With the holiday season upon us, what gifts are you giving yourself?
No, I am not talking about a new car, the getaway vacation, or that piece of expensive jewelry you have been craving. I am talking about something you so much more deserve, and that is available to you no matter what is in your bank account.
In my work with clients, both at the personal and at the organizational level, there are a number of gifts that I encourage them to give themselves. Consider this a gift list from which to choose for yourself.
Passion: Today I was speaking with someone about my long-term engagement with photography. It will most likely never pay the bills for me. But when I pick up the camera, I am “in the zone.” The images that I produce receive critical acclaim; they are selected for juried exhibitions and museum collections; and they sometimes cause people to see the world around them–and even themselves–differently. I get the same feeling when I am working with people facing, and moving through, difficult change.
What are you passionate about? Where and how are you expressing that passion in your life today? If you don’t know what it is, give yourself the gift of Exploration…discover it. If you know it, but aren’t expressing it, give yourself the gift of Next Steps. Don’t spend another year regretting that you haven’t done what you could about whatever is really important to you.
Exploration: Discover your passion. What is your “why?” What touches your heart, your soul, your very being. For some people, the answer becomes obvious quickly; for others, it requires reflection. Allow yourself that time and space. Make that a gift to yourself.
Next Steps: If you know your passion, don’t save it for retirement, or “until things slow down.” Even if it is something that requires a considerable investment of time, money, energy, etc., there is something that you can be doing about it now.
I recently spoke with someone whose work options are constrained by the visa that he has. It is work that he is good at, but it is very different than his passion for a more creative writing career. My encouragement was to write, to take courses at the local community college, and/or participate in weekend workshops.
Starting to build that platform now will allow you to launch more fully into the passion when circumstances allow. What is that first, or next, step that you can take to pursue your passion? It is most likely a better investment than the ring you were considering buying for yourself.
Patience: Sometimes I hear, “Why start now? It is so long before I can really make this work.” That may be true. But if you wait until that “so long” has passed in order to get started, it will be an even longer time before you are making it work.
If making a new passion a more integral part of your life is a big change, it isn’t going to happen over night. It is going to require patience. Having a clear picture of what it will be like once you have achieved it, and knowing that you are taking concrete steps to do so, will keep you motivated. Being patient with yourself and with the journey is a great gift to give yourself.
Being Human: We are all human. We all make mistakes. We all hear things wrong. We all see things wrong. We all read things wrong. We all misinterpret things. We all make bad choices. We all take the wrong turn sometimes. Allow yourself to be human. Acknowledge what went wrong; if at all possible figure out why and learn from it. Then move on.
Love and Acceptance: Most of us do the best we know how. Sometimes it is good enough, sometimes it is great, and sometimes no matter how hard we try, we can’t pull it off. Sometimes we make great progress in what seems an impossibly short period of time; sometimes we seem to be going nowhere, sitting in neutral. At the end of the day, give yourself love and acceptance. This is where you are now; this is who you are now. Tomorrow you have the opportunity to pursue your passion, explore, take next steps, be patient, and be human all over again.
What gifts are you giving yourself this holiday season? Comment below.
NOTE: On Tuesday, December 29 I will be republishing “New Year’s Resolutions: Resolve for Results, Not Just Action.” Many people have found this post a useful guide for helping them establish more meaningful New Year’s resolutions.