How to end the year on a positive note and start a new one fresh!

Doing and Being
Photo by Noah Silliman on Unsplash

Personally, at 41 years old, the past decade started filled with turmoil, the beginning of a divorce, and questioning every aspect of my life.

However, in hindsight, overall, I'd characterize it as one infused with exponential personal and professional growth. It was a time where I faced and conquered some of my biggest fears to date—and that continues every day.

What were you doing at the start of this past decade? How was your overall experience over the past ten years?

As we start a whole new decade, I want to contribute to you these nuggets of wisdom based on what I've learned over the past three decades and what I teach my clients during our coaching programs, motivational talks, and leadership training.

These nuggets of wisdom deliver tangible, measurable results for them and me in our roles at work and home.

Aside from my results, perspective, and positive testimonials, our audiences, and clients express feeling more abundant, with higher levels of self-worth and confidence, lower levels of anxiety and stress, and empowered to pursue their goals (achieving) while simultaneously creating more joy, harmony, and flow (being). What my clients and I know is this...

Integrating "doing" with "being" significantly enhances the quality of your life.

"Doing" is what we're most comfortable with, as our society and the economic landscape reward "doers." For a significant part of a three-decade, successful professional career, I have been a "doer." My LinkedIn profile and business website reflect those results.

But despite the "external" success, it wasn't until over a decade ago when I intentionally began practicing and integrating "being" with "doing" that I genuinely started to acquire the tools and the skillset to appreciate myself authentically, and enjoy my life to the fullest.

The truth is that whether you realize it or not, consciously and subconsciously, every single moment, we are creating our reality in career, relationships, finances, community, health, our environment, you name it. And we're also responsible for how we feel throughout our day—we generate that too.

In my experience, if we don't develop positive intentions and take inspired action toward creating what we want, inclusive of doing and being, "it ain't happening!" For me, this half-hazard approach isn't agreeable on any level for meeting my human needs.

How about you? Is this touch-and-go, "let's see what happens" approach a reasonable way forward?

If leaving it up to chance isn't a sensible or practical way to proceed for you either, how do you become more intentional about growing in your ability to do and be more gracefully?—whether it's to generate more joy and inner peace, financial well-being, deeper relationships, more meaning and sense of accomplishment, more impact, a legacy you're proud to leave for your company, community, friends, or children.

Use these golden nuggets to end your year and the decade on a positive note and start a brand-new one powerfully.

1. Develop an attitude of gratitude and compassion

Cultivating an attitude of gratitude and compassion will enhance your level of joy based on what is working today. It will also help you become more resourceful to address the challenges you're facing.

There's always a pile of "bad" stuff and one of "good stuff." If you only focus on the bad, you'll feel like that too. Shift your focus. If you allowed yourself to be thankful every day, what can you be grateful for? Focus on that and notice the difference.

Expressing and living in an attitude of gratitude and compassion toward yourself, others, and your environment doesn't mean that you ignore everything else—it means you fill up your tank with the fuel and strength that will support you as you tackle the challenges at hand.

Remember to show the people in your life, your peers, your manager, your team, your family, your partner, mentors, caregivers, and support team, that you care and appreciate them too. Who supports your success? Showing them you notice and care goes a long way.

2. Don't negotiate with terrorist [your mind--LOL]

When I wake up at 5:15 AM to get ready for my training at the gym starting at 6:30 AM, I don't negotiate with terrorists, the gremlins in my head who'd wish I stayed in bed instead.

Don't let your head take over your state, how you feel today—you are in charge, not your brain. Our 40,000-year-old brain is there to keep us safe and helps us "survive." It's not inherently there to help us thrive. But no cyber tooth tiger is chasing us anymore.

Deliberately putting yourself in the emotional state that will serve you today begins with saying, "I'm going to be _______ (fill in the blank) today as I go through my day." You may fill in the blank with words such as confident, curious, cheerful, grateful, and appreciative, energized and vibrant, determined, loving and kind, excited and passionate, creative, etc.

Over time, your brain's plasticity will enable you to create new grooves, or neural pathways, that align with your new way of thinking--> feeling. Thank goodness!

As you notice and conquer the gremlins in your head, one at a time, you become encouraged and increase your certainty and belief in yourself. As you do, you'll keep tapping into more of your potential—you get out of your own way. Keep going.

3. Focus on the present– be mindful of your thoughts, actions, and attitude

Whenever you're worried or fearful, notice that most likely, you're focusing on something that happened in the past or what could happen in the future (both are fiction as you can't go back or forward in time—not yet, anyway).

Misguided thoughts and actions that float toward the past or unknown future are the pathways to feeling guilty, angry, disappointed, without any ability for a reasonable recourse—in other words, they lead to a feeling of powerlessness.

To flip this around, today, focus on "what's important, what can I control?" The intersection of those two answers will keep you on point and feeling empowered to do your best based on what you are certain about at this moment. Make sure to check-in with the four guiding principles below.

4. Practice the four guiding principles (in Don Miguel Ruiz' book, The Four Agreements)

Living by these principles will align you to the best version of who you are, every time, and derive more mutually beneficial, productive outcomes.

When you are experiencing a professional or personal conflict of any kind, ask yourself these questions and use your answers to tweak your behavior, your attitude, and seek the appropriate course of action and solutions.

Run through this checklist and keep it on a post-it note by your PC screen or on your smartphone to remind yourself until they become part of your lexicon:

Am I being impeccable with my word?

Am I making assumptions?

Am I taking things personally?

Am I doing my best?

Seek first to understand the factors at work (i.e., human needs). Others are also journeying through life with their "carry-on" packed with fears, assumptions, expectations, disappointments, anger, grief, embarrassment.

By inspecting your "carry-on" and lightening the load, you'll significantly reduce the burden you may feel, cultivate more harmony and a better disposition to show up more like your authentic self and contribute to a healthier workplace and home.

5. Be clear on your "end-game"

We can quickly lose sight of what's most important. Get clear on what is meaningful to you, your team, your organization, and share it, proactively, with your team and loved ones.

Use your purpose as the backdrop to all that you invest in (physically, financially, emotionally) throughout the various areas of your life. Look at it from both an achievement as well as a fulfillment perspective—what brings you joy.

Use this practice of asking yourself, "what is the end-game here?" when you meet with your team, a client, a vendor, or any stakeholder in business or personally. Keeping this question in the forefront will be a game-changer in your effectiveness influencing positive results.

6. Question your beliefs today

You won't be able to accomplish anything if you don't believe it's possible. Everything you achieve first must start in your belief system.

Your actions will follow your beliefs. If you're not acting in a way that supports your vision, begin to question the beliefs lurking in the shadows, one by one.

Replacing the disempowering beliefs with empowering ones is where the magic happens.

And if you don't believe in yourself, what would help you? Work through those limitations ASAP. Put all bets on you! Your life and happiness are worth it.

7. Visualize what you desire

Visualization is not a joke—it's grounded in science.

Have you noticed that when you're thinking of buying a specific car, for example, you begin to see those cars everywhere?

In the simplest of terms, your Reticular Activating System (the filter between your conscious and subconscious mind) will tell your subconscious mind that what you visualize is meaningful to you and will make you notice everything relevant to it. You'll begin to hear conversations, notice resources, and get ideas that relate to your vision. So, visualize away.

8. Take proactive "massive" action that propels you toward your compelling future

A Japanese proverb says, "Vision without actions is a dream. Actions without vision is a nightmare."

Wishing you could ________ (fill in the blank with what you want) isn't enough.

Get curious, ask quality empowering questions (see below) about the future you desire, and learn all that you can within your boundaries.

Take proactive steps every day to move forward—including aligning your mindset to BELIEVE that what you want is possible. Pivot, tweak, and try something different if you do not see satisfactory results.

I won't deceive you into thinking that you can close your eyes, wish for what you want, click your hills, and it will magically appear! It requires YOU to show up and do the work.

9. Connect with yourself regularly

Check-in with yourself daily. A daily practice will keep you grounded and centered—remove the anxiety and overwhelm that you may often feel.

Dedicate time to your connection practice. And if you "don't have the time," do it on the bus, the train, in your car, during your lunch break, right before you go to sleep, even if for only five minutes.

Put it on your regular schedule to meditate for 20 minutes in the AM, right after you awake, and 20 minutes in the evening before you go to sleep if that schedule works for you. Use your smartphone to track the time and let go.

While connecting, ask yourself: How am I feeling? Where do I feel aligned? What isn't aligned yet? Or ask any other quality question on your mind. And be, silently. Listen. Let your soul settle and rest. Stay present. Bring your attention to your breath.

Afterward, write down what bubbled up for you, no pressure. Get curious about emerging patterns and the quality of your thoughts. Led by what you discover, be proactive in moving in the direction you want to follow.

10. Schedule it! Prioritize yourself

When learning a new "habit," a new practice, a skill, or going after something that will make you more marketable, it' won't happen if you leave it up to chance or your whim on a particular day.

Pencil yourself in, as if what you want to do was a doctor's appointment on your calendar! Don't let your whim dictate the routine that will help you feel empowered.

Think of that training, the foods that will nourish you, the practices outlined here—put them on your schedule, honor them, and be impeccable with your word with yourself.

11. Everything is happening FOR you!

A person with a growth mindset believes that life's situations are opportunities to learn. Someone with a fixed mindset sees failures as indications of personal worth. Tony Robbins often says that life is happening for you.

How do you cultivate a growth mindset? Ask yourself, what is it that this situation is helping me learn? How is this challenge helping me grow? How can I become a better version of who I am because of it? These are quality questions.

When you begin to perceive and give a more empowering meaning to what is happening as an opening to get to your next level, you'll take more decisive action to find the answers than you would otherwise.

It takes the same mental energy to believe in the possibilities as it does to fall prey to the smoke in mirrors of a situation. You get to choose what helps you stay energized and hopeful. The alternative is to experience a downward spiral of negative emotions.

12. Ask yourself and others quality, empowering questions

Empowering questions usually begin with "what" or "how." And you've seen them throughout this article.

"Why" questions typically imply that there are judgments and lack of openness.

The quality of your questions will determine the caliber of the feedback you receive and the solutions you and others generate.

Use empowering questions while coaching, mentoring, and developing team members, colleagues, friends, and family members who rely on you for guidance.

Get curious and look to understand the root cause, how to fill the needs that are present, and how to move forward to honor the "end-game" by asking open-ended, quality questions.

As you start a new decade, I invite you to consider one more quality empowering question:

How would these practices support you?

In the new year, and any time of the year, it's never too late to get clear so that you can begin to make the most of your precious resources, your time, your physical, mental, and emotional energy, and finances.

These golden nuggets will support you to harness Self-leadership—and help you show up to your roles in life in the highest version of who you are.