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.

Let’s Start With “Why”

Time to get real. Why do you do the things you do? Take a minute to ponder that question and the responses that come to your head and heart.

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Some Why Questions

Why did you get up this morning? Why are you reading this blog? Why didn’t you say “Hi” to the person you walked by in the hall? Why did you “comment” on that one Instagram Post? Why did click the “Like” button on that Tik Tok but not that other one? Why did you leave her/him on read on Snapchat for the entire day? Why did you kiss that boy/girl? Why are talking bad about that person or group of people? Why didn’t you give your best effort today? Why did you lie to your friends about what happened last weekend?

Okay, I think you get the picture, the question why should hopefully open our eyes. Depending on how we answer the questions above and many others like it each day we may or may not like what we see. So I return to the initial question I posed, Why do you do the things you do?

In short we can respond by simply saying that’s just who I am. Not a bad place to start but it is time we go a little deeper. To do this we must ask the next obvious question which is who am I and why am I this way? The answers to these questions will be as numerous as there are people in the world but there will be one common thing, our experiences are what shape our lives.

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Sure, it is much easier for me to say that now when I have had many experiences throughout my life that have shaped me but I wish I would have realized this as a teenager. There is no doubt had I made this connection, I would have been nicer to others, more aware of those in need around me, more respectful to my parents, siblings and friends, not so caught up on who is dating who and why am I single. I would have made sure others felt included all the time. I would have ensured that no one group of students was not so influential on my own decisions. The truth is, I would have made better decisions.

I have felt very strongly that teenagers especially right now need to know that every decision they make has an impact, it will be for good or not so good. That impact will be felt by them and others either directly or indirectly. Having been closely involved with so many teens throughout my life but especially over the past 3 years I can see with all my heart that they are amazing. They have so much potential and talent. They have hearts that are caring. The problem is that many have been influenced by those who do not make the best decisions. They have allowed popularity and clout to fog their sight. For so many they would respond to the question why do I the things I do with a simple, because my friends do it.

For the parents and adults who have influence on teenagers, please let them know how much you love them, care about them and that they are amazing. Do this often.

For the teens who are reading this, you MUST take responsibility now for the decisions you make because they are influencing what you do everyday. Remember, we don’t get to pick the rewards and/or consequences of our decisions, thus we must make it a pattern in our life to make good decisions, even when others don’t.

Be a leader.

Be an example.

BE A HERO!

be a hero

Building Strength in the Emotional Gym

Emotional strength does not come without challenge, trials, defeat and failure. Our ability to find the value during these difficult times will bring us great emotional strength which is needed in order to find peace and happiness. img_3402.png

Have you ever seen someone go into a gym and walk around and around and around looking at all the equipment then leave. They never use any of the equipment. Whatever their intentions may have been, the site of the equipment and the knowledge that it is going to take hard work caused them to make the decision to not use them. At some point there comes the realization that they are not getting into shape or stronger because they are not using the equipment. The only way to gain, build and develop physical strength is to use the equipment in gyms. As we do this our body will go through a physical transformation.

The same can be said with our emotional well being. As we are faced with tough times in our life we must not try to hide, run away or avoid these situations. We must do all we can to make it through these experiences so we can build our emotional strength.

One of the best ways to do this is to ask, what can I learn from what I am going through? This will open up your heart and mind to be better prepared to be taught. There is a great humility that comes with asking this type of question. When we are humble, we are more prepared to learn. Allow humility to be one of your greatest workout companions and you will find incredible strength which will provide you with the ability to not just help yourself but others as well.

Do you value yourself? Do you value the challenges, trials, defeats and failures that come into your life? Remember that our values define us. As we develop our ability to build emotional strength when we are faced with hard times, we will develop our values. You can do this. You are not alone. You are a hero.

You (we) got this.

What are you going to do this week when you find yourself in the emotional gym?