There are two days each year that I typically find myself reflecting on life – what I’ve achieved thus far and what lies ahead; new years day and my birthday. While in some ways I find myself reflecting on similar themes, each of these days brings its own unique perspective. On the first day of each year I take time to plan the year head. I make promises to myself about the steps will I take to in pursuit of my goals – typically those relating to work, family and health. My birthday however is special; this is the day I reflect on my life’s journey.
My age has never concerned me – in fact as I’ve gotten older I’ve found myself feeling more and more grateful for the wisdom I have gained each year. I enjoy reflecting on the things I have learned, the fears I have conquered and the difference I have made. While I work hard to be honest with myself about how I still need to grow and the lessons I want to learn next, I allow myself to feel proud and acknowledge how well I have done. Each year I choose a theme aimed at helping me to grow as a person and fulfill my potential.
My 43rd year I dubbed ‘the year of coming out’; what that meant was having the courage to be authentically who I am. This is not about my sexuality but rather my willingness to step into my role of being the ‘corporate hippie’. I realised that lurking in the dark recesses of my mind was a fear holding me back. I was afraid what people might think, what they would say and most importantly what that would mean for my professional credibility if I pushed the boundaries in bringing the importance of the human spirit in business into conversations in Boardrooms and the media.
It has been a liberating journey and sitting here on my 43rd birthday I feel no fear or hesitation in delivering the messages that I do about the importance of kindness and integrity in business. Instead of ridicule and skepticism what I discovered was a business world crying out for greater compassion, honesty and authenticity. People are tired of the corporate bullshit that undermines the quality of our lives and diminishes the successes we achieve at work. I’ve found business people all over the world who believe as I do that the human spirit is in fact the key to extraordinary results.
In my 44th year I intend to master Balance. The biggest challenge I face is reflected in the sense of dread I felt when I woke up this morning and thought OMG hurry up! There is so much I want to achieve I can’t help but feeling a little anxious about the beating drum that accompanies the march of life. It doesn’t feel like another year has gone by and yet here I find myself reflecting on my next life lesson. My hope is that by declaring this the year of balance publicly I might find the discipline to take the steps that I know I need to.
My Birthday present to myself this year will be to create balance by:
- Placing equal priority on work, rest and play
- Being discerning about which opportunities I choose to pursue
- Being at peace with letting some things go if they aren’t aligned with my bigger picture plan
- Practicing patience and learning to take time
- Slowing down; my thoughts and actions
- Focusing on today and tomorrow in equal measure
- Saying no more often
… and all of the other things no doubt I will discover about myself and life this year. I’d love to tap into your wisdom. What advise do you have for someone like me looking to achieve greater balance in life?