Many of us consider the stroke of midnight into the New Year to be some sort of magical reset button that comes with snow flurries and a kiss. I happen to be one of them. However, turning that magical moment into everyday life usually takes a little more than fairy dust, like a bold decision, courage, perseverance and a pathologically unshakeable belief that what you want to achieve is not only possible, it’s inevitable, and it’s already here.
Clean Up That Lens
It’s hard to have 20/20 vision when your lens is blurry, so now’s the time to get crystal clear about what you want to accomplish. In her book, “What Self-Made Millionaires Do That Most People Don’t,” author Ann Marie Sabath says successful people know they have to believe “It” to see “It.”
If it’s hard for you to believe something you can’t see, create a visual and keep it in front of you. Some people make a vision board. Or how about building yourself a business card with the title you wish you had. Maybe wait to hand it out, but keep it on your desk, look at it every day and let it sink in. I’ve known authors who keep a self-drawn book cover in front of them until they finish the book or even put an outline together. And, there’s a wonderful meeting facilitation instructor in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, who writes her own daily horoscope!
Another powerful action item to consider is identifying those who have already achieved what you want to do. Hang out with them and/or study how they did it. With role models in sight, you know what you want to do is humanly possible. As astronaut Sally Ride said, “You can’t be what you can’t see.”
No matter how outrageous your idea, you have got to see it, want it and feel it deep down in your eye sockets. Don’t hide it like that secret bar my friend, Vicki, sets up in the laundry room when the in-laws are coming over.
Pry Open That Third Eye
Visionaries meditate, and without getting into chakras, energy points or other mystical things I don’t understand, many successful people vow that meditation opens us up to insights and seeing the possibilities that our other two eyes can’t.
I can feel the eye-rolling already from those who know me best. I don’t call myself a meditator for the same reason I don’t call myself a tennis player. I practice both and try really hard. My meditating gurus, audiologists Drs. Karon Lynn and Debbie Kelly, can attest to this, as can my 4.0 tennis friends.
Nonetheless, I believe meditation is important because really smart high achievers, like New York Times bestselling author Jen Sincero, say it is. In her book, “You are a Badass,” she says meditation helps set your intention. Among other benefits, she says it relaxes us, relieves stress and strengthens our ability to focus and hear our inner voice. “Your thoughts and beliefs dictate your reality,” she says. “You have to change your thinking first, and then the evidence appears.”
Meditation can help us change our thinking by calming down the skepticism in our brains long enough for a new reality to move in and take up residency.
Just Say No to Perfectionism, Pink Gingham and Other Bad Patterns
As a 12-year-old learning to sew, I was taken by a pretty pink gingham pattern wrapped around a bolster in a fabric store, which I believed was charming and fitting for my 6-year-old niece, not for a pre-teen, mind you, but for her, it would be great! I lovingly ironed, cut and stitched this oh-so-cute gingham cloth into a ruffled frock. My kind big sister dressed my niece in the garment, took a picture, and I never saw her wear it again.
I tell you this story because not all patterns are flattering. For example, I’ve never met anyone who wears perfectionism well. Perfectionism is a pattern, and if you have it, I suggest you hang it right back up, stuff it in the closet and never take it out again!
Perfectionism can paralyze us from daring to make a move or ever completing a project. In the newsroom, staring too long at a blank page is mind-crippling. Journalists on deadline can’t afford to be perfectionists and neither can you.
Eyes Wide Open in the New Year
Long-time Arizona newsman Bill Close once asked me why I did something. I can’t remember what it was I did that he was questioning, but I’m pretty sure I’ll never forget that this was a trick question. Naively, I started in with my explanation, which he cut off in his thundering anchorman voice. “If I want excuses, I’ll go down to the …,” which was somewhere he thought people weren’t trying very hard.
Gentler bosses might say something like, “How can we learn from this mistake?”
Scientists commit to a career fraught with failure. These are called “experiments.” Acknowledging what doesn’t work is probably a very healthy way for all of us to move forward toward something else that does.
“Do one thing every day that scares you,” is a quote often attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt. She probably was not suggesting that we be foolish, but rather that we feel the fear and move ahead anyway. Doing things that scare us pushes the boundaries of our comfort zone and helps us grow and gain confidence.
I’m not a look-before-you-leap kind of person, but perhaps we can all look with eyes wide open to the possibilities and simultaneously leap after something we dearly want in the New Year. And if rose-colored glasses help us see what’s not there yet, by all means, let’s wear them, just not with the pink gingham frock. QCBN
By Bonnie Stevens
Bonnie Stevens is a public relations consultant. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org