When we ring in the New Year, we often feel an excitement and zest for the potential of what’s to come. A New Year means 365 days of possibilities, new connections & opportunities to learn, connect & thrive.
Do you love what you do for a living? This question often comes up this time of year, so we start doing some self-assessment.
Sometimes we can also feel reflective and even a little sad or nostalgic. We might have regrets from the past year or unfinished goals we set out to accomplish but came up short. Even if you don’t subscribe to the tradition of setting “New Year’s Resolutions,” it’s impossible to avoid the sense of putting the prior year to bed and moving into a new beginning where you anticipate new actions you’ll need to take.
The New Year is full of untapped potential just waiting for us.
Resolutions aren’t simply for the New Year, though. When we only visit our vision and goals one time a year, we’re surely setting ourselves up for some missed opportunities and regret.
To operate at peak performance, our brains prefer constant learning, growth, and stimulation. When things get stale and stagnant, our brains actually become dulled and subdued. We have to have new experiences, master new skills and professional development opportunities, and seek out chances to stretch ourselves and find our spark.
Our resolutions, whether for the New Year or otherwise, give us a chance to set goals and push ourselves toward the things we want. They give us a chance to check in with our inner “coordinator” and self-governance. Are we really working toward the things most important to our hearts? What steps are we taking to achieve what we want and to get to our next goal?
We should constantly and consistently be revisiting our goals and focusing on our vision to keep moving forward to the next peak. Our vision is our big-picture map and guide.
When we discover new possibilities on the horizon or when we’re at the beginning of a journey, we must first identify what we want: the deep drivers that we call our yearnings. If our vision is the big picture, then our yearnings are our inner-GPS.
Yearnings are deeper than simple wants. I might want to make money at my job, but I yearn to be recognized as successful. We yearn to be seen, to connect, to succeed. We yearn for safety and comfort. It’s meeting those yearnings that fulfills us.
Once we’ve identified our yearnings (which is no small task), we start to engage. Engaging is responding to our yearnings and ceasing to repress or ignore these important drivers. As we engage, we start to change our behavior, connect with others, and feel like we’ve ‘jumped in the game’ of life.
Engaged people are in the game. They’re going for what they want. They have a sense of purpose. If there’s something they don’t understand or know, they speak up. They embrace conflict and see it as a way to move themselves forward. They don’t shy away from tough situations or challenges. To feel passion and vigor, we must be engaged.
For many, this awareness of a need to reengage can come after a period of feeling sidelined. Maybe those around you are achieving their goals and you’re feeling behind, or maybe they don’t even HAVE goals and they’re just satisfied with the status quo. If you’ve surrounded yourself in an environment of goal-getters and driven engagers but you’ve lost your passion, it’s time to reengage and figure out how you can meet your yearnings. Use their engagement to inspire you and drive you. Ask them how they do it, and listen to what they have to say.
If, on the other hand, you’re at a job where everyone seems to be lackluster and phoning it in, maybe you need to rethink your role and position to find something that meets your energy and stimulates your mind.
If your office staff and coworkers fall somewhere in between engaged and lackluster, surround yourself with those who are really going for it and pushing themselves. At the same time, figure out new ways you can ignite not only your passion but also the passions of those you work with.
The best way to become a beacon of engagement in the office? By refocusing on your vision—the articulation of not only your goals as an office but your ultimate ideal as a company. If everyone’s stressed out, burnt out and sick of each other, coming in at the New Year after a holiday break can be a great time to really hit the ground running.
The New Year is a great time to revelate! In fact, the New Year is synonymous with revelating. Now is the time to revelate, discover the new possibilities and how to get there, and look at what you can do to start thinking and acting in a way that will propel you to a year of success!
As you work on revelating and igniting others around you to do the same, let your vision be your guide. Think about your company values. How do you see your role in the company changing this year? What is the big-picture vision for both your career and life in general, and do they sync up?
When we have a vision, it guides us and keeps us in line. It helps us to know if we’re serving our customers and clients, and if we’re actually making a difference in what we do. It’s that knowledge—the awareness that we’re actually mattering to the world and doing something positive—that’s so powerful and motivating. No matter what your line of work, from artist to non-profit coordinator to commercial banker, you have to identify the bigger “why does this work matter?” question, answer it, and work toward that continued goal.
Go forth into the New Year with a renewed sense of focus and a clear vision in your mind. What do you want your life to look like at the close of next year? What changes do you hope to make, and how will you be discovering your yearnings, engaging and revelating by this time next year?
Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of the Wright Foundation and the Wright Graduate University.