Monday, January 5, 2015
There is nothing like consecutive days of rest to crystallize what's important and focus a person. After what felt like weeks (but was actually days) of full nights of sleep, eating my favorite foods with my favorite people and almost no work - I am ready for 2015.
As I brainstormed my theme for this new year, I was torn between two words - relentless and unshakable. The two words are somewhat similar in definition:
Relentless: showing or promising no abatement of severity, intensity, strength, or pace - sustained; unremitting
Unshakable: not easily panicked or upset - utterly firm and unwavering
The one distinction for me came in the imagery I wanted to project. Couple that with the rocky way 2014 ended, I needed to focus on why 2015 will be different for me and my business. Here are the top three reasons I will be unshakable in the coming year:
Prioritize More Strictly
I will be even more selective in how I spend my time in the coming year. I thought I was really good at this but the final two quarters of 2014 taught me that I could brush up on many areas. The two areas I will focus on the most will be my media consumption and how much I give of myself to others. Media is partially my life. I love it. I create it. But late in 2014 as our country's discussion of race and social justice escalated, I found myself drowning in consuming great commentaries across all medias. No more. This includes social media. There is so much great content out there and being curious by nature makes it difficult, at times, to honor boundaries. In 2015, I will be more diligent about this and prioritize my consumption even more. Secondly, I am a people magnet and I do get lots of energy from genuine connection to others. One of my greatest gifts is my ability to connect with others, deeply. But I also get lots of energy from alone time and I yielded lots of my solitude late in the year. Over my break, I read and absorbed some amazing wisdom from Chobani Founder and CEO, Hamdi Ulukaya. He said in a recent Fast Company article, "The more time you give to the world, the less you give to what you are doing." With a new book releasing and a full PR blitz, I am anticipating that as 2015 unfolds, the ability to prioritize what I give to others will be even more critical.
In my triad of change, my go-to and best strategy for managing everything is structure and my second choice is behavior or action. My "achilles" is perception or feelings. I hate to feel. It drains me so severely that I have built many mechanisms over the years to avoid feeling most often. And while, I recognized that fact late in 2013 and spent lots of time in 2014 working on it, it was not nearly enough. The final quarter of 2014 dropped like a ton of bricks from 50 stories above me. There were so many good and bad things to feel in that final quarter of the year and because I'd pressed many months without feeling much, it crippled me. By the week of Thanksgiving 2014, I was depleted and barely limped into my vacation 4 weeks later. Never again. I need to push myself to feel more as I go along and stop "batching" my feeling episodes. It is futile to avoid feeling. In the NY Times Bestseller, The Fault In Our Stars, one of the characters says - "That's the thing about pain, it demands to be felt." That quote reverberated my soul when I heard it. It is so true and not only for pain but also for joy and goodness. We must allow ourselves to feel, even if feeling drains energy at higher rates than other activity as it does for me and many people like me.
Replenish More Often
You know the saying - work hard, play hard. I am the incarnate version of that saying. I love my work and I love my play. Since becoming my own boss, I have struggled with transforming what replenishment means as an entrepreneur. When I worked for someone else, I had little issue with completely unplugging for the 4-5 weeks per year I had off. I had no remorse not answering email or even reviewing until I was 100% back in the saddle. Now, I struggle to completely unplug. Partially because I am in a critical growth time in my business but mostly because my income depends entirely on the effort I exert. For an overachieving Type-A, that is heaven. Bliss. But it is also danger and wrought with opportunities to destroy me and everyone I love. My former definition of replenishment always required me (and my husband or entire family) hoping on a plane and getting away from home. Not even sure I can say former as I have managed to squeeze travel out of our condensed budget the last three years at almost the same rate as before. I love the challenge but need to figure out additional ways to replenish myself. I don't even know where to begin on this one as quenching my wanderlust is a key priority and what keeps me married and not returning to my single gypsy life of yesteryear. I have to honor my need to see and experience the world but I need to find ways to replenish in between voyages.
Getting those three areas of life aligned with intentions and actions will surely make me and my business #Unshakable in 2015.
What's your theme for the new year?