So long 2015! I can’t say it’s been my favorite year. I suppose quite fittingly, I ended the year on my couch with a not so fun filled unexplained stomach ache, drinking pepto-bismol as my cocktail of choice (instead of being out to a lovely dinner sipping on wine). So needless to say, 2015 has set the bar on the low side and 2016 can only be better!
2015 for me was very much about being much more self aware and learning from people around me. I am a strong believer that everyone has room to grow and mature, and that process is never ending. What may have worked for you yesterday, be it a mindset, an exercise program, a relationship, etc, may not work for you today or tomorrow. And that is ok. We all change and go through ups and downs and through it all, we need to stay true to ourselves.
The lessons I learned this past year are….
1. First impressions can be wrong impressions. Sometimes we need to let those go, take a step back and evaluate someone or a situation from a different lens. I was fortunate to be part of a leadership program at work last year that reminded me of this time and time again. The team that I was in started off like a bad twisted office reality show where we all made snap judgments about one another, bickered, yelled, and bitched each other out. The good news is, we got past all that because we all had a big heart to heart where we realized that we all assumed things incorrectly about one another and refused to budge on how we felt towards each other. I’m proud to report that compared to the other teams in the program, we came out the strongest and most unified. Albeit a few months later than we should have done so, we took time to not just focus on deliverables but connected with each other on a more human level where we started to truly understand and know each other.
2. This leads to me to another lesson. Don’t discredit people so quickly. You never know what someone else has to offer (and I don’t mean this is in an opportunist way). I mean that when you take the time to really get to know someone, you may be blown away by the friend or support system they can become. The things that may be a turn off initially may actually turn out to be the best medicine for you.
3. Be sensitive and perceptive towards others. When you are around others regularly, it is often easy to pick up on changes in someone’s mood or behavior. We spend a lot of time in our own heads or assume someone’s just in a bad mood and we dismiss it. Personally, I had a lot of downs this year and days where I felt pretty defeated and I would distance myself without even intentionally doing so. I appreciate all the times that I had friends reach out to me just to see how I am. Don’t misunderstand this point. It’s not about being passive or having pity parties expecting others to coddle you. It’s about recognizing that not every day is going to be a great day and sometimes we need some encouragement to make the next day better. Sincerity goes a long way and it takes no effort to ask someone how they are. So be perceptive and show compassion to those around you.
4. Gestures that show how much you truly know someone or “get them” goes way further than some fancy gift. We live in a society where there is a mindset that gestures need to be grandiose to mean anything (0r maybe I am watching too many episodes of Keeping Up With the Kardashians). The memories that left me feeling warm and loved this year have nothing to do with material things I’ve acquired. They are memories like my close friend bringing me a burrito after surgery with extra guacamole and setting up my bed that same night with an extra pillow under my blanket to prop my knee up. Or my friend who took some time off of work to take me to and from surgery. Or getting a proper thank you card in the mail. Or getting warm snuggly jammies from my family to keep me comfy that made me smile. It’s the little things that our loved ones do that show that they know us and care about us are that that truly lift our hearts and spirits.
Ok I can go on and on… I will end here for now. Perhaps part 2 will be coming soon!