Inevitably the start of a New Year brings with it many reflections and resolutions as to how we lead ourselves through our lives and our careers – or for some, ‘how we have been led’. For many the past year could have been frustrating, and the upcoming year holds a lot of apprehension. Sometimes these frustrations and apprehensions come because we haven’t grasped the secret of leading ourselves.
I always find the beginning of a new year to be a refreshing opportunity to reset goals, reflect on what I need to do differently, and to set new targets. I was speaking to a friend the other day who said that for him this process is more dynamic, and doesn’t align with the start of a new year. Instead of challenging either position, I find the most positive attitude is to ‘live and let live’. Don’t spend energy in justifying your position, or arguing whether it is better or worse than someone else’s. Why pick holes in someone else’s approach to life – if it works for them that’s great! Of course there are times when it’s appropriate to offer some thoughts and insights that might provoke someone to change their approach – but let that be their choice, not your pressure!
There is a well-used Latin phrase ‘Carpe Diem’ which means ‘seize the day’. In many ways this embodies my theme of ‘lead yourself’. In lay man’s language it’s application can be ‘stop whining and make the most of what lies ahead of you’. Gandhi put it this way – ‘be the change you wish to see in the world’.
Rather than waiting for events around you to throw opportunities your way, why not make the opportunities for yourself? Don’t wait for others to open doors for you, open doors for yourself – some may not lead to anything, but others just might!
Sometimes people embark on a new year with a sense of ‘same old, same old’. In other words, the upcoming year looks a bit like a repeat of the last one – expect for things that I can’t control. Why does it have to be that way? Are we such creatures of habit and security that we have lost the will to find adventure and learn new things? Being predictable can be incredibly reassuring at times, but not all of the time – seriously! We can restrict personal growth and expansive experiences just because we never lift our heads up and consider what might be possible. Many people prefer to keep their heads down and make the best of what’s probable. This isn’t the ‘ascent of living’, it’s the ‘descent of dying’!
New horizons, fresh challenges and risks worth taking – all of these add to the ‘joie de vivre’ (joy of life) that makes the days seem brighter and world much better. Don’t wait for something to happen – make something happen! Be a leader to yourself and to those around you. Be a leader to those who need to lift their heads. Who knows, you might finish up this year with exciting and treasured memories of a life well lived!