5 Questions to Kick Off 2014

My godson Finn’s new fave word is “startled” and I have to admit that I’m feeling startled that 2013 has reached its end!

Newscasters, bloggers and anyone with an opinion all are offering their various “Top 10” lists, while motivational gurus are prepping us on how to plan for 2014. And, yes, I’m feeling the pressure to join in.

I spent weeks toying with my own “Top 10 Ways to Make 2014 the Best Year Ever!” but eventually I realized I had my focus out of whack. I couldn’t suggest ways to plan for 2014 until I’d made sense of my own 2013.

Before you plan for the future, you have to make sense of the past. There’s no point in making New Year’s resolutions until you acknowledge the good of the previous year.

Albert Einstein believed that “there are only two ways to live life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is.” To help me reflect on the “miracles” (yes, that is a loaded word) in my 2013 life, I asked myself five questions:

  1. What did I learn in 2013?
  2. Who inspired me?
  3. What gave me pleasure?
  4. What or who surprised me?
  5. What am I grateful for?

I stared at these questions for a long, long time. I think I felt stumped because during the year I hadn’t stopped enough times to take stock of where I was or where I was going. It was all rushrush-rush.

Eventually, I was able to answer wholeheartedly each of those five questions. In the coming weeks I’ll explain my answers. For now, though, here’s the outline of my answers and I hope it coaxes you into finding your own answers.

In 2013 I learned to ask for what I want. I was inspired by a groom who was willing to hit rock bottom before allowing himself to find true love. I realized with a newfound sense that I enjoy giving keynote talks, not because I like to hear myself speak, but rather, because of the great conversations that take place afterwards with interesting people. I was surprised by how I made a new friend who has opened unusual doors for me. And lastly, I’m most especially grateful to a client whose generosity taught me how to respect myself more than I’ve been doing.

Taken together those five “miracles” reminded me that nothing is more important than the day at hand. If I can remember the insights gained, I think I’ll be able to live 2014 more mindfully and more generously.

What about you – what are your answers to those five questions? May your answers give you a happy and fulfilling 2014!

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