New Year, New Conversation

575 400 Next Level Event Design

As we near the end of January, I’m curious, have you kept your New Year’s Resolution? Are you victim to the cliche that “resolutions are made to be broken,” or are you holding onto the optimism that “this will be the year I make it all 365 days!?”

I love the analytical activity we all go through as one year comes to a close and we optimistically embark on the next. You know, all of the “wow, that sucked” and “next year I will do better!”  That said, I’m also self-aware and know as soon as I break that resolution, I’m not going to challenge myself with such a bold proclamation again until next year’s countdown!  Therefore, instead of resolutions, I challenge myself with yearly mantras.

Back in 2016, I noticed I somehow self-programmed an auto-response of “no, sorry, I can’t” to the majority of invitations I would receive. I guess it was just easier to say “no” because of “how busy I am” and “all of the things I have to do,” than make a commitment to do something I might otherwise enjoy. In 2016, I was a living example of, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” an ancient proverb dating back as early as 1659! Who knew!?  The moral of this proverb rang loud and true, the work/life pattern I had created indeed left me feeling overworked, uninspired, exhausted and well, dull.  

So, as we said goodbye to 2016 and welcomed 2017, I decided on a mantra for the year, aptly in the form of a hashtag,  #YearOfYes!  

Here’s what 2017’s #YearOfYes taught me:

  1. I wasn’t nearly as busy as I thought I was, because I was able to say “yes” a lot!
  2. I know a lot of incredibly inspiring people who are not only fun to be around, but also fuel my soul
  3. I’m embarrassingly fortunate to be invited to experience many incredible things in this life
  4. How much my work and personal life had suffered because of the #fakenoise of  “how busy I was.”

So, the #YearOfYes mantra worked really well in 2017, maybe too well!  Reflecting back, I realize how many conversations, both personally and professionally, remained very surface; seldom getting beyond small-talk and generally focused on “how busy I am.” Of course, the only way to support the conversation of being so busy was to spout off the laundry-list of “have to’s.”  “I have to be onsite early tomorrow to load-in an event, I have to prepare for a speaking engagement next week, have to sit through some meetings with a few new vendors, have to find time to go shopping, make dinner, pick up my dry cleaning, find a new pocket square for that speaking gig… have to, have to, have to…” over and over like a broken record (that none of us want to listen to)!

Interestingly, many friends and industry colleagues are echoing this same thing!  In addition to the repetition of “I’m so busy” and “have to,” we’ve found ourselves in a very negative mental space, complaining about being tired, overworked, and dredging through the day just to rinse and repeat!  Collectively, we seem to be looking for ways to lighten our daily conversations, to find more joy in what we do, feel less obligated and more optimistic, maybe even excited for what fills our days.  In general, we’re looking to change the conversation!

Cue mantra 2018: #GetTo (still aptly a hashtag)!

For all of the times I catch myself saying I have to do something, I flip that have to to #GetTo. It sounds kind of cheesy and maybe a little too basic, but it’s simple and straightforward, and has already had an incredibly positive impact.

Think about that list of have to’s from above. When I changed them to #GetTo’s, things quickly changed for the better. For example: “I have to be onsite early tomorrow,” when changed to, “I #GetTo be onsite early tomorrow” was a much needed slap across the face. I immediately realized how much pessimism I was infiltrating into my daily life because of a few menial things that come with the territory of my chosen career. I had become complacent about how fortunate I am to be doing what I love on a daily basis, engaging my natural talents and succeeding, day after day. Changing my own conversation reinforced that I #GetTo get up in the morning to go inspire others and continue doing something I’m passionate about.

“I have to #GetTo speak at an industry event next week” helped change my approach to the content and appreciate that I’ve reached a place in my career where my stories have merit, my experience has value, and people have interest in what I have to say.

“I have to #GetTo schedule meetings with new vendors” changed the conversation from trying to squeeze time into my already overbooked schedule to acknowledging the excitement of learning the new advancements in our industry, creating opportunities for those embarking on changing the status quo, and diversifying my resource pool.

Changing the conversation from “have to to #GetTo has given me a much more optimistic approach to all that I do; including picking up the dry cleaning and those nights I #GetTo spend at home cooking a meal! It’s created a deeper sense of appreciation for the many opportunities that present themselves and a new-found gratitude for all that I #GetTo do.  I find when talking about what fills my schedule, instead of laundry-listing it all, I barely get through a portion of the list because it sparks interesting and meaningful conversations from the start.

So, if the theory is that “resolutions are made to be broken;” I challenge that with “mantras are made to be built upon.”  In 2018, I’ll continue 2017’s mantra #YearOfYes and add in the optimism, gratitude and excitement that comes from #GetTo.

Cheers to a New Year, and hopefully a New Conversation!