2013 was for me, in all senses of the word, a crazy year. It was crazy in opportunity and freedom, in heartbreak and in love, in loss and in gratitude, in endings and new beginnings. I have throughout all of it kind of clung to a proverb I’ve come to love: “The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint , and whoever is understanding is even-tempered” (Proverbs 17:27). I certainly don’t have either of these yet but it came to be somewhat of a goal to strive for, a growing recognition that with all the words and opinions that swirl around all of us at any given time, perhaps silence is at times the most restful and appropriate response. That said it was a refining year with personal and professional challenges at every turn. But for better or worse (I pray for the better), here are thirteen things – some professional, some personal, some both – that I learned along the way.
- We’re stronger than we think we are. Really. Every thing that has come that I was sure was the last straw…wasn’t. The human spirit and the grace to accompany it, are relentless. This too shall pass.
- Under-promise and over-deliver. I’ve tried the other way and trust me, it doesn’t work.
- Navy and white, both together and standing on their own, are colors that never cease to amaze me.
- Forgive people. All of us have unhealed wounds, baggage we carry. We project it on to others daily and it’s damaging. Others project it on to us. Sometimes it will seem egregious, even unforgivable. It’s not. They have no idea what you’re walking through, nor you, them. Forgive.
- I have time for it. How many things are we sure we “don’t have time for”. But we do. And time with girlfriends or doing yoga or getting away for a couple of nights are the things that allow space and energy for all the other stuff. We have time for whatever we think deserves it.
- Metallic gold makes everything better.
- Support the endeavors of others, even your competitors. There’s room for everyone. Pull for other people, even those, perhaps especially those in your industry.
- An inspired work space and a clean car go a long way for how the workday feels.
- I need people outside of me to help me process things. I recently assembled a board of advisors for my business. And I see a therapist on a regular basis. Both professionally and personally I need help getting out of my head and having trustworthy people mirror and reflect back to me what they see.
- Stress can become an addiction. When I think about this past year I can recall countless days of high drama, high stress emotions. I can remember feeling it but I can’t remember why. Perhaps we become so accustomed to stress and anxiety that we’re more comfortable if we create it and live it again and again.
- Make lists for everything, even seemingly unimportant things. It takes the weight of the to-dos out of your head and on to the paper.
- No one’s thinking about you the way you’re worried they are. My mom used to tell me in high school when I was frantic about how I looked or what I would wear, “no one will be thinking about you” meaning everyone is too worried about their own dress or their own life to be concerned with yours. And it’s amazingly true. Everyone is so focused on their own lives and work (hopefully) to really be thinking about yours as much as you worry they are.
- Keep your head down. Just keep doing what you’re doing. Work hard. Keep your mouth closed more often than you’d like to. The cream always rises to the top. Just keep on keeping on.
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