It took most of January 2014 to reflect and wordsmith some lessons learned from 2013. Here are four insights, and some action items for the upcoming year of changes.
1. Risk Assessment in my life must improve. My positivity serves me well in so many ways, but it can hinder a full view of reality. Positivity shows up on my StrengthsFinder test. It can help me encourage others, create a brand, set a vision, and inspire a learner. However, positivity can also blind me to risk and rob me of any respect for the possibility of failure.
2014 To-Do Items:
a) Invite my family and friends to be honest with me. And not with words like “have you considered whether…?” or “is there a chance that…?” No. Please say that you think what I’m about to do is really stupid. If it is, I mean.
b) Get to know a few pessimists, just for a little balance. I know to hold those people at arm’s length, but that’s still close enough to hear them. I need to.
2. Dreams can come true. I refer to the kind of dreams that start with the words “someday I will.” 2013 saw one of these come to life when we camped across the US. Planning really made it possible, along with a generous sabbatical benefit from my employer.(www.crosscountrybycar.wordpress.com).
a) Quit thinking that anything is necessarily just not going to happen
b) Start planning the next childhood dream. Alaska?
c) When is someone too old to finish the John Muir Trail (half completed in 2002)?
3. Relationships Matter: It is clearer to me than ever that I married my best friend and that my family means everything to me. And friendships can be too rarely enjoyed, but as we discovered in NY, DC, VA and CO last fall, many can be re-ignited on contact.
Action items for 2014:
a) Invest time, resources and attention in doing the best by family
b) Add family members!
c) Nurture friendships the old fashioned way. Not what Facebook means with the noun-made-verb friending. I mean, rather, to be a friend…old school, analog style.
4. Reconciliation, I am convinced, sums up the Christian faith. 2013 was not different for me with respect to this; I’ve believed it for a long time. But reflecting on another 12 months of human activity, of families, nations, lovers, leaders and regular people, I cannot help but revisit that truth. The right and just God reconciled to us at his expense, when it was our entire fault, without waiting for an apology. So I guess it is more important to be close than to be right.