Reflection is the change in direction of a wavefront at an interface between two different media so that the wavefront returns into the medium from which it originated.
Reflection is a useful tool sometimes. I’m a big proponent of taking a step back to look at the big picture – ensuring that often routine thoughts and actions truly align with desired outcomes and changes. So even it’s cheesy, I wanted to share a template (http://www.thepassion.co/reflect2016/#introducing-reflect) that I’ve enjoyed filling out this weekend. It was created by Jessica Semaan and guides you through questions to evaluate 6 diverse areas in life – you, self-care, dreams, passions, community, and places. What I enjoyed most is the simplicity. No revolutionary questions, just an outlet to gently release thoughts to paper in order to reabsorb with heightened clarity.
Here are some of my big takeaways for 2015:
1) What was the most important thing you learned about yourself this year?
Pushing myself to the edges of my comfort zone is where I have discovered my strengths. This is going to sound really dumb to many people that know me, but the two things that make my heart quake in fear are publishing my writing and being a leader. There are 4 or 5 nearly complete blog posts sitting in my OneNote/Notes app. I cried quite a few times in my hotel room on my project in the first half of the year where I was left with limited resources to manage, build, etc. a full BI architecture. The edges of my comfort zone are pretty predictable. I am fearless when it comes to acting on things if I am reabsorbing the majority of the impact. Jump on a 6 am Bolt Bus to Boston? – count me in. Run back to back half marathons and/or a full marathon and/or workout 3 times a day – seriously, bouncing off the walls excited; however, there’s something about going beyond “Me” + “I” (which coincidentally = Mei) and adding a third variable to the equation “You” or even a fourth, “Us”. Yes, there’s something about re-leasing my energy for others to judge and potentially disappoint that totally petrifies me. The beautiful and exciting thing is that I have learned that I can thrive in these situations. My voice matters to others. Written communication is a unique strength that I possess. I am a strategic, focused, and deliberate leader. I’ve come to be attracted to those feelings of uneasiness and appreciate discovering the strength that usually lies on the other side.
2) How passionate did you feel about your work in 2015? What if anything, held you back from feeling more passionate?
In 2015, I believe I produced some quality, kick-ass work from both a professional and personal standpoint. The only thing that really bothered me was the intermittent frequency of my writing. I lean too much on quality over quantity, and I’ll never forget getting called out on that by a certain someone (yes you). I attended a ReSOULution class (90 minute SoulCycle class) on New Years day and the instructor Anthony did not disappoint – especially from an inspirational one-liner perspective. His perspective on resolutions is that the goal is not losing 10 lbs, making X amount of money, etc., the goal is to try more than you fail. Again cheesy, but it’s true that on occasion magical things happen when you choose to try and that on occasion shit happens anyways, but to never lose focus on the intention because that is all we truly have full control over. Ultimately what this translates to for me is, it’s not enough to do things passionately, but to also be mindful to engage frequently in passionate endeavors.
3) Reflect on 1-3 people that positively impacted your 2015 and how.
I’ve got 3 for you bro.
- Mike N: Thank you pushing me to submit an abstract to present at ODTUG and believing that I had valuable insight and experiences to share with others. Even though it didn’t get chosen, this gentle push was a huge confidence booster for me to realize my capabilities. Ultimately, I am thrilled and honored to be co-presenting with you on a different topic and appreciate all of the support that you have given to me over the years. I seriously would not be who I am today without your guidance and knowledge.
- Sarah K: Thank you for being my polar opposite and always challenging me to approach life from a different angle. Often priceless conversations spurred from simple questions like “How will this year be different?” and “What are your goals?” Not many people are blessed with someone in their life to openly bounce ideas off of and obtain constructive feedback from so I am very appreciative of this opportunity from our friendship together.
- James P: Thank you for an amazing day in Brooklyn exploring the museum, eating dessert before dinner, spinning turn tables, and imparting unintended life lessons. You may or may not be reading this and thinking to yourself – LOL what did I do? It’s one of my parking lot blog posts but to boil it down, I’ll never forget strolling through the legit ghetto on our way to dinner and being scared shitless. I asked you if you ever got scared walking by yourself and you replied, “I used to at first, but then I realized the people walking – we probably have more in common than we have differences, and I try to focus on that. Even when I visit new places and don’t know anyone, I try to focus on food, music, and people because everyone can relate to those 3 things and have a great time together.” Thanks you for the fresh perspective and unintentionally, inspiring me to engage more in activities I truly enjoy and less in the ones I don’t.
4) Describe 3 joyful events or moments you had in 2015. Who were you with? What did you do?
- Open World, Elton John concert with Reggie. Seriously joy belting out Elton John while sipping on psuedo-Rose (i.e. red and white wine drunkenly mixed together). Also the birth of www.BonnieClydeBI.com which is my second “baby”.
- Fight weekend in Las Vegas, Avicii & Chuckie pool parties with Sarah, Christie, and Jam. If 3 flight changes doesn’t mean your having a good time then I don’t know what does. Smells like Teen Spirit will forever provoke vivid images of raging water and pure bliss.
- San Francisco, exploring Golden Gate Park and the city by myself and spontaneously making new friends. There’s something about Twirl and Dip and Bar Tartine that will always hold a special place in my heart.
5) What were 3 self-care actions you took in 2015?
- Quit eating/drinking artificial sweeteners and “diet” foods and drinks. This was a BIG one, but honestly really easy to stop when you really *think* about what you are putting into your body.
- Began meditating, writing, and SoulCycle. All activities that I believe strengthen the connection of mind and body.
- Cut my hair. That shit needed to go. Any guy who considers a girl to be more or less attractive based on the length of their hair needs to get a real life. I feel so much more professional (and free!) and that’s what really matters.
6) What do you most want to celebrate about 2015 coming to a close?
Being spontaneous in life. YOMLO.
Onto 2016 Intention:
1) Visualize your year using all senses:
- Feeling: Control
- A quality I admire in others, but wouldn’t consider a strength of mine yet. Something to strike for improving.
- Color: New England Fall by Ciate (Olivia Palermo’s nail polish line)
- Place: Chicago
- I’ve crossed a lot of places off my bucket list last year. This year, I envision myself spending a lot more time in Chicago cultivating something entrepreneurial.
- Smell: Chicken?
- Really no rhyme or reason. Just hungry 🙂
- Word: Fulfilling
- Defined as “making someone satisfied or happy because of fully developing their character or abilities.”
2) What are 3 fun experiences you want to have in 2016?
- Engage in creative entrepreneurial venture
- Make friends outside of the EPM/BI/Northwestern space
- Nurture my blogs
- (Instruct a spin class)
There are some specific opportunities I’m working on in the pipeline to fulfill these fun experiences as well as a few unlisted pure work-related goals. All in due time dear Watson.
Hope you have fun reflecting on your year and goals for 2016 too.
I’ll leave you with my favorite excerpt from this year. From Aaron Bleyaert
Late one Sunday afternoon you are writing out your rent check and realize it’s been exactly a year since you started working out. You think of all those miles you’ve run and those pounds you’ve lifted and chicken you’ve eaten and puddles you’ve made. It doesn’t seem that bad. You realize that it’s not about hitting a goal weight, or lifting a weight. It’s about being able to wait. Waiting, being patient, and trusting that life will slowly inch along and things will eventually get better. After all, change takes time.
But time is all it takes.
meinalisawaitspatiently. Until we meet again.