If someone foolishly launched into a litany of excuses and rationalizations around my former colleague Nancy, she loved to proclaim: “If wishes were dishes, the whole world would be a kitchen.” Invariably, she would follow up with an emphatic and melodic: “Woulda! Coulda! Shoulda!”.
I was thinking about Nancy when I was assembling this short list of resolutions worth keeping in 2015.
- Tell the people closest to you who you are, how you feel and what you need from them. Remember that they are not mind readers. It’s your job to teach them what they need to know about how you feel. Don’t think any less of them because they didn’t figure it out by themselves.
- It’s a two way street: listen carefully when they tell you who they are and what they need from you. Even better, if you’re not sure, ask them.
- Be open to new opportunities for personal growth. They are all around you but you need to be a self-starter in this domain. Take that class. Make that trip. Explore that option. Ask that question.
- Recognize small problems for what they are. Remember that if you find yourself worrying about small problems, that’s probably a good thing because it means you are lucky enough to not have any big ones.
- Don’t look over anybody’s shoulder when your are talking to them. You know how it feels when someone does that to you at a social gathering, scanning for someone more interesting or important to talk to? Be generous with the gift of your attention. People remember that.
- When you make a mess of something, look for the sweet spot between making excuses and feeling incompetent or guilty. Find a way to understand what you need to do better next time without feeling bad about yourself. Embrace your status as an imperfect being seeking improvement.
- Find ways to learn more at work. Don’t wait for permission or a formal training program or for someone else to notice that you need it. Figure out what you would like to learn and find a way to go for it. Be creative, persistent and bold in your pursuit of learning.
My best wishes to you for joy, health, peace and learning in 2015!