As another year closes, I’ve been reflecting on the past year and priors as I proceed into another decade. It’s hard to believe that 20 years ago Chicken Little was screaming “The Sky is Falling!” and we actually thought it just might. There was the frenzied panic of Y2K, the universal threat of computer-based technological crashes and the fear of our financial systems collapsing all around us like a paper-thin deck of cards, and the entire universe, as we once knew it, would go dark on 01.01.2000 at 12:00:00 A.M.
The Great Apocalypse arrived with a deafening whisper! Chicken Little had lied.
From Sydney to NYC, the world awaited with great anticipation! There had been massive raids on ATM’s, people stocked their pantries with canned goods and freeze-dried food fit for astronauts while others filled their bunkers with ammunition and flak jackets in doomsday preparation. Powerless to stop Father Time, the Great Apocalypse arrived coast to coast, North Pole to South, nation to nation with an absolutely deafening thud!
We all breathed a corporate sigh of relief having survived the Armageddon, that wasn’t.
And we simply moved forward.
Was 2019 a great year for you either professionally, financially, socially, emotionally, academically, spiritually or physically? Was it better than you expected? Did you exceed your own expectations or the expectations of others? If so, I am genuinely happy for you and celebrate your success! You finally had your moment in the spotlight and your radiance was comparable to a supernova! Well done, my friend!
Perhaps this year was a heterogeneous collection of success and failure, triumph and defeat, celebration and sorrow. In Blackjack terminology, it was a Push. To that end, I’m delighted you successfully managed, as the ABC Wide World of Sports ™ tag line would state, “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat!” You had to skillfully recalibrate internally and externally what you thought was equilibrium every time you encountered the unexpected. It was more than challenging but you navigated your way through each predicament. Perhaps not perfectly but you responded the best you could at that moment. GOOD JOB!
To my dear reader who has experienced an absolutely horrific, painful and disappointing year, I have compassion for you. Your senses, your intellect, your career, your health, your family, your finances were assaulted with one challenge after another! The sh%# hit the fan and there was no way to unplug it.
You encountered loss, faced rejection, heartbreak and misunderstanding. Your reputation was tarnished and you are still attempting to self-heal from the knife you were finally able to extract from your back. Along with your beloved possessions, your sense of confidence and well-being was burglarized. By the time December arrived, you were less optimistic about the quality of your life improving again and the goodness of people in general.
Well, you made it! You survived! No doubt you may have noticed a few more gray hairs or even grimaced at that growing patch of inactive follicles and now feel a little more breeze up top. But, you made it! You are still here!
Hopefully, during all your trials and tribulations, you became more shrewd, creative, innovative and assertive. Perhaps even exercising a bit of humility was in order. Like an olive, you were pressed on all sides, and in the crushing, you were fundamentally changed. Here’s some good news! The by-product of the crushing of the olives is an aromatic, flavorful, healing emollient to others. You didn’t know you had it in you but you are better and stronger than you could have ever imagined.
It was not in vain! If you allowed the process to run its course instead of fighting it, the outcome was that your character was developed and you became better, not bitter. If you embraced and cultivated the bitterness, the by-product will be the pollution of self and eventually of the environment around you. Often, these erupting issues are actually designed to serve as course corrections. Let your distress become your awakening and catalyst to have your current actions redirected to be in proper alignment with your life’s true desires and purpose!
If I may be a bit transparent, this last year was beyond challenging. (Is anyone else starting to despise that word “challenging?” It really minimizes the intensity of the state of affairs we must deal with! It’s actually code for “My situation has turned inside out, could be on the brink of collapse. I’m a little stressed and freaked out, but I’ve got to display a tense grin to project a sense of everything being under control. Somebody help me. Life sucks right now.”)
But I digress. Back to my story. 2019 was, eh, challenging! It was akin to the California wildfires we must prepare for. They rapidly burn with intense fury and you don’t know where the next one will erupt! Often, they are ignited from lightening touching ground or striking a tree. I faced multiple fires this year and, to my surprise, a few of them involved arsonists. My head spun and there were times when I questioned whether to proceed or throw in the towel.
Not given to cowardice, I first had to process out my own shock, anger and disappointment. This is an important component of developing solutions. If you are full of fear, rage or negative emotions, there is little room for creativity and objectivity. You must pour it out to provide space for answers to enter.
Next, I evaluated each situation and developed a strategy for success. I also prayed for wisdom and strength and consulted with a few trusted friends and advisors. I focused on what was most critical at the moment rather than what was making the most noise. Having previously worked in hospice, that experience has enabled me to metabolize information and determine priorities quickly – keeping the end-goal at the forefront of rapid decision-making. There were times when the tunnel I was blindly grasping my way through grew so dark I didn’t know if I should plan to live or prepare to die. Always plan to live. Cultivate genuine relationships before tornadoes touch down in your world. You may also acquire new friends and strengthen old ties in the swirl who will help keep you grounded.
As I began to execute my plans, concurrent to the disasters, there would be moments of great hope and remarkable ideas to develop in the future. There were people like you, who subscribed to my website, without solicitation. Unlike many other writers, I don’t require you to sign up to download conference resources or read an article in its entirety. It’s my gift to you and entirely optional. As I kept moving forward, I began to get uplifting comments for my blogs along with willing subscribers ranging from high-ranking government officials to entrepreneurs, well-established business owners, college students, physicians and more! This was a positive signal that my content was valued and resonating with my readers. Thank you for your reciprocating support!
Also, I increased my exercise routine to relieve the stress and lost 22 pounds! I took some courses and earned my Scrum Master Certification. I won the battle over the household thermostat. (Be grateful for small victories, LOL!) Also, my son invited me to breakfast. And he paid for it! Clearly, mountains were moving and next time I’ll order filet mignon!
If your tunnel has become dark, don’t wait for the light at the end of it. Strike your own match of hope right now and light your own candle. Extend your light to others experiencing a difficult season of life. Sometimes you have to dig in your heels, strengthen your resolve, speak to yourself and demand that your audience of one accomplish something positive and unexpected in spite of the negative circumstances that seem to be engulfing your own life. Helping others will improve your mood and alleviate pressure. Living for more than the purpose of self-benefit takes the focus off your own problems and redirects your vision onto creating solutions for those who may be in greater distress.
The intent of your difficulties was to erode your confidence and destroy your sense of purpose, but you now have the upper hand because you endured! The tides are turning! The skills you’ve acquired through hardship are tools no one can ever take from you. Take a moment to cultivate gratitude and take inventory of what you have gained from the experience. Implement them to your advantage professionally, through service in the community and in your personal life. They are well earned badges of courage, dignity and accomplishment!
In closing, I encourage you to renew your vision for your future. Write it down to keep it before you and run with it. When you proceed, doors will open. Walk through life with friends and share your heart with them. I was incredibly blessed to have a phenomenal team who locked arms with me, imparted wisdom, donned their own firefighting gear and extinguished the flames intended to torch me. After the fire was contained, we roasted some marshmallows, made s’mores, laughed and were gently warmed by the fire which had initially sought to consume us.
My point is this: As you enter 2020, simply keep moving forward. Understand the purpose behind your existence. This will propel you forward when you face opposition, stabilize you when unsure and ground you when you experience success.
The sky is not falling and Chicken Little is now a sandwich at KFC. So don’t quit. Persistence breaks resistance! You’ve got this and I’m cheering you on! Happy New Year, my friend!
Hang on. Keep the Faith and stay in touch.
Meet me at the top!
♛ Melanie Grace
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