Author, Consultant, Executive Coach - Helping people and organizations grow into desired results

Saturday, 1 January 2011

New Year, New Beginnings...

How was your 2010? In what ways did you finish strong, and what are you looking forward to in the New Year...? Here is a quick update and a preview of what's in store at tmc for 2011 - enjoy!

The sands of time - Aussie style
My first tweet of the year (expanded here for readability):
"In 2011 I'll: build a community, ask for help, surf!!, write my book, start a company, care for family (&myself), help charities, travel, have more fun!"
As with most of us, I could easily expand that list to include many more New Year's resolutions...writing more regular blog posts being one that comes readily to mind. So I thought I'd knock that one over right away.

Planting the seeds for Positive Change
Build a community - this one's been a while in coming, largely because I've been too chicken to commit and get the ball rolling. Thing's not about me, so I should get the hell outta the way. I reckon the world needs - and people want - more chances to bring good things into their lives. So while I've been talking about it for a while now and even blogging about the idea, watch for the Positive Change movement to become reality this year. All are welcome in what I hope will become a community much bigger than the sum of its parts and last a lot longer than any of us imagine, which leads to...

Ask for help - a hard-won insight gained this year is that I'm notoriously, shockingly bad at asking people to help me. There's no explanation or good reason for it. The net result is that I think I need to do it all myself; the harsh reality is...I can't. I've got so many terrific people in my world, it'd be stupid not to ask for their help, involvement, ideas and creativity. After all, if they asked and I was in the position to do so I'd happily help them out; this year it's time that I extend to them that same assumption of good intentions and be willing to accept the help of others.

Manly Beach surf break on a glorious January morning
Surf!! - Having grown up in landlocked dairy-farming country in Canada, I got a really late start on surfing. I only bought my first board on my birthday in March 2008. Since then I've done my best to make up for lost time and during this Xmas/New Year's break I've spent nearly every day surfing at my local break on Manly Beach. I always feel great after a surf, even if the swell is tiny or I've had a couple truly epic wipe-outs. 

Making a serious go of it this year means not just getting wet, but paying attention to my fitness, diet and managing the general aches and pains associated with being a 40-year-old surfer-dude. Beyond the purely physical component, as I wrote back in 2008, there's more to surfing than the sea, the sun and the stoke. Reading Shaun Tomson's excellent book The Surfer's Code on the beach this holiday reinforced that insight...and I will keep it alive this year by honouring the Code (see here for a summary) and getting more involved in my local surf community, especially the Sydney Surf Group (take note, Mark, Miki & co...see you in the lineup!).

Gaining inspiration...
Write my book - what this really means is do more writing in general. Business and personal matters took my focus away from this blog over the past two months and I've felt the absence. When I don't write my head fills up with an excess of unprocessed stuff. I don't know if this will make sense but in some ways I think it gums up the gears...and may even make me dumber!

When I write, I think things through, make connections and sharpen my perspective. I also love the act of crafting words to express ideas in ways that are both meaningful and memorable - and hopefully that are useful to my readers as well as giving needed focus to my work efforts (as I did with last year's white paper "It's not Business. It's Personal" - People Engagment that works). I want my book to be a longer version of that kind of work, to string together my thoughts, connections and ideas with a central theme and a practical focus. Rather than a book-as-vanity-project, an object to flog at work and speaking events, I want my book to make a difference in the world and to people's lives, helping them to realize their longstanding goals and dreams.

Today Austral-Asia...
Start a company - I've learned a lot over the past two years about what works and what doesn't in creating viable partnerships and joint-ventures. The greatest lesson from this informal MBA at the "school of hard knocks" has been two-fold: trust my gut and combine positive expectation with eyes-wide-open realism about what a given situation can and cannot offer. This year I'll apply that learning to launch a new international venture. I hope it affords new opportunities to collaborate with some of the talented people I've met over the past few years, and opens doors to work with new people in 2011 as well. More details to come, so watch this space...

Birthday dinner with my brother Trent
Care for family (& myself) - speaking of partnerships and good relationships, I was particularly fortunate during 2010 in (re)connecting with family. My brother Trent made the trek from Canada to Oz and I had a great time celebrating my milestone birthday together with him. I'm proud of the progress my brother Jim has made in successfully rebuilding lots of broken bridges and we've had many long and enjoyable conversations as a result. Other family connections have been more challenging and I continue to learn lessons from the work that goes into making them a success. Here I've discovered a paradox: it's never too late to reconcile, but it pays to take action sooner rather than later because life is too short to waste valuable time doing what you know doesn't work. I will extend more care both to family members and to myself this year, as I've been guilty of taking many things for granted that are in fact very fragile and require care and attention.

They need our help!
Help charities - In 2009 my company tmc made donations to several charities as part of a 1% for the planet commitment and I personally raised over $1,300 in support of the WSPA by participating in Sydney's annual City2Surf 14km race. In 2010 my activities were more modest in scale (primarily raising funds and awareness in support of the Save the Koala campaign). For 2011 I want to exceed 2009's contributions; besides my own efforts I want to kick things up a notch by reinstating my Save-the-world Sunday (STWS) series of posts to help raise awareness of what others can do to help out as well. Look for tomorrow's inaugural STWS post for more details of what I have in mind for 2011.

"Should I stay or should I go now...?"
Travel -This has been the easiest one to say and the hardest one to write about. Without doubt I'll travel a lot this year, as I have done in recent years. I love to travel and relish the variety and novelty of experience that each new journey offers; at the same time I long for constancy and the security that comes from a sense of belonging in a particular place. This tension of variety/constancy is common to many people and we must each find the balance that works for us. For my part this year I want to be intentional, not only about where my choices place me on the variety/constancy spectrum, but about fully enjoying what each experience has to offer. In the words of poet Percy Bysshe Shelley: "The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance. The wise man grows it under his feet." Which brings me to my final resolution...

Trying on a new look... :-)
Have more fun! - OK so, who doesn't want more fun, right? Well, for me this one means a couple of things: being present and enjoying the moment (rather than dwelling on what's coming up or regretting what's passed); being playful rather than serious; most of all, daring to be myself. I once heard (can't recall where) the saying, "If you want to be happy in life, learn to care a lot less what other people think." This is a tough one for me, but like a coach of mine said, "To succeed in life, do what you're most afraid of doing." 

So to sum up this year's biggest resolution in the words of the immortal entertainer Sammy Davis Jr., "I gotta be me...I can't be right for somebody else if I'm not right for me."


Geoff Brown said...

From 1, 40 yo, (late-comer) surfer dude to another ... let's get round to that face2face conversation in 2011. Cheers, Geoff
Ps you have inspired me to also do more for charity!

Kay Ross said...

A brilliant and inspiring list, Todd. I especially like "Ask for help" - must remember to do that myself! I look forward to hearing from you over the course of the year about your success at putting all your resolutions into practice. And I look forward to co-operating with you on our idea for a project in Hong Kong.