|My New Year’s celebration was pretty epic. After traveling the Pacific Coast Highway, I found myself in Napa. Now, I love wine. So much so that you’d think I would’ve visited the Valley before. Yet, this was my first visit … and I know it won’t be my last. |
Early one morning I found myself touring Cakebread Cellars with a true wine expert – and someone who’s passionate about their craft. I was overwhelmed by the wine making process and all the intricate details that it involved, as well as the level of organization and specialized skills that it required. It was pretty clear to me that through the journey from vine to grape to bottle, one million things can go wrong… In fact, I asked my guide about all the mistakes that happen. He smiled, sharing that the potential for mistakes is so great that they inevitably happen. He then expressed that’s the beauty of it all – that something so wonderful can come from imperfection.
His statement reminded me of the Japanese art form of Kintsugi. Are you familiar? It’s the process in which broken pottery is restored by mending the pieces together with lacquer that’s mixed with powdered gold, silver, or any other fine element. Again, another beautiful art form that’s created through imperfection.
So, why am I telling you about wine and broken pottery? Simply, I think both are grand metaphors for us leaders who are starting the New Year off with great, perfect goals. We have plans, we have ideas, we have images for success… yet, so much can go wrong. We encounter surprises, we receive unfortunate news, change happens, goals are readjusted… the list is endless. In these moments, our emotions – such as worry, fear, and insecurity – can shade our perspective on the situation, when often what’s needed most is a healthy reminder that we’re experiencing life… and this is what happens in life.
I know it’s trite to say it’s the journey, not the destination. But it’s true. So, here’s some guidance I have so that you make your plans, but grow from the imperfections that you’ll inevitably encounter:
- Cultivate a Happiness Routine. Anger, fear, frustration are easy emotions to latch onto when bad things happen. What’s worse, when you grab onto these emotions, your perspective narrows and you fail to see opportunities. Begin to build the disciplines associated with happiness – like practicing gratitude, catching frequent breaths of fresh air, or even meditating. The earlier you start, the better!
- Reflect When Mistakes Happen. If you can’t take the time to pause and reflect when mistakes happen, then you’re missing out on an opportunity to learn from them. True growth happens when learning can be applied going forward.
- Keep the Greater Goal in Mind. Just because you encounter obstacles doesn’t mean you should abandon goals. I mean, if you’re walking through a forest and a tree is in your path, you don’t turn around and head back. You find a way to walk around it. Same goes with your goals. Sometimes you need a new path … sometimes you need to adjust your timeline. But stick with it and bring all the grit you have to bear.
- Find an Accountability Partner. We need people. Our goals are more likely to be achieved with the right people involved. Get a coach, a trusted colleague, or someone to hold your feet to the fire so you don’t give up or lose sight of what’s important to you. Find a way to involve others so you feel more invested in your success.
I’d love to hear from you – what is one of your goals this year? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If there’s a way I can hold you accountable to it, I’m in! (Simple idea: if you let me know your goal, I’ll put a note in my calendar to follow up with you in a few months to inquire about your progress … again, it’s a small thing, but if it helps you, I’m all for it!)