Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Thoughts for the New Year

Every year my son writes a new year's letter to family and friends sharing his past year's experiences and wishes for the year to come. They always blow me away in their depth and deep understanding of life, amazing for someone so young, yet, if you knew him you'd know it wasn't so unusual after all.

One thing about him that stands out so clearly is his desire to make a difference, to never settle and to get past anything that might stand in his way of getting to where he wants to be. Perhaps one of the things we have in common. So this year I decided to do the same.....to write of the past year and thoughts for the one to come....

Professionally it's been an insane year...hearing myself say too many times how I needed to clone myself. In the scheme of things, everything got done in the way I wanted. When I couldn't give 100% to a contract I said no and passed it on to someone else. And if clients didn't want someone else, many were happy to wait until I could give them 100%. And to many people's dismay, I refused the opportunity of hosting my own international radio show on Coaching. It would have been fun, however it would have taken me away from working one-on-one with clients and that's why I became a Coach in the first place.

Even in work I had to make sure there was a balance. It wasn't so much as hours at work and hours at play, it was taking those working hours and planning them carefully. It's all too easy to work more. I had to learn to work better.
So inbetween client hours, it was being an active participant in our international R & D group, teaching, speaking at conferences and constantly and consistently creating new resource material, reading up on trends and publishing.

I taught my model of Executive Coaching to practicing Coaches and learned that in teaching you have to be on your toes because you're challenged regularly. The best part of speaking at conferences was meeting some extraordinary people along the way. I learned how to Blog (blogging wasn't something I'd ever heard of a year ago) and have corresponded with some really neat people as they email me their perspectives on Perspectives : ) I've even started some email debates with a few who hesitate to post a comment that's public for all to see, but when they let loose through an email it not only helps them clarify their thoughts but through that, helps me see things from, yet again, new perspectives.

And in life I also made many changes....pruning my life of toxic relationships which might sound cold to some, but for me, it was a choice. In this hectic world when there is little enough time to play, I decided I was going to spend that precious time with those I chose to be with, not those who would suck me dry of energy and leave me exhausted. Those I'm with, energize me, help me grow as an individual and, in my opinion and most important, support me and accept me for who I am no matter what. There are those who live too far away to spend the time I want with, so I make sure I write and call and am still "there" for them in spirit if not in geography and always look for possibilities of closing the gap.

I've watched my son graduate from University and move to the UK to complete a post-graduate degree in Competition Law and Policy. I watch with awe and pride and can't wait to see where he ends up in life. I know whatever it is, it'll be something he's passionate about while making a difference in this world in his unique way.

All in all it's been an incredible year. Oh there are a few things I wish were different. But that's what the new year is for. Can't have everything at once or there'd be nothing to look forward to! And as this year also brings with it my 50th birthday, I have a lot of reaching to do, places to go, people to see....

As for my wishes for you, they start with a favourite quote:

"Integrate what you believe in every single area of your life.
Take your heart to work and ask the most and best of everybody else, too.
Don't let your special character and values, the secret that you know and no one else does, the truth --
Don't let that get swallowed up by the great chewing complacency."
- Meryl Streep

Be yourself. Have a real understanding of how unique and rare you truly are.
Choose happiness no matter what. Fill your mind and heart with feelings of wonder and courage and all the possibilities that are out there if you just reach for them.
Cherish friendships as the treasures they are.
Find contentment within yourself, the kind that stays with you and never goes away.
Live this moment in time.
May you have feelings that are shared from heart to heart, simple pleasures amidst this
complex world, and wonderful goals that are within your grasp.
May the words you listen to say the things you need to hear.
May a smile look back at you when you happen to glance in the mirror.

I wish you the insight to see your inner beauty...to have times when you feel like singing and dancing and laughing out loud.....to be able to make your good times better and hard times easier to handle.
And to have millions of moments when you find satisfaction in the things you do so well.

Wishing the best......for you.
Donna Karlin

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