2017: The Year of Choice

As we watch 2016 come to a close, there has been a lot of focus on the tragedy and bad news that characterized the year. In my home province of Alberta, there is much lament about the volume of layoffs punctuated by a horrific fire in Ft. McMurray. As emotional beings, we feel the weight of these events personally.

And yet, out of tragedy often rises triumph. I am struck by the continued resilience of my fellow travelers to bounce back and exude unquenchable positivity. They are not delusional; they are looking at the same reality through a different lens. We can see the world differently, and doing so supercharges how we approach and respond to circumstance.

I had the pleasure of leading a series of focus groups to help a client define a new culture. In one group there was a real hurt expressed about the way some employees demoralized others with words and actions. We talked about why people do that and I capped the conversation with, “Attitude is a choice.” That opened a new conversation about how this group could express a more positive attitude and draw upon one another to empower it. The shift of expression on their faces told the story. They were going to make a difference.

The circumstances they faced had not changed one iota. Yet in that moment, their perception of their circumstance took a 180. In light of a new perspective, they chose to see it differently.

Here’s something to consider as you look ahead to 2017: The choices we don’t make, make us. We get pushed around by so many things every day. Someone’s rude greeting, being unable to find parking, a change made to our jobs. When we explain how we are feeling, we can list a plethora of circumstances that ‘make us feel’ a certain way. We sound like we have no control. A sympathetic friend will say, “That’s understandable.”

Is it?

Netflix recently released: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. Dirk is an odd fellow with a unique view on life. Faced with an unbeatable situation, he says to his assistant, “Just because you know you are playing someone else’s game doesn’t mean you shouldn’t choose your moves.” Brilliant.

I want to challenge you (and me!) to consciously choose your ‘orientation’ to 2017. Don’t just make plans, plan how you will be regardless of what comes your way. Set your mind to think consciously and clearly about the important things that will tie together your vision of success and happiness. To get you started, consider:

  1. How you want to wake up feeling each day
  2. Where you will focus your perspective
  3. How much sleep you will get
  4. Who you will engage with to build yourself up
  5. How much time you will allocate to thinking and planning
  6. What you will no longer worry about
  7. How you will respond to the inevitable crises of family, work and life in general
  8. Where you will no longer waste time or energy

These are not last year’s resolutions. They are your New Year’s Principles for Success; the lens through which you will experience a new year. Choose wisely.

For me, the resounding theme will continue to be, “In all things, confidence.”

Through this year I’ll be focusing on many different aspects related to pushing myself to greater accomplishments for myself, my clients and my network. I look forward to journeying with you.

If you need help working out a winning path to success, I’d be happy to help you kickstart the year.

Jeff Skipper