Each year tends to have a theme in my life and business. A guiding principle that wraps around the twelve-month container of a year like a blanket and informs everything I do. I’d love to say that I am always clear on this theme by the strike of midnight on New Year’s Eve so that I go dancing into the upcoming year with a mantra that fits into a neat box, but that is rarely the case. Sometimes it emerges before the turn of the calendar and sometimes not until well after. Sometimes it is crystal clear and often it is a cloudy vision. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that it shows itself and brings focus and clarity to the path forward.
This year’s theme came as a gift in early February and it has changed the tone of every day and every choice. It’s one of THOSE powerful moments. It’s a three-part theme of SHED – SIFT – SAVOR. A dear friend of mine was so kind to even create me some artwork to represent this for me. Aren’t they awesome?
Let’s look at what each one means.
This is all about releasing what does not serve me. It is about growth. It is simplification at its best. As a snake sheds its skin during its next phase of evolution, so am I.
What’s really powerful about this is that nothing is sacred. Absolutely nothing is immune from the decision to shed. That means that I have been actively letting go of:
- Relationships – personal and professional.
- Business systems, offerings, habits, support, expenses, tasks, and associations.
- Beliefs and subconscious patterns that have repeatedly held me back.
- Physical stuff – you name it, it may hit the donate or ditch it pile.
- Commitments that no longer jazz me.
- Anything else not listed that feels like it needs to go because it is weighing me down, taking up physical, emotional, or psychic space, or simply doesn’t make me feel wow.
Ask yourself: What do I need to shed this year?
This is like putting everything through a flour sifter. When I make the butter cookies my mother always loved, all the dry ingredients go through a sifter before mixing. This refines what is there into an even higher quality state. There’s nothing extraneous. It’s like cookie alchemy.
For me I have heightened my discernment about everything. A level of consideration, reflection, and authentic connection about what comes in to my world (advice, put in/on my body, thoughts, ideas, actions) and what I choose to do with it. There have been times in my life where I’ve felt like someone else must know more or know better about what was right for me than my own inner compass. I experienced that in my corporate career, my personal life, and when building my business. At times it has taken me a little off course and at other times it sent me on a lengthy detour.
This year it is about going back to the core of who I am, what I offer, what I want, and how I want to show up. I have wise guides and council supporting me along my way (I learned long ago not to try and figure it all out myself and be a lone ranger) but absolutely everything goes through the sifter. What is useful and refines me, my vision, my business, my life – stays, what doesn’t falls away.
Ask yourself: In what instances have I given my power away to someone else (or the tapes playing in my head) rather than trust my intuitive guidance?
Life is meant to be enjoyed. Now. Today. Not later. I learned more than once that if I am not rejoicing in the journey, I am missing it. I’ve said on more than one occasion that building a business is a distance run. It’s not a six months to freedom, bon-bons, and a jackpot of money. At times over the last five years (that’s right, the five-year full-time in my business anniversary is just around the corner!) I’ve lost sight of the here and now in pursuit of the “when I arrive there, then I can ____.” Yes even with the worst of all wake up calls in the loss of my mom, there have been stretches where I lost sight of today because I was too busy waiting for tomorrow or saving up for the “big stuff” (vacation, time away, holiday, weekend, whatever…).
No longer. This year has been like a Buddhist meditation of noticing what is here right now. Certainly this doesn’t mean I’ve stopped working on my business, doing chores, or getting things done. Just the opposite in fact. I’ve been more productive. But as the Buddhist quote says:
“Before enlightenment: chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment: chop wood, carry water.”
The same holds true for success in life and business.
What this means is that my partner and I have instituted some fun walkabouts where we just enjoy local things to do, extra time in nature, or even just a mid-afternoon movie on the couch. I pop out my camera for a few hours like I would if I were on vacation knowing there is always an interesting perspective to capture. I’ve expanded my garden because I want to bear witness to the miniscule changes that lead to great rewards (and occasional loss with the theft of my greens by the rabbits).
While those are just a few examples, it drives home the fact that nothing really has to change in your life or mine in order to savor this moment and what already is right in front of and within you.
Ask yourself: Am I savoring this moment, this meal, what is here right now or am I gazing off at some distant goal or dream hoping one day I can enjoy it?
My journey continues to unfold and I know the last few months are just the beginning of a new evolution. So for the moment I am going to enjoy right now AND keep my future vision in sight.