Where are you going? Where have you been? Those are the two questions that continue to pop into my mind — of course, in the first-person narrative — as we wind down to the final 80 hours of the year. I pose them now to you in the second-person, as big picture questions worth ruminating on as the calendar soon (mercifully!) turns from 2020 to 2021.
There was a lot of change in my life this year. Maybe there was in yours, as well. There’s no doubt, despite how challenging 2020 was, that more will come in 2021. I’ve learned to embrace change and love it. The chief reason why is because as much as we try to delude ourselves, particularly when things are going great, time stops for no one.
It’s all about the mindset we adopt toward change that makes the difference between success and happiness — and failure and disappointment.
Life Will Change
Our loved ones, friends and heroes will all one day die. Look at all the great people we lost just in this year alone. Perhaps you lost a family member or dear friend. My prayers and sympathies are with you. I’ve had family members beset my life-threatening sicknesses. I know good friends who lost parents. It’s sad and challenging to manage our emotions during these times.
Our jobs will change. Our career choices will change. We’re often forced to get creative with what comes next for how we plan to make money.
Places change. You might have moved this year. Maybe you left home, away from your parents for the first time. Maybe you just found your brand new apartment in Philly or San Francisco. Maybe in London.
What we thought we knew or felt certain about may no longer be how we feel. I think about the foolish cynicism I used to harbor toward new opportunities when I was younger. I’ve become much more open-minded and filled with faith. The result has been, life has opened up for me in profound ways I only previously dreamed of.
My mindset and open-mindedness toward change has made me more opportunistic, decisive and focused on what I need to do to live the life I want.
What about you?
Life changes. Maybe you’re excited for 2020 to end, maybe you’re looking to hold onto things about this past year that you’ll tearfully say goodbye to as you renew your promises to yourself and your goals for 2021. We’re allowed to change our minds and perspectives toward life. It’s practical and prudent to do so.
Abandoning one course and changing toward another can be one of the smartest decisions we make.
Think about this as you look back on the year and reminisce about the good times and bad: The future seems so uncertain and yet the constant — always — is knowing that we will face change. I’d further add that we will always face adversity, which often accompanies change.
We must keep moving forward.
Life’s evolution is about preparing our minds for change. Then, depending on the circumstances and stimuli we encounter, we can proactively or reactively manage the change as it comes our way.
Values and Transitions
I am an advocate for creating a foundation on values, principles and morals that are time-tested and altruistic. So much so, my book The Value of You outlines exactly how to do this. These values have helped me to make sense of my place in life and my willingness to make adjustments that are in sync with my values structure.
Our values never have to change. But our opinions, emotions and feelings on certain people or things will. When they do, we can proceed in confidence knowing that we have our values structure to rely on.
This has been a transformational year of growth for my business, my family and my mindset. I’m confident 2021 will be even better because I’m that much more comfortable in my own skin of embracing change and adapting my mindset toward everything that will come — particularly things outside of my control.
Happy New Year!
In closing, I wish you a very Happy New Year. I’ve had the great blessing and fortune of interacting with many of you who have read my writing. You’ve shared your personal stories and emotions with me, just like I have with you. I hope you’re excited and invigorated by the anticipation of all that 2021 will throw at you. I think you’re ready. I feel like I am.
We are free to change our minds when we feel we’ve gone off track and made choices that do not advance our goals or the way we treat ourselves and others. Sometimes life changes so fast, we don’t even have time to react. Then, our choice is made for us.
But in many instances, it’s about how we adjust — proactively, which is derived from our preparation and planning — that determines our fate.
Take the time to evaluate what you’ve heard, seen and felt this year. And remember all that has touched you emotionally, both good and bad. The changes you made this year may have been the smartest ones of your life. Moving away from things that drag you down to things that empower you and increase your faith and confidence are what make you an intelligent, evolving individual.
That takes a resolute mindset.
Continue moving forward while knowing that change will come. How you respond will determine your character, and define who you are as a person.
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This article originally appeared in Medium.
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