I started writing this post(s) over a week ago – which is funny-ironic-sad because one of my intentions for 2013 is to complete things. In fairness, I did write a little bit each night last Monday-Friday, but I didn’t *really* make an effort at completing it. This is partially because while I used to love posting random things for the universe, I found myself more private-feeling in the last few years. I gotta tell you guys, I LOVE not having a facebook account anymore with everything up there for the world to see. – even though it did have major-serious privacy settings.
Anyhoo, the first night I started writing this it turned out to be six pages, and I wasn’t even half-way done. Right now, it stands at ten. After the first night I realized that it could actually be a series of posts, and that’s how I guess I’ll do it. So – for the next week or so, if I keep up with this ‘completion’ thing, I’ll be posting something that was different/special about 2012, and then the final post will be my intentions for 2013. If you separate 2012 out from all the other years and look at it by itself, it was a really good year. It’s the first year in a long time where I really feel like a learned a lot about things that ultimately make my life more enjoyable.
Interestingly enough, I think 2013 may be even more fun and exciting. We shall see. (I hope so!) In the meantime, here’s the look back on last year and the look forward for next.
Lesson Learned #1
Questioning my immediate viewpoint. You could rephrase this as, “Don’t jump to conclusions.” Here’s an example. In mid-March, I was sitting at one of my clients’ offices when he sent me an assignment. I had no idea how to do it or WTF he was talking about. My first reaction was this:
“JESUS! Why is he sending me something that I know nothing about? WTH can’t he take five minutes to explain to me what this is? Why do people always just toss something my way and expect that I’ll be able to figure it out!?! I’m going to look like such an idiot when I turn this in!”
I actually started to cry, considered walking out the door…and then I thought about it. Maybe the client didn’t know that I didn’t know how to do this. Maybe the client expected me to call with any questions.
I picked up the phone, called the client, and said, “No offense, but I’ve never done a transaction like this. Would you mind giving me a five minute overview, and I’ll see what I can do?”
The client then apologized (unnecessarily) and mentioned that he’d forgotten that I’d never done corporate law before, and then gave me a two-minute description…which was all I needed to complete the work.
I believe this is what my life coach would refer to as ‘being at the cause of your life rather than the effect.’
Here’s another really basic example. The other day I was at home trying to work and the dog kept nudging me in the leg because she wanted to go for a walk. I did NOT want to go for a walk. I was freezing, it was cold outside, and I was tired. Then I thought about it and realized that a walk would improve my circulation, pep me up, and make me feel warmer once I was back inside. Suddenly I was totally jazzed to take the dog for a walk.
During 2012, I found myself in a few situations where my past normal reaction would be to feel sorry for myself and get upset with the other person. Now, I typically respond in a proactive and assertive manner. Not only that, but it’s not assertive in the sense of being aggressive, defensive, or protective. I take an extra thirty seconds (or five minutes) to think about where the other person is coming from, what they want, and then respond accordingly seeking clarification. My perceived and actual level of conflict in my life has been reduced dramatically. Granted, I don’t catch myself in every situation, but probably 90% of the time, and it continues to improve.
In that same vein, I find that I complain about things a lot less often because I can ‘fix’ a lot of things simply by reframing my viewpoint. At the end of the day, there’s not many things that I feel are ‘beyond my control’ so to speak, and I guess that’s a new viewpoint/lesson-learned as well. For many years I thought people did things to me, and now I see that my viewpoint of people doing things to me was simply a perception…and not a very healthy/productive one.