Hi, friends – Happy December! I don’t know about you, but I have never been more ready for a new year. This year has been… in a word… INTENSE!
This past week I had the opportunity to attend a women’s leadership training event in the Washington D.C. area, which allowed me to take a breather, reflect on the past year, and emerge with a new sense of clarity. Yes, this year has been “intense.” Yes, it’s been far harder than I ever would have imagined. But somehow, through it all, I managed to not only surpass the doctor’s estimates on how long I would take to walk again, but I TRAVELED. I used my cane. And I asked for help. But I did it.
The key to making my trip a success was preparation. I called the airlines in advance to ask for wheelchair assistance and I also asked for a special parking place near the building. I had to forego visiting with dear old friends to sleep instead, because I was rotten sick and I knew my health depended on getting lots of sleep. (Fortunately, I got to visit a few of my favorite places the evening before I left.)
All the preparation and small victories got me thinking… I have learned that there is nothing that I can do to fully prepare myself for life’s challenges, but by remaining adaptable, always knowing where my metaphorical life vest is, and knowing who I can count on to reach out and pick me out when my ship is sinking, I can survive.
On my way home, I ran across an article in the Harvard Business Review about “Emotional Agility.” The title really drew me in and the content resonated deeply. One of my favorite quotes was: “When you unhook yourself from your difficult thoughts and emotions, you expand your choices. You can decide to act in a way that aligns with your values.”
This got me thinking – what are MY values and how do they line up with my actions? I considered the question and selected a list of values that I want to guide me in the new year. A list that I plan on printing out, hanging up, and referring to whenever I’m faced with a difficult decision or event.
Then I got to work on starting to prepare for the upcoming year – prioritizing what’s important, dropping those things that aren’t, and staying focused on what matters most. I pray that I will never become paralyzed again and I have no idea what the new year will bring, but I now know that no matter what, I have a list of values to guide my decisions. I’ve also made it a point to share my list with my family and publicly declare it so I can have some accountability.
Once I shared my list of values, I rolled up my sleeves and started writing important dates in my 2018 planner. I’ve used the Emily Ley Daily Simplified Planners in Happy Stripe the past two years and this year I am changing to a Weekly Simplified Planner in Gold Pineapple to spice things up. I figure that it will be even easier to carry around – and, of course, I plan on printing a list of my values to keep in the front and guide my schedule.
I still have a lot more work to do to prepare for the new year, but I’m finally in a place where I’m excited about the future and honestly… I’m not only wildly proud and thankful for my family and support system, but I’m a little proud of myself. I hope that no matter what happens, I’ll remain emotionally agile and keep my values in mind so that I’m prepared to face whatever life brings next.