“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn
For some of us, this may be a horrifying thought. For others, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but maybe not very exciting or empowering either.
When you look around at the people you spend the most time with, both personally and professionally, how do they make you feel or think? Are they supportive, or do they always have a negative or deflating comment for just about everything you share with them? Do they seek out the worst in every situation and complain endlessly, only to suck the joy right out of you? Or maybe they’re the ones that say nothing at all and move on to the next topic, essentially letting you know there is no value in your words. And then there are those that are glued to their smartphones not even listening, only to ask you a question about something you already shared with them two minutes prior. It’s demeaning and disrespectful.
Sadly, we’ve all been there, we’ve all had experiences with people like this, and for many of us, they’re still around. Those people can limit our success and dictate our failure.
The final days of the year are here and soon 2014 will be a distant memory. Like every year, it has brought numerous gifts and opportunities, as well as challenges and setbacks to so many. As the media recaps the best and the worst of the year, our emotions can run the gamut—from joy and laughter, to anger and despair, and even hope and inspiration. So much life has happened in such a short span of time. It’s remarkable.
Aside from these very public events that replay over and over on our televisions and in our minds, much has also occurred in our own lives—stirring the same emotions along with many more.
For some, reflecting on these past moments and events can be difficult, and almost too painful to extract real value. After all, shouldn’t we just forget what’s happened and move forward?
When the month of December finally arrives, are you like me where you become excited to start planning for the coming year? Do you let the idea of a fresh start and renewed focus wash over you as you reflect on past successes and failures—enthusiastically greeting a clean slate? Or are you typically looking back wondering how it went by so fast with little evidence of improvement or growth? Do you get a sense that something happened along the way that knocked you off track and you really never recovered?
The New Year introduces a shared experience where the entire world immerses itself into declaring new aspirations and opportunities. Collectively, we each want to do more, do it better, and with greater success.
re·in·vent, v. — meaning, to make major changes or improvements to (something): to present (something) in a different or new way.
I’ve always loved the idea of reinvention. Examining who we are today and where we want to go tomorrow. Renewing ourselves, our careers, personal brands, businesses, private lives—whatever it may be. It’s an opportunity to edit how we define ourselves or how others perceive us, offering a clean slate, and telling a new story. It can be exhilarating, therapeutic, and provide to us renewed energy and enthusiasm.
It can also be overwhelming, scary, challenging, and met with resistance.
When we attempt to make large or drastic changes in our lives, those around us may not be ready, or may not understand what we are trying to achieve. Maybe they liked the old version better. Maybe they were comfortable with our lack of success, making them feel better where they were. Or maybe it’s simply too much for them to handle all at once.
For most of us, the Thanksgiving holiday provides the perfect opportunity to step back, reflect, and think about those things of which we are most grateful. A wonderful sentiment and a lovely tradition, but an even better exercise practiced daily.
The ability to express gratitude can be challenging, especially when the world we live in has so much chaos, or we hit tough times and see others around us doing better than ourselves. All of us are guilty of wishing certain things could be different—that we had more money, a bigger home, could finally meet that special someone, could travel more, or buy those expensive designer clothes. The list could go on and on.
Spending just a few moments each morning or evening listing out in our minds or even better, on paper, the simple things that we are so blessed to have can be life changing. A roof over our heads, food on the table, good health, friends and family who care about us, new or unique experiences and opportunities, and just those small, simple moments—there are an infinite number of things for which to be grateful. Being appreciative of what we have now opens the doors to more wonderful things to come.
What do I want for dinner? What am I going to wear today? Where should I go on my next vacation? Should I share this idea or that one? Should I email this to my client? When should I speak with my boss about that raise?
One person makes thousands of decisions every single day. Most of the time we are unconscious of the process and move rather seamlessly through the day making relatively small choices. We don’t overthink them, we simply choose and move on.
But sometimes we’re faced with more difficult decisions requiring more attention, and often causing sleepless nights. How do we make these choices? What steps do we typically take that help us to get to a final resolution so we can carry forward?
“Life is a marathon, not a sprint.” – Anonymous
This Sunday is the 37th running of the Chicago Marathon. Every year, this inspiring event runs right by my building on Michigan Avenue, very near the home stretch. As 45,000 participants grace our city streets, I join the 1.7 million spectators cheering them on in pure awe as they fight every obstacle to make it to the finish line.
Like many, I try to get out early so I can witness the winners in all categories pass by with full press, helicopters, and police escorts. Each time I see them passing by, I get incredibly choked up as the crowd goes nuts witnessing their amazing inner strength and perseverance as we all share in their great accomplishment.
Last week social media channels were buzzing with the impassioned speech that Emma Watson gave to the United Nations on feminism. In her new role as UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador, Emma spoke from her heart on the pressing need for gender equality and asked that men and boys worldwide join the movement of the #HeForShe Campaign. It was powerful, emotional, honest, poignant, and it was fearless.
I’ve been thinking a lot this past year about what it means to be fearless. I see wonderful examples of it everyday—from people as visible as Miss Watson, on down to the little kid who whips by on her skateboard completely unaffected by the rough terrain ahead. That sense of knowing the road will be tough, but wanting it so badly that nothing can stop you from pushing yourself to go for it. That’s living fearlessly.
I’ve made some tough decisions this year with the intent of getting me closer to the life I want to live. I like to think I’m being fearless along the way. Continue reading