New Year...New me? Part two....
Happy New Year's Eve my friends!! I hope this morning finds you well and excited for a new year....or maybe you're nervous like me. Anxiously anticipating saying goodbye to a year that was full of good and bad, exciting and new, but also old and terrifying. Maybe this year you figured out some stuff about yourself that you don't like (I'm with you!) and maybe there was also some stuff about yourself that you fell in love with. I hope you had both!
So yesterday, I talked to you about finding real change in the New Year. Is it possible? Did you think about what made you come alive in 2013 or before? Did you make a mental note or write it down?
Now let me ask you this question....was the thing that you want to change or make space for something that you wanted to do more of because you love it or are good at it? Or was it something that you want to change or do because you feel bad or negative about it? For example, a lot of us decide that the new year needs to bring gym time and diets not because we love the way we feel after a good workout or that we love eating clean (Just my friend Ryan feels that way I think...if you know her you understand), but because we feel negatively about ourselves and our bodies. We base our decision to change on something we feel is broken or wrong with us. This sets up for failure from the very beginning.
Now don't get me wrong. I am all for growth and self improvement. I am for pushing ourselves to break negative patterns and replace them with new, healthy ones. But that is a conversation for another day. In order to get to that point, the point of self awareness and improvement, we first need to get the energy and build ourselves up.
I took a life changing self assessment a couple years back called StrengthFinders (SF) by Tom Rath. If you have spent any time around me, you know that I LOVE this book. The concept of SF is not to focus on the things that we are not good at, but to build up and leverage the things that we naturally wired to be strong at...the things in our makeup that make us truly, well, us. The things that give us energy, fill us up, make us come alive. I better slow down before this devolves into a SF lovefest, but the truth is that this assessment and mind shift were a beginning of a new journey for me. To see in a little list the top 5 things that are my God given "Strengths"...to be told that it was OK that I'm not great at organizing, time management, or administrative stuff. I can do my best to make sure those things are not neglected as a necessary part of life, but I'm never going to be amazing at them no matter how hard I try. Instead, I look at the things that I have raw talent in: Communication, Development, Empathy, Including, Wooing...and I work on taking those from good to great. If you haven't taken this assessment, I strongly encourage you to give it a shot. I think you will be excited about the results. But, you don't have to buy a book or take an assessment to feel and KNOW the things that you love. I have a feeling that you know yourself well enough to know at least 3 things that you are stellar at. Embrace them and admit them right now.
Let's take that a step further. Marcus Buckingham says in his videos that accompany his book StandOut that a strength can actually be something that we may not be good at YET, but something that gives us energy. A weakness would be something that although we are good at it, it may suck the energy from us and leave us exhausted. WOW. This concept gave me hope!! So for me, just because I excel at Excel spreadsheets (and making dorky jokes it seems) and analyzing things even though it sucks my will to live most days, that I don't have to lock myself into those things just because I appear strong at them. On the flip side, just because I need A LOT of work on my writing, sketching, sewing, etc. doesn't mean I have to rule them out as strengths. Those things build me up, fill up my tank, give me life and just because I'm not an expert at them YET doesn't mean I have to give up on them!! How exciting is that!?
Now...how do we put this into action? How do we take all this cool data about ourselves and actually effect some real change and forward progress?
1. Figure it out and write it down. Commit it to paper or digitally. And then tell someone about it. I'm lucky that I have you, my lovely blog reading friends, to tell my stuff to. Writing it down and sharing it both make it real and hold us accountable. We won't get far if our goals, dreams, and plans are just rattling around in our heads.
Me: I want to make space, time, and energy to be creative, whether it is writing, painting, drawing, sewing, making spreadsheets, putting outfits together, or helping others create.
2. Make a list of the steps that you want to take to accomplish this. Ideas are great, but if we don't have specific steps to get them done they will always just stay ideas.
Me: I will organize my supplies and take stock of what I have and what I need. I will read, listen to music, look up things on Pinterest or other blogs to find inspiration each day. I will journal and write down ideas and thoughts as I have them rather than trying to save them for later. I will ask for feedback and let others speak creativity and inspiration into mine and be open to doing the same for them.
3. Keep a record of your wins and accomplishments. Maybe that means journaling, taking photographs, Tweeting/Instagramming/Facebooking/social mediaing what you've done. Tell your story. Sure, people out there may be haters sometimes, but I guarantee you that more people will be excited and inspired seeing you succeed. By doing this, you have a way to watch yourself grow over time. My dear friend made me a photobook of a bunch of my Fashion Diaries for Christmas. It was so cool to see each of them, remember what I felt wearing them, enjoy the creativity that I had easily forgotten because of the stress of everyday.
Me: I will keep at least a weekly record of my projects, outfits, and inspirations by journaling, taking pictures, and putting together Fashion Diaries (even when I don't feel like it)
4. JUST GO DO IT!!! It's easy for us to sit and talk about it, but now is when we put all this into action. Let's make this happen.
I hope this little rambling list helped you like it helped me putting it together. I know that 2014 is waiting and ready for us to enjoy, grow, learn, laugh, cry, hurt, love, create, inspire, be free, focus, and so many other things. All we have to do is just open up and get our minds right.
I'm so looking forward to sharing this year with you all and hoping that you will share yours with me as well. Let me know what you are working on and towards. Let's inspire each other.
Come find me on Facebook (Beauty in the Everyday) or my just set up Instagram (beauty_in_the_everyday).
peace, love, and a beautiful new year,