The Celts called it right. They considered Advent—the time leading up to the birth of Jesus—to be a liminal doorway where Past, Present, and Future met in a Person. For business owners, it’s likewise a liminal doorway of anticipation for our 2015.
Yet, as I reflect on conversations with business owners, I see that the end of a year provides us with the trilemma of living today, planning for the next year, and awareness of our longing for a legacy. We are wrapping up 2014—completing projects, invoicing, preparing for end of year accounting. We are also ramping up plans for 2015. And, for those of us walking with the gift of departed loved ones, we are acutely aware of their legacies and the one we want for ourselves.
Let’s listen to the wisdom of
those have already passed on.
What if we were to live in the Present while Planning for 2015 and aligning to our Finish Line (the ultimate liminal dimension)?
While I first learned of the following as five regrets, I have reclaimed them as five powerful beacons lighting the way into our legacy. If we are clear about where we are and where we want to end up, 2015 planning, important as it is, becomes a mere waypoint toward our Finish Line–be it in a day, a year or a lifetime away.
Five Beacons Illuminating Our Future
The first two have to do with who we are–our authenticity and happiness. This first beacon is one that both my parents instilled in me:
1. “I choose to live a life true to myself.”
Those approaching death frame this as a regret: I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
I believe this smoldering candle can be re-lit as a positive intention: I choose to live a life true to myself. Whatever we pay attention to, positively or negatively, is what we end up aiming for. If you’re skiing through trees and focus on missing the trees, you’re more likely to hit one. If, instead, you focus on the path through the trees, you’re more likely to get through them unscathed! So if you focus on fending off others’ expectations of you, you’re more likely to succumb to them.
My mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk, you’ll end up as the pope.’ Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.
Being true to yourself begins with knowing who you are and being committed to being yourself. If you haven’t done so already, consider taking some time in your planning to utilize a tool that emphasizes what your strengths are. (See the toolkit below for suggestions).
My personal current favorite tool is the Enneagram: it provides a more holistic and nuanced view of what motivates you and what holds you back and also a framework for living out of your authentic self.
The morning glories and the sunflowers turn naturally toward the light, but we have to be taught, it seems. ― Richard Rohr
2. “I choose to let myself be happy.”
Think of the one thing any good parent wishes for her kid: “I just want Jonnie to be happy.” When you view your life from within any one of your three time frames—present, 2015 or your legacy-–consider asking yourself the following:
- Am I putting myself in situations I love? Do I feel happy as I consider my calendar or my Quickbooks reports?
- Am I spending time with people I enjoy? Do I get to laugh and be silly? (Really).
- Am I considering my true self and my desires as strongly as those I am in relationships with?
- Do my plans enhance my mental, physical and spiritual health?
- Do my plans create peace? Or, do they arouse my inner “grrr?” (Grr = the inner whining or growling precipitated by something you either hate or are not good at).
Authenticity and happiness are the foundations upon which to live into your legacy. So, start today!
- AUTHENTICITY: Consider a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being “Not at all” and 5 being “Completely.” How would you rate how much you’ve been true to yourself today? this week? last week? What do you intend to do differently tomorrow?
Consider taking the Enneagram to increase your self-knowledge.
- HAPPY: What is the one thing you can do more of to increase your happiness?
Looking for more of your best clients? Join me next Wednesday, 12/17/2014, as I share 3 actions to grow your business to the next level. Click HERE to register.