in the Bay Area it feels like more attention is being paid to this area of the country. With social media it’s easy to become addicted to checking that stardom in the form of how many people endorse what we say or do–retweets, likes and views–without any thought if this even is helping us with our high level business goals. Generally one can tell the difference between someone who wants to be famous for being famous, and someone who falls in love with their craft, and word quickly spreads because the product, ideas or work is just really that special.
3. Learn to let go and let it go. Sometimes you learn things about yourself because other people tell you they’re true. Successful people who are try to control everything are sometimes called “Type A.” They are successful because they get a challenge and take it by the reins. At the same time I’ve realized this can be an unattractive quality when it’s too much–and I’m guilty of this as well. I’ve learned how to reframe my thinking and loosen my hold on the world. I try to not have so many expectations of how things should play out. People who are controlling have a hard time moving through the world because no one can control the world’s order. The harder you try to control everything around you the more life becomes out of whack–rebelling against you. Let’s take a lesson from financial expert Suze Orman who says, “let it go.” She’s referring to goods people can’t afford. The single biggest lesson for me this year was learning how to let things go, and let IT GO.
LET IT GO.
It’s simple but I love it.
4. It will get better, but it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
This year I had some frustrating surprises in my career. I am an entrepreneur so it is expected things don’t go as planned. Some of the unforseen events that happened this year through me for a loop. I wasn’t prepared for this curveball and I lost myself for a little while. I had to dig down in my soul to get back on the course. What I couldn’t see was these un-forseen events that left me flailing (and feeling totally out of control) were tests of strength and character. This one particular experience made me a lot stronger–but no one could have told me at the time that this curveball was actually a gift. It’s hard to tell someone who is going through a hard time, it will get better–but it’s going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better. We are so blinded by our own monkey mind, we can’t see at all. It takes an “incident” to remind us of the truth.
5. If you don’t appreciate what you have, it will go away.
This one can be related to number 2 about wanting celebrity. If you don’t appreciate the projects, people and resources that you do have, it is likely they will disappear. It can be that in pursuit of what we deem to be “greatness” we lose site of our biggest fans, the clients we’ve generated or the opportunities on our plate. It’s that American “MORE MORE MORE” mentality. We are literally programmed to not appreciate what’s in front of us. If you focus on the relationships, work and opportunities you do have, they will grow and multiply. It’s not by fantasizing that we generate more of what we want. It’s by appreciating what we have that we multiply and grow what we want.
6. If you say it will be hard, then it will be hard.
What you say out-loud comes true. If you believe that getting what you want will be a long arduous journey paved with hindering blocks, that’s exactly what you’ll get. In fact you’ll sabatoge yourself to make it feel hard. If you tell yourself you can have what you want and it will be easy–that will also come true. When I say “easy” I don’t mean overnight. I mean that when you are positive and encouraging to yourself–when you pat yourself on the back and celebrate every accomplishment no matter how small, you will feel happier–lighter, and carry less of a load. What story are you saying outloud?
7. When you learn to control what comes out of your mouth, you become truly powerful.
The word is powerful. People don’t realize their affect on the people in their lives. Some of the most influential people don’t realize how influential they are–and they say things outloud that are hurtful to others. Sometimes saying nothing is very powerful. Sometimes taking space from others who are trying to bate you (even unknowingly) is powerful. When you can learn to go inside and get quiet–when you can learn to delay confrontation and cease from judging others–you gain true strength.
Thank you for your readership this year. I’ve enjoyed writing for you on this blog and look forward to much more writing in 2013. What are your own lessons from 2012? Please feel free to share them with me in the blog section below.