wrapping up 2014

IMG_1231I have a fun hangover.

All of our grown children came home – plus extras – for two weeks now. People slept in every room of our small townhouse. Imported belongings invaded every counter and every inch of floor space. We saturated days with fun and laughter, adventures, deep conversations, and delicious, not-necessarily-good-for-you food. We delighted in long-standing traditions and created new experiences this first Christmas in our new home. We connected at mind, heart, and spirit. It was an incredibly rich time.

My energy level is a bit low now, but my heart is full.

That seems a fitting condition for the year I christened last January with the word “fulfill”.

These family days together were a dream fulfilled. So is living in this new home and the purposeful work I get to do with my husband. One night at dinner, we all reflected on the past year and answered questions about our greatest challenges and biggest achievements and how we grew or matured or changed through both. I am satisfied with the responsibilities and goals I fulfilled last year and by the choices I made to feel fulfilled personally at this stage of my life. It has been a great year.

There have been hard times too. Death, pain, and poor decisions by loved ones crushed my spirit and drove me to my knees. The aching desire to be present in two – or three or four – places at once has weighed heavier than ever. Community, country, and world conflicts and tragedies have burdened my soul.

And so I consider my word for 2015.

What are my passions? What do I want to do? Where will I prioritize?

I’ve read many a great post about end of year reflection questions and have re-worked some of them for us here.

  • Where did you thrive last year?
  • Where did you struggle?
  • If you had to describe your 2014 in three words, what would they be?
  • What was your biggest time waster this past year?
  • Where did you best invest your time?
  • What, or who, are you most thankful for?
  • What advice would you give your early-2014 self if you could?
  • What one thing would you do differently and why?
  • What topics did you most enjoy learning about?
  • What did you learn about yourself?
  • What was a favorite compliment that you received this year?
  • What is one thing you can do next year to add meaning and relevance?

Maybe you’d like to take time to answer these  – and any other favorites you have – and choose a word for 2015. Find a quiet place, your favorite beverage, put your feet up, and enjoy the process.

I’ll post my word next week. I’d love to hear what you choose!

what can we learn from iMentor Steve Jobs?

Steve Jobs had an incredible impact at Apple.  What principles can we learn from him? I stumbled on this challenging presentation at:  http://www.beatthemonster.com/blog.  Some great advice for any leader!

1. Follow your heart – “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

2. Make a dent in the universe – “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me… going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me.”

3. Think different – “Kick start your brain. New ideas come from watching something, talking to people, experimenting, asking questions, and getting out of the office!”

4. Sell dreams, not products – “Your customers dream of a happier and better life. Don’t move products. Enrich lives.”

5. Make products for yourself – “We think the Mac will sell zillions, but we didn’t build the Mac for anybody else. We built it for ourselves. We were the group of people who were going to judge whether it was great or not. We weren’t going to go out and do market research. We just wanted to build the best thing we could build.”

6. Say ‘no’ to 1,000 things – “It is only by saying ‘no’ that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.

7. Keep it simple – “That has been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex; you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it is worth it in the end, because once you get there you can move mountains.”

8. Go for excellence – “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”

9. Break the rules – “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently – they’re not fond of rules… because the ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

10. You only live once – “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer has been ‘no’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

**One more thing: “Don’t waste your time living someone else’s life.  Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”  Steve Jobs

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What advice would YOU give to a leader?