New Beginnings
 
Jennifer Wilson

Each New Year brings an awesome opportunity to start fresh, to do away with the unhealthy, unnecessary and the unproductive. While we’re giving the heave ho to the negative in our lives, most of us also commit to new, more positive behaviors and habits.

What are you committed to leave behind, or shed, as you enter 2016?

What are you committed to bring forward into 2016?

Each year, I identify some simple or short phrases to guide me in my “shed and grow” journey. In 2016, I have chosen the following themes for change: simplify, connect and let go. The most impactful way to be accountable for, and committed to change, is to share your plans with others. That’s why, in this blog, I’ll share ideas I’ve been considering to help me simplify, connect and let go. And, maybe as you read my illustrations, they’ll help you identify things you’re committed to leave behind, or begin, as you embark on 2016.

Simplify

The hallmark behavior required to simplify is the willingness to SAY NO (or no longer). I see a number of opportunities to simplify in my life including:

  • Reducing non-essential commitments. As I ended 2015, I identified a few activities or groups that have sort of run their course. I engaged with the leaders of those groups and expressed my desire to “retire.” In each case, I was met with understanding and appreciation and with a promise that I’d act as a resource when needed. Now, I’m able to leave behind the monthly meetings and follow up. I’m committed to look at all areas of my work and personal life for things to STOP doing in 2016.
  • Reducing or eliminating special exceptions. I am very interested in simplifying our business model and evaluating our product/service mix in 2016 to identify ways to reduce steps and eliminate “one offs.” A big part of this will be reducing or eliminating “special exceptions” in terms of client engagements, projects or systems work arounds and finding others to refer these opportunities to when they arise.
  • Looking for ways to streamline. As I hacked away at my holiday work-to-do list, it dawned on me that the supposed-to-be-joyous holiday preparation process had grown into a mammoth, obligatory, stress-inducing project. This had me really think about all of the “steps” or activities that make up the big personal and business processes I’ve developed over time. I’m going to examine each of these to find steps to eliminate altogether.

Connect

I am fortunate to be connected to, and connect with, a large network of people every day. But because of the volume of commitments and to do’s, there are (at least) four areas where my connecting can improve:

  • Being more intentional about one-on-one connecting with my family members. We have a lot of “family time” together, but I want to get back in the rigorous practice of scheduling a monthly date night with my husband and also taking my girls, who are growing up quickly, on more one-on-one outings to focus on their individual needs and wants. I also plan to connect in-person, or by phone, with at least two of my very large extended family members each month.
  • Connecting individually with my team members. We run a completely virtual (and flexible) business and have many ways to connect electronically. While this serves our “transactional” purposes, I want to set a personal goal to connect more visually with my team members via video. Last month, we published a holiday video greeting featuring each team member and I watched it several times because I loved seeing their smiles while they spoke. I also intend to connect with and focus more on one team member per month to ensure that their needs and wants are being met by our business.
  • Disconnecting when I’m connecting. Of all the things I’m considering, this is one of the hardest! Like so many, my electronic devices call me away from TRULY connecting when I’m with people. In 2016, I will be more mindful to put away (and ignore) my phone at meals, to shut my laptop during phone calls (unless I’m on video or taking notes!) and in meetings. I love to multi-task, but know that the cost of doing so can be the depth of the connection I’m making with others.

Let Go

I was born with the need to be in control. And yet, there are many, many things that are beyond my (or anyone’s) control. So, I have spent most of my life seeking ways to let go more and trust in God and the universe that things will work out as they should. This year, though, I will place a special emphasis on letting go because:

  • I have three beautiful daughters, all facing big transitions in 2016, including our first high school graduation, college declaration and nest departure. To fulfill my role as shepherd and guide, I must (again) subtly shift my relationship to allow each to be more independent and make bigger decisions for themselves. Above all, I must trust that God will take care of them as they transition to this next, more grown up stage of life.
  • We have three fabulous up-and-comers at ConvergenceCoaching, Renee, Brianna and Hannah, and they are all ready to take on more and move to the next phase of independence in their work with our firm and its clients and projects. I am actively reviewing my clients and assigning an “in charge” for each. I look forward to placing more of the thinking, planning and communicating in their capable hands.
  • I love my work and my work loves me. If allowed, we would be together 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! But, that isn’t healthy, it doesn’t allow me to connect with family and friends and it will lead to burnout and a myopic point of view. So, I’m going to get better at pursuing non-work passions like running, gardening (indoor and out, flower and food), reading, cooking and concerts. This year, I will AVOID MY BUSINESS at least one day every weekend (which I have been practicing in 2015 and will now be rigorous about in 2016). I am setting specific goals or milestones in my personal passion areas to ensure that they call to me more regularly. For instance, my 2016 running goals are:
    • Take time off my mile (haven’t figured out how much, but I’ll report back on that in a future post).
    • Run a winter race series for the first time (I ran my first 5 miler in the Brooks No Frills Winter Series last weekend)
    • Train for and run a Half Marathon on May 15 and break my personal record for that course (2:12:46)
    • Train for and run my 2nd Full Marathon on September 18 in under 5 hours, recover well and have fun!

I welcome your support, encouragement, check in’s for accountability and prayers as I embark on my leave behind, begin anew journey.

So, what will YOU focus on and “make better” in 2016? What will your theme be? Please reply to this post and share your story and ideas. We’re interested!

Gratefully,

 

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