2014 is about over; here are my thoughts on the year.

1.  My life is awesome!

These are surely the “good ol’ days” for me.  I have had a great, fun life but these years will be the best when I think back (if what I hear from retired folks is true).  If I am wrong, then I can’t wait for what is next.

I love my kids so much!  People who say such things as “you can never pay your parents back for all the things they’ve done for you”….they are wrong.  My kids owe me nothing.  I owe them.  It is truly my pleasure….

I love my wife!  I never realized how many things I was not good at until I got married….and now my wife helps me with them!  She helps me find things.  She washes and folds my clothes.  She helps raise my kids.  She puts up Christmas decorations.  She shops for me at Costco.  She helps me try new things all the time that I wouldn’t have tried…and I like them sometimes.  Without her, I don’t think my life would nearly as awesome.

I can tolerate my job!!  And that is pretty awesome!  The whole “follow your passion” is not great advice, since it is difficult to implement in a helpful way.  My job is challenging (and stressful), pays my bills (but never pays enough), and I am getting skills that can’t be outsourced or automated.  That is about what you/I can hope for from work.  Those who expect a job to be meaningful:  I would suggest if your life lacks meaning…don’t look for it at work.

I make a difference!  I am surrounded by people (family, friends, job) who depend on me, watch me, need me.  I am comfortable with that responsibility; it has it’s rewards.  People who feel like they aren’t making a difference or that their life is meaningless….here is some advice:  Step up and take some more responsibility.  In my experience, people are more than willing to give it to you.

YOUR LIFE IS LIKELY AWESOME TOO!  All of our lives are beset by problems.  Everyone works hard.  All of us deal with difficult people.  No one can remember their passwords.  We would all appreciate more sleep.  Everyone has aches and pains as they age.  There is still some pretty good awesomeness tucked away in life despite those things.

2.  What are my goals?

My goal is “more of the same”!

Uninspiring?  Unfocused?  I don’t think so.

I want to raise my kids well, keep a job, and maintain my relationship with my wife.  Those are things I’m already doing, but that can change at any time, so I’m thankful it is working out right now.

I had specific goals when I was younger:  Travel, learn a second language, get an MBA, get a job in consulting.  I did those things.  I think goals are more applicable when you are young.

I believe in staying true to values:  Be helpful, work hard, stay positive, keep family first, be thankful.  If I do those things, the right opportunities will come up.

3.  Share the best of myself, not the worst.  I accept this as a responsibility.

When I was younger I thought people who were always positive and happy were fake.  That’s not true at all.

People who are positive and happy are considerate.  Of course you aren’t happy all the time, but it helps others almost all the time if you put on a good face and meet the day with a smile.  That is how you can be most helpful to them…by having a pleasant interaction with people….By putting a positive spin on the events of your life and letting others hear that example.  That kind of person is good to be around.  And as a fortunate byproduct, those kind of people tend to make their own luck.

Keeping it real is not good.  Share and say things that are helpful to others.  Keep the rest to yourself (and your closest friends if you really need help).  Sharing and saying things that are helpful to others is a practiced habit improved through years of diligence.  I work at it everyday; review my actions and words to make sure I’m interacting in the most helpful, positive ways.  Share the best of yourself, not the worst.

I think all that is my responsibility, and I accept it.  (I am not, by nature, a positive person, so this is a challenge to me.)

4.  Accept that I need help.

The more responsibility I accept, the more important and meaningful my life becomes, the more awesome my life becomes, the more help I will need to maintain it.  That is a fundamental insight.

There is far more to do than I can ever hope to get to.  I have to prioritize where I spend my time, and get help for everything else. I often pay for that help in the form of lawn care or housekeeping or daycare for the kids.  I try to pay others for everything I can afford that makes sense (for instance I can’t pay others to exercise for me or do my professional work).

I also ask my friends for lots of advice…on finances, on work, on childcare, on anything.  Seeking only my own counsel is not smart.

Receiving help from others requires me to be honest with myself about what I am good at and willing to accept my limitations (or at least acknowledge them).  I have a responsibility to make myself easy to help.

5.  Accept life is risky.

The more responsibility I accept, the more important and meaningful my life becomes, the more awesome my life becomes, the more risk my decisions bear.

It is easy to take risks as an individual because you are the only one that bears the consequences.  However, your life is limited in scope if your decisions only affect you, and so your life is not as awesome as it could be.

What I need to work on is accepting that risk and accepting that those I am responsible for (professionally, and personally) must, by default, accept some of that risk as well.  When I take on risk, they also take on risk.  And I need to be ok with that and move forward.

As a leader, I think we instinctively understand this even if it is difficult.  What is not as intuitive is that, as followers (which we all are as well), we have a responsibility to understand, and accept, the leader’s dilemma.

So, 2014 was great.  I hope 2015 will be too.

Accept responsibility.  Practice life being awesome.  We’ll likely succeed.


(Real picture I took over xmas break)

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