A Year In Review

I have to apologize right upfront, I am not taking a look back at 2020 but rather want to talk about 2021.

As you think about the year ahead, what does it look like? What are you excited for? What are planning on accomplishing? What milestones will you celebrate?

In other words, when you take look back at 2021, what will you “Year In Review” look like? Just so we are clear, you are the one that will control what happens. Sure, there will be challenges, speed bumps and even set backs, but the focus on your goals and how you respond will determine your success.

I was able to gain incredible insights from the book “Essentialism” by author Greg McKeown. He states, “Essentialism is not about how get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done…it is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.”

The ability to focus on what is essential is something I have struggled with but the times I do, my success increases exponentially. When I commit to using my energy to accomplish those items that are of most important, I notice my energy levels actually increase, not decrease because of the effort it took.

What are the essential actions you must take today, tomorrow, next week, next month to ensure you accomplish what you want to in 2021? How can you decide what are the essential actions or priorities?

Here is what McKeown shares:

1- Explore and Evaluate

2- Eliminate

3- Execute

Each of these items are pretty self-explanatory but if you want to know more of the specifics I suggest you check out McKeown’s book.

I can tell you that each step takes time to ensure you don’t short change yourself. You want to be honest with yourself so you get dialed into what are those most essential things you need to do. I love this takeaway McKeown shares. “If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.”

So I take us back to where I started, what is your 2021 Year In Review going to look like? What are the most essential actions you need to take that will guarantee your success?

This can be an awesome year if you want it to be. It comes down to your motivation and desire to focus what is most essential.

You’ve Got This.

YOU MATTER

When I say YOU MATTER, I mean it. No matter what your life is like right now, you matter. There is a popular trend going on right now on social media called “Put Your Finger Down.” Simply put you are supposed to put a finger down for each of the statements being said. So let’s go ahead and play this little game.

Put A Finger Down…

if you have felt overwhelmed by life in the past week

if you your room, house, apartment, car is not clean

if you have laundry that needs to be done

if a friend has hurt you in the past month

if you have lost a loved one in the past year

if you have felt alone in the past month

if you feel like your future is not so bright

if others have wrongly judged you

if you have not been kind to someone you love in the past week

if you have felt like giving up in the past year

Okay, I am not sure how many fingers you have down but I can tell you that I have most of mine down. Now, if I were to stop there, imagine how depressing and hopeless I would continue to feel. So let’s try turning this game upside down. Now I want you to put a finger up for each of the true statements below.

Put A Finger Up…

if you have told someone you love them in the past 24 hours

if you have received an act of kindness in the past month

if you have have done an act of kindness in the past week

if you have smiled for any reason in the past 24 hours

if you have shown gratitude towards a friend in the past month

if you have reconnected with someone from your past in the last 6 months

if you have felt like someone cares about you

if you have reached out to a friend or family member in need

if you have have laughed with friends in the past week

if you are still breathing

Now, again, I am not sure how many fingers you have up. I have all 10 up. What I personally noticed is that the feelings I have felt putting my fingers up completely outweigh how I felt after having my fingers down.

What is important to recognize here is that no matter how hard, challenging, tough and depressing life can be, the good will ALWAYS outweigh the bad. The most important way to ensure this is true is by understanding that YOU MATTER. You have the ability to determine how you feel and more importantly how you react to situations. This does not mean you hide or suppress your feelings but it does mean that you take the time to pause and try to see the good. What you feel matters, what you do matters, how you treat others matter. You may not always feel like you matter but let me state it one more time, YOU MATTER, to me.

I APPRECIATE YOU AND WHETHER I PERSONALLY KNOW YOU OR NOT, YOU MATTER. DON’T EVER GIVE UP. THIS WORLD NEEDS YOU.

Empowerment through embracement

There has been no shortage of thoughts lately on many different topics. One that has hit me pretty hard revolves around America and our democracy. The amount of contention, bullying, negativity, hate, mud throwing, etc. is taking its toll.

I personally have watched amazing people become bitter, hateful, mean and condescending online. As a result I have seen good people be emotionally hurt and become mentally damaged.

We live in country that has been founded on freedom. So I am all about people having their own opinions and feel it’s an important part of what makes our country great. But what we have witnessed this year is something I would never want to experience again. The blatant dismissal of human dignity from both Republicans and Democrats has been gut wrenching.

All that said, let me share some of the thoughts that have flooded my mind and heart. What happens when you mix the colors red and blue? Correct, you get the color purple. In doing some research on the color purple, here is what I found:

Purple combines the calm stability of blue and the fierce energy of red. The color purple is often associated with power, ambition, creativity, wisdom, dignity, devotion, peace and pride.

The color purple has a variety of effects on the mind and body, including uplifting spirits, calming the mind and nerves, enhancing the sacred, increasing nurturing tendencies and sensitivity, and encouraging imagination and creativity.

Effectively purple maintains a connection with both the physical world and our soul, which makes it an excellent color to represent harmony and transformation.

If you look at the venn diagram below you will see a visual representation of what I see in my head. Let me ask you to ponder these questions as I am:

* What would America look like, feel like if we embraced those items associated with the color purple?

* What can I do to help get myself and potentially those around me into the color purple?

* What has caused me to distance myself from the color purple?

Now to make this very clear, in no way am I talking about policies or political platforms, nor am I talking about any politicians. What am I referring to the ability to co-exist with people who have different ideas, beliefs, values and even ways of expressing themselves. I am not going to allow myself to change what I believe because of how angry or hateful others get not would I want anyone to change their beliefs or positions. What I will do is strive to do my best to understand what others believe and think by listening. This does not mean I am going to change but it does allow for open communication. And guess what, if after a better understanding I take the time to learn more and if I feel that a change of my position is warranted, then I will make that decision.

I firmly believe the people are inherently good. Sure, there are going to be people who wish to do harm either emotionally and physically but that is not the norm. I do believe that we must be willing to stand-up and if needed defend what we believe. I do not believe this comes from rioting or violence, nor does it come from name calling, hateful speech, threats or bullying. Real, sustainable change comes after respectful, two-way communication.

There is no silver bullet per se but what my hope is that each of us can see how we can get closer to becoming Americans (aka purple color). It’s my belief that this is the only way that we can become a country of respect, compassion, service and understanding.

Sorry for the longer post and this does not come from a perspective of trying to start political fight. It comes from my heart as I see so many people hurting. No one wakes up in the morning hoping they get to feel hurt, people want to feel hope, happiness and stability. This will NEVER come from a politician or leader, it will only come from within, thus it is on each individual to find ways to become a great American.

America is amazing and that is because of the people who make up this country. This includes Democrats, Republicans, Independents, etc. We are a country made up of many different races which is awesome. These different races are what fill our country with people that have different ideas, beliefs, values, skills and talents. What a true blessing this is and one I am so thankful for. I will end with this, there is incredible empowerment through authentic embracement.