Dec 2009 Leadership Lessons ezine by Mark Sanborn
The end of one year and the beginning of another is a time for the overuse of clichés: “time passes so quickly,” “out with the old/in with the new,” “make your resolutions,” et al.
Embedded in most clichés, however, is solid truth. The end of the year reminds us that time really does pass quickly and we should live with that awareness lest we waste any of that precious commodity.Other clichés are mostly wishful thinking. Few people truly abandon the old and outdated. We are creatures of habit and stick to our established routines regardless of effectiveness or lack thereof. We’d be wise to abandon what’s not working, and to do so sooner than later.And when it comes to “in with the new!” well, that is more wishful thinking. Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die. That’s just another way of saying that while we admire the outcomes of successful change, we generally resist the process.Most of us know what we need to change, whether or not we do it. That brings me to the making of resolutions which are inappropriately named. Resolutions require resolve; making a wish list of what we’d like to change usually overlooks any resolve needed by the list maker. We feel better writing things down–and there’s nothing wrong with that–but the next step is consistent effort. That could explain why most resolutions end before the first month of the year does.The challenge is to live beyond clichés; to act on the important truths that are so familiar. Living fully requires a constant reminder of our mortality. Knowing that time passes quickly should cause us to be fully present in the moment, to eliminate the superficial and make time for what truly matters. Out with the old requires an honest inventory of what’s not working in our lives and the purposeful abandonment of those habits and behaviors. In with the new only works when we combine resolve with consistent and effort. It helps to know that change is usually simple but rarely easy.I wish you a wonderful end to your year, despite whatever challenges you may have faced. We’ve all seen difficulties uncommon in normal years, and yet there are blessings to be counted and much to be thankful for. I wish you a blessed holiday season. I encourage you to be open and honest about the spiritual commitments you have. Be sensitive to the diversity of our world but don’t be censored by a silly political correctness that encourages us to live vague lives. And, of course, I wish you love and health in the coming year. Aim first and foremost to be rich in relationships and remember that material wealth is icing on the cake.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
NOTE: Mark has a strategy on the list of Success Magazine’s “44 Ways to Kick-Start Your New Year.”