Worry is a misuse of imagination.
I am back in Atlanta this week. I did not get to travel in December, due schedule issues, family medical issues, and of course the holidays.
I missed the camaraderie of my team here, and the change of scenery I regularly enjoy for a couple days once a month. It has been a good trip so far, as I got to meet some new team mates, visit with some old team mates, and talk with people I have not had a chance to lately.
I am 2 days into this trip, with 2 more to go before I get home. As good as the trip has been, I miss seeing and talking to my kids every day. I guess this is a little bit of a foreshadowing of what its like when kids leave home for college or to their own place as adults. Things get a bit quiet, and they don’t need you as often, or as much. Even if this is the normal pattern in life, it does leave a hollow pit in me, as I realize the truth that my children will grow up, get independent, and leave. I hope that I have done enough and they have seen enough to know how much I have always loved them and care for them, and how much I want them to live their dreams. All I can do is hold hope about this and try to express it to them when I am with them. It seems unlikely that I will know for sure if I have done well as a father until they have launched into their own lives, begun to chase their dreams, and decide for themselves how much a part of their lives I will be.
Over the past months, I have been very consistently trying to drive out all my negative thoughts and ways of talking. Of course nobody is 100% successful in this, but I think I have improved. Some people close to me have noticed the change. Others think I am horrible (but they have some baggage of their own to deal with).
I think I notice when I have a negative comment or thought more now because I am paying attention, so I cannot tell if I am making progress or not generally. The only indication I have of progress in this, seems to be that some positive things tend to happen more often when I feel like I am banishing negative thoughts. For example, I have enjoyed some good luck events, hugs, acceptance from potential customers, and good things like that after a period of time where I was really doing well in terms of managing my thoughts.
While it seems like a small thing, I am now focusing on the words I choose, to make those as positive as possible. One example I picked up from Les Brown is this: “Don’t say I am broke…say, I am overcoming a cashflow challenge”. Sure it is funny, but what a difference from affirming that you are in a bad way, to affirming that you are solving a problem. I am going to try to apply this better pattern to my own words and thoughts for 30 days to see what changes I notice.
Here are some other examples of the shift:
- I am not overweight…I am making changes to help me get to my ideal weight.
- I don’t hate my job…I am open to exciting opportunities.
You get the idea. Try this with me this month and see if it changes anything for you!
In my estimation, the first day of the new year, while exciting as a symbol of new beginnings, is in practice the last day of an extended holiday that started around Christmas. For me, the first day of the year feels like the last day of this period, and the real first day of the year begins when work and my normal routine starts up again.
I always feel like I am coasting for that week or two at the end of the year, and I hope you know that I appreciate the break from the normal work routine, the chance to see family, to rest a little bit, and to think about the accomplishments of the past year, and what I want to do next. I am truly grateful for this holiday time, even if it feels like I have the clutch out in my bike and am just coasting. Near the end of the season, like around New Years Eve and through the first of the year, I start to feel like I am waiting to emerge from a cocoon, and start my next phase as something else…or at least start the journey to be the next version of me.
For me, the first day of the new year is January 2nd, and I will begin in earnest to work towards the goals I have identified. I will begin engaging with people I meet with in the most profound way that I can, recognizing that meeting that person is an opportunity provided to me and that person for some purpose, and not just a random accident. I will be open to my intuition and noticing new connections of ideas I am working on.
I plan to do these things, and will do them, if I am able to focus fully on all the positive things in my life at this moment, and on all the people in my life who make feel great because I know them and get to spend time with them. I will do these things if I embrace the thought experiment that there are no meaningless accidents or coincidences, but instead, events are unfolding which are leading us to the outcomes we truly desire and which are good for us! I will do those things if I am able to focus on loving the people around me and truly wanting the people around me to thrive in every way.
On my first day of 2017, I am going to take special care about the thoughts I allow into my head, and how long those thoughts get to stay there. Only those thoughts that align with what I described above get to stay, and I think the impact to my life and those around me will be magnificent.
If you are going to try a similar thought strategy this year, post a comment and let me know how things are working for you as the year progresses!
Every year has its events and outcomes that are good, bad, noteworthy, or predictable. 2016 was a year of events that most people would not have expected! Think of this: The Cubs won the World Series for the first time in over 100 years! Donald Trump, without any significant support from either major political party, won the election to be the next President of the United States. I could list out notable events of the year, but let me just make my point in a more direct way.
If there is anything you want to do in 2017, but believe is not possible because you do not have the resources, or the connections, or the background to do it, you need to cultivate a belief in yourself that it is possible. Your dream can be achieved if you take up the work, execute a good plan, and are passionate and consistent in your follow through. The underdogs are winning, and you can too!
Maybe next year, the Superbowl will feature the Houston Texans and the Detroit Lions! Anything is possible!