- STOCKING STUFFERS
Like the little gifts stuffed into Christmas stockings or given to children for Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, this month offers a wide assortment of challenges and sweets
Special year-end reminder to leaders and managers: don’t forget that employee engagement is driven by conversation that helps people feel connected to their work and to the organization. So while you spend much of your year addressing “problem” employees or recruiting new ones, make sure you use the next few weeks to give some love to the great folks you want to keep!
Sit down individually for a re-recruitment conversation. Let them know you’re happy to have them on the team. Tell them something you value about their contribution. And don’t be afraid to say, “I hope you’ll be with us next year!”
Remember: Leadership is not about a title. Anyone can be a leader who makes personal connections and helps others feel valued.
I’m an avid reader. I read every edition of Time, Fortune, This Old House, and The New Yorker magazines, as well as my newsfeed and multiple business and cooking blogs (because Chocolate!). All that other reading usually left me little time for books, except on holiday.
For years, I’ve read only a dozen books annually — till now. In early 2017 I was inspired by two blog posts: How To Read A Book A Week, by Peter Bregman (author of 18 Minutes and Four Seconds, great books on productivity), and 8 Ways To Read A Lot More Books This Year, by Neil Pasricha (The Book of Awesome and The Happiness Equation)
Armed with my Amazon account, library card, Kindle reader, and Audible app on my phone, I began to read anywhere and everywhere. While driving or doing yard work, I listened to fiction. I skimmed business books in hard copy, took my Kindle to the gym, and always had something to read in my backpack.
I’ve read 54 books this year, with two weeks to go!
My learning: Never say it’s not possible until you try.
DO YOU SKIMM?
Written by two Millennials with style, The Skimm’s quirky news summary is one of my daily MUST READs. It’s a quick, easy, and entertaining way to know what’s going on in the world. Highly recommend.
Two great quotes from Star Wars Episode VIII:
“This is how we win. Not by fighting what we hate, but by saving what we love.” ~Rose Tico, after sacrificing herself to save Finn
“The greatest teacher, failure is.” ~Master Yoda, to Luke Skywalker
THE TIME FOR GIVING… IS ALL THE TIME!
Each year I receive many notes from individuals and businesses saying, “hey, no gifts this year because we gave all our money to these charities.” The rush of holiday/year end giving is lovely, AND the needs are constant. I contribute monthly (thank you, automated payments!) to the following causes. I share not to brag, but to encourage you to become a sustaining member of the organizations you believe in. They need you year round.
Oxfam.org: I began donating in the wake of the 2004 Christmas tsunami and have increased my monthly donation regularly. They are one of the most respected global NGOs, operating on low overhead. While they respond to crises like war and hurricanes, they spend most of their resources working with vulnerable communities to build resilience and sustainability (think clean water and education) so that when crisis hits, the bounce back is faster.
Patreon.com: I support the work of artists and writers who strive to make a positive difference in the world thru their work.
Kiva.org: I funded a micro-loan years ago, and whenever the loan is paid off, I reinvest in another female entrepreneur, usually a mom who is building a business to sustain her family. I’ve helped purchase cows, goats, seed stock, and equipment for sewing and cheese making. Women entrepreneurs in developing countries build stronger communities around them. In 10 years I’ve never experienced a default.
Public radio. I’m a member of my local station, WCPN/90.3 FM, and through them I sustain the work of National Public Radio (which actually receives less than 2% of funding from government sources). I believe in the future of objective journalism that presents both sides of issues and nurtures our critical thinking muscles.
American Red Cross Blood Services. I don’t contribute cash to this organization; I roll up my sleeves and give life. I gave my 93rd pint this year. According to the ARC’s literature, my 11 1/2 gallons of donation have impacted as many as 368 lives directly and 736 indirectly. It’s something you can do that costs you nothing but an hour of your time.
LOOK BACK, LOOK AHEAD
Three questions to reflect on 2017:
- What did you learn about yourself this year?
- What is one way in which you have personally grown this year, and how have you acknowledged that to yourself?
- Who is one person to whom you’re grateful for something that happened this year? (and have you told them?)
Three questions to consider for 2018:
- What is one Unbreakable Promise you will make to yourself?
- Where would you like to grow? What is one step you will take, by January 31, to move forward in that?
- In what way(s) will you make a positive difference for someone (person or group) next year?
- Bonus: What will you do to reward yourself once you meet your commitment?
A MOMENT OF HUMOROUS REFLECTION
I have been battling intestinal issues for a few years, playing on and off with medications, dietary changes, and whining about the impact of aging. 🙂 I finally decided to take action. I made an appointment with a gastroenterologist.
For 36 hours before my colonoscopy procedure, I could consume nothing but clear liquids. My family chose that day to bake Christmas cookies. It was agony, mixing without tasting, smelling without being able to sample.
It turns out my willpower still works. Who knew?
BE MERRY AND HAPPY!
To all of my readers, clients, alumni, and tribe members: however you spend the rest of this year, enjoy the peculiar rituals of ending and beginning that accompany the turning of the calendar. May you carry forward only the best memories, and let Optimism color your expectations for the New Year!