As we bring the last weekend of 2013 to a close, take some time to think about what it is that you want to manifest this upcoming year. Let’s engage a different approach – instead of making resolutions, focus on creating a happy life.
Over the past two years, I have neglected many things that brought me joy. Dancing and reading are instant mental vacations for me and I put both on a backburner. There’s nothing like taking the hand of a strong lead and being twirled around the dance floor or curling up for hours, uninterrupted, and getting lost in the pages of a juicy novel. Housed in my gym bag is a book that I’ve been trying to finish for weeks and while sweating on the stairclimber this morning, I managed to resume my doggie-eared page with excitement. As I flipped through Onward by Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, the noise of the mindless chatter and equipment came to a still and my legs were on autopilot. It was serendipity!! Schultz was speaking my language – okay, granted I am not about to open a coffee house or become a barista any time soon but the strategic plans on leadership and reinventing Starbucks was something that could be applied to my lifestyle.
I had to close the book for a while and think about the pillars that have been the blueprint to my success over the years. Physical fitness has kept me youthful and trim but it has also been a source of combating stress. Although I consistently maintain my fitness schedule, I allowed a life draining stress to take a vice grip of my days and remove me from course. I became tired and worn out, almost unable to face each day. The stress greeted me daily and as I closed my eyes each night, it loudly hummed in my ears. It was unbearable. I knew I needed to take a step toward restoration. My life depended on it.
I’m a planner and once something is set in motion, the whip get cracked until the task is complete. There is joy in accomplishments and deliverables, whether for self or others. Have you neglected handling tasks in your life due to a lack of time management? Is your life cluttered? Think of ways that you can remove the debris and clear the path. Tossing out emotional clutter is much harder but it has to be done. Do an assessment and evaluate. Immediately discard anything and anyone that may be preventing you from moving onward.
Are you being nourished by your relationships? I’ve been a loner for as long as I can remember. My mantra was always, ‘there is strength in solitude.’ Perhaps it was by default from having a mother that didn’t hug and refused to demonstrate love…who knows? Or maybe it’s the result of being thrown out of the house as a young girl one time too many. Unfortunately that was the rocky foundation set and I’ve made my fair share of mistakes. Lately, I’ve been watching Dr. Brene Brown discuss shame, fear and vulnerability. These topics aren’t taught in college and grad school and they certainly aren’t dominant characteristics of alpha people. But I must say, she has given me much to consider as I forge ahead into this new year. Two quotes resonated with me during one of Dr. Brown’s talks on the Oprah Network. She said, “If we share our shame story with the wrong person, they can easily become one more piece of flying debris in an already dangerous storm,” and “Our stories are not meant for everyone. Hearing them is a privilege, and we should always ask ourselves this before we share: “Who has earned the right to hear my story?” If we have one or two people in our lives who can sit with us and hold space for our shame stories, and love us for our strengths and struggles, we are incredibly lucky. If we have a group of friends, or family who embrace our imperfections, vulnerabilities, and power, and fills us with a sense of belonging, we are incredibly lucky.” Pretty powerful stuff.
Take some time to reflect. The cover of Onward reads, “How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul”. What will you do in 2014 to fight for your life? Stop living in fear and embrace this moment. Your past is inescapable, your future in unavoidable but the present is YOURS!