Forget Resolutions, Remember Gratitude, & Celebrate the Small Things.

30 Dec

What a year 2010 has been!  Aspyre Solutions flourished beautifully with  the support of all of our fantastic clients, fans, friends & colleagues. Thank you for your continued support, and I wish you all the joy, empowerment and exciting success 2011 is sure to bring!  Get there!

With the closing of 365 days and the opening of another 365 ahead of us, this is the time of year where we sit down and evaluate what we’ve accomplished, what we want to accomplish NEXT, and maybe even how we plan on doing that, once the champagne and clam dip has worn off, come January 2.  It’s a time to remember the importance of gratitude, and to honor accountability.  Who or what are you grateful for, and what were you able to bring into your life this year by keeping yourself accountable to your own personal fulfillment & success?

For me, it was building this business into a successful, exciting brand that I love.  It was completing my professional coaching certification with IPEC.  It was expanding my network with literally hundreds of fabulous new friends and colleagues, whom I respect both professionally and personally.  It was a number of personal successes in my relationships, my friendships and my overall sense of personal wellness.  I also discovered a new-found love for sour pickles, fromage d’affinois and skirt steak, and I learned to drink coffee for the first time in my life. And despite all that, when it comes to matters of the heart (he he he)…my blood pressure is still damn near perfect.  Cheers to that.

We also got two cats.  This puts me in a situation of partial responsibility for two other beings outside of myself.  The fiance showed me how to clean the litter box, as well as brush the cats’ manes.  I’ve never owned cats before.  I say that I “have” two dogs, but really they live with my folks in New Jersey, where my only quasi-obligation to them is to stop feeding them table scraps because I’m such a sucker for fat, whiney dachshunds.

Regardless, I think I’m doing well with my new feline companions.  And with that said, it’s really important to recognize and celebrate the small accomplishments.  So often we seek validation in the bigger things we set out to do, yet berate ourselves whenever we fall short of our lofty expectations. And we’re always our own worst critic.

A friend of mine moved to England this year from New York.  Right now he’s berating himself for not yet having a job, and certainly many people in the US as well share that same sentiment.  Unemployment is a difficult state in which to end the year and spend the holidays.  But remember that the state of your career does not define who you are within.  Your job (or lack thereof) is not what builds the social circle, or family, or relationships, or creative talents that you possess.  Those come from a little known place I like to call… “the soul”.  While my friend certainly faces the challenge of being an American citizen looking for marketing work in London (any leads welcome, btw), he also carries into 2011 all of the friends and relationships he built in his time there, and the fantastic accomplishment of uprooting and starting a brand new life overseas.  What an amazing thing, one that I can say I never did.  Then again, some people in Manhattan basically consider Brooklyn overseas.  I’ll count it.

I’ve sat down with a number of people this year to help them navigate one question: “What next?”  What’s next, and how do we get there sooner, rather than later?  How do we stop putting off our lives, start believing in ourselves, start INVESTING in ourselves?  As one of my faves Dale Carnegie puts it, “Stop worrying and start living.”  I realize that’s more than one question.  However, you will find that when you sit down and start to answer “What’s next?”, the answers to everything else start to formulate.  If you’re a visual person like me, and you want a more structured version of what this thought process might look like, I received an email from Marsha Egan this morning with a great example.

So…what’s next?  It’s time to finally congratulate yourself for whatever small (or large) successes you have had this year.  Because the existence of challenges does not automatically translate into an absence of accomplishments. Everyone has challenges, at even the highest points of life.  As my mother liked to remind me, “It never ends.  There will always be challenges, it will always be hard in some way.  But you can’t let that stop you.” I used to ask her when I could expect life to get easier, when I was 22 and broke, and sometimes I wish she would have at least had the decency to lie to me so I could get a good night’s sleep.  But she’s right, there will always be challenges, and with that, there will also always be opportunities to overcome those challenges.

If you’re like me (again), and need some kind of physical validation of this concept, try this.  Think of one challenge you’ve overcome this year, think about what resources and inner processes you called upon to overcome those challenges, and then think about how you can use that same process to overcome something you’re struggling with right now.

And don’t worry about resolutions.  Resolutions are nice…for the first two weeks of the year.  And then we forget about them.  Why?  Because we can’t possibly know on January 1 everything we want to accomplish and how we’re going to evolve over the next year.  We can’t know what curve balls life is going to bring, and how that might derail us.  And maybe it “derails” us to something better that we never even thought about!  Make resolutions if you want, but maybe it makes more sense for us to know what the bigger picture of our life purpose is, and be willing to hold ourselves accountable to taking the next steps to achieve that vision.

I don’t think it would have done any good if my mom had actually lied to me and told me that life gets easy after your twenties.  Because I would come to realize she was wrong…and a liar.  And even with that knowledge, it didn’t make the road any easier to travel, but that’s alright.  Because with each passing year that I spent the days leading up to New Year’s Eve conversing with people about how we’re ‘so glad this year is finally over!’, I made it into January with a smile on my face, without any major injuries, and with no one [for the most part] despising me.  Sometimes that alone is a success in itself.

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