If there were any logic to human existence, we should be in the dumps this time of year. In my part of the world at least, it’s cold, the nights are still longer than the days, and the holidays are over. But no one I know is depressed. Everyone is full of energy for the year ahead. Very clever, those Romans (or whoever the heck arranged the calendar so that the new year starts during this season). The New Year is a completely made-up idea, one that humans existed for tens of thousands of years without experiencing, but what the heck: it gives us a focus, a way to organize our thoughts and our plans, and I’m all for it.
So here is 2007, how shall we think about it? For me, I see this new year as the year of Truth and Consequences. I’m one of those unlucky Capricorns with a birthday that falls dangerously close to Christmas – New Year’s Eve, in my case – so my birthday is a pretty small deal in our house, but I like it that way. Also, my birthday falls just when almost everybody is pondering their pasts and their futures. Since I’m sure you’re wondering (:-), this was birthday number 47 for me – nothing momentous there, but getting close enough to one the big milestones that it behooves me to think a little bit about where I’ve been and where I’m headed.
And here’s what I think, and where the Truth and Consequences come in. The biggest experiences for me in 2006, personal and professional, revolved around confrontations with situations that didn’t work and often hadn’t worked for a long time. I tolerated them the way we tolerate things that don’t work especially well for us, because conflict is hard and we’re so busy and maybe things really aren’t so bad….we make excuses, in other words, and we don’t tell the truth, our truth, as often as we could. And what happened for me during 2006, the year between my 46th and 47th birthdays, is that it got much harder for me to put up with those not-working situations and to bottle up my truth. I had to speak up! I had to fix things that were broken, even when I made people upset with me, and even ended friendships or business relationships. I absolutely, positively didn’t have any other choice.
You have to be yourself. More than looking in the mirror in the morning, you have your thoughts to deal with lying on the pillow at night, and your gut reminding you when you’re pretending to be someone you’re not. It’s an insult not only to yourself (and your parents, come to that) but to the whole human community to keep silent when every muscle in your body wants you to say “Enough.” The whole universe is rooting for you, and one day, or every day if necessary, you have to put things right.
That could mean letting your business partner know that the two of you are just clearly headed in opposite directions and need to part ways. It could mean saying goodbye to a trusted supplier or even to your greatest client. You know what it means for you, even though it’s hard to face it.
I urge you to make 2007 your year of Truth, and letting the consequences fall where they may. The more often and more loudly you speak your truth, the more you’ll learn about yourself and the closer you will move to the person behind the person behind whoever you’ve been convinced you are supposed to pretend to be. All of that is unnecessary. No one wins when you are less than you. The consequences of letting the world know who you are, on the other hand, can rock the world.