Life & Career Reflections for January 1, 2012

It is sobering and exciting to reflect on a day and date that is signifies both an end and a beginning. For many, as the first day of a New Year approaches, we pause to reflect on the year that was, including personal highlights and lowlights. The media may also contribute to this as the copious “lists” of “Top Ten x of 2011” appear on every topic imaginable. I personally try to insulate myself from being influenced by such “lists”, but I do find it interesting to observe the priorities that such lists reveal.     I am not going to analyze such priorities right now, as I have another intention for today’s post.

Recently, the CBC’s Marcy Markusa ran a series of stories on the topic of “Resolve”. It highlighted and interviewed people who had overcome immense obstacles, but who maintained a positive perspective on life. Faced with crisis, these people chose not only to survive, but also to grow from what we would typically view as a negative experience. Marcy asked why some people remain positive in the face of adversity. One explanation was that for some a state of crisis is a catalyst for realizing potential that we may all have, but unless forced into a given set of circumstances, we do not draw on our deepest personal resources. This potential can be the will to live to the fullest. It includes a shift in priorities, but typically if you are not motivated by crisis, or a similar life-altering event, it can be difficult to refocus your priorities.

The message I took away from this article is that in addition to the inspiring attitude of these amazing people, I was reminded to view challenges as opportunities to improve myself. In a moment of introspection, I came up with some questions for myself:

How can I personally focus on being more positive, and determine my personal priorities?
How can I do this truthfully and sincerely?
Can I do this without using crisis as a catalyst?

As it is a New Year, I decided that my personal intention for 2012 would be to answer these questions. In answering this, I listed what went well for me in 2011 and why. From this perspective, I will leverage the momentum of the positive in 2011, and carry that into 2012. Of course, not everything was positive in 2011, but using the outlook of the people from the “Resolve” article, I can learn from my challenging experiences of the past 12 months.

In addition, we do not need to wait until December 31 or January 1 for such reflection. Yes, it sounds cliché, but every day is a new beginning. What are you going to do for yourself today?