Lessons from 2014
It’s amazing how quickly a year goes by.
As I write this, it’s the last day of 2014, but it doesn’t seem that long ago that we were leaving 2013 behind.
Like many people, I have spent the last few days of the year thinking and reflecting upon the year that is almost done.
In short, it’s been a busy and challenging year with lots to look back on. However, the most important things I have taken from this year are things my children have taught me.
They have taught me many things this year, but there are four things that have really stood out.
Drop the fear and get involved in life
Many of us let fear hold us back. We are afraid to try new things or do what we really want to do because of fear. We may be afraid of what others will think; afraid of not knowing anyone else; afraid that it will be difficult; afraid that it will involve sacrifice or (insert your own fear here).
However, when we listen to our fears and let them rule us, we miss out on so much.
My son, Josh is a great example of ‘getting in and having a go’. If he feels any fear, he doesn’t acknowledge it or even speak of it. He just ‘does’. He’s always up for a challenge and willing to try new things, even if he has never done them before, or doesn’t know anyone else who is doing them. He doesn’t let other people’s opinions prevent him from doing what he wants to do. In short, he doesn’t let fear hold him back. And he is loving life.
Look to the future
The future is something that can excite us or scare us. I think one of the reasons we find the future so scary at times is the fear of the unknown. We don’t know what is in store and we usually focus too much on the negative ‘what ifs’, rather than the positive possibilities.
My son is about to start a new journey at high school. Even though this is a huge change and he doesn’t know many others going to that school, he’s still looking forward to it with anticipation and excitement. He’s looking forward to meeting new people, and learning new things. He’s also looking forward to discovering just what it is he wants to do career-wise when he grows up. To him, his future is an endless sea of possibilities.
Work on your weaknesses
Just as all of us have strengths, we all have weaknesses too. However most of us focus on our strengths — the things we are good at, and avoid our weaknesses — the things we are not so good at.
At the beginning of this year, my daughter, Laura set some goals for the coming year (with the help of her teacher). All the children were asked to identify one thing that they needed to work on. Hers was ‘confidence’. My daughter is a natural-born worrier which can sometimes lead to anxiety and a lack of confidence. However, this year she has worked very hard on becoming more confident.
She has put herself in situations that made her feel very uncomfortable. So much so, that on some nights, it took hours for her to drop off to sleep due to how worried she was. She has taken on challenges that she would normally shy away from, and ended up performing very well. However, the biggest lesson she has learnt from all of this is that things are never as bad as you imagine them to be. By stepping out of her comfort zone, she has learnt that she is capable and that has led to a newfound confidence. So always, always work on your weaknesses.
Follow you own path
This is a hard thing to do sometimes. Often we have a goal in mind, or something we want to try, yet we get caught up with what everyone else is doing. The primary school my daughter goes to is very big on basketball. About half the school play after-school basketball (my daughter included), and many kids play for domestic teams as well. This year, many of my daughter’s friends were joining domestic basketball teams and a few of her friends asked her if she would join too. We also asked her several times if she wanted to join another team.
Her answer was a steadfast ‘no’. No, because she wanted to keep playing her keyboard and continue with her singing. In fact, she has done so well with her singing this year, she was asked to join the Australian Girls Choir, next year. So while all of her friends are playing basketball, she will be pursuing her love of singing and music. She will be following her own path. Something she is able to do, now she has more confidence in herself.
So as I sit back and think of the coming year and all it will bring, I’m not making resolutions. Instead, I am thinking about how I can make the most of the coming 12 months, just as my children have done in 2014.
In 2015, I aim to:
- Drop the fear and make the most of all opportunities that come my way
- Follow my own path, regardless of what others are doing
- Work on my weaknesses, so they become strengths
- Look to the future with optimism and hope, rather than worrying about what could go wrong.
In short, I want to be braver than I have been in the past.
This morning while at the gym, I heard the song “Brave” by Sarah Bareillis, and I felt that in some ways, it summed up how I want to approach the coming year.
What are you aiming for in 2015? Are you going to be brave too?