[Guest blogger Nikki Carpenter is an ICF-certified professional coach at Wisdom Works. Highly active in the development of healthcare leaders since 1992 Nikki has taught, facilitated, and coached both not-for-profit and for-profit sectors. She earned a master’s in applied communication from the University of Denver and a bachelor’s in nutrition from the University of Northern Colorado. This is her first entry for Lead Perform Sustain.]
As the holidays arrive, I am reminded of an insight I had several years ago when participating in a speaking circle during the holiday season. We were prompted to talk about our celebrations and plans for the season and I was disheartened to hear how few people were excited or inspired by the holidays ahead. Perhaps I was being naive, but at the time I still assumed that most people looked forward to this time of year. Instead, I realized, too many people go careening into the holidays and emerge exhausted and in need of resolutions.
As the new year came around, I made my traditional January homage to the bookstore, pausing before the table at the front of the store—you know, the one littered with all the hottest new books? The topics looked pretty much the same as every other year: weight loss, financial control, self improvement, relationships—there were millions of words on how to fix anything that might be broken in your work or your personal life. Reflecting back on my speaking circle and all those people heading unhappily into their holidays, it occurred to me that every January we try to pick up the pieces left behind by our own end-of-year actions.
I ran my fingers over the embossed covers of all those fresh new hardbound books and remembered that statistics have shown that very few people keep their New Year’s resolutions. This means that most of us carry the same challenges from year to year. I thought: “There must be a better way.” Back at home, glancing across my bookshelf, I found the book Driven by Wellth (co-written by Wisdom Works founder Renee Moorefield). The book offers seven essentials for leaders and I found they easily apply to creating a healthier, happier approach to this seasonal madness. If you’re one of the millions who need a holiday makeover, ask yourself these questions:
Aspiration – What do you want your season to be about? What events, celebrations, and traditions will honor that? How do you want to feel this season? Calm versus rushed? Clear versus confused? Give yourself permission to create a new vision this holiday season.
Integrity – What do you value? What is your purpose in business and in life? How do you choose to express that at this time of the year?
Innovation – Is there a new way you can celebrate this year that renews and honors your core values? I’ve worked with companies, for instance, who donated to employee-selected charities in each individual’s name.
Simplicity – Are there things you can let go of, so that your season is not an unconscious, overstuffed blur? Do you really need to go all those places, eat and drink all that, or spend that much to feel fulfilled?
Sustainability – If you want to stay within a budget, how will you assure that? Are there people with whom you can share your intentions—anyone who will support you as you seek to make these positive changes?
Movement – What actions can you take now to ensure a renewing season all year long? What actions will you not take this year?
Renewal – How can you create a sane pace to stay energized throughout the holiday season?
The book calls this list the “Seven Essentials of Wellthy Living.” They apply to many aspects of a leader’s life: from the office to the home front. Celebrate these essentials, one conscious choice at a time, and you can transform your holiday season from a burden into a renewing experience. Don’t wait for New Year’s Eve to make resolutions for change: cut out the excesses that you would have paid for later and build momentum toward what you’d actually like to accomplish. Here’s wishing you and yours a holiday season to celebrate.
Photo by Shoshanah