The end of a year and certainly a decade (whether technically it is the end or not, it is perceived to be, and that is what matters) for many of us is a time to reflect and set intentions for the upcoming year.
My wish for you is that you be kind to yourself in this process and to stay in a place of noticing rather than judging.
If you’re like me some of the important things you intended to accomplish this year did not happen. Here’s an example: I am still in the midst of writing a book that has been an active project for the past couple of years. Three things have affected the pace of its genesis.
1. Respecting capacity
I have significantly reduced the amount of time I spend working. As an entrepreneur faced with messages that growth is imperative and I must hustle, I’ve instead worked hard to replace FOMO – the fear of missing out, with JOMO – the joy of missing out. Honestly, I now say, “Chuck hustle!”. Use a stronger word if it moves you.
As some of you know, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis five years ago. Strange and telling symptoms showed up two years prior to that, leaving me in pain and robbing me of sleep. MS is a strange disease that shows up differently in each person. I have made significant changes in the past few years to not only help me live with the disease when it rears its ugly head but to proactively keep myself as healthy as I can. This may help explain my increased focus on wellness and the development of Productivity Table Stakes™. I am my own guinea pig, testing strategies and sharing what I’ve learned.
I credit living well with MS to fiercely protecting sleep, exercising every day, aiming for rich nutrients per bite and doing my best to avoid stress. All these efforts take consistent efforts of time, energy and attention, the most easily controlled parts of STEAM Resources™ (Space, Time, Energy, Attention, Money). The bottom line is that to keep being of value and giving to others, I have to honour my capacity and make sure I don’t run out of STEAM.
Permission granted to honour my capacity.
2. Measuring the right things
As I was writing part two of the book, I realized I needed more research on the concepts I wanted to share. New information is always being created so I knew at some point I would have to cut off my reading and come back to writing. What I noticed though, is that while I measured the words I wrote and counted them as real results, I wasn’t taking stock of the vast literature I’d been reading. That counts, too, and will make the book a richer read. Reframing has helped. I’ve also listened to other authors share their process (Tim Ferris and Susan Cain have a fabulous podcast episode on this and speaking, as well. Link below.). Tim does all his research and then sits down to write. Perhaps that would have been smoother, but you don’t know what you don’t know.
Permission granted to take the time it needs to craft a useful book that will serve readers for the long term.
3. Investing in what’s truly important
As I’ve been learning in my research around Connection, one of the Productivity Table Stakes. Humans are hard-wired for connection. The amount though varies per person, right my lovely introverts? Humans are alike in so many ways, but as we dig a bit deeper, we have incredible differences that deserve respect.
I left my marriage over three years ago largely for lack of connection. My ex is a loving father and man of integrity but our connection styles never meshed. Living on my own, I found myself feeling lonely last year. After returning from a trip to India in which I was surrounded by family, it was evident to me that I need to have more meaningful, regular connections with people who matter to me.
My kids (and my beloved pets) stay with their dad, a decision which some viewed negatively rather than understanding it is what works best for our family so I live alone. As a solopreneur, when not with clients my work life is also spent alone. While this allows me the peace I need to hold onto my creative energy and avoid the taxes of navigating a busy city, I realized I had to make a more consistent effort to be with people and enjoy valuable social connections.
And, so I did. I reprioritized nurturing relationships this year. I invited people more. I said yes to time with people just to interact rather than achieve a goal. I participated more fully with my speaking network. Social media was and continues to be part of my life as it helps to build and maintain these connections (although has its rabbit hole risks, so I discovered it was important to set some time limits!) Perhaps most significantly, I was blessed to have swiped right at the end of May and met my loving partner, Jacques.
When I left my marriage, I knew I wanted what I call a “Chapter Two” to include a strong, loving relationship with someone I celebrate and who celebrates me for who I am, not some version they hope I will be. I have been revelling in being in love and being loved for the past seven months.
Permission granted to invest in relationships that matter.
I was joking last night at my friends’ annual New Year’s Eve party that we might be served by posting more about the things we intended to accomplish but hadn’t achieved. This year there will definitely be more of those.
As you take stock of the past year and decade, definitely celebrate what are you proud of. For those things that didn’t get done, can you celebrate the choices you made?
What intentions will you set? And perhaps most importantly, what will you give yourself permission for this year?
As always, Tune In before you Lean In.
With love and good wishes for sculpting a rich life.
Thanks for a prompt from my sister this morning, I’ll leave you with this, one of my favourite songs, “Life’s what you make it” from Talk Talk.
- Tim Ferris’ podcast 357 with Susan Cain, author of Quiet.
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