Happy New Year.
That time over Christmas and New Year is for me, like many people, a chance to reflect on what’s gone and what’s to come.
A few things happened over the past two weeks that got me thinking about some useful signposts for me - and maybe you - in 2020.
1. Be Brave
I went away with a group of pals and our families for a week over New Year. It started back in 1996 and next year will be our 25th anniversary (scary). One of those friends is one of the funniest, sharpest most creative people you'll meet. But, by his own admission, what he lacks is self-confidence.
We had the same conversation this year as we do every year - him 'clearing the decks' to allow him to focus on the stuff he loves doing (and that he's really,really good at). This year was different. He said 'there's this little voice on my shoulder that says "You're 55 - if you want to achieve the things you want to, you'd better get going"'. And he's right - procrastination is the enemy of progress. But having that 'moment' is only half the battle - the other half is about throwing caution to the wind and knowing that there are people there to support and, if needs be, to catch you.
And that leads be nicely to number two
2. Embrace failure
I was listening to an interview with Baz Ashmawy yesterday (he of '50 ways to kill your Mammy' fame) and in it he was asked to select a quote that really resonated with him. He went with a quote from a speech by Jim Carrey (who I always thought was pretty one-dimensional - not now though!). In that speech Jim talked about his Dad, who always wanted to be a stand-up comic but, instead had gone with the 'job for life' option and became an accountant.
Turns out though that it was to be short lived and when Carrey was 12, his dad was made redundant. Later, his Dad said,"Embrace failure - you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance doing what you love". Never has a truer word been spoken.
Life isn't a dress rehearsal so you might as well fail doing something you love doing.
3. Show gratitude
We'd just landed back in Dublin on Saturday evening and I turned on my phone to find a message from a former AIB colleague on LinkedIn - I've included it here but removed his full name to spare any blushes! ;-)
What a lovely thing to write - I have to admit feeling a bit proud and a bit emotional. It's amazing the impact a kind word can have. In fact it's been proven (and written about previously in this blog) that the act of sending those kind words has a positive impact on both the recipient AND the sender so you get a double whammy.
Talking some time out to say thank you or to recognise good work or the impact someone has had on you, is time well invested - for you and them.
I don't do resolutions and I tend to avoid 'dry January' (January's horrible enough as is). But I do like to challenge myself with a few little things to focus on through the year.
And, for me, these three aren't a bad start.
Wishing you a great and successful 2020